You may have a great product or service, but no traffic means no sales. Many new web entrepreneurs are surprised to find nothing happening when they make their sites live. Traffic is not instantaneous and it's certainly not automatic. Without some kind of marketing effort, the harsh truth is that there will be no visitors, no interest and no sales.
To run any successful business, online or off, you need to target a market and do whatever it takes to pull people into your site. For a neighborhood dry cleaner, this usually means ads in the local paper, discount coupons and banners or signs advertising their services. For an Internet provider, marketing is a bit different, but the concept is the same. Just as the dry cleaner does not want to attract people who are looking to buy fresh fish, the Internet marketer only needs people interested in buying what he's selling. Trouble is, people have been so bombarded by advertising, spam, pages loaded with flashing banners and aggressive "get free stuff" ads for stuff that isn't free (or has no value) that they have become jaded. The average consumer sees thousands of ads every day, and ignores most of them. So how can a small business with a limited budget compete?
One way is by intuitive marketing. Instead of force-feeding potential customers what you want them to see, give them what they want. Consider the way people use the web. What they want most is information. People go online to find answers to problems, information about products, and advice. This is where the concept of article marketing comes in. Article marketing is a great way to build your customer base; to establish your website as a place people can come to for answers. Good articles following good SEO practices build credibility within your niche. A reputation for knowledge is far more valuable than a flashy banner in today's market. Offer an opt-in for a newsletter and publish regular articles, tips and solutions, and you build your mailing list as you fill your website.
When people search for a product or service, they use specific queries, and are most likely to click on the result that most closely mimics the words they typed in. For example, if a person is looking for a specific type of blanket, simply typing in "blanket" yields 30,000,000 results. Most people are savvy enough to type in exactly what they want. Typing in "handmade blue baby blanket embroidered name" brings up just over 13,000. The more articles on the web that contain keyword phrases relating to baby blankets that link to your site, the more chances you have of coming up on top of the search for people typing in different descriptors for the same kind of item.
Another valuable use of article marketing is backlinks. A backlink is a link to your site that is posted on another site. Placing content articles on other websites or asking bloggers to review your products and write about them increases traffic in an organic way. Search engine ranking improves with backlinks, and the important thing to note is that by sticking to your subject, the traffic you attract are people who are looking for exactly what you're selling, making article marketing the very definition of targeted advertising.