If you’re like most of our clients when we first meet, your primary question is how to get traffic to your website … but, in reality, that’s the wrong question. They question you should be asking is whether or not anyone actually has a reason to come to your site …
Use your website to give them what they want
First and foremost, we need to acknowledge that the days when a company could get by with a basic website and a contact form or a simple shopping cart are gone.
Today, a website has to do more than just sell stuff. It has to meet the needs of our prospective partners, clients, and customers. It has to really give them what they want. My guess is that the people coming to your website want something. Let’s illustrate this by looking at a company we work with who manufactures frilly clothing for girls. Their web visitors are women (mothers and grandmothers) who want, more than anything else in the world for their little girls to look like princesses.
Since that’s what the users want, the primary purpose of their website has to be teaching visitors how to make little girls look like princesses. Let me make a distinction here. The goal isn’t to say, “Oh, you want her to look like a princess? You’d better buy our stuff.” Instead, it’s to say:
“Oh, you want her to look like a princess? Well, millions of people all over the world know that one of the best ways you can turn a girl into a princess is by putting frilly stuff on her clothes. There are lots of different kinds of frills, like this kind (an example with a picture), this kind (another example with a picture), and this is my favorite kind (another example with a picture). You can put the frills on by using glue, or duct tape, or simply by licking them and sticking them on like a stamp (you know I’m making this up, right … we don’t share our client’s actual marketing copy on our web site). Whatever you do, though, don’t try to put frills on a dress while you’re brushing your teeth because if the toothpaste gets on the frills, it’ll make them turn moldy. So, if you’ve got more questions about how to make her look like a princess, you can read this or this, or watch these videos, or contact one of our retailers here, or even just call us. We seriously love helping women make their girls look like princesses!”
See the difference? Teaching, not selling.
In fact, our goal here is to be the #1 teachers in the world on making little girls look like princesses, and we just happen to sell princess clothes, too.
If it sounds like a lot of work create something that helps people get what they want, you’re right. It is! Welcome to Building an Online Business 101 … if you want people to come to your website and stay on your website, you’ve got to have something for them to read, watch, listen to, or look at once they arrive there. Simply dropping them on a page where you tell them to buy your stuff just doesn’t cut it any more.
But you probably already knew that … so, let’s assume that you’ve already created some good content that helps people get what they want.
Increase awareness of your offering
Once your website is actually focused on being helpful and giving your visitors what they want, it’s time to increase awareness and tell people what you’ve created. If you’ve already got an online audience (a social media following or list of email subscribers), now’s the time to let them know about your new content. Send them an update and invite them to come see what you’ve got for them.
Start with paid traffic
If, on the other hand, you don’t already have an audience, the fastest way to get traffic is with some paid advertising campaigns.
For many of our clients, we launch most new content they create on one or more social media platforms, including:
It’s important that you carefully target your traffic so that you’re driving the right types of visitors to your site. For the clothing manufacturer I mentioned above, targeting men might work, but targeting women is probably a better idea. Targeting people with children is an even better idea than targeting single people with no kids. Targeting certain age ranges might also be smart. Each of the social media ad platforms has different targeting options, so jump in and really try to narrow your audience down to the people who are most likely to benefit from the helpfulness of your product and service as represented in your content.
If you aren’t familiar with retargeting, here it is in a nutshell … someone comes to your website. You tag them (with a cookie) in their browser so you can chase them around the Internet showing them more of your ads so they come back and consume more of your content and buy more of your stuff.
Retargeting is typically a very productive source of traffic in the work we do for our clients. Of course, you’ve got to have at least some visitors before you can start retargeting them … if no one has ever been to your site, you can’t ask them to come back, right? So while retargeting won’t work if it’s your only method of driving traffic, it’s a great way to keep the conversation going with your previous site visitors. And, in my experience, retargeted traffic typically converts higher than most other traffic sources.
With Google AdWords, you place your ads along the top and side of Google search results so that they’re viewable by people who are searching for terms related to what they want (which is what you offer). So, our example company from above might want to have their ads appear to people searching for the term “pretty pink princess dress.”
The nice thing about Google AdWords is that you’re able to target users who are searching very specifically for the types of things you offer. Combine that with helpful content once they get to your site and you just might have a winner!
Earn organic traffic
You’ll be able to learn pretty quickly whether the content you’ve created is meeting the needs of your paid traffic. If so, you’ll start seeing some sales, or you may notice that people have started sharing your content through social media or by linking to it from their own websites.
This will lead to “organic” traffic coming from search engines and social media. You won’t have to pay for it, but the catch is that you can’t usually get this sort of traffic unless you’re willing to do two things:
- Create helpful content that helps users get what they want.
- Prime the pump with paid campaigns.
Search engine traffic can be the grand prize of organic traffic. There are three key components to getting organic search engine traffic. When all three are in place, search engine traffic is nearly guaranteed:
- Your produce great content that is relevant to your topic and helps your web visitors get what they want. This was discussed in some detail above. Additionally, your content needs to meet certain quality guidelines Google has established.
- Your content gets linked to from other authoritative websites in your industry. Our clients usually have success with this through a combination of targeted paid advertising through social media and good old fashioned networking conducted digitally, through social media and other forms of outreach.
- Your content is well-received by social media users. I’m not saying that every piece of content you produce has to go viral, but content with decent social engagement typically outperforms content with no social exposure.
While paid social media campaigns determine who is exposed to your content, you have a lot of control over the experience people have with your company once they’ve been exposed to you. If someone comments on your social media content, engage in a conversation with them. If someone shares your content with their social network, take the time to thank them.
Being a good citizen of social media can really pay off on time because your social media accounts allow you to maintain contact with individuals and companies who are interested in letting you help them get what they want. This allows you to build trust with people who know they like you, but aren’t sure whether or not they ready to buy your stuff.
As your website becomes more popular and people begin to see that your content is helpful, other websites may begin linking to you. If you’re creating truly great content and effectively increasing awareness of that content, it’s likely that you’ll start getting a fair amount of referral traffic.
Referral traffic results from people finding links to your website on other pages across the Internet and clicking on them to come visit you. This kind of traffic typically converts into engaged customers at a higher rate than most other types of traffic because the visitors are usually coming to your site based on someone else’s endorsement, which makes them more likely to trust you right from the start.
Summary of how to get traffic to your website
Now that I’ve explained the whole process allow me to sum it up in simple terms. If you want people to come to your website, stick around, and buy your stuff (or sign up for your services, or whatever), you need to:
- Create great content that helps people get what they want.
- Increase awareness of your content through paid campaigns.
- Nurture relationships that will result in long-term organic and referral traffic.
If you have any questions, I’m happy to try and answer them. Comment below, or reach out to me through the contact methods on the site.