Since this site is a relatively new venture for me, and the first blog in my field of expertise I have really dedicated proper effort into developing, I think it would be only fitting to write a post regarding the topic of the process of marketing a new website launch itself and what metrics should be looked at.
With many in the inbound marketing industry coming into a new projects once it has been up and running for a while, it may be a topic left untouched, at least in my comings and goings online. Sure, there are probably a ton of resources on the topic of marketing a new website launch, but in the digital marketing space, it is something that may or may not go unnoticed.
The natural, “close minded” approach to website launch marketing
For most digital marketers, whether or not your a social media marketer, online community manager, SEO strategist, growth hacker or whatever else you are calling yourself these days, the first area of attack most think about when judging the initial strategy of a project or campaign naturally revolves around your area of expertise. However, with the launch of a new website, this may or may not be the specific area to focus on.
For example, I got my start in this industry as an SEO. Now, we all know that search engine optimization takes time and effort into building great content and gaining reputable authority with the search engines. So, doesn’t it make sense that keyword specific search traffic might not be the best indicator to look at? For example, at the time of writing this and having less than 10 quality posts published on this site, should I really expect much from the organic side of my analytics?
Now that we’ve pushed our “expertise” egos aside, let’s take a look at what areas we should be attacking, and what we should really be looking at in the race to our first 1,000 visitors.
Where to find your 1st 1,000 visitors
So obviously in the long run of things, items like stable organic search growth (specifically keyword rich search) is an item among others at the top of our wish lists. However when we really think about it, organic search, or social engagement are really just a means to an end. The end result of all these nice elements boils down to one thing: quality targeted users who meet the goals of your campaign or project.
So sure, you could churn away at your “SEOd” blog posts, waiting for those organic visits to come flooding in, but in the mean time, isn’t there somewhere else you could find these same people? Somewhere you could actively get your content in front of them, instead of waiting for them to stumble upon it?
The key to successfully marketing a new website launch project is gaining a “critical mass” of followers/readers/customers/what have you, that are specific to what you are offering them, am I right? Why not find where these folks hang out online, and get in front of them. The first step in this process however, is finding out who your target market really is.
Identifying your target market
So obviously at this point, you probably think I’m kind of thick. Naturally if you have any intelligence at all you would have already thought about this question before launching a new site. However, finding areas to be visible and engage might take another level of investigation.
Let me give you an example…a site I currently consult for is a provider of VA mortgage loans. So naturally, their target market is anyone looking for a VA mortgage. However, to really find out where one might find these folks online, is a different story.
After some research, you will find that VA mortgages are only available to veterans of US Armed Services. With that knowledge, it’s time to put the thinking cap on. Not only might these users be found on sites relating to veteran affairs etc., but what about military wife blogs, or other sites closely related to the veteran community?
The point is, just because you have a product, don’t stop your market targeting with “those who are looking for this product”. Dig deeper into user personas. There you will find the real gold.
Getting visitors to your site
So here’s the dirty little secret: There is no one clean and simple way of doing this. The process for most is quite old fashion. We think about automation and scalable models as ways to increase efficiency a lot when it comes to digital marketing, but think about it in an offline sense: if you were having a yard sale, how would you spread the word? Maybe hand out some flyers, put up a sign, talk to some neighbors or shoppers at the grocery store?
It works the same online. Join some forums, engage in discussions on popular blogs in your space, chat up some interested users on Twitter or Facebook. The point of this exercise is actually to be the opposite of automated…genuine. You want people to want to see what you have to offer. Make them like you. “How to win friends” them if you will.
Where it all comes together
Back to the SEO analogy again. One organic visitor is just that, one visitor. They may buy a product, sign up for your email list or click one of your advertisements, but in the end, it’s not helping long term.
On the other side of things, diving into the heart of your target markets community can help establish you and your site with hundreds upon thousands of unique visitors. And if done correctly, granted you are providing quality, they will be back for more.
So in regards to marketing your new website launch, and your march to your first 1,000 visitors…take off your white hat, black hat or anything in between, dig in and actually engage with potential targeted visitors. They’ll handle the rest.