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Promoting Your Website

The following links and tools are designed to help you get started in your marketing efforts.  We recommend that you do your own research and create your own marketing program that best fits your budget and level of commitment. 

The tools below are meant to create a marketing mix that will tap into your local market and the national market.

Promoting your website locally

One way to promote your website is to follow the same marketing principles you use to market your brick and mortar store.  These tools can be a support to your online marketing efforts.  Here are a few ideas: 

  1. If you have drive by traffic, create a banner that is easily read with a simple message promoting your website.  Examples:  “shop online at www.your*sitename.com”  “What’s new online www.your*sitename.com”  Make sure the web address is the prominent part of the sign. 
  2. Create a business card that promotes your website.  Put a stunning picture on the card that shows-off the product (preferably on a real baby).  Make sure your web address is displayed prominently on the card.  List your key product categories on the card and make a clear invitation to visit your site.  You may want to consider putting a coupon code that is good for a percentage off orders placed online.  It is important that you give these cards out everywhere.  Put them in your holiday greeting cards, leave them in doctor’s offices, churches, schools, restaurants, and with other allied vendors.  You and your staff should always have these cards with you, ready to give to a new mother, grandmother or anyone who could be a potential online customer.  Create contests among your staff to reward staff members who consistently pass out your business cards.
  3. Use a “Free Gift” promotion to get a small catalog or postcard into the hands of potential customers.  You should contact your local hospitals,  family practice clinics, and maternity shops to see if they would like to offer the free gift to new mothers. Use the gift pack to promote your store and your webpage.
  4. Direct mail can be an effective way to get the attention of your target market.  Send a nice letter or postcard to your current mail list with an invitation to visit your website and encourage them to tell their family and friends about your site.  If your staff is willing, compile a mail list of all your friends and family and those of your staff with an invitation to view the website and ask for comments and suggestions.  Here is a link to receive some great direct mail tools and suggestions from the U.S. Postal Service:  http://www.usps.com/directmail/createcustomized.htm .
  5. Small, consistent ads placed in church newsletters, programs, and on bulletin boards are a helpful way to keep your website in front of potential customers.  Look for inexpensive places to put small messages promoting your store and website.  Contact as many organizations as possible and ask if they are willing to let you post a little ad in their newsletter or mailers.   Your ad can be as simple as “Largest selection of Christening Clothing, www.”your-store”.com.” 

 Promoting your website online

Search Engines:

Search engines are basically online directories, activated by keyword searches. Listing your site on search engines is an important tool to bring traffic and business to your website.  Below are links to sites that will help you understand and improve your search engine listings and some other online marketing tips.

Listed below are some of the most popular search engines.  Go to the site and find the submission page (“submit your site” or “Add URL”).

Yahoo.com, Google.com, Overture.com, MSN.com, iwon.com, Altavista.com, Looksmart.com, Dmoz.com, Webcrawler.com, Hotbot.com, Lycos.com, Findwhat.com, Alltheweb.com, Searchtheweb.com

Essentials of Search Engine Submission

http://searchenginewatch.com/webmasters

Submitting your site to Google.com: http://www.google.com/webmasters/index.html

More articles and WebPages with information about search engines.

http://websearch.about.com/od/searchingtheweb/u/web_search_basics_path.htm

http://www.google.com/webmasters/seo.html

 http://www.linking101.com/

 

VERY IMPORTANT: You need to familiarize yourself  and begin using  the pay-per-click search engines.  Pay-per-click is a way to immediately be seen by your target market.  The two most prominent pay-per-click search engines are http://advertising.yahoo.com/ and Google AdWords https://www.google.com/accounts/ServiceLogin?service=adwords&hl=en_US&ltmpl=regionalc&passive=true&ifr=false&alwf=true&continue=https://adwords.google.com/um/gaiaauth?apt%3DNone

We recommend that you read through all the material provided on these pages and create a budget and a strategy to choose the right key words at the right price. Webmasters that monitor, test, and tweak their search listings in the pay-per-click environment receive the best rate of return on their investment.   Because you will pay based on the popularity of a keyword, the trick is to find keywords that bring the most targeted shoppers to your site, using the least popular keywords.  

Look for complementary websites that will list your web site for free.  Sometimes website owners will list your site on their site just because you agree to list their site on your webpage.  Contact local church websites, chamber of commerce, and classified websites.   You should always be looking and asking for free listings.  Sometimes you may have to pay a fee to be listed, but if the site is reputable, reaches your target market, and is in your budget, it may be worth the small investment.  Remember, some search engines rank you higher based on the number of other websites that link to yours.  Furthermore, sometimes one of your listings will get listed in major search engines.  This type of listing can be very valuable and worth every penny you spent to pay for the it.  Avoid very expensive monthly listings that require long term contracts.  Take a close look at any website that charges more than $100 per year to be listed (other than Yahoo!).

Take the opportunity to visit your local library or bookstore and look for good books that will help you understand the internet and internet marketing.  You can never learn too much about marketing and we encourage to you to become an expert.  There are also many good resources online that can help you. 

Finally, always ask others what they are doing to be successful. It is amazing what million dollar advice you can receive for free, just by asking.

 

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