Here’s some concrete steps for a new product with no existing audience:
1. Install Google Analytics
It’s free and essential. Get Google Anaytics set up and present on your website now. Even if you have no traffic to measure yet, you’ll want to know when your traffic does start arriving where it is coming from (country, language of users, OS, browser) and whether it is organic (read: Google search results), from a referrer, from advertising, from social networks, or from email newsletters. You’ll also want to know what content on your website is delivering your traffic. Google Analytics does all of this.
2. Create an account on Google Search Console
Configure it. Wait a few days. Then follow all the advice in its “Search Appearance” -> “HTML Improvements” section. This is Google telling you how to make your website rank better in Google.
3. Make it really easy to edit and add content on your website.
You want this to be easy, because there you’ll have plenty of mental inertia. Your website is your main selling tool, so you’ll be changing it a lot.
If you don’t know how to do this, use WordPress. I hate WordPress. But anyway, use it if you have no good alternative.
4. Write Google-pleasing content.
Write a few articles for your site. Yes, it is probably going to hard for you to do. You will get better at this the more you do it. Write articles that address issues affecting your target users. My product is analytics for online poker players. So I write articles along the lines of “How to improve your online poker game”. Don’t directly pitch your product. Your aim here is to please Google.
Here’s how to write an article for you website.
- Research: read a few books or articles on the topic, making plenty of notes and taking quotes
- Write the article draft. At least a few hundred words, more if better.
- A day later edit the article. Get your spouse/partner/parent/friend-who-writes-great-facebook-posts to help.
- Add screenshots, images and bullet points. Break up text into smaller paragraphs and smaller sentences.
- Publish the articles on your website.
Yes, it takes time.
After you’ve completed a couple of articles, read anything you can by Joanna Wiebe from https://copyhackers.com. Apply this to what you’ve already written.
5. Lurk on forums relevant to your product’s field and/or reddit sub-reddits.
Get a feel for what people want to know. Use this as content ideas. Answer questions that you can directly in the forum. Use a signature pointing to your website where allowed. If one of your articles directly answers someone’s question, then write a concise answer and include a link to your article.
Be careful not to break the forum’s rules. I’ve been banned from a couple of forums by doing this poorly…
6. Subscribe to Dave Collin’s weekly newsletter/blog
His company is here: https://www.softwarepromotions.com/ Dave has a knack for writing concise, usuable techniques for helping people promote their software.
7. Keep improving your home page.
This probably won’t improve traffic. But it will improve conversions from existing traffic. “Conversions” here mean people who download your product or sign up for your trial.
There are a ton of websites offering “Landing Page” tips. They’re all pretty much the same. Use any one of them to learn about what should be on your home page, about “call to action” buttons being prominent.
8. Institute “Marketing Mondays” (ackn: Alex from JitBit, who in turn acknowledges Mike Tabor)
That’s the day each week in which you do no coding. Not a bit. Instead you force yourself to reluctantly do any of the stuff I’m suggested in steps 1 to 7.
That should be a good start. I’ve deliberately omitted PR and email newsletters, both of which are really hard to get right, and are best left for later.