Before we get started, let me just preface with the fact that utilizing Google Adwords’ pay per click marketing is a completely legitimate way to increase traffic, and most people see major success utilizing that method.
However, that subject is consistently covered to death by every marketing blog under the sun, and, if you’re anything like me, you like to exhaust all options and explore every avenue when it comes to growing your business. This is true especially when there are easy to implement, and virtually FREE tactics that can have a huge impact.
Whether you’re a brick and mortar establishment or an online only shop, traffic is the lifeblood of your business. And whether foot or cyber, you’re always looking for an influx. Let’s dive into my own personal favorite top 5 easiest strategies you can start implementing today to increase your website’s traffic.
1. You’re the Expert: Write Some Freakin’ Blogs!
According to the study done by our favorite marketing geniuses over at HubSpot, small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than small businesses without. If you don’t already have a blog, there’s no time like the present to start.
Don’t approach blogging like a high school essay assignment that you need to finish or feel like you can’t publish anything until you’re on the Malcolm Gladwell level of writers. Don’t let your insecurities hold you back: Nobody knows your business like you do, and if you can think it, you can write it.
You know what else that same HubSpot study found? Businesses publishing 16-plus posts a month get almost 3.5 times more traffic than businesses publishing zero to four articles. If you’re doing this yourself, writing 16 or more blogs may be an unrealistic goal to set for yourself. Set your own goals and stick to them. Consistency is key in the blog world, and you’ll soon see that you enjoy the artistic release of writing about something you’re passionate about– and your potential customers will enjoy it too.
Every time you blog, that’s just one more page that gets indexed to potentially rank in an online search… and shows Google (and other search engines that aren’t Google) that you are a relevant, frequently updated website that has a lot to contribute to the world. It’s an opportunity to not only show those search robots that you are relevant to answer online questions, but most importantly, proves to your potential customers that you know what the heck you are talking about when it comes to your industry. It builds your credibility and builds the readers’ trust in you as an expert… and trust is a priceless commodity.
2. Don’t be Afraid of Social Media
In a 2016 census conducted by Statista, an estimated 185 million people in the United States alone used social media— a number forecasted to exceed 200 million before the year 2020. Every single social media channel out there is a powerful online tool, in their own way shape and form, that can be utilized for more than just braggadocious announcements about your personal life. Not only is it the perfect outlet to share your well-written blogs as part of your well-rounded content marketing strategy but the more social media shares you receive, the higher your search ranking will be.
As a side note, it’s the perfect outlet to engage your customers on a personal level, increase brand awareness, and foster brand loyalty. According to a JD power study back in the olden days of 2013, over 67 percent of consumers turn to social media for customer service… and that percentage grows by leaps and bounds with every passing year.
3. Tap Into the Power of Email Marketing
You may have heard a lot of marketers talk about the power of email, and it’s not something that we do just because it’s cheap and easy. We utilize this medium because it’s cheap and easy… and effective. You’re able to reach a multitude of people at pennies a message. With 91% of consumers checking their email every single day, and most of them several times a day, it’s yet another opportunity to capture your target audience’s attention and drive them back to your website. The best part about email marketing is that it not only nurtures the past leads you have, it drives traffic back to your site with every send. Notify your subscribers of those awesome blogs you just wrote and post those monthly, or weekly, or even daily specials. A Nielsen study found that 27% of US online shoppers actively subscribe to emails in order to save money when they shop online– and a loyal customer is essentially priceless.
However, successful email marketing starts with quality contacts/subscribers. (There’s a plethora of ways to build your email lists that we’ll delve into in a blog at a later date.) But, what’s important to note here is that the most successful email campaigns are run when everyone on your list has opted-in. That means no scraped lists- in any way shape or form.
4. Online Reviews Are Your Best Friend
I recently posted a blog on the importance of online reviews and the part they play in the success of your business… and I cannot stress this enough: positive online reviews may just be the single most important factor of your business’ success online in this current digital landscape. You’ll find this usually unattributed quote everywhere: “What other people say about you is more important than what you say about yourself.” And this holds true, even online- 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal “word-of-mouth” recommendations from their peers.
I don’t know about you, but personally speaking, online reviews dictate the majority of my purchasing decisions- whether it be a product on Amazon, a pediatrician in a new area, or even a restaurant nearby… I ALWAYS click on the “thing” with the best and most reviews. Actually, it turns out I’m not not the only one with obsessive researching habits: BrightLocal found that 97% of consumers say they actively research and read reviews about local businesses before making a decision— and it’s because we’re all looking for that instant validation of making the right choice of where we’re potentially going to be spending our hard earned money. Fostering your growth of positive online reviews for all the major (and minor) local listing and review services is the most effective way to gain instant trust from potential consumers and capture more search traffic. A study conducted by Reputation X revealed that businesses with mostly one and two-star online reviews failed to convert roughly 90% of their prospective customers. How amazingly impactful would it be to capture 90% more clicks than your competitors?!?
5. Institute Proper On-Page SEO
Organic traffic is broadly defined as visitors who find your website after utilizing a search engine. Matching your site’s pages to search keywords for user intent means you may be present in many searches. A whopping 96% of all Google traffic goes to websites on the first page… and most businesses are doing everything they can to dominate that first page. When it boils down to it, on-page SEO isn’t some crazy trick or some Ocean’s 11-esque long con you can pull over on Google (or any other search engine that’s not Google) anymore like back when the internet was in its infancy. The main goal of these search engines is to give the people what they want– the most accurate answer to their search. If search engine “A” gives more relevant results to your search than search engine “B”, 99.9% of the time people are going to choose to use search engine “A” for all of their searches. These search engine AI developers know this. So with each update of their algorithm, they’re honing in on user satisfaction. You can’t fake your way to the top. As such in life, honesty is always going to be the best policy.
Your best course of action is ensuring that every page of your site is primed and ready for a search engine’s cues to pick up on to say, “Hey! This webpage is in the running for exactly what this person is searching for and should be ranked at this position of relevance…” These cues include on-page SEO factors, high-quality backlinks, social media shares, mobile responsiveness, online reviews, local listings, and oh so much more.
NetMarketShare discovered that, in 2017, Google accounted for over 79% of all global desktop search traffic (as they currently have the most advanced search AI), followed by Bing at 7.27%, Baidu at 6.55% and Yahoo at 5.06%. So obviously what you can glean from this data is that Google is most likely the #1 AI you’re going to want to impress the most. Good news is that if you doing well on Google, you’re most likely going to be doing well on the other search engines as well.
In a cruel twist of fate, I need to tell you that nothing in life is completely free; sometimes you’re spending your money, sometimes you’re spending your time. But in the end, and in the immortal words of The New Radicals, “You Get What You Give.” Also, in the immortal words of Queen Britney Spears, “You Better Work B**CH!” I hope this blog gave you a little insight into the measures you can take to gain some control in this crazy internet landscape in which we’re all scrambling to succeed. Let us know if there’s anything we can do to help rocket-launch your business and give you a little more free-time in your personal life.