A large part of my consulting practice is developing and implementing marketing plans for organizations that depend on their Web sites to sell products or promote services.
Company leaders have visions of leveraging the Web to be a low-cost, high-impact marketing tool and sales generator.
Here are 10 inexpensive ways to drive traffic and new customers to your Web site:
1. Search engines: A former client, which provides broadcast e-mail and fax services for corporations, runs ads on Google (Stock Quote: GOOG). The company uses Google Ad words. A searcher types in "broadcast e-mail," and small ads appear on the side of the search page. When you click on the ad, you go to another site, whose owner pays as little as a nickel and as much as he thinks a lead is worth. My client told me he gets hundreds of leads each day. Go to Google and click on "Advertising." You can also do this through ReachLocal, which focuses on local searches such as "Florist in Downingtown, Pa.," which probably cost around $100 a month.
2. Publicity: Every day, editors receive press releases about new Web sites. Send a two- to three-paragraph letter to the business editor, letting him know what makes the Web site unique and why readers would be interested. Paste a screen shot of the Web site into the letter. Unique and compelling content will always garner interest.
3. Target list: Make a list of local, regional and national newspapers, magazines, on-line publications and radio and television stations. Once you have sent the releases, call the editors you mailed and faxed within three to five working days to make sure they received it and check to see if they have any questions. If there isn't an immediate response, politely send them updates on how your site is doing.
4. Links: Develop links to other Web sites to drive traffic to yours. Offer site owners a 5% to 15% commission. The amount of commission you offer will be dependent on the gross profit margins of your products. Amazon.com (Stock Quote: AMZN) has developed such a successful links program that there are over 100,000 sites selling books for Amazon and each owner receives a commission of up to 15%, depending on the volume of business.