Now that your website is live on the web, it’s time to start marketing it!
In this phase, you’re going to figure out how much you can afford to pay for a new customer, identify the best marketing channels for your website, create your social media accounts, setup some PPC campaigns and much more.
This checklist is intended for new startups and it’s designed to help you get all your marketing ducks in a row. However, marketing is an ongoing process that will require some of your time each and every day. Some of your daily tasks will be the same as your startup tasks, but some you’ll only need to do once and then you’re done.
There’s a lot to cover here, so lets get started!
If you want all the nitty-gritty details or need more guidance, consider getting my book. It’s full of useful information and helpful examples.
Calculate Your Maximum CPA
CPA refers to Cost-per-Acquisition (or Cost-per-Action or sometimes Cost-per-Conversion). By calculating your maximum CPA, you can determine the amount of money you can afford to pay for each new customer.
As you might have guessed from my use of words like “calculate” and “maximum CPA,” this process is going to involve some math. Sorry :-/
Luckily for you, I’ve created a CPA Calculator and included it in my Web Startup Toolbox. I’m not saying it’s gonna make it easy, but it will take some of the brain damage out of the process. For a complete explanation of how the calculator works, checkout my book.
Choose Your First Marketing Channels
Here’s a list of the 9 most popular marketing channels you have at your disposal:
- Pay-per-Click Advertising (PPC)
- Affiliate Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Networking Events
- Shoe Leather Marketing
- Information Marketing
My advice is choose two or three of these channels to start, figure out what works, and adjust over time. In the beginning, there’s no substitute for getting our of your office and meeting people in the real world. It’s a good way to find some beta users and make valuable connections.
Social Media Marketing is an inexpensive, but time consuming channel that works very well for startups.
PPC may be too expensive and not very effective depending on what you’re offering. If you go this route, be very careful and keep a close eye on your budget and spending.
My book talks about these in a lot more detail, but this list should give you some food for thought.
Start Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is a never-ending and ongoing process that involves you writing fresh content for your website with relevant keywords. It also involves you promoting your website on the web to get inbound links, as well as several other tasks.
Your main task during this step of the Marketing Your Website phase is to research your keywords using a tool like Google’s Keyword Tool, and then write relevant content for your site that includes those terms.
Craft Your Marketing Message
Your marketing message will change over time, but lay your foundation for it in this phase. The relevant keywords you uncovered during your SEO research are a good place to start. For maximum effect, keep your message consistent across the various marketing channels.
Depending on the channels you’ve selected, you’ll need marketing messages in a variety of formats. You may need ads for PPC campaigns, descriptions for social media accounts, content for squeeze pages used in affiliate marketing, etc. Now is the time to start crafting all of those messages.
Setup PPC Accounts
If you’ve decided to test some adds on PPC channels like Google AdWords, Yahoo!, Bing or Facebook, it’s time to setup your accounts on those sites and post one of the ads you created in the last step.
Perform A/B Testing
A/B Testing is the process of pitting one ad against another to see which one works the best. The winner moves on to the next round to compete with a new ad. It’s just like the playoffs in football, only no ad ever officially wins the “big game.” It’s perpetual playoffs for the poor little ads 🙁
If you’re new to PPC, please read Perry Marshall’s and Bryan Todd’s book, “The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords.” It covers a lot more than just AdWords and it’s a great introductory guide to help you get your PPC campaigns setup correctly and working effectively.
Create Your Affiliate Marketing Strategy
If you’ve decided to utilize affiliate marketing to drive traffic to your website, this is the step of the process when you define how you’re going to do it. If you’re selling purely electronic products like eBooks ClickBank.com is widely regarded as the best website for doing that. If you’re selling non-electronic products or services, Commission Junction is a better choice.
Identify Affiliates and Contact Them
Setting up your affiliate marketing accounts is the easy part. The hard part is finding affiliates who will market your product or service, and that’s the purpose of this step. Search the affiliate network that you’ve signed up for and identify top performing affiliates in a related or complimentary field to yours. Then contact them and ask if they will promote your offering.
This works best for electronic items because you can afford to give away a large percentage of the sale price. Also, some of the larger affiliates may not agree to promote your offering until it’s been proven by some smaller ones.
Create Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
For most web startups, social media marketing is a must-have, and since it’s free, there’s no reason not to do it. It takes consistent effort over time to get traction, but it can be very effective if done correctly.
The main question you need to answer during this step of the process, is “who’ll be the face of the company?” Social media is, well, social. And most companies are not very social. That means you’ll probably want a real person to be the face of your social media presence.
For an example of what I mean, checkout Fluenz.com and its founder Sonia Gil’s Facebook page. Fluenz also has a fan page with half the likes as Sonia’s and it’s mainly used to share Sonia’s posts. This is a good model to follow for your social media strategy because people on social networks want to interact with other people much more than faceless companies.
Setup Your Social Media Accounts
Don’t go overboard here and create accounts on 50 different social networks. Choose two or three that fit well for your business model. Facebook and Twitter are the most obvious first choices, but if you’re in a specialized market, there’s probably a social networking website for it. Check Wikipedia for a list of them.
Spend a little time adding information and making your pages look appealing. For Facebook cover photos, checkout CoverPhotoFinder.com. For Twitter header images, checkout TwitrCovers.com (hint: you can manually download the images and not give them access to your Twitter feed). You should also customize your Twitter background to better reflect your purpose. Checkout TwitterRevolutions.com for free backgrounds or have one created by a graphic designer using DesignCrowd.com or Elance.com.
Post Content to Your Social Media Accounts
After you’ve setup your social media accounts, you need to make your inaugural posts. A good first post on Facebook describes your website and welcomes visitors. Twitter has a much smaller number of characters, so say something like, “This is my inaugural post! Woo hoo! I’m finally on Twitter!”
After your first posts, here’s a list of ideas for subsequent posts:
- Share articles you read, videos and images
- Links to your blog posts
- Motivational quotes
- Lessons learned
- Recent experiences (professional and personal)
- Ask questions to stimulate dialog
- Promotional posts for your website, products or services (use sparingly)
This is a good starting point for your social media presence. Set a reminder on your calendar if you’re not a social media fanatic so you’ll remember to post something to each of your feeds daily. If you read the news on your mobile device or computer like I do, share links to relevant articles while you’re reading and kill two birds with one stone.
Don’t let your social media accounts die from lack of posts. If you decide to use them, you can’t stop using them or you’ll look like you’ve gone out of business.
Now that you have your first few posts, it’s time to “mine” the networks for followers.
On Facebook, ask all your friends to “Like” your page. You can also advertise for followers and post interesting things (using FB as your fan page) on other, complimentary fan pages.
On Twitter, just start following people and most will follow you back. You can also use software like TweetAddr or Tweepwise to turbocharge the process for you and make the management of your Twitter account much easier.
That brings us to the end of the Marketing Your Website phase. Attracting traffic to your website usually doesn’t happen overnight so be patient. It takes concerted effort over time to build a successful online business, but you’re well on your way to doing it already! Congratulations!
Now, you can take a break and appreciate your progress and all your hard work, or head over to the next section on Running Your Business >>