Site Marketing 101
Common dilemma: We have this cool (or not so cool but still damn important) website but nobody seems to know or care. Or at least its not getting the kind of use we think it should.
You need to let people know about that site. Site marketing can be big, complex and as expensive as you want to make it. Do a few Google searches and you'll find more than you ever thought possible.
Here's a quick and dirty overview. Do this and you'll be off running. And don't forget to get an email newsletter in the inboxes of your key folks. Contact us for more on marketing the heck out of that site.
First, ask yourself some questions. What is our goal in marketing this thing anyway? Hard to figure out how to market something if you're not sure why to do it in the first place (other than the boss said so).
Who do we want?
Do we want lots of visitors? How many? From any certain place? Certain types of people (eg elected officials, agency types, outdoor enthusiasts, donors, joiners)?
What do we want from people?
Do we want people to take action? Tell others about the site and/or our message and product? Attend meetings? Visit the places we're talking about?
Search Engine Optimization
You should, of course, submit the site to Google, Yahoo and a few other search engines. Two main factors for search engine rankings include...
How relevant is the content on the page to the search keyword or phrase? The easier one makes it for a search engine to look at the page and find out that it is relevant to the search term, the better. Build pages with relevant titles and content. Page size should be compact; the content specific and informative, and relevant to the search.
This is a measurement of, basically, how often is this page linked to from others and how well does it link to other sites that are important to the keyword used? The more, the better.
Nothing is free, really. It will still take some time to put together ‘free advertising’ but, if well thought out, most of the time will be time invested in the site and/or communications anyway.
Get information, articles about the site (or at least links to it) posted in online newspapers, blogs and the sites of coalition partners. This not only spreads the word about the site and your organization or message but also boosts page importance ratings (see above).
By definition, this costs money. Generally, it means buying ads online but you should also consider various 'traditional' ad mediums. And consider the offline yet non-traditional as well. Get the site name andywhere and everywhere, as long as its getting seen by the target audience.
Target and test. Target by geography and audience. Test banner ads, google ad words, email newsletter ads, etc. A corollary marketing tool pertinent to all is...
Measure and Evaluate
You’ll really want to do this if you start spending money on ads. But looking at log files (which tell you, among other things, how a visitor got to your site) and every other piece of data you can get your hands on (eg what links were clicked in the email newsletter) can greatly inform and improve your marketing efforts.