Your startup’s website just went live! All that time planning, designing, testing, fixing, tweaking is over. Now you can sit back and begin reaping the benefits of having a website… Right?
Not exactly. Not at all, actually... because now the real work begins.
Don't take the champagne off the ice. Having a website is great but until you start promoting it and connecting it to other online channels, however, its growth will be non-existent.
At this moment, you’re the world's smallest needle in the world's biggest haystack.
The good news is that there are some affordable and effective ways to promote your new startup website and that using all of the following services will place a very strong foundation for online growth.
Register Social Media Accounts
It’s hard to imagine doing online marketing today without a social media presence. With social media, your audience has an audience. Interact well, which is to say authentically and helpfully, and you may find your message populating across vast networks of your readers' friends, family, and professional contacts.
As more and more people communicate, research, and share through social networks, you should ensure that your business is visible. There are a vast number of social networks to choose from, each with its characteristics, etiquette, and quirks. Do some research to find out the prime locations in which your target audience is interacting and sharing the most, and then get active on those networks.
The sooner you get your accounts registered, the sooner you can start growing your following. It’s also important to register your website domain names and social network usernames before someone else does. This way you can control your branding and keep it consistent across the different networks, which is critical regarding discoverability and establishing trust.
Recommended Service: KnowEm
What it does: Registers and configures your social media profiles for you.
Add Your Website to Design Galleries
Now that you have a shiny new website, you probably find yourself looking at it several times a day. Admit it. Most likely you can’t wait for others to see it too.
Did you know that you can submit your site to website design galleries to show it off, and also get ratings and feedback? Feedback is useful because it might help you make the site not only more attractive but also more functional. Marrying form and function is the key to creating a killer website.
If your beautifully-designed website appears in web galleries, you might expect some traffic from these sources, but also consider note that having reputable sites link to you can do wonders for your search engine rankings.
Recommended Service: CSS Gallery List
What it does: This service submits your website to over 100 web design galleries.
Note: A small number of the larger galleries such as Awwwards will require you to submit your site manually because they demand a separate fee.
Distribute a Press Release
Syndicating news couldn’t be much easier than it has become. Now you can get the word out about your new startup/website via online press networks. For a small fee, you can have your news distributed to many news outlets and networks of journalists who may be interested in picking up your story and delivering it to their audiences.
Modern technology means that it's easy to customize how you want your press release distributed. Potential targets for your press release can easily be identified by news corporation, by industry, and by location. Importantly, you also have the ability to track its performance.
Recommended Service: Newswire
Cost: $59 ($249 if you want them to write your article too)
What it does: It distributes your press release to 50+ media outlets and includes it in major search engines such as Google News.
Manage Local Citations
Even if your business isn’t designed for foot traffic, listing your business location in the main local channels helps build online trust, generate links and establish authority. Even in this time of thriving internet commerce, it's reassuring to know that the organization you're dealing with exists in physical space.
If you are a local business, listing your business location with relevant channels online is a MUST! It's one of the easiest ways for a company to acquire search traffic and it's particularly relevant if your business is serving a local area.
Recommended Service: Moz Local
What it does: This helps you manage and optimize your local listings for all major local aggregators and search engines.
Submit to Startup Directories
Online directories, review sites, and communities for startups are good places to get some links back to your site and drive more traffic to your website. More importantly, perhaps, communities like these are also great places to network with other startups. As you discover a range of startup directories and communities to suit your needs, you may find everything from inspiration to opportunities for collaboration.
Demonstrate your expertise while learning from the successes (and mistakes!) to others in similar situations.
Recommended Service: Startup Lister
Cost: $89 (For an additional fee they’ll also pitch to 40 industry journalists)
What it does: It manually submits your information to startup directories, review sites, and communities to help you create profiles for your startup.
Do It Yourself PR
You may already have thought about hiring a PR agency to help get the word out about your business. If you can afford them, PR professionals have the expertise and contacts to get businesses, events, and individuals seen by their target audiences and to create a buzz that can be invaluable.
If you can’t afford or don't wish to pay for a PR agency, it is possible to do your own public relations. You might need help getting hold of the relevant contacts and getting access to them, but in a world of social media and hyper-connectivity, reaching influencers in your field is becoming easier to achieve day by day.
As well as the individuals leading the charge in your arena, consider also the many news outlets, including relevant trade journals, in which you can spread the word about you, your vision and your business.
Put yourself in their position and then reach out, telling them what is unique about you and your business. The more you pitch to journalists, the better you'll get at it, and there are services and resources available that will help you learn how.
Recommended Service: Just Reach Out
What it does: Helps you find and contact journalists who may be interested in sharing your story.
Start Blogging ASAP!
You've gathered momentum online via social media profiles, local listings, directories, news, and PR. This is great.
Now, put yourself in the place of your ideal viewer. You've made the effort to visit this website, eschewing every other site on the internet in the process. What are you going to see? Do you feel like this site owner was expecting you and is glad you made it for a visit or do you get the feeling that you've got him or her up and out of bed for no reason?
Blogging is a powerful tool that will help you capitalize on the efforts you've made gathering traffic and brand awareness in other areas. It will also generate its own influx of traffic into the bargain.
You've been promoting your startup like crazy, and when people turn up to take a look at your site, you want to be able to give them something special. You'll want to offer them something that makes them feel that the trip across the internet was worthwhile, that keeps your brand in their consciousness and makes them want to come back for more. Your blog can do all this.
If your website were a store in the physical world, your blog would be an attractive sign, a warm smile and welcome upon arrival, a free sample, some good advice, a voucher for a discount on your next visit, and much more. Your blog proclaims your personality, differentiating your business from every other business of its type out there.
Your blog doesn't only serve to delight your visitors; it can do a better job of attracting visitors than site submissions and PR put together. Your blog is the ultimate online marketing tool because every new post adds value to your brand and your suite of products and/or services. Every new post increases your potential to attract visitors, to grow your online following and your social media network. Every post improves your ability to satisfy the people visiting your site, to build your email list, and turn unique traffic into repeat traffic. Every post helps turn your website into a well-thumbed, recognized resource, whether for industry professionals or laypeople, for pleasure, entertainment or education.
Though running a blog can be time-consuming, it does turn unique visitors into repeat visitors, and helps convert prospects into leads, and leads into customers. An excellent blog helps pull all aspects of the business together, encompassing a business' vision, priorities, marketing and sales strategies, and culture.
This recommendation is a bit biased… but what can we say? We know you'll be impressed. We rock at this. :P
Recommended Service: Blog Hands
Cost: $160/month (with more aggressive plans available)
What it does: It creates and delivers engaging, authentic, and targeted content for your blog, ensuring that your website is always up to date while you are free to focus on what you do best.
You could be turning base metals into gold, but if no-one knows you're there and doing this, you're not going to have a very successful startup. Discoverability is key. You want to stand out in the crowd and with the internet that crowd has never been bigger.
Using these services will help you get noticed online more quickly and at an affordable cost. Using all of them may well put you ahead of competitors who are not putting their effort into the right areas.
If money's an issue, then it's possible to apply any and all of these startup promotion techniques by yourself. They require an investment of time, however, and it's worth considering that having things taken care of by professionals means availing yourself so that you can focus on what you do best, which is running your startup.