Shawn - July 14th, 2010
Whether you’re building a brand or building a business, your first step is to establish your venue. And in the world of all that is virtual, that venue is your website. Without an effective and fully functioning one you’re kind of nowhere.
However, after the shiny slideshows and brilliant graphics are complete and your website is hosted and optimized for all mobile devices, you’re still kind of nowhere because you need to market your website.
So where to start? Well you know you need to be optimized to be found. But website optimization can be expensive and is an effort that takes some trial and error.
Our suggestion?...it’s never a bad idea to start with the free stuff first! You should absolutely go in true Gary Vaynerchuk style and leverage the ton of free marketing solutions through FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media. If you’re consistent and fresh, you can really establish a following.
Then, probably the best place to spend your marketing dollars is with Google AdWords or other Pay-Per-Click marketing programs sponsored by the major search engines. If you do opt for AdWords, we would suggest combining your social media marketing efforts in association with AdWords efforts. (Then you can follow with SEO once you have some statistics.)
For AdWords, basically what you’re doing is creating ads by choosing words or phrases related to your business so when people search using one of your keywords, your ad may appear next to the search results.
What’s cool is that you’re essentially singing to the people who like the same songs because they are searching for what you’ve got. In addition, you’ll be able to collect statistics as to what keywords convert well for your business. So you’re literally compiling market research from targeted audiences.
After you’ve pulled some statistics as to what keywords are converting well for you in your AdWords campaign, then you can launch your SEO campaign with some assurance that you have the signposts for the traffic you are seeking.
It sounds calculated because it has to be, but by monitoring these statistics you can consistently remain current on how people are searching and adjust accordingly.
You just need to bear in mind that while SEO takes time and patience, you can obtain more immediate gratification by leveraging Pay-Per-Click and social media marketing. And if you start out reaping some results, you won’t get as discouraged waiting for your SEO to hit its stride.
Bottom line -- your marketing plan is just as important as a good-looking, well-designed website. Just don’t get frustrated in the beginning or believe there is a fool proof plan to get to the coveted Page One.
You can do it, but in the interim, you can steadily build a solid fan base using social media and some Google Tools.