It has become critical for all businesses to have a thriving online presence, and, for businesses who conduct themselves exclusively online, driving traffic to your website is the lifeblood on which your livelihood depends for survival. Many business owners struggle with figuring out which strategies for marketing and driving traffic to your website are the most dependable and will yield long-term results that will sustain their business for the future. In my many years of experience in building successful online companies and helping other business owners build their own online presence, I have tested and perfected the most dependable and sustainable marketing strategies for creating a successful online presence. Below, I am about to share with you how to implement the strategies that have brought me the greatest success.
1. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Compliance -- Due to the radically changing nature of the search engine algorithms, it is likely that your website has either fallen out of current standards or never was in compliance. Most website designers and programmers "think" they understand search engines, but most of them design websites for display and often miss the vital components to achieve search engine recognition and placement. While it is critical to develop a website for usability and high visitor retention, it's also important to structure and engineer your website with search engines in mind. Elements like the internal navigation, content organization, content quality and image uniqueness and originality are major factors the search engines consider when measuring a website's trust and relevance for a given search query. Furthermore, they are also checking for elements that indicate a website can be trusted. For example, business contact information, privacy policies, terms and conditions and overall visitor safety are factors they consider -- because, after all, they have a challenging task of serving not only the highest quality, but "trusted" resources on the web for a given search.
2. Social Media Optimization -- Social platforms are a widely used and embraced medium for sharing information and resources. While most people don't actively seek business resources and services through social media, many businesses are successfully capitalizing on these mediums for gaining website visitors. Establishing social media presence for a brand is a very important initiative for many businesses largely because their competitors have a presence, but also because most consumers now review a company's social media presence before deciding to contact or do business with them. Because social media platforms contain every type of demographic imaginable, it is critical to determine the exact demographic of your ideal customer, visitor or fan and formulate a social media marketing strategy that specifically targets that user community. There are many resources available for paid social media advertising and promotion, and most social media sites (at least the major ones) support paid placement of ads that can drive a huge amount of qualified visitors to a website or offer.
3. Paid Search Marketing (PPC, Pay-Per-Click, CPM) -- Search engines offer paid placement for businesses who need to capture an audience quickly. Google and the Adwords platform is one of many that allow you to created targeted advertisements to be displayed for specific searches performed on the search engine portal. Bing provides the Bing Ad Center which is basically a clone of the Adwords platform and serves ads to both Bing and Yahoo search engine users. These platforms allow anyone to create advertising campaigns and can be extremely powerful, but they can also be a waste of valuable advertising dollars if the campaigns are not budgeted, optimized and targeted correctly. Most businesses do not correctly choose keywords that will grow their business and craft advertisements ad copy that doesn't convert. Match that with poor targeting, and you have a failing advertising campaign that drains the marketing budget, and it results in zero or very few qualified visitors to a website.
4. Lack of Clarity/Focus/Precision in Digital Marketing Priorities -- Most companies make the incorrect assumption that they should be using all mediums for driving traffic. More often than not, only a couple of mediums for online marketing makes sense for a business. For example, social media might be a great platform for a musician looking to promote new music, but an accountant might not get great results. Establishing very clear goals and doing so with a professional that has a history of running successful digital marketing campaigns for a variety of businesses would be a good place to start. Without precision in your online marketing efforts and isolated, tightly controlled, monitored and measured campaigns, you're likely to waste money on advertising that doesn't work, or you just plain never get any results.
5. Maybe You Have Traffic, But No Sales -- Sometimes a website will have great visitor traffic, but nobody seems to be calling, buying or signing up for anything. Savvy internet users (and that's most people nowadays) expect a lot from a website or business. People are conditioned by reflex to avoid giving you their time, attention and, especially, their email address or money. Your website needs a swath of essential ingredients in order to persuade people to do business with you let alone stay on your website. Without knowing what these web design and aesthetic elements are, it's rather difficult to understand what the critical factors are that keep people on a website vs. cause them to leave.
Most websites are plagued with problems (unseen by the average web designer or marketer) that result in people not trusting the site or business behind it. Sometimes, it's a matter of the website "missing" critical elements that increase trust, build rapport and persuade people to take the next step. Working with an experienced professional in website conversion optimization is highly recommended so that they can bring their experience in testing various site conversion elements to the equation while you worry about running your business. After all, your website should be powering your success, increasing sales and customers, not limiting or holding you back from your goals.
By keeping these five ideas in mind and implementing one or more of them, you are significantly putting yourself ahead of much of your online competition and greatly increasing your chances of success.