If you run a business, chances are you have a website. And the most important function of that website is to generate leads, which in turn will make you money. But a surprising number of people are not utilising all the potential traffic streams that the internet has to offer, and are dangerously putting all their eggs in one or two baskets.
On the surface this can seem fine, and many businesses are doing great simply by relying on one specific part of the web to get their enquiries. But what happens if that stream suddenly dries up? Could you go weeks (or even months) without any new clientele? Even if you answer yes, it makes smart business sense to open yourself to as many diverse traffic options as possible.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has been a hot way to get traffic to a website for a number of years. Some businesses have seem massive growth and success simply by being ranked high on Google for a few key phrases. But relying on SEO as your sole marketing tool can be a recipe for disaster.
While it might be blue skies and sky rocketing sales now, a simple tweak of Google’s algorithm (which it uses to rank websites) can see you fall into relative obscurity. And this is exactly what has happened to many businesses in 2012. Google have had many major updates to their algorithm lately, including one known as the “Penguin” update in late April. It saw tens of thousands of websites across hundreds of niches disappear from the top pages of search results. Companies relying solely on SEO saw their website visitors plummet to near zero!
Optimising your website using SEO is still a great way to increase your online presence and help bring you highly targeted visitors. But with all the volatility in rankings, it makes sense to broaden your online marketing tactics and protect your traffic stream. Here is how.
1. Create a blog and update it regularly
The main purpose of the internet is to provide information, so if you are providing regular and useful information about your services and industry in general, you will be seen as an authority. Writing interesting articles will not only keep people on your site for longer, it will help optimise your site for more keywords, and it may get shared or linked to from other websites which will further increase your exposure.
2. Setup a mailing list and send out newsletters
Interacting with customers, both current and prospective will keep your brand in their head, and increase the likelihood of them returning to you for business. A simple signup box on your website allows people to register easily, and offering a free e-book or other “giveaway” can help grow your database quickly. Your newsletters might include latest news and offerings, plus previews of your articles which link to the full posts on your website.
3. Use social media strongly
The online world is turning more social, and companies need to stay up to date, and focus strongly on engagement with consumers. At the very least I would recommend setting up a Facebook and Youtube page, and also consider Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and others. When people “like” you on Facebook, every time you post information it shows up in their news feed. This is a massive marketing opportunity but needs to be done wisely. Don’t bombard people with constant advertising. Post things that might be interesting or entertaining, such as a link to an interesting article, a fun photo, or a controversial question that gets people talking.
4. Provide excellent service
If you do a great job, you will get strong referrals. Referrals are the best type of leads as they are a recommendation from a person that the prospective client trusts. Therefore they are the easiest to convert into new customers. Going the extra mile with existing clients leaves them satisfied and impressed, and they will be only too happy to mention you to interested parties or even just in general conversation. That’s free advertising!
5. Advertise on other websites
The reality is, you still need to spend money to make money. And paying for online “ads” is a guaranteed way to be seen. There are a number of options including Pay Per Click (PPC) on Google, Bing, and Facebook, online business directories such as True Local, Yellow Pages and Hot Frog, or specific directories related to your niche.
Before jumping in though, do your research. It will not be economically viable to signup to all these places, so see how much each one costs and the type of traffic you can expect to receive. It may be worth trialling a couple of these options and seeing which deliver the most bang for their buck. A number of the business directories let you do a free submission, so take advantage of this on as many as possible.
As you can see, there are a number of potential streams from which to gain traffic to your website, and customers to your business. And a number of them interact nicely, which makes it easy to implement them into your overall online marketing campaign. The key is engagement. Keep in touch with customers, both current and prospective, and your brand recognition will strengthen.
How do you get traffic to your website? Let us know below.