Having a website is the smallest piece of the jigsaw when it comes to being successful online. In fact, it is the smallest possible piece and truly is “just the beginning” of a profitable online marketing strategy.
You could have the best website in the world. However, if it is not getting enough visitors, it is not going to do much at all in terms of helping you generate new business.
As a local business owner, your goal is to get as many eyes on your website as possible. This is where your pertinent details are; the details that your target audience is looking for when they visit your website. This includes your phone number, address, other contact details, and specifics about your products and services.
While getting as much traffic as you possibly can to your website sounds like a great idea, here’s something many businesses misunderstand about this process: in order to be effective, it has to be the RIGHT traffic.
Not “all traffic” is going to be “good traffic” for your business, so it needs to be targeted towards your specific audience. Ultimately, this means that the people who land on your website should already have shown an interest in the types of products and services you offer. If not, those are just wasted visitors.
You may be wondering exactly how to go about increasing QUALITY visitors to your website; and you may be thinking it’s all about search engine optimization (SEO). While SEO does play a role, it is no longer the single driving force for website traffic.
The internet has changed significantly in recent years in terms of effective ways for websites to attract more visitors. Online traffic is now ruled by a mixture of strategies… ranging from Content Marketing to Social Media Marketing to Video Marketing to Reputation Marketing and the list goes on.
Maybe you’re already using some of these methods; maybe you’ve been meaning to implement some of them and haven’t gotten around to it; or maybe you haven’t even heard of some of them.
In this article series, we will review various web marketing strategies that that are helping companies across the globe see an increase in website visitors.
Let’s get started…
Strategy #1: Local Search Engine Optimization
You may be familiar with SEO; and it is one of the best ways to get local traffic to your website. If you incorporate “on-site” and “off-site” optimization techniques, as well as choose and use keywords carefully, your website can gain high search engine rankings.
As a result, your site will get more search engine exposure when local consumers search for products and services related to your industry.
Full search engine optimization is a very detailed, extensive process that includes many different techniques to help websites show up higher in the search results for many different keyword terms and phrases.
However, implementing just a few local SEO strategies can work effectively in helping you get higher rankings.
How do the search engines work? Well, let’s assume that you are a dentist based in Valders, WI. Someone in Valders is looking for a dentist, so they go to Google or another search engine and type in terms related to the specific dental services they’re looking for.
Emergency Dentist in Valders
Cosmetic Dentist in Valders
Valders Teeth Whitening
People will enter specific search terms and in order to get in front of them, it’s simply a matter of making sure your website is properly optimized for these keywords and search terms. Since your goal is to attract local consumers, be sure to focus on “local” keywords only.
This means that your keywords should include your location. There is no sense ranking globally for ‘dentist’ if you only operate in Valders, right? It is a waste of time and effort.
Here are a few simple on-site SEO tips:
- Create web pages focused around each of your targeted keywords; this will help these individual pages show up easier in the search results for each term.
- The content that you post on your site should be unique and of a high quality. Not only will this attract the search engines, but it will also engage your visitors and keep them coming back.
- Include your street address, zip code, local phone number, and any other “locator” criteria to help the search engines validate your location. The search engines do not know anything until you tell them.
- Embed a Google Map on your website to help the search engines establish your location, which will increase your chances of ranking higher for location-based keyword terms.
Strategy #2: Local Directory Listings
By and large, the days of the telephone directory are long gone. Today, people go online to find local products and services – and many of them check the local directory listings that show up in the search results.
Local directories such as Google, Yahoo Local, Bing Local, Yelp.com, and others play a major role in driving traffic to your website. Therefore, it is important that your company has claimed and completed your listing on as many directories as possible. You can put any information you want on your listings, so at the very least, you should have a link to your website.
This way, users won’t have to search around for your website address if they want to get more information about your company. Instead, they can click right through to your website from your listing page.
It is important that you take the time to create a top quality listing on these sites too. You want to ensure that those local listings are optimized for your keywords and that all of your contact details are up to date.
For most local directory websites, you may actually already have a profile in place even if you didn’t create it. Many of these directories create profiles for businesses in the area which could be missing information or contain inaccurate information.
If this is the case then you should “claim” that profile so you can modify it with correct, detailed information. Claiming your profiles also prevents anyone else from taking control of your listings and misusing them.
Strategy #3: Customer Reviews and Reputation Marketing
This somewhat ties directly into your Local Directory Listings, which are also known as “Review Sites” because consumers can leave reviews for businesses on them.
Customer reviews are perfect for driving traffic to your website, particularly if you have garnered a number of positive reviews. It’s no secret that more and more people are now heading to review websites such as Yelp and Google to find out what others have to say about businesses in their area.
If the general consensus is that the company gets a “thumbs up,” people will usually click on through to their website to gather more information about them.
So the more positive reviews you have online, the more people you will have interested in your business. Although many businesses tend to lack in this area, it is crucial that you are actively encouraging positive reviews from your satisfied customers.
Of course, you should not try to “force” or “bribe” anyone to give you reviews, but there are simple ways to build positive feedback. This includes simply asking them to leave you a review at checkout, sending a follow-up email asking them to review you, or placing a call-to-action on your website asking them to leave you a review.
But don’t just stop at customer reviews – be sure to actively build your company’s overall online reputation as well. Online reputation involves many different techniques; such as, publishing great content, monitoring and responding to mentions about your business, cleaning up negative/false information, branding initiatives, and more.
Effectively managing your reputation will work to your advantage because if your overall image is “positive,” more people will visit your website to learn more about you. However, if your overall image is “negative,” most people will skip visiting your website all together.
Strategy #4: Social Media
Social Media is important for any online marketing campaign today; it’s particularly effective in getting more people to visit your website. Create a social media profile on all of the main social media websites for starters (Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and anything else that may be relevant to your niche).
Social media can help promote your business by sending direct traffic to your site via links. On every social media profile, there is a place for your website’s URL, so be sure to utilize that space.
There’s only so much you can put on social media about your business, so people need to know where to go to find out more about you. If you’re doing a good job of posting and keeping your social media audience engaged, most of your followers will be intrigued to learn more – so make it easy for them.
Facebook, for instance, is one of the largest social media sites online. Most of the traffic that Facebook sends your way will be through the content that you share. So your focus should be on sharing high-quality pieces of content that are relevant to your business.
This could be a blog post that you have produced, which may be useful to your followers such as tips, advice, how-to’s, etc.
If they love the content, they may even share it with their friends and family on Facebook. This will drive even more traffic your way if it is being shared with your target market. The great thing about this is that a single post, providing it is of a top quality, can generate more clicks than you ever expected.
The same idea applies to any social network you belong to; although there may be slight variations about how to go about it.
One point to note; social media is not meant to be a spam field. It is not recommended that you get on there and aggressively market your website.
Instead, you will simply turn people off. Focus on providing great content and be sure to listen and respond to other people as well. This will create a flowing conversation that will make people want to learn more about your business in an indirect way.
Strategy #5: Online Videos
Online Videos can do a world of good when it comes to boosting the amount of visitors to your website. Did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world (just after Google)? Millions of people each and every day search for content through YouTube. This makes it a perfectly viable source of traffic for your website; but that’s only if you have great videos out there.
If you want to successfully boost website traffic through your videos, make sure that your videos are useful to your target audience to hold their interest. For instance, you can create product demo videos, how-to videos, testimonial videos, behind the scenes videos, and much more.
Also make sure they are fully optimized with your keywords and location information. Put your phone number, physical address, and keywords in the YouTube video description box to help it rank. Also weave your main keyword into your video title.
Posting videos on YouTube can increase website visitors simply by putting a link to your website in the description box. After viewing it, many will want to learn more about your company.
If you post a video on YouTube and optimize it effectively, there is a good chance that the video you produced will appear in the Google search results for some of your keywords. This means that your video will be viewed quite a bit; and many of the people who view it will also click through to your website.
Although YouTube is the most popular video-sharing site, there are many others such as DailyMotion and Vimeo, so you can upload your videos there as well.
Also share your videos through your social media profiles; many of your followers will share the videos with others in their network – ultimately leading to even more visitors to your website.
Strategy #6: Attractive, Valuable Blog Content
Content is king when it comes to driving more visitors to your website. You’ve probably heard of “blogging,” but are not sure exactly what it is. Blogging is a process that allows you to post frequent content on your website (or external blogging sites) related to your industry.
Many people use blogging to publish helpful tips, “how-to” information, and advice that their target audience would be interested in reading about. Addressing their “pains” as related to your business, and sharing information about how to ease that pain is also a great type of content to publish.
This is a way to keep your audience informed without bogging them down with promotional offers. Furthermore, this type of content is what many consumers are searching for when they go online.
For instance, someone may want to get some tips on getting a divorce. A divorce attorney would benefit by having blog posts that offer advice on things people should know before filing for a divorce.
Blogging helps to build authority in your niche, build relationships with readers, and ultimately, increase sales. By making regular blog posts, you can keep readers coming back to your site to see what you have to say. The more they come back, the better chance you have of converting them into a sale.
Consistency is key; if you start blogging, be sure to create new posts on a regular basis. Don’t make a few posts one time and then stop. The search engines like to see websites that are updated with fresh, relevant information and rewards them with higher rankings for doing so.
Blog posts should be peppered with a couple of keywords related to your business to help them show up in the search engine results when people search for information on that particular keyword term.
Top quality content is shared a lot via social media. Whenever you make a new blog post, be sure to post about it on your social media profiles to let your audience know about it; this will send a lot of traffic to your website almost immediately.
You should also put social media sharing links near your blog posts so when people visit the post, they can easily share it with others in their network.
NOTE: You may also want to consider posting on OTHER industry-related blogs in your area. In most cases, you can include a link back to your website. The key is to make sure the blogs you choose are related to your business. Also, only give valuable information without directly promoting your business.
Strategy #7: Content Marketing
Expanding upon the last strategy of blog posting, Content Marketing is one of the most powerful ways to get more attention for your website today. It is the new way of “selling” without actually “selling” by distributing many different types of informational content around the web in an attempt to “pull” in more leads.
It involves distributing relevant trust-building content via many different digital methods on the internet. Content Marketing is powerful for brand awareness and recognition because the more content you have out there, the more likely people will trust that your company can help with their wants and needs.
Along with blog posts, there are many different types of “content,” you can publish online, such as article marketing, social media posting, infographics, videos, and PowerPoint presentations.
Any content you put out there should focus on the inclusion of keywords that your target audience may be using to surf the web. Also, be sure to keep your audience in mind and only create the type of content that is likely to draw in new leads for your business.
— We’ll finish up this 2 part series next month with several more strategies to get more website visitors!
If you like this sort of thing, stay tuned for Chamber sponsored webinars where we talk about social media, positioning, marketing, and other business topics all of the time. Past webinars are archived at http://chamberwebtraining.com
About the Author: Ken Ivey, affectionately dubbed ‘the Web Czar’ by peers – has been helping businesses embrace technology for 27 years. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 920-645-2700