You have the latest WordPress platform installed. You have the choicest premium theme and all the necessary plugins configured. You are really excited you are finally fleshing out your long-held dream of running an online business. Or just owning a personal website. You have your mailboxes set up and you are ready to open shop.
In other words, your WordPress site is fully loaded and you really want to rock the party. But you have exactly zero customers. Provided you did your homework, the customers are there alright, but you haven’t found them or vice versa; they haven’t found your WordPress site and your offerings.
What to do? The answer is in this WordPress marketing post. First, let’s get some basic definitions out of the way:
Marketing – The action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.
Website Marketing – Using the Internet to deliver promotional materials to consumers. It includes email marketing, search engine marketing, social media marketing…
Source: Online Definitions, Wikipedia.
When we say marketing your WordPress site, we actually mean marketing your products or services, so make that distinction. Your website is merely a marketing tool, but with so many online businesses popping up every other day, your website could be the business as well as the marketing tool. Make that distinction too.
The marketing methods we will discuss today are mostly free (or relatively cheap) and fairly easy to implement, but you have to be prepared for the time investment. I will also recommend a few plugins as we go along, so be on the lookout for that as well. With that covered, how can you market your WordPress site with little elbow grease and without breaking the bank?
Put Your Website Address On All Documents
Let us kick off the old fashioned way. If you publish all manner of documents: pamphlets, brochures, press releases or promotional print media in general, make sure your website address (URL) appears on each. It’s simple and there are no additional costs, so do it already. May it be business cards, invoices, letterheads, presentation folders, spec sheets, packing slips or marketing collateral, place your domain on every piece of paper that comes out of your office.
Other documents include eBooks, proposals, white papers, packaging materials: containers, lids, bags et cetera, other promotional items, and even PowerPoint presentations. Every document that represents your business must have your domain name. It is that simple.
Yeah, I know you don’t usually feel like writing one, but press releases still work. The only rule of thumb is your press release must be newsworthy and provide info about your business.
Now, everything is not news. If you partner with a new company to offer a new (or better) service, by all means that’s is newsworthy. On the other hand, if you are featured in an interview, that will make good fodder for a blog post but not a press release. Get the difference?
Once you have your press release ready, submit it to the local media outlets, but if you would like to skip the trip, you can submit your press releases online for free. Here are some of my recommendations:
Provided your press release is newsworthy and you’re within the guidelines, your press release should find its way to the hands of editors. The result will be high quality traffic coming your way. Float a few press releases around and you will get exactly the bump you want in your traffic stats. Guaranteed.
Here is another oldie. Article marketing has been around for ages and it is far from dead even with the stringent algorithm updates. If you do it right (by following rules and providing useful articles) there is an entire world for the taking. Don’t walk the dark alleys with article marketing because good ol’ Google don’t like that kind of thing. Don’t play tricks with article marketing at all!
In addition to following rules and producing high value articles, you must join and submit only to article directories that follow general SEO guidelines. Otherwise, Google and other major search engines will label you with all kinds of bad profiles resulting in loss of brand authority and traffic. That aside, article marketing will help your business tap to the huge amount of traffic that article directories pull.
All you have to do is include your domain name (or a link to your product pages) at the end of your articles, sit back and watch as the numbers shoot through the roof. Wouldn’t you like that? If you would like to try your hand at article marketing to promote your WordPress site, here are a few recommended article directories:
Don’t submit your articles across thousands of article directories because that’s considered spamming and search engine spiders will punish you. Submitting to five article directories would be more than enough.
Remember to check that your article directory of choice follows the recommended guidelines before joining or submitting articles.
Guest blogging is a fantastic marketing tool that I use personally. I’ve put it under article marketing because, in essence, guest blogging is just a different form of article marketing. As opposed to writing and submitting a thousand articles to various directories, guest blogging involves writing informational (and often very long) blog posts on another website – preferably one with more traffic than yours.
It is also important to ensure you guest blog on sites that have a high Google pagerank (above 5). You can check domain authority, pagerank and various other aspects of any website using tools such as Open Site Explorer or Alexa. Guest blog on a number of related websites, insert your URL in the author bio and watch as your traffic grow. A majority of online entrepreneurs are taking to guest blogging as a major method of marketing, so don’t miss out on all the fun.
The word on the streets is that ninety eight percent of your website visitors don’t buy on the first visit. That’s sad, right? But we can’t afford to be sad so let’s get to the solution: email marketing. Email marketing offers you direct contact with your potential customers. You can communicate with your customers at any time. You can share industry news, tips, lessons or anything else that will make your customers’ lives (or business) better.
You can promote your products (or affiliate products – just not direct affiliate links) via email marketing. You can communicate updates and changes in your business. You can convert mere web visitors into loyal and paying customers with a few clever emails. You can, you can, you can. There is just so much you can do with email marketing top being maintaining a healthy flow of traffic back to your WordPress site. This is especially true if you have a huge email list. Just shoot them an email every time you publish a new post.
Email marketing, yes you can 🙂 As always, I sniffed around and found a few email marketing plugins to get you started. Here is the list:
If you would like to start email marketing right away, the following cool guys will be delighted to hold your hand.
These companies will rent you email marketing software and everything else you need for as little as nineteen bucks ($19) a month. I have been with all three and while AWeber is super efficient, MailChimp can be a tad complicated (but only because it has so many great features) and Mad Mimi is a breeze to work with. Currently, I use Mad Mimi and WPExplorer uses MailChimp. Pick one that works for you!
Word of Mouth aka Viral Marketing
That’s right, you can boost your web traffic significantly by just getting the word out. The plan is to encourage your friends to share your domain name (URL) with their friends. Word of mouth becomes viral marketing when your friends’ friends share your URL with their friends as well. Keep at it for a while and your domain name will get to very many people in no time. Just start sharing your URL today and ask your friends to share it with their friends and so on.
Note 1: Make sure you deliver on your promises and provide quality services or you will break everything.
Note 2: Don’t spam anyone – only email your friends, not their friends.
You could also offer incentives and rewards to anyone who shares your URL with the most people, which introduces us to our next point.
You could reward people to refer others to your WordPress site. It works like magic and is a great marketing tool for many an online business e.g. web hosting sites. You can reward people who refer others to your website with commissions, free memberships and discounts just to mention a few.
You don’t need to have the commission money beforehand, just take it off from the sales you make from the referrals. Installing scripts to run affiliate programs can be quite the uphill task, so I will recommend programs and plugins that you can use to manage your affiliates. In the affiliate plugins category we have:
And in the affiliate programs category we have:
Also remember to always pay your affiliates on time 🙂
Owning a WordPress site does not mean dropping out of real-world marketing. As a small company, you can still benefit immensely from Yellow Pages ads and so on. Placing ads in magazines and sending out letters might feel like quite the outdated thing to do but don’t be mistaken, a large group of people still read magazines and letters. Just make sure you are advertising in the right magazines.
Small ads in magazines are fairly cheap meaning you don’t need to rob a bank to realise better web traffic. Sending someone an occasional letter somewhat deviates from the common (email, SMS, tweets) and sets you apart. You haven’t heard the end of it yet. You can market your WordPress site using postcards! Yeah, postcards are pretty old school but don’t forget the power of standing out because that is exactly what will happen when you send postcards to your customers.
Postcards are cheap and you can get a whole lot from Amazon. You can also print your own using a custom template from Creative Market or Etsy.
Search Engine Submissions
The majority of people will fire up their favorite search engines if and when they need info about any given product. This means that the people you are looking for could be looking for exactly what you are offering.
But they will not find your awesome WordPress site or products if you are not listed in search engines. Submitting your website to search engines is simple and free.
There are some website owners who believe they are listed in major search engines because a $49.95 monthly subscription with an SEO firm says so, or because someone promised to list them in thousands of search engines, but don’t fall for any of that.
The best way to list your website is by hand – your own hand – because all the submitting you need is to the three major search engines namely Google, Bing and Yahoo!
Submit your site to:
While at it, remember to submit your sitemap as well. Read more about submitting sitemaps to Google here, to Bing here, and to Yahoo! here. Once your site is submitted, it is time to optimize it accordingly to take full advantage of search engine traffic.
Search Engine Optimization
This should have come first on this post but we had to kick off the old fashioned way remember? Search Engine Optimization (or SEO in short) is the process of making your WordPress site irresistible to search engine spiders.
Studies in content marketing research have shown that many people arrive at a website after finding it in search engines. That said, you stand to enjoy a huge jump in your traffic if you carefully optimize your site for search engines. After all, many people don’t go past the first page of Google search results, so you need to appear on the very first page, preferably in the first five results. Since we covered WordPress SEO at great lengths in this other post, I will just mention a few points.
- Endeavor to create web content for human beings first and search engines second. Your content must be useful and your titles really compelling to entice readers – don’t mince creativity. Spread your keywords evenly – don’t overstuff.
- Carry out keyword research beforehand and optimize your product pages with the terms that people use to find your products. Use close alternatives as well.
- A keyword density of 2.5% is the baseline
- Include your primary keywords in headings (<h1>, <h2>, <h3> …, <h6>) and in anchor text.
- Avoid automated article spinning, create fresh and original content or rewrite articles by hand
- Include your keyword in your image names
- Include your keyword in the ALT tag
- Add keyword-rich descriptions to all your images
Please read more about WordPress SEO in our other article. Most definitely, there is no need to manually edit your WordPress templates, you can optimize your WordPress site using either of these plugins:
More resources on WordPress SEO and SEO in general:
- Google SEO Guide
- WordPress SEO: Ranking Higher in Search Engines
- Words In A Row SEO Tutorial
- Effective Web Content, Blogging and SEO: How To Put It All Together
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon and those other social media sites pull hits in the millions. Everyday. None of these sites charge you to create accounts and you can be promoting your business to the entire world in a matter of minutes.
Just set up accounts and start interacting with the millions of users. It’s that simple, but you also need to have a strategy. Post blog updates, tweet new service offerings, pin interesting images, Reddit something, Digg something else and just Stumble your way into better web traffic. Have fun while at it, it’s social media.
As you market your WordPress site, you will need an arsenal of tools. The following are some of the resources and plugins you will need:
- The Blogger’s Guide to SEO
- Online Marketing (Entrepreneur.com)
- Email Marketing Essentials by Brian Clark (Copyblogger.com)
- WordPress SEO – The Definitive Guide to Higher Rankings for Your Blog
WordPress Marketing/Social Sharing Plugins
Marketing your WordPress site can seem like a challenge at first, but the moment you get the hang of it, it’s will be the easiest things you’ve ever done. The best approach is always to follow rules especially in the current times of Google algorithm updates. Shun black hat marketing methods and run for the hills when your SEO firm or internet marketer suggests said methods.
At the end of the day, it’s not so much about the methods you use but the ability to take action that will determine your success. That’s because marketing is a continuous process and your success is proportional to your efforts. Always remember to invest the most energies in the methods that work for you, just like that 80-20 Paleo rule.
Do you know of any WordPress marketing methods that I did not mention in this post? Or do you have some great marketing tips to share? Share with us in the comment section below!