Marketing your business online is serious work that can make or break the success of a company. However, it is possible to master the basics yourself and start seeing tangible results without having to bend over backwards. But where do you start? Well, you need traffic.
Our comprehensive guide is for every business owner. You can drive more traffic to your site and inevitably convert new visitors into happy customers. Try our steps below to start on your journey to more website traffic, more customers, and more growth.
Your great homepage content is not enough. To get sustained visibility and traffic, you need a regular stream of helpful and interesting content that visitors can easily find. How do you attract new visitors? Use your advantage as an expert and authority in your field.
White Papers - These focus on a particular subject and/or industry vertical. White papers are specific, informative guides to help a user make a decision about your business. They're a great opportunity to show the depth of your knowledge and expertise.
eBooks - Though similar to white papers in their focused content, ebooks tend to be longer, more comprehensive—and even entertaining if they have exciting designs. Drive leads from your traffic by giving ebooks away in return for contact information. Create a landing page with your ebook offer, and send traffic from your email and advertising campaigns to it. As long as you're offering quality content, people usually don't have a problem giving away their contact information in exchange for it.
Guest Post - Find one of the top publications in your field and send them an idea for a post, along with an introduction to your business and bona fides. Posting on someone else's site will get your business in front of a new audience and in many cases, you'll get an inbound link to your website. The important thing to remember: You shouldn't guest post for the sake of earning inbound links. Write guest posts because you have something genuinely useful that you want to share with a larger audience.
Webinars - Webinars provide educational content to help your potential customers identify and solve their most common problems. Webinars often require registration which is an easy way to capture contact information and prospective leads.
Videos - You might think video production is too expensive for you to get into, but that's not necessarily the case. As this guide from Wistia shows (or this one about shooting a high quality video on your iPhone), you can do video on a shoestring budget. When it comes to explaining complicated topics, videos can be much easier for your audience to digest than a dense blog article. They can also give you much-needed face time in front your prospects and clients, helping you build a stronger rapport with them.
Case Studies - These are specific examples of how your clients have directly benefited from your product or service. If possible, use exact data on how they benefitted. For example, if their revenue increased because of your service, add that information to the case study. Having a section on your website dedicated to case studies can help push those prospects who are on the edge of becoming new clients.
Outreach - Don't be afraid to link out to other resources in your content. When you do, send a message to the author of that resource letting them know you mentioned their work. Bloggers love getting this kind of exposure and will often times share your content with their followers on social media as a thank you.
Every social media network provides businesses with a profile. These profiles or "channels" are like free pieces of real estate for your business presence. Claim them now!
Make sure your profile design is fresh, clean and up to date. Every once in a while, social networks will change their profile design requirements which can make your old banner and logo images appear pixelated or partial cropped. Keep an eye for notifications about these layout changes and make sure you prepare for them in advance.
Don't be overly self-promotional. The social web is a place where people try to help each other—and entertain each other. Start your social sharing by posting content that your audience will actually find useful, like an article from your blog or another industry leader. The majority of your posts should be helpful to your fans and followers—with an occasional promo pushed in.
Always be writing. Content is what drives internet marketing. If your blog is empty or isn't updated on a regular basis, you won't have much to share on social media.
Create and post content worth sharing. While we're discussing content, make sure that the content you write is actually something your audience will want to read and potentially share with their colleagues. Don't just spin content that's already been rehashed hundreds of times - write about your personal thoughts on current events in your industry or cover a topic that hasn't received much discussion yet.
Add sharing buttons on your blog articles. Tools like AddThis make it easy to include sharing buttons on your content. Make is easy for your readers to share it on their favorite social networks.
Know which social networks fit your business. With a hot new social network popping up every couple months, does that mean you need to be joining all of them? Definitely not. Make sure the social networks you participate in fit your industry. Empty profiles look bad, so only join networks that you actually plan to use on a regular basis.
How to get the most out of your social profiles
Now that we've got the basics covered, let's look at how you can leverage each of the largest social networks to gain fans, followers, and customers.
Getting a “like” on Facebook helps to grow your audience. Users who "like" your page can see your business' posts in their newsfeed, but with users' newsfeeds becoming increasingly crowded, you need to get maximum mileage from these posts with unique, appealing content. The result? Your post's popularity can be rewarded with a higher visibility.
Here are important things to know about Facebook:
For the experts: If you've already had some success with Facebook ads, consider learning to use the Power Editor which gives you much more control audiences and ad variations.
Twitter is a neverending stream of short, punchy headlines. To get attention, your headlines need to be the punchiest—and also link to additional content on your website to drive traffic.
Here are key ways to use Twitter to your advantage:
With the addition of a publishing platform functionality, LinkedIn is now a content creator's paradise, with an open feel and content-centricity.
Here are some ways to utilize LinkedIn:
Google+ is Google's social network, which helps Google capture important demographic information.
Here are tips for using Google+:
Email gives you an immediate opportunity to kick start a conversation and invite interaction. And that opportunity to engage a users on a one-on-one basis is bigger than ever. With all the easy-to-use email marketing tools out there, email is a high-impact and low cost way to demonstrate value to a potential customers—and continue the conversation well after they converted.
Organic search engine traffic is often considered to be the most valuable because the user is actively seeking your product or service—a.k.a, they're motivated!
Top tips on “free” organic search to bring traffic to your site:
Not all the traffic arriving on your site needs to come from “free” sources. Paying for advertising can help you amplify your exposure—and ROI. If you think you don't have the budget for advertising, think again! Most platforms can be fairly inexpensive and have features to help control your budget.
Social Advertising - Here are a couple ways to use advertising on social media: You can send traffic from social media ads to landing pages for specific campaigns (as we discussed in Step 2). You can also use it to promote your content to a wider audience. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all have options for exposing your content to audiences within your chosen demographic—for a low cost.
Search Advertising - All the major search engines have their own advertising platforms like Google AdWords. These platforms allow you to display your ad in the search results for the keyword phrase that you choose. The best part? You only have to pay when someone actually clicks on one of your ads. Learn how to get started with AdWords.
Sponsored Content - Ever noticed the “Recommended Articles” at bottom of your favorite blog or news site? Those come from platforms like Taboola. Help drive traffic to your site from major publications—and potentially reach a huge audience—with these platforms.