You are an entrepreneur. You had a dream, you had an idea, and you took on this apparently lonely journey to defy odds, make your business work, and leave a legacy if possible. You took the massively daring jump, you are off the cliff now, and you probably got a website developed. Or maybe you developed it yourself using one of the many website builders available on the market.
Your business has to work. It’s the only way your dreams can be fulfilled. It’d then be the panacea you wanted it to be.
None of that is going to happen without relevant traffic to your website. At first, it’d drip in, just a few visits a day. Then, there’d come a tipping point beyond which you’d witness a rush of traffic. Fans, followers, hundreds of comments on your blog posts, and even an entire community around all the things you publish.
It’s all good. But how does the traffic come in? What if you had no fancy marketing budget to splurge on? What would you do if you can’t even think of banner ads or any paid advertising at all?
You’d then spend time. Sprinkle passion, change your frame of mind from a “taker” to a “giver”, get ready to communicate, and then here’s how you’d get an ever-flowing stream of traffic to your website:
Do paid advertising
If you are a serious business, you’d have to spend serious money. Thankfully, with paid advertising on digital, every dollar you spend can be tracked. If you did PPC advertising well enough, you’d slam your competition, let a steady stream of clients come your way, and create a presence online that’s almost impossible to beat.
Advertising on Google Adwords, for instance, puts your business right in front of people who search for your business. Facebook lets you do extreme targeting and help you reach a active-passive audience. Twitter cards, LinkedIn Ads, Pinterest Ads, and mobile advertising are all great ways to get a steady avalanche of traffic to your website or landing pages.
Note: always use message-matching landing pages to pump out everything you can from online advertising.
You can start with as much as you’d like to spend, and increase spending incrementally. With the right PPC services, paid advertising is unmatched in potential.
Write amazing blog posts
I know that you know it. But we all know that we don’t always spend time and effort to create good posts.
Your traffic acquisition efforts always start with you. Write posts that add value, inspire, and educate. Sooner or later, your posts will be shared on social media. Your blog will be book marked, and linked to.
Because it all starts with headlines, be sure to read CoSchedule’s headline ideas and the various types of blog posts that hit well with a web audience.
Repurpose to Republish
Pick the best of your blog posts and turn them into various other content assets. You could turn a long and informative blog post into a PDF document which you can then have your visitors download.
Or turn a series of blog posts into a slide deck to publish on SlideShare (which can in turn help you generate leads), and string all the research you’ve done for a couple of posts into an info graphic. Don’t let a word go wasted.
Flip & Curate your own posts
Did you know that you can flip your own content on Flipboard? Start a magazine on Flip Board and add each of your own posts to it, apart from the related posts written by others.
Content curation is the next best thing to actual content curation. You could boost your SEO rankings over night with just a few well-curated blog posts. Use tools such as Curata or Scoop.it to help add your own curated posts with the others you’d end up curating.
Do it Right On Social Media
Share every post you publish on all your social media networks using appropriate visuals.
Beyond that, create a social media calendar to help you repost your content at periodic intervals since the shelf life of updates on social media is rather limited, according to PageModo
Amplify all the content you publish on Social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Do it often, do it strategically, and do it forever.
While it primarily helps you get more eye balls for your content, social media networks are a natural extension for your promotional efforts. Because there’s “social” in social media as Jay Baer of Convince and Convert puts it, it’s more of an “amplify, share, connect, and engage” strategy involved.
Get on Quora
Quora is single-handedly the best social platform for you to not only enhance credibility and add value but also to get traffic. Every single day, seek out questions that relate to the area of your business. Then set out to answer each question, as detailed as you can get.
The more you give to the community the more these things happen. You’ll:
- Develop a natural set of followers, who can be potential customers or clients (but not necessarily, and this is even the point)
- Build credibility, authority, and respect.
- Be requested to answer questions on topics you are good at.
- Get tons of traffic to your own answers. This in turn helps people know more about you (and then possibly your business).
Your answers are likely to be up-voted, liked, commented upon, and more. Here’s a detailed post I wrote on SmartHustle on How You Can Use Quora to Build Traffic & Credibility for Your Business
Comment with passion on related blogs
By “related”, we mean the kind of blogs that the expected audience of your blog is likely to read. Make an ever growing list of blogs that your audience reads regular, go out there, and start writing out some comments.
Ordinary comments won’t do. You need to give out your two cents, you got to make sense, and you must do it for the sole purpose of building a relationship with the bloggers or the businesses you interact with.
The real key to make this effective is this: write with passion. Make sure you contribute value to the discussion that the original blog post triggers.
Use Video. Repeat. Use Video
I admit we aren’t good at the video thing yet — both as an Individual and as a digital marketing agency.
I do know that you don’t have to feature “yourself” on the video if you are conscious about that (although you could, since it wouldn’t matter). If you have something to say, crank up even a totally amateur, unedited video with your webcam, mobile phone, or a DSLR (if you have one), and you’d have a video ready.
Create a channel on YouTube, write out the video description, add tags, pick a good title for the video (and not something like “my first video”) and go live. While you are at it, be sure to use lead generation tools such as TurnStile from Wistia from within your video assets.
Video is huge and the value of the stream of traffic that you’d manage to get it is incalculable. Hopefully, we’ll learn to use this soon.
Scale up Content Marketing
Your content marketing success comes from your ability to crank out valuable content in different formats. Slide decks, info graphics, blog posts, articles, updates on social media, and more. When you do this right, you’d be linked to. You’d be discussed about. You’d be pointed to. You’ll be talked about.
Use a combination of good old hustle and technology. Embrace it.
Get Search Optimisation Right
There’s on-page optimization (which includes technical nitty-gritty such as Schema, on-page keywords, page titles, meta information, descriptions, URL formats, content, and more).
Off-page optimization includes a combination of link-building strategy, guest posting, outreach, content marketing, social media signals, and more.
Get it right and it could very well be a steady source of traffic for your website. So that leads us to…
Do Guest Posting
Talking about SEO, your off-page optimization efforts are never complete without a solid strategy and execution of guest blogging and outreach efforts. Reach out to popular blogs, suggest ideas, write out blog posts (even better than what you’d do for your own blog) and get them published. If you take nothing more from this post, take this.
Get on Popular, Relevant Forums
There’s a sub-Reddit channel for every possible business or topical niche. Plus, there are forums and online communities for every kind of business or topic you publish on.
Get active on forums and online platforms to do what you’d do on Quora – write with passion, answer questions in full, and don’t bother pitching.
Find Channel partners
When you set out to make relationships (which could mean publishing partners, business partners, joint venture partners, friends, potential clients, or influencers), don’t start with an agenda; just start out with the pure intent to get to know and create a meaningful relationship with others.
Depending on who you reach out to, you’d be able to make these relationships work.
Do something remarkable. Say something that’s different from the usual junk. Tell the truth. Expose something. While we admit it might take time for you to do this (and it’s pretty hard to pull off), you’ll get featured when you do.
Think of it as free PR. A little exposure will do you good. Approach this carefully though.
Depend on email marketing
If social media is the hot thing now, it’s only because it’s fancy. What really works is the resilient and extraordinary power of building your own audience and nurturing through email marketing. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing has an ROI of 4300%, and it’s not a typo.
Shed the “shiny new object” syndrome. Your email marketing list brings in highly relevant, interested, and almost evangelic stream of visitors to your website.
When you don’t have the money to splurge, but when you have the passion to do something about getting traffic to your website, this is exactly what you do.
How do you generate traffic for your site?
Do you need a website for your business (or are you are looking for a redesign)?
Stop pretending like you are constructing a bridge across continents.
You might not think of it much, but using a DIY Website Builder like Weebly or Mozello can save you tons of money that you would be better off spending elsewhere.
Use Webflow, Wix, Duda, and many others available today. If nothing, just pick up hosting and get a WordPress website.
Why you ask? I can write it in a single line: you won’t get it right, you’ll lose money, and you can spend money elsewhere.
You will accrue indirect savings, and avoid the opportunity cost.
We could then throw in wasted time learning, practicing, and doing your due diligence of giving those precious “10,000 hours” as Malcom Gladwell writes in his popular book, The Outliers.
If you need a website, you could put it up in a day. A website builder averages $10 per month (including hosting, which you’d need anyway).
Wondering how a website builder saves you money? Here’s how:
The wrong website, sorry
Getting things right for your website (assuming you’d like to tick off all the points needed to get your strategy together, to maximize profits) is complicated.
Everyone seems to have an “idea” about how they want their websites to be.
I need pink color on the header.
Upload this image here and not there.
My product is unique. My website should be unique.
This is how I want my website to be.
What “you” think or feel about your website is immaterial. What matters is how many leads your website generates. Or how much of a branding pack does your website make?
If your website never got you business yet, it’s pointless.
The “Looks good” fallacy
Too many businesses decide if a website is good or bad by the way it looks.
Looks are deceiving. Good looking sites don’t mean a thing for you while a few ugly looking sites are laughing all the way to the bank.
Show me an ugly profitable site and I’ll show you at least 10 websites in return that look good but didn’t make a single dollar yet.
You are not in competition for looks; you are competing for profits (or at least for survival)
Study. Do. Study. Do
Offline education can easily cost you an arm and a leg, and doesn’t make any sense to invest in that. Online education also sets you back by anywhere from $15 to $120 per month (books and other reference material not included).
Hint: Learning coding alone can set you back by $400 per year on study material alone.
Note: I am not suggesting that education is bad. Please do pick up courses over the weekend or whenever. I am just stating this: don’t reinvent the wheel; not for website design.
The Time You’d Never Get Back
Choosing to “learn and do” website design is a choice that’ll cost you the time you’d use to run your business, build your team, and do things you should really be doing.
Assuming it takes you a year to learn HTML and CSS basics along with another year to get anywhere near average skill level with coding, you’d have lost a couple of years.
Sometimes, 2-3 years is all it takes for a startup to gain the tipping point (AirBnB and Evernote, each worth millions of dollars, case in point).
Thirty Party Software
Building websites – with the exception of DIY website builders – can cost you professional software such as Adobe’s Suite of products. Adobe’s Suite of products can cost you around $50 per month (depending on where you live).
This is a recurring subscription that adds up to $600 per year. You’d then spend another $360 on a premium hosting account, along with all kinds of tools you’d need to build that website.
Give this setup about 7 years and you’d have paid more than $7000 for one-time work or just for a few websites.
Subscriptions To Pillars of Support
If you choose not to use a DIY website builder, you’d need a couple of other subscriptions to keep your website up. Premium hosting (because shared hosting sucks) Security software, a Content Delivery Network (to make your website load fast), cost for using stand alone software for emails, and more.
Add each of these up and you’ll easily rack up more than a few thousand dollars in the average it takes a webmaster to realize that you are overspending for things you’d find a usual DIY website builder package.
Ongoing costs for conversion optimisation
In digital marketing, conversion optimization is big. It’s a single, ongoing activity that turns your website from a digital brochure to a humongous money-maker.
If you had to depend on yourself (or others) for website design, you’d never get this as a part of the website development package (yet, this is exactly what you need).
As Peep Laja of ConversionXL writes,
If you’re currently converting at 1% (1% of your visitors buy your stuff), but can increase that to a mere 2%, you’ve doubled your sales.
Your website is never a done thing. The only way you can save thousands of dollars on ongoing conversion optimisation is when you cut down the time it takes to make a website go live and spend time and resources on CRO.
Conversion optimizations lowers the costs of customer acquisition, helps maximize profits, frees up cash (otherwise spent on useless SEO gimmicks and pointless ad spending), and makes you a winner.
Winners take everything.
The Big Fat Opportunity Cost
Every choice we make is setoff against a choice we didn’t make.
Instead of spending your precious time building a website (which you could easily outsource or build one using a web builder), you could be hustling, networking, doing a few things that can change the way you do business, hire more people, and more.
You might not realize it but a few decisions we make can prove to be expensive. Are you making these expensive mistakes?
As a full-time marketer managing campaigns for clients and for our own business, I depend on numbers, statistics, analytics, and data to make decisions. Marketing data comes in from various sources. You’d use Google Analytics almost by default but you’d also bring in other tools like GoSquared, Snitcher, and Mouseflow.
You’d want to keep all this data you need in one place using tools like Cyfe.
In any case, all that data you’d accumulate is one thing. Watching what your visitors do on your website is something else altogether.
That’s what mouseflow is really good at. Mouseflow helps you go behind the scenes and see exactly what your users see.
We don’t realise this, but there are a lot of applications with a tool like Mouseflow for digital marketing.
At the outset,
- You know who visits your website and what they do while they are on the website.
- You’ll be able to see what they click on, how far they scroll, how engaged they are with your content, and more.
- If you setup funnels (even if it’s something simple like converting on your contact form), you’d like to how your funnels convert.
Hungry for more? Here’s how you can use Mouseflow to make better marketing decisions:
Redesign Your Website With Authority
When you use Mouseflow and actually go through your Mouseflow Recordings, you’ll notice links that don’t work and ads or pop ups seem to obstruct user experience.
Pages don’t load, forms that don’t work and content seems to be misplaced.
You aren’t looking at your website the way your visitors do. You’ll meet other design flaws that you’d never know existed.
Next time you ask a vendor or a developer to help develop a website for you (which we also can help with, sorry about the shameless plug), you’d know exactly what needs to be taken care of when you expect a website redesign.
Instead of anything vague like “I need a new website design” or ” I want a more professional looking website”, you say:
“Please see the instructions for new design. Pay special attention to my forms are convert only at 12%. Specific pages need specific design changes as noted in the document “
The Mouseflow Treatment: Optimize Your Website
Designing your website is not the end of the story; it’s only the beginning.
Apart from all the marketing itself, measure online user sentiment. Frustrated users can bleed off opportunity and you don’t want that, especially with 97% of visitors already leaving your website on their first visit.
Add Optimizely to the mix, along with Mouseflow, and you have insights — everyday, throughout the year, forever — to help you make changes to your website to help your website work like a sales machine.
Funnel analytics, website recordings, form analytics, geo heat maps, scroll analysis, and with the data from Optimizely experiments gives you real focus points to work on conversion optimisation.
Testing Your Landing Pages With Authority
Most marketers don’t even use landing pages. Those who do work with half the data needed to make effective data-driven decisions to improve the effectiveness of landing pages (and hence marketing campaigns).
Knowing how many people visited the landing page versus how many people converted on an offer isn’t the complete story.
Assume that a landing page converts at 30%. What happened to the other 70%? Why did those visitors leave? What did they do while they were on the page?
Setup separate funnel analytics for each of your landing pages. If you are a business, you know exactly what’s happening to every visitor you spent money to receive on your pages. As an agency, you provide value to each marketing dollar used up as client’s budget. As a marketer, you have strong reasons for everything you ever do.
Test your ad campaigns
The folks at Mouseflow wrote a blog post on how you can use Mouseflow to test your ad campaigns, so I won’t repeat that.
You sit there staring at stats like bounce rate, time on page, and even heat maps, wondering what could possibly be driving away all these hard bought clicks. The problem is these stats lack context and order and are blurred averages leading to blurred insights.
Sure you could A/B test landing pages based on your blurred view, or you could use Mouseflow to see exactly what it’s like to be a visitor.
With Mouseflow, you will be able to sit next to your visitors as they enter your site, engage with your landing page, and take the journey to being a paying customer.
Along the way they’ll stumble, not find what they need, look fruitlessly for help, click on things that don’t work, and quickly blow past reams of content you thought were super important. You’ll experience this with the visitor and be able to use these insights to improve what you do to turn more paid clicks into paying customers.
With every campaign you launch, you’d need all the help you can get to maximize your ad campaign spend, and this is exactly how you do it.
Facilitate Form Conversions With Mouseflow
For most websites, contact forms are a great conversion point. They can start a casual conversation, allow potential customers to know more about your services, or make direct requests for proposals through contact forms. Websites that have contact pages (and contact forms) ought to know what’s happening with their contact forms.
You might think: I have a form, and I get the messages often. I am good.
No, you aren’t. Just like we measure conversion rates off an ad or a landing page, we want to know how well your forms convert too.
Using Mouseflow, you can easily setup form analytics and measure your performance over time, as shown below.
You can also use this as a base for better performing contact forms through regular A/B testing.
Where are the funnels hiding?
If there’s a page on your website, you have the mouth of a sales funnel.
Funnels begin with a well-written about page with a button below the copy that says, “Hire Me”. Or maybe you have dedicated pages for your products or services and each of those pages are potential starting points for your funnels.
You already know that a few pages on your website are potential candidates for good starting points as the mouths of your sales funnels. But you don’t know everything. You might realize, from your analytics data, that a few pages or blog posts have been extremely popular. It’s just that you didn’t know.
With mouseflow, identify potential areas on your website and/or blog and you’d know if you are missing out on any action.
Do you use Mouseflow for your business? Tell us more about it.
Note: Mouseflow is giving 1000 credits away for new users. Grab a free account now.