Can't think of a witty title.
Join Date: Apr 2005
COPY: Life After SEO - Traditional Marketing As Part Of Your SEM Campaign
I've noticed a lot of people lately (well, not just lately) who get a site and then look around and say, "OK I got a site - now what?". So someone pops up and says, "SEO it - free traffic!". Free traffic huh? That's great! So our random person SEO's their site (or pays someone to do it) and assuming they don't screw it up, they sit back, look around again and say "OK it's SEO'd - now what?".
Maybe they are sandboxed. Maybe they are sitting in a low traffic market, with obscure terms. Maybe their product isn't ideal for the web. Maybe they are just waiting for some SE's to update.
No matter what they are doing or waiting for - most consider this to be the end of the work that needs to be done (apart from ongoing maintenance). This is wrong! Well, not wrong, but it's limiting the potential of your reach.
The overall online marketing process should be ongoing, with the first stages taking into account market research, design, build and SEO of your website. It's what happens after that's the issue - people tend to grind to a halt on for various reasons.
So I thought it would be agood idea to open a discussion on what to do after your SEO implementation is complete, in terms of further promoting your website on low or no budget. Maybe give some ideas to folks on how to minimise the loss from being sandboxed, or to maxmise ongoing profitability.
I studied Marketing at Uni, not because I had some innate calling to the industry - I did it because I'm cheap and I like getting things for free! Hence the attraction to SEO!
There's plenty of stuff you can do for free (or at least do pretty cheaply) but always remember the Golden Rule - don't go overboard!
I think everyone is more than aware of the fine line between creative marketing and excessive spam - it's certainly a central concept in the SEO industry (more of a grey area for some, rather than a white line though!).
Taking a good idea and implementing it well, but going overboard drives you into the realm of spam (look at the recent thread about press release spam for example).
While excessive marketing can reap some rewards it is not good in the long term, as it can result in you gaining a bad reputation or (more importantly) can force those being "abused" to take counter measures, which will effectively mean harder work in the future.
An example of this is the Google sandbox effect, implemented to counter excessive throw away domain spam. Google *needed* to do that and as a result it's now harder for people to launch new sites. I wouldn't be surprised if press release companies began to charge or heavily vet realeases due to the increase in PR spam as well.
This isn't good for the industry.
Let's face it - one cream cake is good - 20 and you start to feel ill!
One major issues prior to starting a campaign is to consider how "brandable" your site really is. Creating a buzz for your name is all very well, but if your domain is a generic term you could be doing a lot of work just for others to walk in and reap the rewards with mis-spelled or similar domains. Something to think about!
Some suggestions for post-SEO marketing (hope some other folks can contribute to this):
Discussed in the thread linked to above - general concensus - keep it relevant - you don't need to force a press release on the world for ever stupid detail.
Can get expensive, but is also cheap to try out (and you can turn it on and off as you please). There's plenty of guides about the web (all the good ones are probably here though!).
Working with other sites
Not just link exchanges - compatible sites can offer each other a variety of benefits, from exposure to experienced professionals (think: article writers, experts, forum moderators, etc) to affiliate income. Note: some webmasters may not like you contacting them! Remember what I said about excessive behaviour having a long term impact? Mass email spam = disgruntled webmasters! Consider a more subtle approach - networking groups are always good.
Viral Email Marketing
Cheap, free and easy. Know all those joke emails your mates keep sending you? If you can do something similar relating to your site and slap on a signature then you can have your mates work for you! No need to spam - you send to their friends list - they do the same - and so on.
I'm not talking about nasty "awards" sites that give everyone an award! But your industry will most likely have at least a few organisations who will give out awards (probably annually) - even getting nominated will generate a buzz!
Bit of a pain to do yourself so if you can't be bothered, then why not find a range of niche sites that do regular newsletters and see about advertising. I recently got a huge amount of traffic from a newsletter (I assume, because I still haven't been able to track the source) - it tripled my traffic for 2 days + Adsense income.
While we're on the subject of income - how many of you re-invest your earnings? Even if you only make £100 per month, you can still re-invest it to increase exposure - there are lots of low cost methods of advertising out there.
OK, I can't tell you how to come up with a gimmick for your site, but I can give an example, which I thought was quite interesting. I once read about a real estate company (in a hot climate) that would give a tub of ice cream to property viewers. The idea was that they would take the ice cream home to freeze it rather than going to view more properties (with the competition). Can't comment on how effective this was but certainly an interesting approach and 10/10 for thinking outside the box!
Particularly those related to your site. Remember what I said about spamming spoiling the long term value of stuff? Just look at forums that no longer allow URL drops or sigs due to spamming. Don't go overboard!
(Ironically I just previewed this post and was informed that it contained too many images - smilies - I must confess, I am a smilie-spammer - I'm currently seeking help )
I'm not a fan of "secret" blogs that try to pretend to be non-bias, but just plus sell their own stuff. That's too underhand and I don't think users are so stupid to fall for it (it's on par with posting on a forum for the first time and saying, "hey guys I just found this site and thought it might be useful..."). Cheap, nasty and tacky. Look at what the major players are doing - Google, MSN, etc all have their own blogs and yes they promote their own products through them - but here's the key - they are respected for it!
Blogs are good for inbound links to your site, but as always - remember the Golden Rule! The main benefit which IMO is way under valued, is the buzz you can generate from writing about your subject area.
A white hat for SEO clients? Mouse mats for gaming sites? Pens for just about anyone? Plenty of cheap crap that can be knocked out and given away.
We're verging into the realms of "sticky content" here which I think is another topic alltogether. But competitions can be a great way to attract people to your site (and get some feedback at the same time). Consider getting another company to supply the prizes in exchange for co-branding.
Don't have the time to list anymore stuff but you all know it - TV, radio, newspapers, etc etc etc - just be creative! I'm sure some other folks here can add more to this list as well and share experiences.
And just one more time incase you missed the theme of this thread - don't over do it! :P
Join Date: May 2005
Some great post-SEO marketing suggestions for sure!
Site owners and webmasters may also want to consider offering an Affiliate or Reseller Program to help market their product/service. Affiliate programs usually cost little to nothing to create but managing a program will most likely involve a good amount of human resources. Affiliates can also help pick up the marketing slack where you are lacking. They may think of ways to reach a specific audience that you may have overlooked.
Remember, what's good for your affiliates, is also good for you.
Can't think of a witty title.
Join Date: Apr 2005
Cheers for the comments folks!
A few more suggestions for stuff that you can do without relying on SE traffic:
Along the same lines of a press release in that some people are getting into the habit of syndicating *everything* in the hope of getting a little more traffic. IMO, this is the wrong approach. People should be looking to syndicate stuff that is actually useful. This can be split down into 2 rough categories, static and fresh.
Static synidcation (for example articles that are authoritative for their subject area and won't become obsolete quickly) appeal to sites who want to add some more value for their users. For example a travel site could syndicate articles on "safe travel information", which would be useful to other travel related sites that perhaps don't cover that particular aspect.
Fresh syndication (for example forum threads or blogs) appeal to sites who like to display up to date information on a variety of subject areas. For example the SEW blog syndication would potentially be useful to someone operating a tech related blog, but not focusing directly on SEM.
There are several approaches to syndication you could take - offering a general syndication that covered your general topic is usually more appropriate for static content. However offering a very niche syndication can appeal to people looking for specific information to add to their site (and can result in very niche traffic coming back to visit you).
I don't think a lot of people realise the traffic benefits from syndicating content - a few of my sites receive some very good traffic levels from syndicated content. It's very easy to do, and there are LOADS of sites out there that accept RSS feed submissions.
I know there's a PhPbb mod that allows forum threads to be syndicated and I'm pretty sure you can find similar features on other forums.
Find them, love them - do whatever you need to do get them to work with you (which usually means maintaining a high quality site).
When I was starting out with my first site, I still had low SE referrals (only just got into the SEO game) - I was offered some advertising exchanges with a high traffic site (some links and banner exchanges) - the referrals today are still on par with lower SE referrals.
Offline or online - network groups can be a great source of partnerships and business, particularly for B2B businesses.
Offer your content (on a limited basis) to related newspapers and magazines. As long as it's reasonably literate and relevant to their circulation, it shouldn't be too hard to find some sources willing to publish your work - it's all free publicity!
OK so who is going to visit your site and buy your products? You don't need to wait for them to get online and search, hoping they find you! Track them down in the real world (not literally - I mean research it!) and open up communications there. Offer mortgage advice? See if some estate agents would be willing to let you leave information leaflets in their offices. Travel information? Speak to some hotels.
Getting material printed is surprisingly cheap (well within the budget of a competent SEO running at least one reasonable information site with Adsense on it) and I would guess most folks here are perfectly capable of designing their own flyers, business cards, etc.
Back to work now! If I think of anything else later I'll add it.
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Incidentally, this is a very valuable topic for people to consider in their approach, and relates to a topic that was covered at SES in NYC that rustybrick reported on here back in March
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