It goes without saying that if you are building an online business, traffic is king. Here are 5 proven ways to drive traffic and increase revenues this year. If you are still building your sales strategies for the year, definitely keep these tricks in mind!
Before We Begin – Why is Traffic Considered Important?
Traffic is important because when you generate traffic, also called working on the ‘top of the funnel,’ you are producing leads that can then be converted into sales.
Website traffic, as most web marketers would agree, is a balance of quality versus quantity. On the one hand, you want high volume because then theoretically you will have more sales. On the other hand, volume can come at the expense of quality and simply drive your conversion rate down – leaving you with more visitors, but the same level of sales.
For example, your site might get 40 visitors per day, while your competitor might get 400 visitors per day – but if your competitors’ traffic quality is bad, then their site conversion rate will be lots lower than yours. You could convert at 10% and get 4 sales a day, while they could convert at 1% and also get 4 sales a day – despite having 10x the traffic. As you can see, volume really is meaningless in the absence of quality.
So as you read through our tips and think about this on your own, bear in mind that your traffic driving strategies must accomplish both quality and quantity.
One other critical point to keep in mind before you dig into the tips below, is the importance of reporting. Make sure you before you start investing in traffic-driving strategies that you have Google Analytics or a similar analytics package set up, so that you can measure the value of each traffic source. You need to be able to see on a daily basis how much revenue is being generated per source – so that you can compare that revenue to the expense of generating each type of traffic. Armed with this data, you can focus on your profitable traffic sources and invest in only those.
Ok enough with the cautionary tales – on with our top 5 tips for driving traffic to your site:
1. & 2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Google and other search engine traffic is so awesome because it is ‘high intent’. This is another way of saying that the traffic will coming from a search query will typically be very high *quality,* which as we mentioned above, will translate to more sales. Think of it this way: let’s say you run a banner ad on a news site or a blog. Someone is reading an article about the presidential election, sees your ad, and decides to click on it out of curiosity. Chances are that person was not actively looking for your product, they were just curious. Most likely, that person will spend a few seconds on your site and then return to their article. Compare that to someone who goes to Google.com, enters in ‘organic dogfood sold in Colorado,’ sees either your organic search result or a paid ad that you have run against that term, and clicks to visit your site. That person is actively looking for exactly what you are selling and has a very high likelihood of purchasing. That person in other words has ‘high intent’ – versus the casual web surfer who saw your banner ad on a random article they were reading.
So you can see in that example why search traffic is considered so incredibly valuable – and you should be working like crazy to generate it! What can you do?
– Become an expert in SEO, or hire one
– Become an expert in SEM, or hire one
– Write tons of content. A website which has 1500+ pages will get lots more traffic than a 5 to 15 page site. This takes time and is a long-term goal but is really worth it. Try to add a page with long, unique and interesting content every day. Within a month, your site will have 30 new pages of content that will attract organic search visitors – and you are off to the races!
3. Content Marketing
Somewhat related to SEO – but a bit broader – is content marketing. Content marketing is when you commit to becoming a thought leader in your space. What is an important topic to your customer that is related to your product, that you can be one of the top online authorities for? That you can provide super interesting, sticky, sharable content on? That a potential customer might seek out, and by virtue of seeing your expertise on the subject, consider you a trustworthy partner and vendor that they want to do business with?
So you need to first brainstorm a ton of potential topics your customers care about and then pick the one that you can realistically own – one with not a lot of competition, and that you know lots about. Then, sharpen the pencil, and start writing. Yes, you are officially a blogger.
But not just blogging on your own site – you are guest blogging to get your name out there to other peoples’ audiences, and to create back-links to your site for SEO purposes. There are tons and tons of super helpful articles out there on content marketing so we won’t belabor the point here – but definitely do some research. One great starting point, the grandfather of content marketing, is http://hubspot.com. We hope you have fun with this one!
4. Facebook Marketing & Advertising
Yes, you already know you should be pumping social media for customers. But how? And where to focus?
Personally, we really love Facebook. In terms of scale, targeting, and ability to directly drive revenues – we just think there is no better ad platform in town. It is also still surprisingly not that competitive from an advertising standpoint, because so few brands are good at using Facebook ads. This means there is lots of opportunity for you and your brand to stand out, no matter what your size.
Part of the point of your Facebook strategy should be immediate revenue – sales that you get *today* because someone saw your ad, clicked on it, and purchased. The other half of your strategy is just day in and day out building up your Page’s fan base. Not only will this help with ad targeting (you can target ads to your own fans, and to ‘look alikes’ of those fans) – but it will help tremendously with social proof. This is to say – it will make your business look hugely successful even if perhaps you aren’t quite there yet. How are you going to grow if a potential customer comes to your Page and sees 57 Fans? They’ll think nobody has tried you – or even worse, they’ve tried you and not liked you! You gotta get some Fans!
In terms of actually executing on this strategy – it’s sort of the same as SEO or SEO – you either become an expert, or you hire one. We recommend http://liftoffsocial for Facebook advertising – they are awesome. Cheap, fast, reliable, and really cool to work with. But you’ll have lots of choices, just dig around.
And once you max out Facebook, not to worry, you’ve got Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest at the ready. Lots to do!
5. Email Marketing
And last, but absolutely not least, is email marketing. Email marketing is hands-down your best closer. Over time, email marketing might drive 30% or more of your revenue – so take it seriously!
The very first thing you should be doing here is adding a pop-up to your site to ask new visitors to give you their email address. It could be in exchange for a discount code, or a free e-book, or just to get updates on new products and announcements – whatever it is, get that pop-up live and start converting your traffic into emails.
Then, create your welcome email series. Check out digitalmarketer.com for some awesome tips there.
And lastly, start sending campaign emails to keep your business top of mind, get your prospects to your site, and close them on a sale. You should be sending emails at least once a month if not once a day – the frequency depends completely on your business. If you want to get really fancy, you can even set up automatically triggered emails like ‘abandoned cart’ and ‘birthday’ emails
And of course, don’t forget to embed viral social sharing widgets in your email. You want your recipients forwarding and sharing as much as possible to help spread the word.
Alright, whew, we’re tired! Good thing it’s your turn now – so get to work, and go get yourself some traffic and some sales. Good luck!