Other Ways To Reach People Online

Search engine marketing is a smart idea, but it’s just one of many ways to reach your target audience on the Internet. In this chapter, we’ll look at more ideas for increasing your exposure.

As a bonus, all of these strategies will help to improve your SEO efforts because they’ll provide links back to your Web pages.

Run Advertisements

Search engine PPC ads aren’t the only type of advertisements available on the Internet. Here are a few more types of ads worth considering:

Classified Advertising. Classified ads have been around for ages, and now there are more opportunities online. Depending on the geographical location of your target audience, you might consider running free classified ads in online newspapers or on sites like Craigslist.

PPC ads on social networks. Facebook is the fastest growing network in the world, and it’s the top spot for social networking. If you decide to purchase a PPC ad on Facebook, be aware that the most effective ads typically are those targeted to friends of your fans. (If you don’t have a fan page, we’ll talk about creating one in Lesson 6.)

Also consider running an ad on LinkedIn, a social networking site for professionals. This site allows you to target your audience by industry, geography, and more.

Banner advertising. Web site banner ads are typically horizontal, rectangular advertisements. They’re best suited for building brand awareness—not necessarily immediate sales—through repetitive impressions. (An impression refers to how many times an ad appears on the Web.)

If you think banner advertisements are worth testing, approach individual Web sites that attract your target audience and ask about their advertising options. This can be a time-consuming approach, but it also can be very effective.

Another option is to join a banner ad network. These networks serve as brokers to save you time, but they won’t necessarily save you money. Adtoll and LocalAdLink are examples; you can do a search online for banner ad network to find more.

Consider Affiliate Marketing

In affiliate marketing, you pay others a commission for selling your products or services for you. Basically, these individuals or businesses agree to run advertisements about your business on their Web sites.

Contacting individual Web sites, working out contracts, monitoring affiliates, and making timely commission payments can be time-consuming. There are companies that can do this for you—but needless to say, they’ll charge for their services.

The fees these companies charge vary. Some charge a flat fee for each item sold through their networks, while others charge a monthly fee. Still others ask you to indicate how much commission you’re willing to pay for each item sold.

Hundreds of companies offer this service. A few examples are Click2Sell, ClickBank (for selling digital download products), and 1ShoppingCart (a comprehensive service that provides a shopping cart and payment processing in addition to affiliate marketing).

Drive Traffic to Your Blog

If you have a blog, you can promote it and then drive readers over to your main site. Here are some tricks for accomplishing this.

Post on other blogs. Get involved in the conversation out on the Internet! Read other popular blogs that attract the target audience you want to reach, and post comments. Be sure to include a link back to your blog and Web site.

Use the power of social bookmarking. At the end of each of your blog posts, provide social bookmark links so people can easily share your posts with others. People use social bookmarking to keep their favorite Web site bookmarks stored on the Internet, rather than on their own computers. This allows them to access these bookmarks from any computer, share their bookmarks with others with similar interests, and discover new sites through other people’s bookmarks.

Check out sites like Delicious, Digg, Mixx, Reditt, Small Business Brief, and StumbleUpon, and bookmark your business Web site on them. Then add the bookmark buttons provided by these sites to your own Web site. As more people bookmark your site on their own social bookmarking accounts, it’ll increase your chances of getting discovered by new customers.

Use blog search engines. Popular search engines just for blogs include Blog Search Engine, Technorati, Google Blog Search, and Blogdigger. Submit your blog to as many of these sites as possible.

Explore syndication. A blog syndication service will deliver your blog’s content to other blogs, feed readers, and aggregators. (Feed readers and aggregators collect news or blog posts from many different sites and offer them at a single location.) Look into services like BlogBurst, BlogLines, Feedburner, and FeedBlitz.

Submit Articles for Use by Other Blogs

Does your business experience make you an expert on carpeting? A master at estate planning? A specialist in creating low-fat meals? Then put your expertise to good use by writing articles and submitting them for use on other sites. This will drive traffic to your site and help you position yourself as an expert in the field.

Article syndication services are always searching for articles of interest to their readers. Sites where you can submit articles include EzineArticles®, Articlesbase, Suite101®, and®.

Get Mentioned on Other People’s Blogs

You can ask other bloggers to write about your business and link to your Web site. Naturally, you’ll want to seek out blogs whose readership matches your target audience. In addition, you’ll want to focus on blogs with a high volume of readers. Realize, though, that these bloggers are interested in serving their readers rather than promoting your business.

When you contact blog authors, suggest topics that will be of great interest to their readers. These can be small, specific topics—for instance, tips on how to keep your garbage disposal running smoothly—or larger, general topics like “The Top 10 Ways to Live a Green Life at Home.” Here are more tips on how to work with blogs:

Write flattering e-mails to the bloggers you target, telling them how much you like their blogs and saying that you’d like to make them aware of your service or product. Ask if they’d be interested in writing about it, or in accepting an article from you. Tailor your pitch to each person you approach. List specific reasons you believe each blogger might be interested, and provide links for background and research.

If you have promotional materials for your company, such as T-shirts or coffee mugs, mail these to bloggers with your letter of introduction.

If you think it’s appropriate for your business and your Web site, offer to link to the blogs you’re targeting.
Be very responsive to bloggers and reply to them quickly if they contact you.
Follow up courteously after you’ve sent an introduction.

Use Videos

Video clips tend to have a good chance of ranking high in a search engine keyword search. According to Forrester Research, a properly submitted video is 50 times more likely to achieve a first-page Google ranking than standard SEO techniques.

Thus, it’s smart to create a video clip on a subject that your target audience may be searching for. For instance, if you sell specialty teas, you can create a video on how to make the perfect cup of tea.

You’ll need to submit your video to each of the search engines, starting with Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Contact these engines to find out what their submission criteria are.

Another option is to use the free services of Tubemogul video syndication. It’s easy to upload your video to this service, adding your keywords (which we discussed in Chapter 3) to your title and description. Tubemogul will submit your video to several search engines. Be sure to include a link back to your Web site to drive traffic there.

Intimidated by the idea of creating your own video? Then enlist the help of experts who can give your video a professional look. One option worth looking into is Animoto. If you provide this service with still pictures and music, they can create an animated slideshow for you. Their service is free if you allow them to include their company branding on your slideshow. If you’d prefer not to do this, you can purchase your slideshow from them.