If you have a website, it’s a good idea to think about how you want to get people (or as we in the internet marketing world call “traffic”) to it. And you don’t really want just anyone, you want people that might actually call you and ultimately buy from you.
I’ve been building websites since I was fifteen. For much of that time I was building websites for other people. Now I build them for myself. I am no longer a gun for hire. My company, uGurus, depends 100% on the revenue we drive from our three websites: uGurus.com, BCGurus.com, and BCAppstore.com.
We have a lot on the line. It’s not like we have a storefront with hundreds of cars driving by. The internet is it.
That being said, the advice in this article would work just as well for a website for a bricks-n-mortar business as it would for online-only businesses. Most of these tactics are well documented around the web, but I want to tell you what has worked for me and where I put my energy.
I have talked about getting to know your customer and I would consider that a prerequisite to using any of these tactics. If you don’t have a good grip on who your audience is, where they hang out, and what their top problems are, then these ideas will probably not work for you.
If you do know your target well, then read on…
1. Write and publish on other people’s websites.
This isn’t groundbreaking. Industry folk call it “guest posting” and it usually implies writing an article for another blog. However, I have also written articles that have appeared in magazines and in print. So while finding other blogs is common, I would jump at the chance to write for any medium as long as the audience resonated with who my ideal customer was. When a post or article is published you get three key benefits: instant credibility (since someone else vetted you), immediate traffic back to your site (assuming you have a link back to your website), and a boost to your reputation with search engines (since they like to see links back to your site AND content). I would almost always recommend for businesses to first write for other websites within their target audience before developing your own audience. Said differently, blog for other people before creating your own blog.
2. Get interviewed by Podcasters.
Somewhat similar to guest posting, but different medium (although many podcasters publish adjoining blog posts). But the trick here is that they are hosting and you are merely their guest. This provides a nice credibility plug as why would a host have someone on that he didn’t value? Depending on the podcast’s reputation and popularity, these can provide insane long term value. It’s like being on the radio except insanely easier to land opportunities because podcasters are always looking for great content that is alignment with their audience.
3. Optimize for search engines.
Or SEO for short. This is playing the long game as SEO is rarely a short term strategy. We publish a lot of content and pay attention to keywords (without overdoing it) when coming up with headlines, subheadlines, and link text anchor (the actual text you link to/from matters to Google). A couple of our top ranking pages drive a disproportionate amount of leads to our products compared to all of our other traffic strategies. Google these days looks at the whole picture though (content, social, speed, code, etc, etc, etc) and gaining rank can sometimes be like playing the lottery. SEO is a better strategy when integrated into your overall traffic strategy as part of your process for content marketing, guest posting, social, and so on versus just a sole idea. At least in my opinion.
4. Partner with other companies.
Internet marketers call this a “JV” or Joint Venture. There can be a quid pro quo or simple financial arrangement. A partner can send an email, post to their blog, or share on social media with a special link that we track all the way through a visit and ultimately a purchase. These tracking codes let us pay out a commission to our partner. If done right, JV’s can open your business up to large audiences rather quickly without you needing to build a list.
5. Create great content.
While it seems that content marketing as practice has gotten quite mainstream, we try to push out only high quality goods. Over the years we’ve spent heaps of money on editors, videographers, equipment and the like. My first video blog was done with a flip cam and no lights. Now we have a full set of gear and I have a full time team member that runs our productions. Every time we publish a piece of content, it’s like a fisherman casting one more net to catch fish. There are people reading, listening to, watching, and sharing our content right now. I have no idea who they all are, but they are out there.
6. Interact with people.
We reply to comments on websites that align with our audience, share other like-minded content, and engage with people on social media. If you meet someone where they’re at and provide some value, the natural reaction is for them to follow you or take a look at your business. If there is good audience alignment, they might become a customer later on down the road. One nice side bonus of this tactic is that it helps you develop your own positions on various topics within your market or industry. Linkedin Groups are especially helpful for this.
7. Pay for it.
The only way I have found to guarantee traffic not only in quantity, but in timeliness is to pay for it. Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin all make most of their money from the advertising platforms at the core of their engines. Paid traffic is a great way to not only get more exposure, but to test ideas around what your audience really wants and doesn’t. Before you invest in building your next product, you might consider paying for ads that promote your imaginary product to see if you get any traction. Paid traffic is the great equalizer because of the massive control these platforms provide. On Facebook for example you can actually control the time of day your ad appears by the hour along with demographic, interest, and heaps more constraints. For the well versed advertiser, you can reach millions of people within hours of your ad being approved.
Now, what you do with all these potential customers coming to your website I will leave up to another post. Stay tuned.
If you have any questions about specifics on how we use any of the above, hit me up on Twitter (@brentweaver) and we can continue the conversation.