Philip Westfall, November 1, 2019
If you want your website to get you customers (not just visits), you’ve come to the right place.
In this guide, we will cover the 7 most effective ways to promote your website without an extensive budget or previous marketing experience.
The best part?
Each strategy is:
Let’s get started!
Search engine optimization is one of the most cost effective ways to acquire new customers. When done properly, your SEO strategy can help you drive leads while your sleep, without spending any money.
Keep in mind that SEO is a very comprehensive topic and that this article only covers the key points you need to know. If you want to become an expert, we recommend checking out this guide.
Imagine a situation where a potential customer hears about your business and wants to learn more. They turn to Google but can't find your business, even when searching by brand name.
This digital marketing nightmare can happen in one of two scenarios: you don’t have a website or you have a website which is not indexed by Google.
After you’ve created a new website, it’s important to add your domain to your Google Search Console account where you can request indexing, monitor your performance, and fix any search related issues.
Pro tip: to determine whether your site is currently on Google, you can do a site: search for your website URL. This returns all the pages indexed for your domain. For example, a search for "site:www.pagecloud.com" returns these results.
Keyword research helps you determine what keywords or topics you should target, other than your brand name.
Note: a page will never rank for a single keyword, this is why we mention topics. Most pages rank for hundreds or thousands of keyword variations. This is important to keep in mind when doing keyword research.
The best keywords check the following boxes:
You will need to use a keyword tool in order to determine the search volume and competitiveness of your potential keywords.
Ubersuggest is a free tool that provides you with search volume, SEO difficulty, keyword ideas, and much more.
On the other hand, if you’ve got a budget, a marketing team, and you’re looking to supercharge your keyword research, Ahrefs is the de facto standard when it comes to SEO tools.
Pro tip: SEO difficulty (Ubersuggest) and Keyword difficulty (Ahrefs) are estimations of how hard it will be to rank on page 1 of Google for a given keyword in a given location. The score, based on a scale of 0 to 100 (low difficulty to high) is calculated by analyzing the links pointing to existing search results. Essentially, competing pages with many backlinks are harder to outrank than pages with no backlinks.
We’d recommend keeping track of the best keyword ideas in a Google Sheet or Airtable like this one:
(Feel free to make a copy and use this keyword tracking template yourself)
If you want to learn more about keyword research, check out our extensive guide.
Whether you’re optimizing existing pages or creating new ones, there are a few fundamental rules you need to follow in order to get the highest possible performance.
Despite the fact that there are roughly 200 ranking factors, in general, there are only a few key elements you need to actively think about.
Provide a great user experience
What your website looks like and how people interact with it can have a big impact on your SEO.
For example, if you have a slow website or your content is hard to read, people will leave and never come back, which will over time dramatically hurt your rankings in search.
This is why your website needs to provide:
When creating content for your website or blog, it’s important to follow copywriting best practices such as:
Clean technical SEO
As you build out your pages, you need to add meta information that helps Google and other search engines know what your content is about.
The most important elements are your page title, meta description, and URL which make up your page snippet in a search engine results page. The more relevant and compelling your snippet to the search query, the better your chances at attracting potential customers and improving your rankings.
Most website builders and content management systems will let you edit these elements without having to edit any code. Here’s an example in PageCloud:
Typically, receiving a link from a third party website is an indication that you’re providing quality content. This is why backlinks are one of Google’s top ranking factors.
Although most backlinks are generated organically, the best digital marketers have an outreach strategy designed to bolster their website’s backlink profile.
Our in-depth SEO guide provides dozens of outreach strategies that generally boil down to:
Keep in mind that the more competitive the keywords you’re targeting, the more backlinks you will need to receive in order rank.
Similar to the SEO strategies mentioned above, you can create YouTube videos that rank for your target keywords and help drive customers to your business.
Since a limited number of businesses produce high quality videos on YouTube, it can be a gold mine for niche industries and people with video production skills.
Plus, if your videos are done properly, your target audience will see them in the “up next” or suggested videos which helps you drive even more organic views!
The first step in any video SEO strategy is determining what keywords you want to target.
Just like traditional keyword research, you want to focus on topics that have: search volume, low competition, and are relevant to your business.
However, with YouTube, we’ve found that it’s easier to simply search for your target keywords and look at the number of views for the top ranking videos. This will give you a good idea of the search volume.
To determine the competition, you can use common sense to see if the top ranking videos are high quality or not. If the videos are low quality, irrelevant, or don’t properly answer the search query, it should be much easier to outrank them with your videos. A general rule of thumb is: if you can produce a better video than what exists, you probably should.
Pro tip: Use YouTube’s autocomplete to find popular search terms and ideas.
Once you’ve researched your keywords and competition, it’s time to create an amazing video.
Here are the top tips to keep in mind:
The first 15 seconds of your video are critical for grabbing your viewers attention. Although there are a million different ways of introducing your video, we’d recommend the Preview-Proof-Preview (PPP) technique. Here’s a quick example:
Preview: what is your video about?
“In this video, we will be reviewing the XYZ running shoes...”
Proof: what makes you an expert on the topic?
“After running 100 miles in these shoes…”
Preview: tease your viewer with something interesting from your video.
“We will show you an innovative feature that makes long distance runs a breeze…”
Long format videos
YouTube wants to keep viewers on YouTube for a long as possible. For this reason, longer videos (~10 mins) typically outperform shorter videos (<2mins).
A longer video isn’t necessarily better if people are leaving after a short amount of time. You want to ensure your content is interesting so your viewers stick around for as long as possible.
Interrupt the status quo
There are many ways to keep viewer interest during a long format video.
Changing camera angles, adding images, graphs, music, and other types of media can help make longer videos more enjoyable.
Optimize for click-through rate
Your video snippet contains a title, description, and thumbnail:
You want to design your thumbnail so it stands out from competing videos. You’ll also want to include your target keywords in your title and description while optimizing the copy so people click on your video.
Say your target keywords
Although this might seem fairly basic, you want to make sure you say your target keywords and phrases in your videos. YouTube listens to your video’s audio and wants to ensure that what’s being said matches with the title, description, and video tags.
The more people interact with your videos (comment, like, share, subscribe), the better your chances at ranking.
For example, asking a question at the end of your video is a great way to encourage comments.
Bonus tip: suggested videos
“Up next” videos on YouTube typically fill the following criteria:
This means that if you have really compelling videos with long watch times, you can get a ton of views without ranking for any high volume keywords.
Here’s a great video that explains this strategy.
Adding your site to online directories is one of the easiest and most important activities you can do as a business owner, especially if you’re running a local business that interacts with customers in person.
The first place you want to start is by adding your business to Google Maps.
Next, you want to research all the websites where your competitors are listed and you’re not. This can easily be accomplished through targeted Google Searches or by using SEO tools like Ubersuggest and Ahrefs.
Let’s assume you just opened a new restaurant in San Francisco.
If you search for “best restaurants in San Francisco”, you’ll find dozens of directories where you want to be listed. Examples include: Eater, Yelp, Zomato, TripAdvisor, and Open Table.
Once you’ve identified the top sites, it’s time to get listed!
A quick search for “how to get listed on TripAdvisor” will bring up an easy to follow guide on how to add your business.
Most online directories include customer reviews. As reviews are one of the top ranking factors on these sites, you’ll want to actively ask your customers to review your business in order to maximize your visibility.
Did you know that online reviews influence the decision of 93% of consumers?
This means that even if all your other marketing channels are performing well, having poor reviews will hold you back from successfully converting your site visitors into customers.
A good starting point is to search for “your business name + reviews”.
You want to make sure you have a sufficient number of positive reviews that create trust with potential customers. To maximize their impact, reviews need to be recent and credible (spinning up fake email accounts and reviewing yourself is not a good idea).
Here are some actionable tips to help you get more reviews.
Pro tip: there are many websites, like food critics, that review products and services that aren’t considered online directories (you can’t just apply through a form). You need pitch your business to the authors of these blog posts in order to get included. Reaching out to review sites like these should be part of your ongoing outreach strategy.
The importance of social media in your digital marketing strategy will vary dramatically based on the nature of your business.
Visual businesses do very well on social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest while, business to business (b2b) products and services tend to perform better on LinkedIn.
By researching your competitors and industry, you can estimate the value of each social media platform for your business.
One of the biggest online marketing mistakes is trying to be on every platform and to constantly post content, even when the results are not favorable. Remember, although it’s technically free to post content, it takes time and resources to generate it.
Here are some helpful guides to help you get started:
Pro tip: even if social media isn’t driving a ton of organic customers to your business, not having a presence can set off red flags with potential customers. You want to make sure that you’ve got the basics covered in order to create trust and credibility with your audience. This is also a requirement if you want to run any targeted advertising. More on this below.
Email marketing is one of the most scalable online marketing strategies. Whether your sending an email to 10 people or 10,000 people, the effort is roughly the same.
Email marketing can be used to:
In order to run effective email marketing campaigns, you’ll want to automate as much of the process as possible while ensuring your emails are both personalized and contextual.
For example, sending an NPS (net promoter score) survey to your customers and then automatically following up with a targeted email based on the results:
You'll need a marketing automation tool to create automated campaigns. These tools vary dramatically in terms of features, pricing, and target audience. Do your own research to figure out what tool best fits your business needs.
Because email marketing is such a broad topic, here are some additional resources to help you become an email marketing master:
Pro tip: sign up for competitor newsletters and businesses that you admire to see what kind of emails they send. This can be a great source of inspiration for your next campaign!
For most businesses, the most popular and effective paid advertising channels are Google Ads and social media ads such as Facebook.
Google Ads has three main types of ads: text ads, display ads, and video ads.
Although most businesses use a Google Partner to help them manage their Ads accounts, some do it in-house. If you’re just getting started we’d recommend using AdWords Express or learning Google Ads through Google’s Skillshop.
Text ads appear at the top of the search engine result pages. Just like SEO, these ads work well because they use targeted keywords. However, because these are ads, you’re paying for each click.
The price per click will vary based on what your competitors are willing to pay and the quality of your ads. For example, an ad with compelling copy and a relevant landing page will get you a high quality score and lower cost-per-click.
Pro tip: website builders like PageCloud make it easy to build dedicated landing pages which help you save money and convert more customers.
Display ads can be seen in a variety of locations, including websites, Gmail accounts, and mobile apps.
You can pay to have your display ads show to potential customers (similar audiences and in-market audiences) or to existing leads and customers (remarketing).
Although the click-through rate on display ads is typically much lower than text ads, it’s still a very cost effective way to stay top-of-mind with your target audience and improve the efficiency of your online marketing.
There are 6 types of video ad formats that can be used to target potential customers or to remarket to existing users.
Videos can appear on YouTube as well as Google’s Display Network.
When creating video ads, it’s critical to engage your customers and to showcase your product or service in the first few seconds. This way, even if the viewer skips your ad, they will have seen your business. Over time, this will help build awareness for your brand.
When it comes to video ads, the creative is everything. Engaging videos like this one can be extremely profitable for your business, while low quality videos won’t perform and might discourage you from exploring video ads.
Pro tip: it’s always a good idea to work with professionals when creating video ads. Also, keep an eye on your video metrics to ensure they are performing well before you increase your budgets.
Every social media platform has its own ads manager that helps you put your creative in front of a targeted subset of their user base. Just like other types of paid advertising, you can choose to target potential customers or existing contacts.
In general, social media ad platforms are easier to use than Google Adwords and are more frequently managed in-house.
As mentioned in the Social Media section above, we wouldn't recommend trying to be present on every platform. You need to choose the platforms that work well for your business.
Since Facebook owns Instagram, their ads manager is fully integrated and is in most cases the best place to start when exploring social media ads.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when creating your ads:
Pro tip: without proper on-site tracking, it can be difficult to evaluate your advertising performance. Every platform has its own unique tracking pixel that can be managed through Google Tag Manager. If your site is built on PageCloud, it’s easy to connect your site to your Google Tag Manager account.
As you start to implement the strategies found in this guide, always keep in mind the following tips:
How do you promote your website? Do you have any strategies not mentioned in this guide that have some amazing results? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
P.S. If you don’t have a website or you’re looking for a fresh start, we’d recommend trying PageCloud. Your free trial comes with full access to our unique features, templates, and world class support team.
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