Top Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Web Business
As an internet entrepreneur, you have to learn to love traffic. In fact, the more traffic the better. I’m not talking about a highway chock-full of cars at rush hour after work… or being stuck trying to get out of parking lot after a concert in a big stadium.
I’m talking about traffic to your website, your landing pages, eBay or Amazon store, your blog, or whatever other online real estate that you have put in place.
Think of it this way. Your website is like a store in a mall. Hundreds to thousands of people walk through the mall every day. Each of those shops is vying for their attention. They’re counting on shoppers to see their store and make the decision to walk in and check out they have to offer.
So how do they make that happen? A variety of ways. They might have a big colorful sign, with window stickers talking about a sale. An employee could be out front handing out flyers or free samples… or personally inviting people in. The store could have sent out direct mail postcards about a special discount or special event on a certain day. Maybe they have an email list of customers that they communicate with regularly or are active social media and often promote special deals or sales.
You're going to the same thing, in a manner of speaking, with your online storefront. You’re going to deploy a wide range of strategies and methods for attracting the attention of your target market and compelling them to visit your site so that they sign up to be part of your email list (so you can market to them further) or browse your online shop and buy something.
Traffic Driving Tools
Driving traffic is an essential part any online venture. In fact, it’s the very first thing you must do for creating a profitable and productive marketing funnel for your online business.
Of course, not every “traffic driver” listed below is a fit for what you do. Some will work like gangbusters; some will be so-so.
You never know until you try. And it’s also important to always avoid putting all your eggs in one basket so to speak.
You see, even though one traffic driving tool might be bringing in thousands of qualified prospects one day, you never know what could happen the next. So it’s important to have other sources of traffic, so you have a “backup” and your business doesn’t go under.
A quick example of this is when Google changes their search engine algorithm. This algorithm determines where pages online appear in the search engine results page.
In past major changes, businesses have failed because their whole model was based on getting traffic from Google searches, and when the algorithm changed they were no longer on page one - overnight. Don’t let that be you. And it won’t be, because you are going to use a variety of traffic drivers with your online business.
Search Engine Optimization
Speaking of Google, why don’t we start there. Search engine optimization, SEO for short, can be a key way to drive valuable, qualified traffic to your website. Here’s what I mean. When somebody searches for a topic related to your niche (say you sell videos that help people improve their golf swing and they search for “improve my golf swing”), you want your website or landing page to show up as high in the search results as possible.
Why? Well, the top three results make up 61% of clicks. Anyway, when somebody clicks on the link to your site on Google (or another search engine), they are more likely to sign up for your email list or buy a product.
This “organic” traffic is so valuable because people these people are actively searching for information or solutions to a problem they have. And when they see something that can help them, they are more likely to take action.
You make your site search friendly by including high-quality content and keywords and key phrases in your website copy that relates to your niche. You should also put those keywords in your site title, domain name, description, tagline, blog categories, page titles, and page content (this is “back office” work your web designer can do, or you can do yourself if run your own site).
This is part of search engine optimization in a way because search engines these days value good content when determining results. Meaning, you can’t just stuff a page with keywords and expect to have a good ranking. You have to create informative articles for your website or blog that search engines find useful. But you can’t stop there. You should have compelling titles and include attention-grabbing descriptions, so that they are enticing when they appear in the search engine results. This is what will get the prospect to click and read your full article.
Then you have to follow through and provide a great experience to your reader so that the prospect is ready to take action or find out more about your business once they make it to your site.
The article could highlight best practices in your industry, or offer how-to tips, or discuss certain strategies that fit your niche. Whatever it is it should provide your prospect with valuable free information.
It’s unavoidable. If you do business online these days you have to get involved in social media. A huge amount of traffic goes to social sites and services like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. Millions of people log on every day. Why not take advantage of that and leverage that traffic for your own purposes? Your target market is definitely on social media… and in great numbers.
To do that you should maintain a robust social media presence. Put up a Facebook page for your business. Create a Twitter account. Post videos related to your business on YouTube (for example, if you had that golf swing business, you could post some videos where you show one or two tips).
Here are some best practices for when you use social media.
1. Post Often and Regularly
If you have a Facebook business page or Twitter account, you should be active. Post every other day or at least three times a week, if not daily. You’ll have to find what works best for your business. But the idea is to make sure your customers know you are alive, so to speak. They want to hear from you often, so indulge them. And be regular, set a schedule of sorts and follow it. Don’t post one day, then a second, and then not for a week - you’ll lose potential customers. That helps build the relationship between you and your prospects.
2. Be Consistent
It’s simple; you must be consistent as far as what you post. Stay on brand and on message and make sure anything you post supports your marketing goals. For example, if you have a site about radio control car racing, you don’t want to post something about your thoughts on politics.
3. Show Value
With your social media efforts, you want to make sure your prospects find something useful in what you post. Post how-to tips, valuable information, fun stuff… This will speed up the process of the prospect coming to know, like, and trust you. They come to view you as a source they can turn to when they need solutions.
4. Include Calls to Action
This might be the most important part as this is where you drive traffic! Whenever you post something to social media (or at least most of the time), you should include some sort of call to action; an offer or incentive for clicking over to your landing page, blog, or e-commerce site. It might be a sale… or the full text of an article… a free ebook. Whatever it is, this will ensure that your social media audience can actually become a customer.
5. Paid Ads
Although search engine optimization and the “organic” traffic it brings can be very valuable and you get it free… paid advertising can also be a good source of traffic. And the advantage is that you will get results much quicker. SEO, content marketing, and similar methods take a while to implement… consistent work over time.
With paid ads, you can expect instant traffic to your site. Here’s how it works. You buy a pay per click ad on Google AdWords for example. It will appear at the top of the Google results page for search related to your niche. When people click, they go to your website or landing page - and you pay per click. And it’s not as expensive as you might think. The key part here is to make sure you’re getting a return on your investment in paid ads, that what you spend comes back to you - and then some - in sales.
Other ads include banner and / or text ads on ad networks that post to a variety of blogs and websites and Facebook sponsored posts. The technology behind these services ensures that your ad only appears on sites or near content that is of interest to your target market. That means your ads get in front of the right eyeballs and those people are very likely to click and go to your site.
6. Forum Marketing
Online forums related to your business’s niche can be a great free way to drive traffic to your site. This is qualified traffic although the numbers will be relatively small. But there’s a right way to go about posting to a forum.
Number one rule is not to spam. You can’t just join a forum related to your niche and starting posting links to your website or offering products for sale. In fact, that’ll probably get you banned. Instead, you become a valuable member of the forum.
Answer questions, participate in discussions, post useful information, comment on industry trends… Depending on how the forum works, you can include a URL to your website in your signature or make your business name part of your username.
Those are subtle ways to drive traffic. Eventually, once you’ve become a trusted part of that forum, you can also be a bit more overt in posting links to your site. Don’t overdo it though.
Next Steps to Driving More Traffic
Now you have five solid ways to drive traffic to your online business. Remember, not all of them will be right for your particular business, and you'll always want to be researching more ways to drive free traffic to your website. So it’s important to test them out and see which ones bring in the most leads and/or sales. You’re sure to find the marketing mix that works for you.