Like it or not, your web site will remain virtually invisible to
the bulk of the Internet unless you take the proper steps to draw
attention to it. But take heart, driving qualified prospects to
your site is not difficult if you plan properly. A proper plan
for launching your web site will take into account all four
phases of a successful launch: preparation, pre-launch, launch
This phase could also be called the research phase and should
begin at least three months in advance of your launch date.
The preparation phase should include:
Develop your advertising campaign. Create banner ads, text
for posting to classified ads and full page text ads. Be sure
to follow the rules of good ad development and test market the
ads for effectiveness.
Competitive research. This means gathering information on the
competition. Who is ranked highly in the search engines?
Visit their web sites, analyze their page structures, utilize
what you learn to hone your web pages. CAUTION: Copyright law
on the Internet is not always clearly defined. Be sure your
research does not extend to "borrowing" your competitors
keywords or copy.
Research the publications and media outlets specific to your
product or service. Develop a press release. Make sure it is
newsworthy. NOTE: Just stating "Web Site XYZ Now In
Business" is not usually considered newsworthy. The editors
of these publications are looking for items of interest to
their readers. Give details, explain the who, what, when,
where and why of your product or service.
Identify businesses in complementary industries that also have
a presence on the Internet.
It is usually adequate to begin the pre-launch phase about sixty
days prior to the launch of your web site. The pre-launch phase
should contain, at a minimum:
Submit your optimized web site to the search engines and
directories. Excite, Infoseek, WebCrawler, Lycos, Alta Vista,
Hotbot and Yahoo account for better than 80% of the searches
performed on the web, focus your attention here.
Develop strategic alliances with the businesses you identified
as complimentary in the previous phase. These alliances should
include cross-promotion of products and services, reciprocal
linking, and editorial recommendation, if appropriate.
Submit your press release to to the media. Remember, the goal
here is to develop a relationship with the media. Make certain
you press release is newsworthy and do not harass the editors
in attempt to get them to publish your information. Done
properly, this is an efficient, low cost way to get a large
amount of attention for your web site.
The third phase of the plan is the web site launch. Essential
elements of a successful launch include:
Strategic advertising. Arrange to run banner ads on major
portal sites. If possible, pay by the click through, not by
the impression. Submit ads to several high traffic classified
ad sites. Run ads in ezines on subjects related to or
complimentary to the specifics of your product or service.
Develop a method of identifying which ads are drawing traffic.
This information will be invaluable in the post-launch phase.
Make sure all advertising and tracking is in place by the
Begin your direct mail campaign. Only use true opt-in email
lists! Spamming is the most certain way I know to lose your
email account, web site, ISP and your reputation, both
personal and professional. The best way to have a true
opt-in email list is to gather it yourself by asking visitors
to your web site to join your mailing list. Maintain records
of all subscriptions. Always make it at least as easy to
unsubscribe from your list as it was to subscribe.
Post announcements in related newsgroups. Not all newsgroups
allowing business postings. Be sure to familiarize yourself
with the rules of the particular group before posting your
announcement. The consequences of newsgroup spamming can be as
severe as the those pertaining to email spamming.
A few weeks after the launch of your web site, it is time to do
an evaluation. Having tracked the statistics both prior to and
after the launch, you should be able to see improved traffic and
increased sales. Now is the time to take stock of what is
working and what is not, what needs fine tuning and what should
be left alone. After the evaluation, it is time to begin the
Clearly, the process I have described is not a recipe for over
night success. It is, however, a methodical and practical means
of organizing your promotion efforts to build the kind of long
term success that should be the goal of any true business person.
Tony L. Callahan is president of his own Internet marketing
company, Link-Promote http://www.link-promote.com. He also
publishes Web-Links Monthly, a newsletter full of tips, tricks,
tools and techniques for successful web site promotions. To
subscribe, send e-mail to: Web-Linksfirstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2000, Tony L. Callahan, All Rights Reserved