I have started a social network for the mental health community. It is niche based, so I know exactly who my market is, just not sure how to reach them. Here are some things I have done so far:
-Twitter: Helped a little, but not a lot
-Bookmarking Sites: Don’t think this has done much
-Emails: I sent out some emails to people within the field. Some of the mail got filtered as spam, but some got through and generated some subscriptions.
-Blog: I just started a blog a few weeks ago, still getting it going
I have been working on improving the site, and now I am focusing on SEO and marketing, which I really don’t understand. I had the title of my site far too vague for a few months, and it was hurting me badly in the search engines. Once I put a descriptive title, I moved up 15- 20 pages in certain keyword searches, and I’m on the second page of one keyword search. So, who knows what else I am doing that is hurting my traffic.
I have been told by many that this is a great idea. I know who my market is, I just don’t know how to reach them. And, not only do I need them to find my site, I need them to sign up and then stay. It’s tricky.
I’m not sure whether I should pay for advertising or not, as I don’t really know how effective it will be. I don’t want to pay for it and have it do nothing. I will be using my mental health blog to push traffic to the social network through multiple methods such as bookmarking sites, SEO, blog directories, etc, but not sure if I should couple some paid advertising with it.
Should I put some money into advertising? If so, should I advertise through Google or pay for ads on a special interest site? Right now my budget is really tight. I probably only have about $500 I could spend on ads, I should have more later in the year though. Or, should I skip paid advertising and focus on marketing my blog and social network myself? Or should I save my money and hire an SEO person?
Sorry, I know this is a full question. Any advice you can give me would be great. Thanks!