June 12, 2022


You've built a website and written copy that speaks to your target market. So where are they?

This is a question that kept me up at nights back when I first started building websites and hosting them. I'd have a client hire me to design and host a website. Then, six months later, she would come back to me and say she wasn't getting anyone to her site. I had taught her how to read her website statistics, so she knew that few people actually found her site.

I also saw that other clients hired me to build their websites — and then hit the ground running. They'd build traffic over that same six month period and end up with thousands of visitors per day.

So what was the difference?

After interviewing my successful clients and conducting my own online investigation, I realized that the main difference between the two was promotion. The first group of clients got their website and then waited for people to show up. When no one did, they felt victimized, as if I'd taken them for a ride. They didn't do their own research and understand that my job was just to build their website.

The second type of client did understand: It was their job to promote the site.

That said, back in the mid-90s, things were a lot different. You could get a feature story in a major newspaper just by building a site. Why? Because back then, few websites existed, and even fewer people were selling anything on them.

Today, almost everyone has a website. As a matter of fact, when I talk to people and find out they don't have a website, even if it's just a Facebook profile or a Blogger site, I think they're a bit strange. Or really old, like my grandmother, who lived to be almost 100 years old and was scared of the coffee maker.

So you can't get traffic to your site these days by just building one. You have to promote your site. And you have to start before you even build the first pixel of your site.

The first thing you need to do when planning your site is research your keyword phrases. This way, you can organize your site around major keywords phrases that your market uses to find your products or services. This is the beginning of on site search engine optimization.

Second, you need to develop a marketing plan that includes social media, partnerships and offsite SEO. You'll want to research your target market — yes, again — and find out which social media sites they frequent. Why? If you're marketing to teenagers who are into the latest music scene, you'll most likely find your market on SnapChat.

On the other hand, if you're marketing to thirtysomething successful small business owners, you'll find more of them at LinkedIn or in Facebook groups.

Stay at home moms tend to congregate on Facebook, where they find everyone they know, or have ever known, and play games on the site with their friends.

Once you get yourself out there and start meeting people where they're at, you'll want to behave properly. NO overt selling. You're here to get to know people — but more importantly, to let people get to know, like and trust you. People will buy from those that they know way before they buy from the guy who has the best website or the cheapest product.

While you're getting yourself in front of your market, you can also look at getting to know potential partners. These are people that are serving the same market, but offering a product or service that you don't. These are also people offering a similar product, but maybe a more expensive, feature rich version. When you partner with others, you can work together to create more income for both businesses.

About the Author

Michelle Boyd Waters, M.Ed.

Michelle is an entrepreneur, writer, and teacher. She is the founded Watersweb Hosting in 2002 and sold the ecommerce hosting company in 2009. She is now owner and founder of reThink ELA and Creatorpreneur Collab. In her spare time, she is also a doctoral student at the University of Oklahoma.

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