Every business owner wants to know how to get more website visitors. I'm sure you're no exception. After teaching hundreds of classes on the topic, I've boiled it down to these 10. If you have an ecommerce business, stick around until #9 for your key ingredient.
1. Keywords — the DNA of Digital Marketing
When it comes to digital marketing, keywords are the life blood of the Internet. They're the words people use to find businesses when they’re searching. These are not your words; not your jargon. But literally what people use. On one hand, think about the types of questions your audience may have and what words they may be using to search. You can use our FAQ worksheet as a starting point. On the other hand, research commonly searched terms using Google's Keyword Planner.
2. Optimized Website — Increase Your Site's Visibility with SEO
Search engine optimization or SEO is about building keywords into the content of your website (and ultimately, all your content). This means titles, headlines, subheadlines, body copy and more. If you’ve built your own website, you should be able to place the keywords yourself. Or have your webmaster help you. That’s not to say you should leave it completely up to them. Knowing how to position your keywords is art and science. It's about understanding how your customers think and using the keywords in such a way as to help Google recognize your site as the place to send people to. The point is to make your website as attractive, and therefore as visible as possible, to search engines.
3. High Affinity Community or Group — Amplify Your Marketing through Others
Connecting with a high affinity community can help amplify your marketing effort — it's online word of mouth.
High affinity communities are groups of people that have a relationship. They share information — it’s the secret sauce of social media marketing. People in these groups are also more likely to accept referrals from the group, because they share common knowledge. They feel comfortable speaking about common interests. They trust each other, because they know other people in their group are more knowledgeable than those outside it. So having a high affinity group, what some call a “tribe” can be a big boost to driving traffic to your site.
Some types of businesses can take advantage of this more easily than others. Consider bicycle enthusiasts, solo travelers, dog owners or local foodies. We often see this in groups on Facebook, so see if you can find groups related to what you do, join and participate (don't sell!).
4. Mobile Responsiveness, because Everyone's on Mobile
A mobile responsive website allows visitors to view your site from any device — from smartphone to desktop computer. It is a Google requirement. You'll be demoted in rank if it's not.
More and more people are searching via mobile. Take Moms. They're always out and about, and shop via phone while their kids are at soccer. So, make sure your site is built on a mobile-responsive template. Most website builder tools offer them. While you're at it, make sure your email marketing tool offers mobile templates too (most do).
5. Marketing Efficiency and Effectiveness — the Biggest Bang for Your Buck
Every business, very small or very large, has limited resources, so marketing needs to be efficient. All you have is time, purchased labor, money and skill. These resources need to be allocated in such a way to maximize your results for the biggest return.
You can’t do everything at once either, which means you have to prioritize — what you’re going to do first, second, third in terms of effort and results. Having a strategy will help you determine allocation, priorities and everything else that makes marketing effective. It will get you to where you need to go with as little wasted effort as possible.
And then, you need to measure so you know what's effective. That means tracking results to see if what you’re doing is working — driving the traffic you want and converting to paying customers. This typically means using website analytics, because any marketing you do online (even offline) will ultimately lead back to your website. Tracking website visitors with a tool like Google Analytics will give you the insights you need to improve your marketing. You can even set it up to track from the source to the sale.
6. Timing Increases Impact
Promoting at the right time will help your resources go further. It’s about communicating with people as close as possible to the time they’re making their buying decisions. Think about point of purchase when you go shopping. The end of aisle special that shouts “buy me now.” If you have a need right then, and you see that promotion, there’s a good chance you’re going to pick it up.
Another way to think about timing is seasonality — like holidays. You want to be out there when people are looking. Figure out what timing makes sense for your business. You could use a tool like Google Trends to figure out when people are using certain keywords to search. That should give you an idea about when people are shopping.
7. Email List — Nurture and Grow Your Pot of Gold
There are all sorts of articles online that show email as being one of the most effective ways to market a business. Of course it is. Email marketing is completely different than, say, running an ad. When people sign up for your email, they already know you. More than that, they’re probably more than interested in what you have to offer. The people who have signed up for your list are already qualified, and therefore more likely to convert.
When you put new content out there or a new product offering, they’re more likely to be the ones to read or buy that new thing, versus someone who has never heard of you before. You're starting from the beginning of the purchase path (some would say, sales funnel). That means you have to take them from a point of not knowing you, to knowing you, trusting you, then actually taking an action. The people that know you already trust you, and that makes your email list your lowest hanging fruit. It’s something you really need to pay attention to, nurture and grow.
8. Content — Why You?
What you say about your business (demonstrate, show, storytell, however you want to describe "content") can be the difference between indifference and purchase, caring and moving on. From images to text, icons and even user experience, how you present yourself is critical. We created Homepage Homeruns to explain what it takes to create the right content for your site.
This is particularly true for service businesses or professional experts who need to sell themselves, rather than tangible products. Of course, most businesses have some kind of service component or brand story to tell. You have to put out your point of view. People need to know why they should hire you. What benefits they'll get. Why they should care, read your blog or anything. You’ll want to put out information that’s differentiated from everyone else, so be sure to check out your competition.
9. Ecommerce — Make it Personal
More than a simple greeting by name on a website, personalization means delivering specific content and an experience to a particular visitor. It has become essential for ecommerce businesses to compete against more recognized brands and large shopping sites. Adding more products to your catalog isn't always better. People want to shop quickly. They need freedom from choice, and one way to do that is to provide a selection of products just for them. Barilliance does a good job of explaining all the ways you can personalize the buyer's journey on your site.
Once you've acquired a customer, make sure you show them extra attention. Treat them special, because no matter how much people think marketing has changed, it's always been easier to keep a customer than find a new one.
10. Media List — Be Where Your Customers Are
Acquiring inbound links from high authority websites is a strong signal to Google that your site is worth linking to. The major social media sites is one way to do it, but there are all types of niche social sites and directories for creating a profile, adding content and providing links back to your site. Our media guide explains how to find where your customers are hanging out online.
An effective social media strategy depends on finding the right sites to reach your audience. Beyond the major social networks, which attract a large, generalized audience, there are plenty of niche sites which will help you build exposure and website traffic.
Benefits of Niche Sites
Be Where They Are
The point of using social media for business is to get in front of potential customers, which means you want to be where they are hanging out. Whether you choose major or niche sites, define your audience using the following and then match it to the sites that meet your criteria:
Geography: Neighborhood, city, regional, national, international.
Interest: Consider the site’s focus: i.e., design, games, business, etc. Drill down as much as possible to match your target audience.
Demographic: Easily identifiable stuff about participants, like age, income, education. For data about social sites, start your research at PEWInternet.org. For small sites, you may have to find out from the site itself. Look for advertising information in the footer (just for info, not to advertise).
Activity: What people do at the site, i.e., simply commenting vs. watching videos. Think about the kind of content that fits with what your business is about, i.e., if you have a visual business, Instagram and Pinterest may be a good fit.
Affinity: What participants have in common, i.e., people planning a wedding or those that like to invent things with Legos. When people have an interest in common, they're more likely to share posts to people who haven't heard of you before. That will help you create awareness for your business with new people.
Many people participate in both major and niche sites, so select a balance of each. If you choose a major, join subgroups that match your audience, ie., a food related business in Seattle could join the Seattle Foodies group on Facebook.
Where to Find Niche Sites
The more sites seek to create interactivity and engagement, the more they’re likely to offer social opportunities to participate in. Start with the associations and groups your audience belongs to (ask them), then look for social opportunities in the following places:
Don't Spread Yourself Too Thin
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of niche sites, finding the best match you can, prioritize them by highest amount of traffic. Then, start using them and track the referral traffic to your site, using something like Google Analytics to see if all that effort is paying off.
Learn more about social media marketing
People buy from people they trust. Convince website visitors you're the real deal with this checklist of trust factors — some are so simple, you may have just forgotten about them. Google ranks trustworthy websites higher too, so be sure to read through to the end for ideas that work with search engines.
Start with These Basics
Before we get into the meat of the list, here are some general good practices:
Simple Trust Signals
Add immediate credibility with any of these:
Build Out Your Content
Building trust can be especially difficult when promoting services because they're intangible. These tips will help you sing your own praises:
Maximize Your About Page
Your About Page shouldn’t be an afterthought. People like to know who they’re doing business with. Here's what to include:
Help Google See Your Site as Trustworthy Too
Google wants to make sure they’re sending searchers to useful sites. Here’s how to look good in their eyes:
A Little Tougher to Do, But Worth the Effort
That's our exhaustive list of trust factors, just part of Homepage Homeruns — our 129 page guide, packed with strategies, images, examples and checklists that shows you how to connect with visitors to convert more of them into buyers.
Tell us what you've been doing to increase conversion at your website in the comments below.
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