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Walling on Startup Marketing

·4 mins

Ok, so marketing is crucial. How’s it done economically?

  • Core strategies like building an audience, search engine optimization and participating in niche communities have far more impact on your bottom line than most of the new media tools
  • Many approaches will not work in your market. For example: using Twitter to market to pool cleaners is not going to yield great results
  • Much like building good software requires an understanding of your users,
    • Gaining an understanding of your marketing is your first step to building a successful business
  • High quality traffic means each visitor is very close to your ideal customer and they know and trust you
    • TechCrunch traffic is not profitable for startups, unless your niche market is other startups
  • While it’s nice to have several thousand people visit your website…
    • if they don’t convert, they may as well have not shown up at all

Top Shelf Traffic Strategies

  1. A Mailing List
  2. A Blog, Podcast or Video Blog
  3. Organic Search (SEO)

Second Shelf

  1. Social Media / Social Networks
  2. Pay-per-click Advertising
  3. Forums
  4. Press Releases
  5. Guest Blogging
  6. Affiliate Programs
  7. Banner and other advertising
  8. Everything else…

Marketing Toolkit

  • Search engine optimization (SEO) is a must

  • At a minimum you should create a keyword list and perform on-page SEO

    • Next step, focus on link building strategies to raise your organic search rankings
  • Some build entire businesses on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising

    • It’s not something I recommend as a long-term approach
    • Use it for finding keywords that convert for you
      • Spend the time and money to search engine optimize for those terms
    • Pouring a never-ending supply of money into Google AdWords is no way to build a business
  • A mailing list is the most effective marketing tool you will possess. It works in any market

  • Getting people to engage with you, to listen to and trust you will have more impact on sales than any other marketing approach

  • For every person like yourself looking to gain the audience of a market so you can promote your software…

    • ….there is someone with insider knowledge looking to be recognized as an expert in that same market
  • Blogs offer twice the marketing punch by catering to both your audience and the search engines

  • If you spend a year or two:

    • Writing engaging, original posts,
    • submitting them to social media sites, and…
    • prominently displaying your RSS and email subscription icons,
    • you will gradually build an audience of readers who learn to know and trust you
  • Optimize your blog for search engines

  • Tweak your posts to target specific search keywords

  • Google views a website with constantly updating content as alive and relevant, and it will rank higher

  • Google likes large quantities of content and blogs tend toward that direction

  • Google likes individual pages that focus on a theme

    • Blogs are ideal for this since every new post is its own page
  • Google likes straightforward link structures

SEO is Actually Super Powerful

  • SEO is only two components: on-page factors and incoming links

    • Your page titles, Meta tags, URL structures, and even your domain name
    • Do not get caught up in the apparent complexity or mystery surrounding SEO
    • Implement your on-page SEO and move on
  • Incoming links are the currency of the internet

    • The more links you receive from relevant, authoritative websites…
      • ….the more authority Google will grant your site
    • A link implies trust and credibility
    • Link building is the “hard” part of SEO
  • The ideal link would come from a page with a high PageRank and few outgoing links

  • The website should be extremely relevant to the topic of your site

  • Focus 50% of your links on your most important term for that page…

    • ….and the other 50% spread across the other 3-5 terms that page is targeting
  • Receiving a big chunk of links at once is only helpful if you continue to build links at a steady pace each month

  • DMOZ – Free. Still worth submitting to

  • JoeAnt – $ 40

  • Many directory submissions are free

    • Choose your link text wisely and submit to each one by hand
  • Websites that link to your competition will more than likely have an interest in linking to you

  • Email the linking site’s owner and ask for your site to be added to the list

  • Create an alert for all variations of your product names,

    • company names,
    • competitors’ names,
    • and your name,
    • as well as quoted terms with high relevance to your product
  • If someone is talking about a problem that you can solve,

    • ….make an intelligent comment or contribution and include a link to your product
  • Article marketing is an under-utilized startup marketing tool

    • Submit unique, focused niche articles that link back to your website
      • ….using specific link text to help your SEO
      • Depending on the subject, hire someone to write them for you
  • For articles, 500-700 words is best

  • Offer a Free Academic/ Non-profit Version of Your Product in Exchange for a Link

  • Contact companies whose products you use and…

    • ….offer to provide a testimonial if they will include a link to your website