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Making changes to your website is a sign that you’re doing well enough to reinvest in your company.  That’s great!  As you’re getting excited about your new site and the positive effect you’re hoping it will have on your bottom line, you should also be building interest and anticipation in your customers about the change that’s coming. Talking about the changes being made to your site can bring visitors even before you launch.  You need to get the word out and create a buzz.

Here are some ideas on how to promote your small business website and keep things buzzing.

Timing

You should start talking about the changes that you’ve got in the works at least three months before the launch, making it a talking point in your communication with clients, vendors, contacts, and strategic partners. Put out a few teasers a month before the launch about the new features and highlighting any expanded functionality.  After the launch, continue promoting the new site for another two months so that anyone who somehow missed any of the other coverage or just enjoys reveling in the topic can do so a little while longer.  Being reminded of a good thing IS a good thing. 

Features

Your promotions should highlight the key features of the new site and how they benefit the site’s users.

Use your blog, newsletter, social media channels and email to promote your site redesign plans and its final unveiling.  Create a featured edition of your newsletter for the launch, showing before and after screen captures from the old and new sites.  Continue to highlight website features, benefits, and content in the sidebar of subsequent newsletters.

Here are some ideas for content:

  • Announce your intentions.  Once you have your plans set for your makeover, let your clients and customers know.  Highlight the best feature for each type of user so they can feel invested in this new project. 
  • Keep followers apprised about the progress.  Post screen captures to generate curiosity. 
  • Announce the launch of the site.  Use a CTA (Call to Action) to link to your site and draw people to it. 
  • Encourage your clients to spread the word.

Social Media

Promote your new site on your social media sites - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google + as well as any others where your customers congregate in significant numbers.  Follow the suggestions above for content and these additional tips. 

  • Add your site’s URL to your company page if it is not already there.
  • Ask your employees to promote the site.  On Facebook, they can link to the company fan page from their personal Facebook profiles in the “Employment” section of their bios.  Employees should include your new site URL in their personal LinkedIn profiles.

Press Releases

Send out a traditional press release about the website launch making sure to direct it to industry-specific news publications or magazines.  Tell a story that warrants attention from media outlets.   Include essential logistical information about the website, why the content is relevant to readers, and the launch date. Focus on the website's unique selling point - what makes it different from competitor sites.

Alert newspapers, magazines, websites, bloggers, and other media, especially those with an audience and content similar to yours, remembering to include local newspapers and business journals, regardless of size.

Networking

Even though what you’re talking about is a virtual site, your business, all that you put into it, and the people who refer to it, are real.  Mentioning your site at speaking engagements, networking events, and face time with clients and customers will increase its exposure. Ask all employees to update their email signatures with the URL of the new site along with a note asking recipients to check it out.

Finally, make sure to ask for feedback from your customers/clients about the new site.  The very act of being asked for an opinion can make a person feel connected to your organization.  Other points of view can be revealing and help you serve a broader audience.  Start a folder with notes for the next site spruce up.  You’ll be glad you did.

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