10 Web Marketing Strategies For Online Business Owners

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2009-07-1426

So you’ve got a few online business ideas you’d like to execute. Or you may want to make money blogging. If you’re an online entrepreneur or hoping to become one, you may want to read about some of the web marketing strategies I’ve learned through the years.

I’m going for something a bit different today, which is to touch a little upon the subject of online business, since it has such a big impact on me. After all, it’s my livelihood! My introduction into the world of the internet along with its opportunities, rewards and promises was all a serendipitous accident that befell me, a few years ago. And it’s changed the course of my work life tremendously.

Earlier on, I had the chance to touch the surface of how to start an online business; this time around, I’d like to explore the things that online business owners can do to help promote or market their business. Being more of a technical person, I’ve found this aspect of business as something brand new, so there was a lot I had to learn over the years.

When it comes to trying to earn money online, we’ve got two goals: it really boils down to figuring out ways to monetize your site as well as building traffic for it. Well, the latter goal — figuring out how to get visitors to your site and how to attract customers — is where this article comes in.

web marketing strategies

10 Web Marketing Strategies For Online Business Owners

The following are some ideas for promoting your site. Here’s some disclosure though — these are all just suggestions, not all of which I’ve tried. Also, some ideas are tailored to general web businesses, and may not necessarily apply to blogs (but most do).

1. SEO or Search Engine Optimization

What I didn’t realize when I first started blogging was just how important this thing called search engine optimization would be to any site. In fact, I started blogging with no clue what SEO meant (have a laugh at my old tongue-in-cheek post on how to promote your site). I’d rather avoid getting into details here because there are tomes and sites out there that discuss this stuff to no end; instead, I’d rather just say that SEO is what you need to get ranked in search engines and ultimately to gain traffic via search.

2. SEM or Search Engine Marketing

Another way to get traffic is to buy advertising. Some people I know have been trying out Google Adwords for this purpose, where they hope to snare some customers who end up clicking the ads they take out. Others do direct advertising in highly popular sites, but be sure to read Google’s policies for doing this sort of thing. You can also check out Microsoft adCenter, which costs only $5 to sign up, or Yahoo!’s Small Business resources or Search Engine Marketing program.

3. Press Releases

A more traditional way to attract eyeballs is by doing press releases.  You can sign up to services that can prepare press releases for you, or depending on the type of business you have, you may want to cross over by doing “real world” activities that attract offline customers to your site. For instance, you could sponsor an event in your local area or support a neighborhood sports team as a way to promote your business. Or get in your local papers by offering a nice donation to a cause. There are many ways to generate buzz and you may want to try thinking outside of the box to see what methods stick best for your site.

4. Content in Various Forms (Interviews, Podcasts, Guest Articles)

Again, if you want to drum up buzz and give your site more authority, then you can extend your reach by creating interviews, podcasts, guest articles hosted on other sites, and whatever else you think can give your site some attention. The thing is, unless you’ve got a team of people supporting you, this stuff can get pretty time-consuming. But if you’ve got the resources, this could be a pretty effective strategy. Here’s one more tip: of you’re looking to share content with other sites, you’ll have to be careful not to go on a spamming spree or you risk becoming an annoyance. Make sure your content is a fit for places where you intend to host them.

5. Giveaways, Freebies, Coupons and Discounts

You can also host giveaways and freebies from your site, or offer coupons and discounts if you are selling a product. I’ve got a friend with an absolutely awesome Etsy store. She regularly gives away her jewelry to some lucky customer as a way to market her store.

6. Affiliate Programs

Would you like to have blogs and other content publishers write about you? Why not set up your own affiliate program? As a form of internet marketing, you can offer to pay someone else to promote your product or service through an affiliate set up. For each person they send to your doorstep (who successfully signs up to your service or purchases a product), give them a little reward. Lots of bloggers live for that payout!

7. Social Networking and Social Bookmarking

Certain sites house large communities that you may want to explore. If you feel you can tap Twitter, Facebook, or MySpace, you can spend some time and effort developing your profiles here. There are also places like Squidoo or HubPages that allow you to build profiles and pages that promote your stuff. For content rich sites, you can leverage social bookmarking sites that are pertinent to your content. For financial bloggers like me, we’ve got sites like Tip’d and PFBuzz.com where we can share our content with a financial audience. In the past, StumbleUpon, Digg or Reddit have been particularly friendly to blogs, but as they’ve grown, it’s become much harder to get traction in these sites (as their community and its tastes may have also changed). Interestingly, social networking is one avenue I haven’t had time to pursue as much as I’d like to. Maybe later?

8. Forums and Blogs

If you’ve got a static website, why not set up a blog to offer a different dimension to your site? Blogs are a great way to build promotional content around your product or service. You may also want to build a community for your customers through a forum. Or you may prefer to join an existing forum that caters to your business, to see if it’s possible to market your stuff there (be careful though, that the forums you visit won’t mind this sort of thing).

9. Customer Service and Community Building

Then there are those businesses that aim to cultivate return customers. In those cases, you may want to do things to improve customer retention and to build your community by making sure that your site is well designed with an easy way for people to contact you for questions. Just like with any other business, being able to respond promptly to customers’ concerns, having a return policy and honoring guarantees are always a good way to keep people satisfied and hopefully, interested in coming back.

10. Online Networking

Finally, one thing that’s worked well for me as an online business owner is to build relationships with others with similar aspirations and goals. If it weren’t for online friends I’ve made in this space, I doubt that I’d have the guts and knowledge to leave my job and subsequently develop this hobby into a business. So make friends with other site owners, bloggers, web publishers and internet marketers, and get inspired to take your business to a new level.

So what do you think? If you’ve got an online business, I’d love to hear about what it is you do to try to build a customer base. Yeah, other than saying that we should create products that sell themselves. 🙂

Copyright © 2009 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Scott Lovingood July 15, 2009 at 12:39 am

Excellent article. A list that could take as many hours of the day as you want 🙂

One suggestion on the Content – you can always repurpose content for new uses. If you have excellent blog posts, you can quickly turn them into a podcast or video.

Social Bookmarking is also something that can be outsourced. If you have teenage children they can be set up to bookmark the good stuff (though its all good stuff).

Another way is to comment on blogs in your area as well as those that are in tangential areas. For example your Personal finance blog could well have a post in a parenting blog by focusing on the personal finance side of parenting. It allows you to reach a new set of readers that might not normally be exposed to your blog.

Integration Marketing – This is something Mark Joyner wrote about. You can work with other business’s to integrate your offering into their sales process. Either as one time offers or as bonuses. He is also opening up a business coaching program to systemize these types of techniques. You can read more about it at my blog.

Answering questions in forums and using a signature link is also a good way to establish credibility and drive some traffic.

Loved this post!! The last thing is to spend some time understanding where your traffic is coming from so you can increase those activities and drive more traffic.

Scott Lovingood July 15, 2009 at 12:46 am

Oh I almost forgot. You can also use all the traditional marketing techniques that offline business have used for years.

Being a guest on a radio show
Direct mail
Ads in a newspaper or magazine

Though some of these will depend a lot on you knowing the numbers of how well your offer converts and what the break even point is. If you have a good back end and follow up sales process they can all make money.

Bela July 15, 2009 at 3:53 am

You’ve got some good options for online business marketing ideas here. SEO, search engine marketing, and community marketing.

Paul July 15, 2009 at 8:47 am

Thank you for the article. As someone who was inspired not only by you, but some other personal finance blogs I read, I started my personal finance blog about a month ago. I have been working through some of these very issues. I am still struggling with the SEO stuff and finding time for the Social Networking. I have found so far that the best thing to do is network online with other blogs and websites. I am getting most of my traffic from these sources.

Thanks again!

Craig Scott July 15, 2009 at 9:26 am

Great resources for bloggers who are writers first and foremost and need some help with the marketing end of things.

Rob Bennett July 15, 2009 at 9:38 am

I’ve put a lot of money into the development of unique investment calculators (there are four at my site today and a fifth is in preparation). There are lots of words on the internet and I contribute too much to the overflow. But I have hopes that these tools will be seen to be of special value as they are discovered.

The cool thing is that each user gets to interact with the calculators in a different way (because it is your personal inputs that drive the calculations).


RichBy30Retireby40 Blog July 15, 2009 at 11:13 pm

Thanks for the tips! Do you know if there are any people out there who specialize in marketing one’s blog or online business? I could sure use some help myself as I just started mine this month. 🙂



RichBy30Retireby40 Blog July 15, 2009 at 11:15 pm

Also, any thoughts on creating an “online personality” to gain readership?



Business Marketing July 24, 2009 at 3:07 am

Informative post. Successful business marketing can be done by educating and entertaining people. Telephonic marketing and Television marketing has become very rampant. Educating people through marketing campaigns really works and is very effective as people are hungry for knowledge. If you have resource, talent and right knowledge you will be successful in creating a good entertaining ad. For more details refer to my small business marketing post.

WPBonds July 26, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Google Adwords is a great tool to use. I have a few friends that use it and they say it does wonders for them.

Sam32900 July 28, 2009 at 5:32 pm

Wonderful diversity in the strategies you’ve listed; thanks for sharing them! Another thing I find particularly helpful is simply creating a short video that people will want to share, then posting it on YouTube, Vimeo, AdWido, and other video sites. This can create exposure easily and show people that your business is “cool.”

swasa July 29, 2009 at 3:59 am

Yeah these are the best seo strategies that we should follow up to achieve great things. All the things you have provided are very important and I really thank for sharing this useful information. Really, very effective methods for promoting your site.

Cindi July 30, 2009 at 8:38 am

I enjoyed reading your article. Which by the way is another way to promote yourself, product and your website, blog or business. Reading and gleaning from others. Never put yourself in the position of thinking you can’t learn a new trick.
Submission to blog carnivals is another tip for getting your links out there and pick up by others.

Vallie Cantrell Baker August 3, 2009 at 6:52 pm

Thanks for the info. The past 3 months I have been enjoying working from home. I am always trying things to figure out what works the best. My business is working with “green” technology. I love the products. Air, water, and laundry purification, energy conservation that are certified with NASA. Also, a line of supplements. I am proud to say our air purifiers were placed in every NYC firestation and at the Pentagon after 911 tragedy. Our goal is to help as many people that we can. I look forward to reading your next article.

Giuliano August 11, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Excelent post but you did not mention that promoting a website is a long term issue and people cannot quit in the first month.

Ryan August 18, 2009 at 9:41 pm

Awesome post! A lot of people build a website and think people will just show up magically and forget the importance of search engine optimization. Positioning your site in the search engines is a must but don’t forget that the look of your website matters. I make sure that my clients implement these techniques while we’re completing their web design projects and it works wonders.

Bailey September 7, 2009 at 9:19 pm

This is great information. I especially appreciated your reference in number 9 to customer service. I think that people forget that an online business is still a business, and this was a great reminder of that. Thank you.

David Marshall September 24, 2009 at 3:32 am

Really good post. It does show there are sooo many ways to promote a business online that it can be a bit scary. I had to pick 5 of those that made sense to me and I enjoyed then focused on them other wise I would never see the sunshine ever again with so many possible ways to promote…

David Marshall

Ledward October 18, 2009 at 8:06 am

Great post! Yes I agree completely–there are so many ways to promote you online business it be mind blowing!

A key to success is find out what’s working for other businesses and adapt them to your business and a bigger is TEST. Another key is if something is working don’t abandon it. You’ll most likely grow tired before your market will.

Chris Forte April 7, 2010 at 12:26 pm

While all the points are great ones, I think an additional one which has great value is the whole issue of joint ventures, especially if you are trying to build an email list. Finding complementary business who are willing to promote your product/service/free report/list to THEIR list is a fantastic way to quickly grow your business. Just make sure that they are actually a good fit for your products, there is no point in growing your list with non responsive leads.

Just another thought to add to the mix :0)

Jamain May 12, 2010 at 6:57 am

Also article marketing is very effective and it’s considered as one of the best free technique that has big impact on exposing your website presence on search Engines as well.

Brad Smith June 10, 2010 at 6:25 pm

A great post which covers the marketing ground well. I particularly like community building because I think this builds a lasting following which is likely to grow over time.

Dan June 18, 2010 at 7:18 am

Great ideas for online marketing and the list is bound to grow, thanks very much!

Bruce Cagle June 19, 2010 at 8:11 pm

Hands down, Twitter is # 1 in my book, give great information and let your prospect come to you. Great Post, I bookmarked it for reference.

Natan December 15, 2010 at 2:59 pm

In my experience, networking is one of the most important things that you can do online to grow your business’ awareness. It’s as simple as finding like-minded people and being active in their interests. I hear a quote the other day that goes something along the lines of “make the people around you more successful than you are” and I believe that. It’s good karma.

Nina July 11, 2011 at 3:03 am

Your online business should be treated just like any other business. Take the time to create a strategy, plan and act as if you are building a franchise.

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