The only people who care that you’ve launched a new version of your website are the people who experienced your old one. To everyone else, it’s just your website. And yet, your new site is worth celebrating, so it's time to make a new website announcement. It makes perfect sense to invite your customers, partners, leads, and social network—all those people who had been to your old site—to check out your new website and celebrate with you by experiencing the new design. But you can leverage the newness of your site pages to target brand new traffic, as well. It’s all about your approach in how to promote a website.
This blog post aims to give you some quick wins (which may be the very thing you need after having toiled your way through a website redesign). Keep in mind that website promotion overall is a long game and requires some major effort. There’s no magic wand that you can wave to bring new visitors to your site. You have to put in the sweat equity. Nonetheless, the following quick wins can fit into any larger website promotion effort.
Getting results online is all about getting your message in front of potential quality customers. The message you deliver should be strategically created to drive people back to your website to inform, educate, and deliver your message in a more detailed and impactful way. The end goal of most online marketing efforts is to get the right visitors to your website so that their interaction leads to a sale. Every business has a unique sales process, so the way your website supports that process will vary according to your business. However, the first step is always the same for everyone: Get people to your website. And that takes promotion and advertising your website.
One of the easiest, cheapest, and quickest ways to get your new website launch announcement out to the world is sending an email. Email works well for promoting a website re-launch since you’ve been in business for a while and have had a chance to build up your list of customers and leads. You can craft your subject to be something along the lines of "check out our new website." Your list is filled with people who have had a positive experience with you and your brand, and they’ll naturally be interested in your new website. They’d love to get an email that lets them know about it. You know for sure that they’ve interacted with your old site, and this makes them most likely to be curious about what’s changed.
Send a gamified email broadcast
The goal with notifying your list is not only to get them to check our your new website and know about it. You actually want Google—and other search engines—to see that people are visiting your site and sticking around. Good traffic helps them know that a website has real appeal to searchers, and it will rank higher over time. Your best shot is to use your list for both the long game as well as the short game.
You can gamify your email promotion strategy to boost interaction and increase the number of people that go to your site as well as the amount of time they spend there. For example, you could bury an unusual word like “preposterous” somewhere on your site pages and then give away a $10 Amazon gift card to the first five people who find the word on your site, take a screen shot of the word, and send it back to you via email. To up the engagement, offer a drawing from all who participate by a certain date to get a $100 gift card. This way, people who see your email a little later will still have a reason to join the game and not assume that the first five people already won. Double down on your email blast! If you publish an e-newsletter, be sure to mention the contest there, too. So for $150, you can advertise to a group who already have a high interest in your products and services. In one quick, low-cost blast, you can accomplish three things:
- A boost to your site’s traffic and engagement (good for SEO)
- Exposure of your new website
- Potentially generate new or return customers
Edit your email signature line
You can even advertise your new website while you conduct your daily business. Your email signature line is a little bit of free ad space, and it takes almost no time at all to update it. Add a link and a short message promoting the launch of your new website. This way you provide another opportunity to generate traffic to your website from efforts that you’re already doing, like emailing customers, prospects, and vendors.
Make sure you edit your signature template in your email client so that you only have to do it once and it will automatically be added to all of your emails.
2. Organic social media
Social media is a great place to share your new website launch announcement (heck, it’s a great place to announce anything). Like your email list, your social followers have likely had a positive interaction with you in the past, and will be a good source of traffic. The bonus with social is that if they like what they see, they can share it with their networks and extend your reach, which means you need to appeal both to returning site visitors as well as people who have never seen your site before.
Many small business owners are under the impression that social media takes up a lot of time they don’t have; however, with the right tools and technologies to give you a hand, it doesn’t have to be a monstrous time sink.
In order to effectively and efficiently leverage social media, the first, and most basic, step is to set up a Hootsuite account. Hootsuite is a social media monitoring and scheduling tool that allows you to schedule posts to publish at future dates and times across multiple social channels. It’s like home base for your social messaging. How cool is that?
Even better—it’s FREE for small business owners. Hootsuite is very simple to set up and to learn how to use, and it offers a ton of functionality to make scheduled messaging fast and simple, and it also helps you track interactions, like comments, so that you don’t miss out on opportunities to strengthen the engagement your posts get.
Keep in mind, the organic social space is extremely competitive, and organic posts for businesses receive less than three percent engagement. To help stretch the reach of your brand, make sure you plan for several social posts over a couple weeks. Target different times of day and different days of the week so that you grab the attention of a variety of users. Make sure you mix it up with some images as well as your text. You can highlight features, like an updated resource page, or new product pages with tasteful screenshots to help drive traffic to your site.
- Target your entire social network—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.
- Use hashtags to call out niche areas or current events that would be interested in your post.
- Be sure to be Johnny-on-the-spot with any comments your posts receives. The more you engage your community, the more likely they’ll share or visit your new site.
3. Paid social media advertising
While organic social is an important component to your promotion efforts, it has a relatively small reach. To be most effective you’ll need to schedule paid social media advertising for your website. Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook work very well in this category, and you can set up paid ads fairly quickly.
Paid Facebook ads
If you’re going to pay for an ad to promote the website re-launch, your customers will be the best target audience, since they’ve been to your old site. Facebook has a feature called Custom Audiences that allows you to upload your email list to Facebook. From there, the emails are matched with Facebook accounts and you can generate specifically targeted ads that display only to your existing customers. Leverage Custom Audiences to announce the launch of your new website to people that already know, like, and trust your brand. Of course, you can get even more advanced with Facebook ads, including displaying ads to people who follow your competition on Facebook, and more.
Paid Instagram ads
Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, it has many of the same features, including Custom Audiences. In fact, you can manage your Instagram ads through the same portal on Facebook. If your brand has been using Instagram, you can double down on FB and Insta for some quick wins.
Just remember your medium: You need to be sure that your images are Instagrammable. The trick with Instagram is to make your images blend in as much as they stand out. That’s not always easy. If you sell products, you can take your own unique photos of the product as it’s being used, and add text to quickly reference your new site. Your own mobile phone often does the trick, so depending on your brand, you should be able to keep it quick and low budget. You may even be able to highlight a page from your site. Keep an open mind, and play around with the possibilities.
Like other social media, your tweets can get lost in the Twitter sea, so you’ll have to spend a little cash to give them a hand rising to the top. With promoted tweets, you can do just that. It’s a super easy process. It only takes five clicks to connect with a wider audience:
- Choose a tweet to promote. Click on the activity icon for any tweet in your timeline
- Click on “Promote this Tweet"
- Select the location you'd like to target
- Select your budget
- Confirm your spend
Depending on how your roll out your social campaign, you can take a quick read on the success of an organic tweet and if it seems to be getting some traction, pay to promote it to build engagement.
4. Google AdWords
If you’ve overhauled and re-launched your website, most likely you’ll have new URLs (addresses for pages) that have had few, if any, visitors in the days immediately following your go-live. Your home page, and by extension the rest of your website, will retain its authority, but your new pages will need to build authority of their own if they’re going to rise in the search results. When you encourage visitors to your new pages, you’ll gain that authority.
But how can an advertisement with Google help? It really depends. You won’t get far if you run an ad on AdWords, saying, “Check out our new site!” Think about it, if you saw an ad like that for a site you’d never seen before, would you care all that much? Instead, you can focus on the value you provide in your new pages. For example, imagine the new look and feel of your website revolved around a new product offering, or pricing model. You can use an advertisement on Google to entice people to view your new product, or new, more affordable pricing page. This way you’ll drive traffic to your new pages, while at the same time giving yourself exposure on the value you can offer your potential customers and clients.
The most important part aspect to using AdWords is the search term you optimize for. The more competitive the search term, the more you’ll spend when people click. This means you’ve got to balance competition with price. Check out this useful article on keyword selection for AdWords.
As important as picking your target keywords, be sure the page your ad is directing traffic to is optimized for the search term. The ad keyword needs to match the target keyword in your AdWords campaign. For example, if you’re targeting the keyword, “how to repair a 1946 Singer sewing machine” (which is a long tail, very specific, keyword), then your page needs to be optimized for that term. You don’t want to try to direct people searching that term to a product page for new Singer sewing machines. Google won’t like it, and neither will your visitors.
5. Quick wins offline
Just because your website lives on the internet, doesn’t mean that you can only promote it online. You can use offline advertising tactics for advertising a website that are relatively quick and easy to implement to gain quick wins.
Do you have a database of customer mailing addresses? One of the best ways to generate excitement around your new website is to notify the people who already know and trust your brand, so you can send out a direct mail piece or flyer to your existing customers to generate some excitement.
Tip: In the website launch announcement, include a small discount to drive repeat sales. The messaging of this piece should make your customers feel like they are a part of the family and are getting an exclusive offer.
Are you shipping a physical product?
If you have a business with a physical product that you sell in a retail store or ship out to customers, there is a highly under-leveraged marketing tactic that you can take advantage of when you're promoting the launch of your new website. When delivering your physical product, place a flyer or other advertisement that announces the launch of your new website in the box or with the products your new customer purchased.
If your new website is an e-commerce website, meaning people can make a purchase through your website, offer a discount to incentivize a repeat purchase. For example, you could include something like: OMG! We just launched our new website and all of our great products can be purchased from the comfort of your living room couch. Use this coupon code “CouchPotato” to save 27 percent on your entire order by the end of the month.
Two mistakes to avoid when promoting a new website design launch
1. Don’t launch everything at once
A lot of businesses make the mistake of trying to coordinate their promotion push for their new website launch on all their channels on the same day. Usually, they do this because they want to give an impression of growth and progress, or they’re naturally excited about their new website, and they want to tell the world right away. While that’s understandable, if you stagger your messages on each platform or channel you’ll actually provide multiple exciting reasons to reach out to your network.
Don’t forget that there’s some overlap: Some of your Facebook followers also follow you on Twitter, or subscribe to your blog. If you blast everything at once, you could overwhelm some people miss opportunities to reach others. Be ready with several messages on each channel, and spread them out, so that your brand shows a steady stream of great activity, linking back to your awesome site.
2. Don’t abandon “new” prematurely
The word “new” is a relative term, and you can use that to your advantage. Too many people talk about their “new” website for a week or two, but then they let the excitement die and the conversation stops.
And yet, “new” for you and “new” for your customer do not always mean the same thing. As mentioned at the beginning of this post—the only people who care that you’ve launched a new version of your website are the people who experienced your old one. To everyone else, it’s just your website.
You’ll need to balance that reality out in your overall messaging. The fact that your site is new doesn’t really matter on its own (unless you’re admitting that the old one wasn’t super great). What matters to every visitor—whether it’s their first time or they’re returning—is that your new site has great new content and sweeter resources. You can get the most mileage from your new website launch by highlighting the great nooks and crannies your new site offers. If you took the time to build a more interactive product demonstration, promote that angle. If you updated your product pages with better images, and a cleaner interface, highlight some of your products using the new images.
A new website launch is worth celebrating, so indulge that feeling of excitement you’ve got for your new site. Don’t let the feeling fade too quickly. If you’re proud of your website’s new look and feel, it will come out in your promotion. Let that feeling rub off on your whole network so they are compelled to visit your site and celebrate with you.