How Soon To Start Promoting Your Business Online

Image of Business Card for PromotionYou’ve started an internet business and you want to promote it.  Or you run a brick-and-mortar business and you want to start promoting your business online but you’re not quite sure when to begin.

Do you start telling people about your website the day you launch it?

Do you wait until you have an article posted and slap an advertisement or two in the sidebar?  When or should you do any of this stuff?

It depends.

If your efforts online are an extension of an offline business then hit the ground running with instant promotion.  Spread your branding images, logos, slogans and so forth to every relevant social network profile that you establish from day one.

Now what about the internet marketers with an exclusively online business?  Here are a few pointers.

Promote Your Business Online After…

You’re likely going to begin with a website.  Facebook and Twitter accounts act as great complements to your site but they shouldn’t be used on their own or as your “hub” to send all your traffic.  Make sure you use a consistent image, color scheme, and header or logo to display across your pages.

People are going to arrive at your site and want to know what you’re about pretty quickly.  The harder you make it for visitors to figure out what you do, what you stand for, or what you offer the faster they’ll click “back” on their browser.

Your navigation links should all work.  You should have a clear About page that tells your story and gives people reason to hang out. Your Contact page with an email address (or a submit form) would also be nice.  People want to know there’s a real person behind the curtain so make it clear that you can be reached.

Next you’ll want to create 3-5 articles of cornerstone content; a term I’m borrowing from Copyblogger. This cornerstone content should focus on the two main concepts, or keywords and phrases, most relevant to your business.

Your cornerstone content is informative and useful and will give people a clear understanding about what you can offer them.  These articles help connect the dots of your business making sense of things that may not be so clear for new visitors.

After you’ve completed all of the above you’re free to tell the world. The best part of all this is you did the work once and you can continue to push traffic to your cornerstone content to educate and build trust with your audience.

Ongoing Business Promotion

It’s not time to put your heels up on the desk just yet.  You’ll need to continue to publish content and routinely engage your audience.  Most of the game is won by consistency so be reliable by regularly showing up everywhere that you establish presence.

If you want visitors to take action you’ll have to lead by giving them routine calls to action. Every step of your promotion should show people what you want them to do next.  Trust me, if they have to guess they’ll just click away.

Want visitors to buy?  Ask for the sale at the end of your article or video review.

Wish you had a bigger subscriber list? Ask readers to subscribe.  Aim to place your calls to action in each article or page you write and you’ll have a purpose-driven and results oriented website in no time.

Get your website linked out on all your social media outposts.  As you grow your following on different fronts such as Facebook or Twitter be sure to give your fans and followers reasons to reach out to you there.  To that end, you’ll want to be thinking about special offers, announcements, and benefits you’ll make available from Facebook or Twitter and nowhere else.

Everyone is critical of their own work or website.  Yours may not be perfect but don’t wait to spread the word because you’ll lose time receiving valuable feedback.  Visitor feedback is key as it’ll help you steer your ship in the direction it’s intended to go; toward reader demand.

Oh, and don’t shy away from strategically asking your readers what they want.

Does all this seem overwhelming? Writing cornerstone content, mastering calls to action, and asking what your audience wants (the right way) is an art.  If you want to pick up detailed strategy and learn to grow your business after publishing your great content then I’d be happy to work with you.

When were you planning to start promoting and have you already covered all of the above bases?


Photo: prettyuglydesign


5 Responses to How Soon To Start Promoting Your Business Online
  1. Sarah Russell
    February 4, 2011 | 12:48 pm

    This is for blogging specifically, but I read at least one “blogging manifesto” (can’t remember if it was Chris Guillebeau’s or Corbett Barr’s) that recommends having 3+ months of content in reserve before promoting a new site.

    I can’t say I hit this milestone before launching my most recent site, but having some content as a backup definitely does make it easier to overcome the burnout of getting a new site up and running.

    • Jon
      February 6, 2011 | 5:12 pm

      I agree, thank you. Yes, if you have a back log of content at-the-ready it’ll help bail you out of the [inevitable] unforeseen circumstances!

  2. Paul Wolfe
    February 12, 2011 | 3:38 pm

    Hey Jon

    Good points – it’s actually pretty easy to get the content done. The hard part is doing the promotion of that content. It’s wayyyyy more time intensive than producing the content!

    The importance of adding call to actions to your content can’t be overemphasised either – every post should have a suggested action at the end of it, sadly to say something that I’ve been guilty of not doing…thanks for the reminder.

    Paul

    • Jon
      February 13, 2011 | 12:04 am

      Hi Paul, thanks for reading. Yep, promotion is definitely where the real work comes into play. You can work smart at this but it’s still hard and consistent work.

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