It’s a rather bitter pill to swallow, but a glorious website that ticks all the right boxes is in fact a complete and total waste of time if nobody gets to see the thing. These days, it’s never been easier to put together a stunning website with all manner of features and add-ons – standards in general have never been higher. But while this is nothing but a positive thing in a technical sense, it also means it’s harder to stand out than ever before.
In a world while all (or most) websites look the part and seem professional enough, getting noticed is a nightmare. Think of it a little like a vast shopping mall crammed with hundreds of thousands of stores which upon first glance all look the same – how exactly are you going to make sure it’s your store that gets the most business? The answer is simple – you need to market the place to your target audience.
It’s exactly the same principle with a website as you cannot expect a site to sell itself on its own merits. The old needle-in-the-haystack proverb rings very true here and is the simple answer to why so many great websites and businesses are struggling to survive.
Yes, a website is in its own right a marketing tool for your business, but at the same time it’s a marketing tool that needs to be marketed.
Which begs the obvious question – what kinds of approaches are realistically within the budgets and capabilities of smaller and newer businesses which can’t perhaps afford to pump millions into global marketing campaigns?
Social Media Channels
Well, perhaps the first avenue to explore is that of social media – a platform with a level of power that’s largely incomprehensible. When you consider the fact that there are over a billion social media users worldwide AND that social media is free, you begin to understand just what kind of potential it holds for the contemporary business. From Facebook to LinkedIn to Twitter to Pinterest and all manner of newcomers joining the mix every day, to capitalise on even a tiny proportion of the global social media audience is to stand every chance of taking a business to the next level and beyond.
However, this certainly does NOT mean penning a single Facebook page and hoping for a daily influx of thousands. Instead, it means dedicating sufficient time and effort to all social media accounts so as to keep them fresh, current, relevant, interesting and worthy of sharing.
Of all the promotional tools currently within the reach of pretty much any business at any level, there’s little with more promise and potential than that of the humble blog. For one thing it costs nothing to set up a blog and take care of it on a regular basis – outside help is purely optional. What’s more, it’s not as if you need to spend hours researching what to write as the whole point of the blog is to talk about your own niche and specialism, which you should already know. Last up, a blog not only gives your target audience the perfect reason to come back time and time again, but it also happens to satisfy about 90% of the criteria Google is looking for when deciding who appears where in the search rankings.
A blog adds depth, relevance, meaning, authority and constantly updated content to your website – it’s a package too valuable to overlook.
Guest Blog Posts
But it shouldn’t just be your own blog that you focus on either as it can be enormously beneficial to get out in the wild and have a go with other blogs too. Find a blog that’s up your street, pen a guest post and if your musings are interesting and compelling enough, chances are those reading it will hit the link you include and head over to your website for a look. It’s not about stealing business from others, but rather a case of tapping into existing resources where the exact people you’re looking to win over are already spending time.
And finally, it’s hard to sum up the importance of the full scope of content marketing in a single paragraph, though suffice to say it’s in many ways the be all and end all. Content marketing is the practice of selling your site and your services without using any conventional hard-sell tactics. Instead, you load your site with the most powerfully perfect content from top to bottom to such an extent that once it gets noticed, word of mouth plays a huge role in doing the rest.
It’s a case of ‘if you give them what they need, they’ll keep coming back’ and it’s never been truer than it is today. Content marketing is no quick fix, but get it right and you’re looking at pure gold for the long-term.