Gone are the days where merely having a website would generate enough traffic and leads for your business. Now you have to take action – find your target market, wherever they hang out on the web, and convince them to visit your site.
The good news is there are a myriad of ways to market to potential customers online. And, if done right, won’t cost a fortune.
It’s not as hard as it sounds!
To get you started, here’s 4 simple ways to get more people to your website.
1. It pays to advertise – especially with AdWords
Google AdWords are an incredibly powerful tool to capture the attention of people searching online for products and services.
Pick a network
You can choose either the Google Search Network or the Google Display Network to display your ads and target potential customers.
The Google Search Network (Google search results are the most common place your ads will appear, though they can appear on other Google sites such as Maps and Shopping) only displays text ads and is ideal for driving direct conversions.
This is great if you have a limited budget because it is easy to track results and adjust your ad campaign accordingly.
The Google Search Network is also perfect for products or services with a short sales cycle, where the customer’s need is pressing. Think of the way we now open up our browsers and type in ‘Florist in Mt Eden’ or ‘Best hotels Perth.’ These potential customers are looking to use your service right now.
The Google Display Network allows you to advertise on over 2 million websites, using a number of different types of ads, and reach 90% of global internet users. These users are not necessarily in “Buy Now” mode so advertising on the Google Display Network is generally used for brand awareness and retargeting (this is an incredibly useful type of campaign to advertise to people who have visited your website but haven’t converted into a lead or sale).
It normally costs less to advertise on the Display Network compared with the Search Network.
DIY or use a specialist
Google has made it easy for anyone to research and launch an ad campaign. You can start here. That said, we strongly recommend getting specialist help to set up and run your AdWords campaign.
Don’t be tempted by random emails from mysterious suppliers offering to deliver traffic for a surprisingly cheap price. Look for someone with a track record you can check, and who will take the time to understand your business model and marketing priorities.
Use your website to turn traffic into leads
Choosing which network you’re going to advertise on, your keywords, targeting, and designing your compelling ads is only the first step.
The other, just as important, step is making sure your website is optimised to convert the traffic you’re sending from your ads into leads and sales. After all, you’re paying Google for the traffic and want to get the best return on your investment as possible.
What happens when someone from one of your ads hits your site? Are they arriving on a specific landing page that convinces them to use your service or buy your product? Do you have a clear call to action for them to contact you, “Buy Now” or “Sign Up”?
There’s a lot that goes into building an effective landing page (enough for a blog post on its own!). If you have a good web developer, they will be able to help you set these up and make sure you can track the effectiveness of your landing pages.
Test, measure and improve
Which brings us to our final point – it is very easy to measure and tweak your AdWords campaigns based on the results.
You can A/B test by comparing the results of different types of ads, ad copy and keywords. Which keywords attract clicks? How long do these visitors stay on the site and how many pages do they visit per session? What percentage of casual visitors respond to a call to action?
You’ll quickly learn what works and what doesn’t, and be generating a steady stream of qualified traffic to your website in no time.
2. Unleash the power of blogging
It’s easy to start a blog and start publishing articles, but it takes dedication to continue to regularly post great content for your audience.
It’s this simple point which separates the high performing blogs from hundreds of thousands of blogs that now populate the web. Do it right, and you can lure people to your website for little or no cost.
Here’s some tips to get started.
Pick relevant topics
First, choose topics that are both relevant to your business and meet a real customer need. Article ideas should be linked to your business proposition and offer content that helps solve issues your target market is experiencing or satisfies an intellectual itch.
The idea is to earn their trust, not ask for a sale.
Put all your topics into a spreadsheet, add the dates the posts will be published on, and you’ve got yourself a content calendar. That way, when you come to write the post, you’ll be able to dive straight in and won’t have to waste time trying to think up a topic to write on.
Longer is better
Current best practice suggests the ideal blog post should be over 2,000 words. Though the exact word count depends on industry and audience, in general longer posts perform better for search rankings and engagement.
Now 2,000 words is a lot of words! But it’s also a big opportunity to stand out.
People are looking for in-depth content and for trusted sources where they can find the answers to their questions. They don’t want to have to jump between a multitude of short blog posts to find all the information they all looking for. They want a single source.
This is your chance to set yourself up as the place your target market goes for help and information on your industry.
Use a writer
Still daunted by the prospect of writing a 2,000 word article every month?
Pay a writer. A skilled content writer can spin an engaging story that will keep readers scrolling until the end. He or she will mine your insights, research the background, and weave it all into a compelling read.
Make sure your posts are sprinkled with relevant keywords. Research the terms people are using and make sure they’re featured in the articles.
This will also help potential customers find your posts online and drive traffic to your website.
Promote your content
Finally, make sure you share each blog post on social media.
Hook readers by writing short, punchy posts for Facebook and Twitter. Reach out to your professional network and groups on LinkedIn, and promote any pictures or infographics on the likes of Instagram. Make sure the links from your social posts take people back to your website, not your Facebook page.
Which leads nicely to our next tip.
3. Get serious with social media
It feels as if the entire population of the world is checking, liking, following, updating and talking about social posts. One recent study calculated that the average person will spend more than five years of their lifespan on social media.
Since people are spending their time on social networks, your business should be there too.
Social media for business used to be all about organic reach, i.e. the likes and shares. Fortunes were spent trying to create the next viral sensation. This can still get spectacular results but businesses are increasingly turning to paid ads, which offer the ability to target people who fit the description of your ideal customers.
Use Facebook Ads
Like Google, Facebook’s ad network has a vast reach – 2 billion people use Facebook every month!
With their sophisticated targeting options, you can easily reach your target audience and have your ads appear in their Facebook feeds.
Take the same approach as you do with your Google AdWords campaigns, plan who you are going to target, what your ads will look like and say, and what call to action you’ll use to get people to your website.
Then make sure they arrive on a landing page that continues the message, and maybe invite them to provide their email in order to receive more valuable content from you.
Launch and measure
Since Facebook allows you to run super targeted campaigns, it is possible to generate qualified leads and sales from only a small budget.
However, make sure the ad is linked to your website – not your company’s Facebook page – and make sure you deliver on the promise of worthwhile content. This is where your investment in copywriting and content creation pays dividends.
Remember, getting traffic to your website is only the first step!
4. The good old company newsletter – brought up to date
Our final tip for driving more web traffic is something that’s been around for decades: the newsletter.
Crafted for email, these can be a fantastic tool to drive web traffic because they reach people who have already opted into communicating with you.
It is always much easier to sell to an existing customer than acquire a new one!
Once again, employing a professional writer will make this process easier and ensure a gripping read.
Feature compelling content
As with blogs, the key is to invest in thought-provoking content.
Don’t just announce the arrival of your new widget machine – remind readers how your widgets solve their problems (and how your new machine helps achieve this). Don’t just run a mug shot of your new sales manager – publish a snappy question-and-answer feature sharing her insights.
And of course, make sure you grab every opportunity to hyperlink articles, promotions and calls to action back to your website. That’s the ultimate goal.
Short of article ideas? You can often repurpose content you’ve already created.
A blog piece could be adapted and expanded with extra detail. Solicit feedback from readers. Share customer stories, industry news and trends as well as what’s happening inside your company.
Reward your readers
Don’t overlook the value of gifts and rewards. Surprise and delight the people who read your newsletter with the chance to win fun stuff.
As well as building goodwill, this will encourage them to open your newsletter every time it lands in their inbox, rather than hitting Delete.
Adopt a publishing mentality
Make sure you adopt a publishing mentality rather than a ‘once and done’ mindset.
Create a branded template for the newsletter design and map out a calendar of content for the year.
As with blog posts, being consistent is vital. Pick a frequency (you can always ask your readers how often they want to hear from you) you’ll send your newsletter and stick to it.
Use email marketing software to send your newsletters
There are heaps of different software tools you can use to manage your email database and send great-looking newsletters.
Many of them, like MailChimp, have a free plan to get you started.
They make it easy to design email templates for you to drop your content in. Normally they have lots of nifty features to make sure your emails look beautiful no matter which email client your readers use (Outlook is particularly bad!) and help prevent them being flagged as spam.
You can also use merge fields to pull in personalised information from your database for that extra touch.
Like the other 3 traffic generation methods we’ve mentioned, it’s important to measure the effectiveness of your newsletter. What is the open rate? How many people clicked on the links? Who unsubscribed?
Your email marketing software will help you answer these questions so you can make changes to improve your newsletter’s results.
We’ve briefly touched on 4 marketing channels you can start using right now to send more traffic to your website: Google AdWords, Blogging, Social Media, and Email Marketing.
They are all relatively simple to get started and, if done right, can be very effective.
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