Now that you have a business optimised website, it’s time to drive traffic and get these visitors to take certain actions. There are 101 ways to drive traffic, and they key is to focus on those that produce the best results, with the least amount of cost and effort.
The following online marketing channels will give you an introduction and some brief advice on how you should tackle them. Before you dive in and commit to any one marketing channel, remember to do the necessary research and assess whether you have the required budget and expertise in order to make it a success.
Online Marketing Channels
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
While more and more people are using search engines to find goods and services, search engines continue to deliver highly targeted traffic to business websites. As such, businesses continue to invest in SEO year on year for its cost effectiveness in attracting new customers, as well as its effects on online visibility and brand awareness.
There are two major parts in any SEO campaign – On-site SEO and Off-site SEO. For On-site SEO, ensure that your website is designed to current search engine friendly standards. This applies to all website elements, including page titles, site maps, meta tags, and URLs.
Off-site SEO involves building links on other websites that link back to a page on your website. For better results, focus on creating backlinks from trustworthy websites that are relevant to the page of optimisation.
Which search engine should you optimise for? Well Google accounts for more than two thirds of all search engine traffic. So your best bet is to prioritise your SEO efforts on Google, but not forgetting the 2 other major ones, Bing and Yahoo to be specific.
Inevitably, SEO has its own negatives. In most cases, it takes a while to see any form of results. Even if you do manage to get your pages ranked for certain keywords in the early stages, it is unlikely that those will be the keywords that will drive the most sales or leads. For that reason, constant tweaking and maintenance is needed. With the above effect, and the habit of search engines changing ranking rules ever so frequently, SEO requires on-going care and attention, and should therefore be viewed as a long term investment.
Pay Per Click
The leading Pay Per Click provider, Google Adwords , allows businesses to place adverts on search engine result pages. Advertisers pick keywords that are most relevant to their business, and only pay when a user clicks on their ad.
Start off with a small budget on Google Adwords and place your ads in the most relevant keyword categories. Let it run for a while before you fine tune your campaign. In the fine tuning process, try to spot keyword categories that drive the most traffic and customers. These categories can then be expanded by inserting extra keywords suggested by Google and other keyword tools.
To reduce your overall Adwords cost, refine your ads regularly to achieve lower cost per clicks. This is done by improving your Adwords quality score. Lastly, use this data and replicate your campaigns on Bing and Yahoo to attract more customers.
Pay Per Click is a great avenue to gain new customers instantly. Besides customer acquisition, other businesses have used Pay Per Click as a testing tool to gather data, which is used to to refine a more effective SEO or email marketing strategy.
Local Search Optimisation
If you are a local business serving customers in your area, local search optimisation is a great way to bring in new business. More often than not, visitors that click on these listings are people in the local area waiting to be served as customers.
Unsurprisingly, Google Places is the local listing you need to focus on, as it provides the most traffic. On top of that, Google Maps, which displays Google Places results, are found on most smartphones and tablets. With the increase of smart phone and tablet users, it becomes ever so important to get your business website ranked at the top of Google Places.
The use of social media varies across industries and businesses. Some thrive on creating brand loyalty using Facebook pages, whereas others have benefited by providing great customer service on Twitter. Analyse your business and customers closely, and determine a specific set of ways you could get in touch with your customers with the aim of achieving a clear business benefit.
The key to a great social media campaign is to engage with your audience. Your goal is to encourage interaction by providing interesting and relevant content. This content can be in the medium of text, images, videos or interactive applications.
Besides utilising free social media tools, paid advertising on social media sites is a good way to attract new customers. For example, Facebook ads allow businesses to target users based on their location, demographics and interests. Linkedin’s advertising platform made profession based advertising a simple task, which has proven to be a success for many B2B lead generation campaigns.
The commercial use of email marketing has been growing steadily despite many claims about its decline on effectiveness. This is only somewhat true, as competition for the user’s inbox attention is greater than ever. But the reality is that email marketing can still be very effective, especially when used with other marketing channels.
Social networking in particular has shown great results when combined with communication through emails. This method has been fairly successful in getting users onto social networking pages and interaction subsequently takes place on the networking site itself.
When planning for a successful email campaign, take into account these 3 major points:
- Email lists should be qualified, targeted and segregated based on specific demographic factors.
- There is a clear content strategy and a suitable method of delivery, i.e. newsletters, sales email series, transaction emails and etc.
- A reliable and white listed email service provider (ESP) to distribute emails.
Other Online Marketing Channels
Here are other online marketing channels that can help you drive traffic and gain new customers. Always test first and then assess whether you can improve on current results. If the answer yes, explore it further, because it is certainly worth investing in any marketing channel that is able to justify a positive return.
Website Advertising – Advertise on websites that are frequented by your target audience. Use text or banner ads, or even video for higher conversions.
Online PR – Submit online press releases to media publishers. This is a great way to launch a particular product or service, or an introduction of your company to get your business noticed.
Content Marketing – If your product or service is complex in nature, or if it takes a bit of persuasion to convert a lead to a customer, then content marketing is the right channel to nurture and build trust among potential customers. Use white papers, guides, blogs and etc. to deliver meaningful and relevant content.
Directories – Get listed on major online directories to gain more exposure. Dig a bit deeper to find niche directories related to your business. Often these are the ones that will get you a good stream of new customers. Also consider paid or premium advertising on directories that bring results.
That’s the end of this 3 part post. The contents of this series is aimed to give you an overview on how you can use your website to promote your business effectively. Many details were not mentioned but shall be covered in future blog posts.
Feel free to leave your comments or contact one of our experts and we'll be happy to help.