19 Ways to Drive a Steady Stream of Traffic to Your Website
Topic: How-to,Marketing | Comments (2)
A few weeks ago, I listened to a teleseminar about how to grow your opt-in list to 100,000 subscribers and beyond, when one of the guests shared a great tip. He said, “Think of the online sales process as TLC: Traffic = Leads = Customers.” That’s simple enough. But how do you drive more traffic to your site? A lot of online marketers will try to sell you on one single strategy as THE answer. But what we’ve found in terms of driving traffic to our own website—as well as helping our clients get more traction on theirs—is that using a combination of different tactics simultaneously gets the best results. To help you get more traffic flowing—and, thus, more leads and more customers—we’ve put together a checklist of 19 simple ways to continuously bring people to your site. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but it will give you some new ideas to try. And please don’t attempt to implement all of them at once. Rather, start by picking the strategies that feel the most doable for you right now, and add others when you feel the time is right.
___ 1. Social Media.Online communities like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are excellent tools for building relationships and generating web traffic. The thing to keep in mind however, is that it’s not enough to simply be active on these forums; you also need to include links within your posts and give people a reason to click on them. In other words, take a few extra minutes to craft something witty to say and then drive folks to compelling (read: fresh, thought-provoking, useful) content. A few weeks ago, I listened to a teleseminar about how to grow your opt-in list to 100,000 subscribers and beyond, when one of the guests shared a great tip. He said, “Think of the online sales process as TLC: Traffic = Leads = Customers.” (Note: For more great tips on how to use social media effectively, be sure to check out our info-packed special report, The 11 Most Costly Social Media Marketing Mistakes… & The Easy Ways to Get it Right.)
___ 2. Blogging. There are countless reasons to have your own blog, not the least of which is that it can help steer a tremendous amount of visitors to your website. How? For starters, when you frequently post new content, it improves your ranking on search engines. Blog articles also give you something compelling to share on social media sites (see #1 above), and give people who already “know you” a reason to come back to your site again and again. Plus, if you incorporate social media widgets into your blog, it makes it easy for folks to share your content with their network, which in turn brings even more people to your site.
___ 3. Search Engine Directories.This one might not be as “sexy” as the others, but it’s important to be in front of people who are actually searching for the types of products or services you offer. Internet “crawlers” for the big search engines (i.e. Google, Bing, MSN and Yahoo!) are automated and will eventually find your site. However, you often need to proactively submit your site to many of the local and industry-specific directories, which you can locate with a simple internet search. Here’s a great list of free directories to help you get started.
___ 4. Pay-Per-Click Advertising.Popular search engines allow you to bid on how much you’re willing to “pay per click” on key words that people are searching on. As a result, your listing will appear above the regular (or what’s called “organic”) listings. These paid ads typically have a shaded background and are identified as “sponsored links.” Google AdWords is the pay-per-click tool people most often think of, but Facebook also has pay-per-click advertising and, personally, we’ve found it a whole lot easier to navigate than Google. If you’re thinking of pursuing this strategy and you don’t deem yourself a pay-per-click expert, then we recommend working with a pro so that you don’t end up in over your head.
___ 5. Publishing An E-zine. If you publish your own e-zine or e-newsletter, you already have a warm pool of prospects who are interested in what you have to offer. The real secret though is that you have to continually give them reasons within your e-zine to visit your website again and again, such as by adding new content or offering subscriber-only deals and discounts for your products, services or events.
___ 6. Article Marketing.Having your articles re-published in other people’s e-zines and on other people’s blogs is a proven traffic-building tactic. However, while it is technically “free,” it can also be time consuming. Instead of contacting e-zine publishers and website owners individually, save time by posting your articles on free content sites like EzineArticles.com and GoArticles.com. You can also delegate this task to a virtual assistant or an intern.
___ 7. Ads in E-zines. Identify other e-zines whose readership matches your target market. You can do this by searching the Directory of E-zines. Find out if the e-zines accept advertising and what their rates are. Run at least three to four ads in a row to get an accurate idea of how well the ad is working. Also, make sure you use an ad-tracking program to determine how many clicks each ad is getting, such as the one we use that comes with our shopping cart system.
___ 8. Cross Promotions.Do you know anyone who currently publishes a quality e-zine or blog for the same target market as yours? If so, explore ways you could cross promote each other, thus helping drive traffic to each other’s site. For example, we’re big fans of TheSolopreneurLife.com. The site’s owner, Larry Kellto, has graciously mentioned our content in his fabulous “Friday Bits” and on his recommended resources page, and we’ve highlighted his site in our e-zine and on our blog roll.
___ 9. Banner Advertising. Placing ads on websites has gotten a bit of a bad wrap. But if it’s done well, it can really help to boost your web traffic. You’ll want to find sites that are already attracting your target market, and be sure your banner ads give viewers a persuasive incentive to click through and come to your site, such as a free report or a generous discount.
___ 10. Online Forums and Discussion Groups. According to expert marketer Ali Brown, “There are faster traffic methods for sure, but this one is still great if you’re dealing with a hot topic.” You can make this strategy work for you by identifying popular forums and discussion groups that are related to your subject area and where prospects in your target market are hanging out. Really let your expertise show through in your postings. While you don’t want to be overly promotional, you should always include a link back to your website.
___ 11. Run an Affiliate Program.We’ll be talking more about how to earn extra income through affiliate programs in this week’s issue of Brilliance! But aside from helping you grow your income, affiliate programs are also valuable because your affiliate members will help you drive traffic to your website. The more affiliates you have, the more traffic you’ll be getting. (Psst! We’re getting ready to launch some very exciting commission opportunities for our Richer. Smarter. Happier. affiliates. So be sure to sign up for our Inner Circle program to get in on the action!!)
___ 12. Your E-mail Auto-signature.Just about every e-mail application today provides an option for an auto-sig file – the few lines of contact information that automatically appear at the bottom of every e-mail you send. Take advantage of this free “real estate” by crafting a short blurb that encourage people to visit your site. Keep the copy fresh – you should change it up at least once per month. And remember: E-mails get forwarded around all the time, so it’s not just about the folks you communicate with, but also the people they communicate with.
___ 13. Video. Thanks to Flip cameras, it’s never been easier (or cheaper) to record and post your own online videos. It’s a good idea to post the content to both your own website as well as on social media sites like YouTube. Just be sure that when you post on the latter, you put your website address along the bottom of the video for the entire film – not just at the end. And here’s an added bonus as well: Visitors to a website with a video are likely to stay on the page as much as 300% longer compared to a webpage without one.
___ 14. Media Publicity. The right exposure in print publications and on radio and television can help you attract hundreds or even thousands of new “eyeballs” to your website again and again. Just like with the other strategies though, you’ll need to incentivize people to come to your site. You may want to give a special, limited-time discount or offer up a free report or checklist that they can download. For radio and TV you’ll also want to have a URL that’s super simple to spell and remember.
___ 15. In-Person Events. We’re BIG proponents of in-person opportunities like speaking gigs, networking events and trade shows for a whole host of reasons, including the fact that they are great list builders. At each event, collect attendees’ e-mail addresses by offering something free. For example, at the recent African American Heritage Festival we held a drawing for a free Apple iPad. (At smaller events we typically give away a copy of a best-selling book.) In addition to adding attendees to your e-zine list, the day after the event you’ll also want to send everyone a welcome email and include a link to something interesting on your website.
___ 16. Business Cards.More than likely your web address is printed somewhere on your business card. But do you give folks a real reason to visit your site? That should be job No. 1 of your business card. Next time you need to reorder your stash, add on a call to action, such as inviting people to download your top tips or to sign up for your free e-zine.
___ 17. Direct Mail. One of the most overlooked marketing tactics today is good-old-fashioned direct mail. Things like postcards and flyers are a fast, easy and reliable way to generate leads and increase visitors to your site. Best of all, they’re a great way to cut through all the online noise. We use and love OvernightPrints.com. Just be sure to factor in the cost of postage when you’re calculating your budget.
___ 18. Vehicle Signage. Why not promote your business and your website while you’re cruising around town or running errands? It’s a great way to multi-task for sure. In fact, I’m about to start using this tactic myself; I plan to have the Richer. Smarter. Happier. logo and website emblazoned across the back of my silver Infiniti QX56. I’ll be sure to share more about this (and post a photo) in an upcoming article!
____ 19.Search Engine Optimization. This term gets thrown around a lot – and we certainly don’t profess to be SEO experts. But if you want more people finding you online, then you need to make sure your website has the basic SEO components incorporated, like meta, image and title tags. Our advice? Because there is A LOT to learn and the SEO rules keep changing all the time, this is an area you may want to outsource entirely. Finally, don’t forget that it’s important to be measuring which of these tactics are and are not working. There are a number of programs that can help you understand how many visitors are coming to your site and when, how they are finding you, and what they are doing when they get there. The tool we use is Google Analytics, which is easy to use and free. You can get more info about it here.
Small business marketing consultants, Angelique Rewers, ABC, APR and Dr. Toni Cascio, teach women how to start, grow and market profitable businesses that are a part of a life they love™. Get their FREE weekly tips and advice at www.RicherSmarterHappier.com.