A complete Web site promotion plan should address more issues than just search engine placement. The problem with search engines is that, regardless of how well you are placed, you are still standing in a crowd of other Web sites competing for visitor eyeballs. Also, it can be hard to get qualified leads from search engines, depending upon how well you anticipate the keywords your best potential customers will use. You have many other alternatives for increasing your visitor count.
Before you get started, you need to do a little market research to ensure your efforts are effective. For example, you should know your customer demographics (age, sex, income bracket, or any other distinguishing characteristic). You should also know if your customers tend to have specific interests or hobbies that relate to what you do. Armed with this information, you can make intelligent decisions about how to market your site on the Internet. I'll cover five common marketing techniques here, but they are just some ideas to get you thinking. Don't be afraid to explore any other ideas you might come up with.
* Affiliate Programs: Some vendors (like Amazon.com) offer an incentive for affiliate Web sites to send traffic their way. If a customer navigates to the vendor through a link on your site and makes a purchase, the vendor gives you a reward of some kind. Your affiliations increase the value of your site by providing useful links for your visitors. If you operate a retail site, you might want to consider starting your own affiliate program and offering an incentive for other sites to link to yours.
* E-zines: An e-zine is an electronic magazine or newsletter that you send out to subscribers via e-mail. The newsletter should always contain valuable information for your subscribers. From a marketing perspective, the advantages are that you position yourself as an expert, keep your name in front of your potential customers, and have the opportunity to include advertisements. Adopt a regular publishing schedule for your e-zine and stick to it.
* Advertisements: Here's where you take advantage of your market research. Find other sites that appeal to your customer base and place an ad on those sites. However, keep in mind that you must track where your sales come from if you expect to evaluate how well your Web advertisements work for you. And don't forget that it can take time for the ad to start working.
* Cross Promotion: This one is simple. Don't forget to promote your Web site on all your other forms of advertising and in your marketing materials. Mention it on your radio spots, business cards, letterhead, etc.
* Reciprocal Links: A reciprocal link is where you contact another Web site and agree to trade links to one another's sites. The process for finding potential sites is the same as if you were planning to advertise on them. A link is, in essence, a type of advertisement.
The promotion techniques I described in this article should give you a few ideas for how to get the word out about your site. However, keep in mind that new tools and techniques for Web site promotion appear regularly. Watch for them as you surf the Internet yourself, and consider whether or not they would make a good addition to your own Web site promotion plan.