Growing Traffic for your Web Startup

traffic-cars

So you’ve built a killer web application (lets call it “Killer App A”) and you’re ready to take over the world with it. Now what?

How exactly do you get the rest of this planet excited or even aware of your new whizz-bang Killer App A? How do you get it out there and build an audience for your product with a bootstrapped startup’s budget?

Just like conventional offline marketing, every startup marketer needs to understand the basic marketing tenets of Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning if you’re to succeed. Once you’ve identified your target segment and customer – you’ll need to find the best way to reach these target customers.

Unfortunately, simply knowing who your target customer is – isn’t going to be good enough because you don’t have the budget to hire marketing suits to help you reach these customers. Fortunately for all of us, the Internet today offers a host of options to get Killer App A out to the people who matter – it just takes a little work and a healthy dose of creativity to succeed.

3 Questions to ask about your target Customers?

Once you’ve identified your target customer – you’ll need to know where to find your target customer, or more specifically, where on the Internet your potential customers are spending their time and attention – so you can get “Killer App A” in front of them.

Typically you need to be able to answer the following questions about your target customers:
1) Which websites or blogs does a typical customer visit?
2) Who are the influencers or mover and shakers that your target customers are paying attention to?
3) Are there online Communities, Forums or Social Networks that your customers congregate at?

Answering these basic questions will help you formulate the most cost effective strategy for customer acquisition – allowing you to channel your limited resources towards the most relevant customer sources.

Start Here… Google Alerts

The first thing I’d recommend for anyone trying to reach their customers is to create a set of Google Alerts. Google Alerts are a great way to keep up to date with the latest on any topic on the Internet, and thats exactly what you want to do for the keywords (topics) that matter to you and your customers. You can set it up to receive daily alerts and once you’ve found a site thats relevant – you’ll want to Engage, Engage, Engage.

Here at Creately.com – we’re interested in customers who draw technical and business diagrams – so we’ve set up Google Alerts which point us to sites, blogs and online conversations where these are being discussed.
Then we engage in the blogs and forums that discuss these topics – initially by offering to help and providing useful information and resources to gain credibility in the community. And finally introducing your product/service where appropriate (Note: Posting about your product without engagement can be counter-productive). This is a great way to reach out! Once you’re known within the community, you can also send out direct emails to bloggers requesting them to review your startup – this sure beats a standardized email from an unknown startup.

Where are your competitors reaching customers?
Another nifty trick is to set up Google Alerts for you competitor’s product or brand. If someone’s talking about your competitor on a website or blog – that probably means there’s a keen interest from the Blog’s author and readers in your particular space or product. As long as your product can add value to the discussion, there is no reason why you shouldn’t engage with this blog/site to put forward Killer App A.

Start-up Blogs

Another great source for potential customers is getting featured on one of the leading Technology blogs like TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb or Mashable. These sites can drive a lot of traffic to your website but simply relying on these tech blogs is not good enough to grow your startup’s web-presence (Read more about the Techcrunch bump here).

Here are some good tips to help you get featured.

Besides these high traffic blogs there are a host of very useful niche blogs that may be relevant to your target customer base. But, how will you find these niche blogs? Marshall Kirkpatrick (from RWW fame) has a good post on finding the right sites on his blog.

Directories (Google Loves them)

Now, just as how review sites are paramount to any startup it is equally important to get listed in Directories. DMOZ is one such prestigious directory, and so is MakeUseOf.com, and KillerStartups.com. Bookmark these URLs and read these posts for useful tips for getting Killer App A listed on them:

Good backlinks from these reputable Tech Blogs and Directories help build your business’s reach and gain credibility in a very competitive startup environment. Besides being a great way of acquiring initial traffic, these listings improve your site’s Google Page Rank by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to your pages.

Content is King

Reviews and listings will drive good traffic, but to convert the traffic into customers there’s a lot more work to be done – we’ll discuss some strategies for conversion in another post. In the meantime, you need to be constantly engaging with the communities that will drive customers your way. Write blog posts that appeal to your target customer, always using appropriate titles to capture the attention of readers. The goals of your blog posts should be to educate, inform and to generate comments.

Social Media is your Friend

You’ve written your posts and published them – now its time to make sure you get the maximum leverage from your effort. Social media plays a key role here, so make sure you have profiles on popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, Digg and loads more. Submit your blog posts with a back link to your blog or site. Remember to make your interactions with members on social networks a 2-way dialogue by answering their questions and helping the community where possible.

And Yes, at Cinergix we do a lot of hardwork to create a buzz about Creately! We aim at having as many reviews, listings and social media presence as possible. These tips may not work all the time, but keep at it and I assure you it will pay off.

Here’s a simple diagram featuring Creately’s Reviews from 10 review sites.

top-10-reviews

We hope you’ve found this post useful for your own Killer App – we’d love to hear of other innovative things you do to get your product out to the world.

@Charan & @Indu

Image by: Intherough/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Author

Indu

Indu Kandasamy is the Marketing Maven at Creately.com, a collaborative diagramming software for teams. When she’s not working on marketing strategies for web start-ups, she paints and loves to create designs for printed textiles. You can follow her on Twitter: @induja and also follow Creately: @creately

Comments

  1. How to Grow Traffic for your Web Startup…

    Kudos for a great SEO article – Trackback from SEOKudos…

  2. […] is a good post over at the Creately Blog today which outlines the strategy they use to drive traffic to their website. Even though its very […]

  3. I just read a post, relevant to your point about getting active in the community, about filling out the web site field in comments. A lot of people click it.

  4. Charan

    Thanks Kevin – you make an excellent point there. We always make it a point in the comments we post to provide a link back to our site. I’ve studied our Google Analytics referral data and I would agree with you that this can be a source of quality traffic especially on popular blog posts that are relevant to your product.

    Thanks again for the tip

  5. […] Creately Blog » Growing Traffic for your Web Startup […]

  6. Very useful article! In case you’re tracking such matters, I came to know of your Blog via Bill Masson on Amplify.

    I like your WP theme and noticed you sourced it from DT. Wondering if you could mention the NAME of the theme as I would like to take a closer look at it on the DT site.

    Thanks,

    – Neil

  7. Solid post here. I really liked how you listed a good number of resources. Some people will try to give advice, but not give resources

  8. […] Creately Blog » Growing Traffic for your Web Startup […]

  9. Charan

    @Neil,
    We’ve used the ablogtheme but did quite a number of customizations including widgetizing the theme.
    @Alex
    Thanks for the compliment Alex, we’ll strive to keep it up.

  10. Great post! As a new site with a great product at what we think is a great price (zero dollars) we were amazed at how difficult it is even to give away free stuff… I’ll report back after trying some of your suggestions!

  11. Prem Chandran

    Very Useful post. Your article was in-depth,organised and well linked about getting on-line presence.Would be very helpful for any startup. A lot I learned from.
    i’ve been interested in learning about social media and off-line guerrilla marketing strategies and their success in generating ‘buzz’ and getting things pass their tipping point.

    Wonder if this is any use to you
    http://www.squidoo.com/gmpostcards

  12. […] Creately Blog » Growing Traffic for your Web Startup […]

  13. […] Read more from the original source: Creately Blog » Growing Traffic for your Web Startup […]

  14. […] Creately Blog » Growing Traffic for your Web Startup […]

  15. Great post. Will try to apply as much as possible to my start-up (http://www.hashthumbsup.com) but it is not easy.

  16. Thanks for the tips- am implementing all of this.

    Will check out your own app now also.

  17. very Useful post. Your article was in-depth,organised and well linked about getting on-line presence.Would be very helpful for any startup. A lot I learned from.
    i’ve been interested in learning about social media and off-line guerrilla marketing strategies and their success in generating ‘buzz’ and getting things pass their tipping point.

  18. Really a good post to move in right direction to get some quality backlinks.
    Getting listed in DMOZ is almost impossible now, its like hitting a jackpot.

  19. Great article. In fact, I’m just starting this process and seeking for early adopters so I will take your advice and start here 🙂

  20. James

    Get backlinks only quality backlinks for your own website, otherwise penguin will slap you.

  21. With QR codes these days, I’d also consider how traditional marketing strategies can increase traffic as well. Add a QR code to a newsletter or a postcard. Still make sure you consider your target audience though.

  22. CATRINA ELLIOTT

    Hi,
    This is my first visit to your post and I am highly obliged to visit your post . Your way of explaining things ,thought is perfect .It is a very helpful post .A big thanks to your for sharing such a knowledgeable post with us .

    Thanks
    Catrina

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