Are you struggling to market your small business online? It’s definitely not easy… and there are SO many avenues you can try. Here’s what I would do if I were you.
Social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, Pinterest, and others can help you gain targeted traffic. Once you discover the social media sites that your readers favor, share post teasers, and other info on those sites to bring more targeted traffic to you. Each social media platform caters and appeals to a slightly different group of people. For you, this means that some social media sites will be a better fit for your business and its goals than other social media sites are. I could write a whole post about which platforms cater to which types of audiences/demographics, but you can take note of the social media platforms that bring you the most traffic. Those platforms are the ones you’ll want to focus on. However, don’t forget to try out new social sites to help you stay ahead of your competition.
Getting traffic to your website doesn’t have to be difficult. Search engines actually do a lot of the work for you. But, the key to getting the right traffic is to make effective use of search engines and other options available to you. Here are some great tips to help you reach your target market and your goals.
1. Don’t be afraid of learning SEO. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the art of raising your position on search engine results pages (SERPs) by using specific strategies, techniques, and tactics. The higher you are on the results page, the higher your ranking is and the more targeted leads you’ll receive.
2. Create interactive blog posts – You’ve heard the phrase “Content is king” and it’s the truth. Your content needs to be interactive. Ask questions that allude to a problem and the solution. For example, a personal trainer that wants to find readers who are struggling to get fit and seeking motivation, could create a blog post asking something like, “How Are Negative Thoughts Sabotaging Your Workout?” Readers who can relate, that is those that have negative thoughts and want to get fit will click through to find out more.
3. Create a Facebook group – When you create a Facebook group related to your business, you essentially create a community where people with similar interests can interact with you and each other. We all talk about how busy our lives are but we often find time to “wind down” or “start the day” with social media interaction. A Facebook group can be a great way to find new leads and connect with existing customers.
4. Get a good pop-up for email capture – Having a good pop-up email capture in place can literally make the difference between being forgotten and making multiple sales. I highlighted the word good because we all know that pop-ups can be extremely annoying. It’s important to choose a pop-up that has a variety of options and features. When you have more control of how, when, and where the pop-up appears, you can gently remind your reader to sign up for your offer. Remember, your visitor comes for information. If the pop-up covers up or restricts viewing the info before they know it’s good, they may just leave the page, never to return. Use pop-ups wisely.
5. Create a special report – A free, special report about the most common problems your readers face will likely attract the right traffic. In exchange for signing up and giving you their email addresses, you will give them the free report. Once they are on the list, you can market to them via email providing more info and relative offers.
6. Run a contest or sweepstakes – Before you create a contest or run sweepstakes, be sure to know the difference both professionally and legally. Every state has its own rules when it comes to what differentiates the two. However, a properly run and executed sweepstakes or contest can bring in loads of traffic and plenty of new list sign-ups. Consider hosting these several times a year rather just during the traditional “holiday season.”
7. Create a forum – Creating a forum is a great way to build a sense of community. People can give advice, opinions, and input on your content as well as support each other. This is also a great way for you to get to know your audience. Listen carefully to what they say and what they don’t say. Keep members active and involved by asking open-ended questions and sharing your thoughts.
8. Include strategic keywords throughout your site – If you are not familiar with keywords, the best place to start is with a good keyword tool. There are many out there. Some site owners prefer Wordtracker while others like to use SEO Book or Google’s Keyword Planner. Try out several to decide what features you want and which tool works best for your bottom line.
9. Participate on social media platforms – If you haven’t jumped on the social media bandwagon, it’s time. The old adage, “Out of sight, out of mind,” applies when it comes to social media. Be active and involved. You need to pay your dues by liking and sharing posts as well as by leaving some words of encouragement on others’ timelines. Following people on Twitter or liking their Facebook Pages will return to you tenfold.
10. Use StumbleUpon – StumbleUpon is a social network, which acts as a type of search engine called a discovery engine. It uses individual readers’ preferences, likes, and dislikes, etc., to tailor search results by finding or discovering even the more obscure content the reader wants and likes. This network is popular among marketers for a variety of reasons, which include the ability to rate posts, share pictures, and add videos too.
11. Spread the word in your communities – Do you belong to a local community group? Word of mouth still counts today, especially when you are socially active. Make it easy for your fellow group members to find and share your business info by giving them a business card or two. Consider creating a special free product or service just for group members. This will help them to get a more personal feel for what you do and they will be more likely to share their “new find” with others.
12. Make sure your mailing list is set up – You may think its too time-consuming or you don’t have the right skills. Don’t worry. Your newsletter can be as simple as an update or the notification of a new product. Constant Contact and MailChimp are popular email marketing platforms that help you stay connected with your prospects and loyal customers through autoresponders, newsletters, and other forms of email correspondence.
13. Keep in touch – If you are between contests or new product messages, make certain to keep in touch with your readers. Email about a good article on a related hot topic. Send a message about your latest post. Just keep feeding your readers information they are interested in. If it is a new season, send them an infographic with some interesting topic related facts. Create an infographic with one of your own sayings and pass it along.
14. Create a press release – While it may sound old school, it is still effective and can bring traffic to your website. Your press release does not have to be very long. You can (and should) create an intriguing headline along with short, concise body information.
15. Make your website search engine friendly – Your website content should relate to the needs and wants of your target market. While visitors will share website posts and other info, search engines play the most prominent role in your success. Keep them happy by beginning with a quality website theme or template. Poorly coded or outdated themes can do more harm than good. Learn and implement solid Search Engine Optimization practices. When you know the tried and true SEO techniques, you aren’t as easily scammed by “do-it-quick” sales pitches, empty promises, or black-hat strategies for gaining traffic or money. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true.
16. Create engaging headlines – Make sure your blog posts have well-crafted titles and headlines as well as sub-headings, when applicable. Your titles and headlines should be engaging, contain power words to encourage action, peak curiosity, and when possible, allude to the solution of a problem.
17. Ask questions in your headlines – When you create a headline question, it’s important that your target market can identify with the question. The more your reader can relate to the topic or problem, the more likely he, or she is to click through to find the answer. Remember this one – “How Are Negative Thoughts Sabotaging Your Workout?”
18. Include links to relevant posts – Links are important, both incoming and outgoing links. Make it a priority to link related posts on your site to each other. This is often referred to as “internal” linking. In addition, occasionally link to related content on expert sites. This is called “external” linking. Linking to expert or authority sites can help to elevate your authority standing. When a website refers to and links to your site, it is referred to as an “incoming” link.
19. Reward your target audience – Create a special thank you for your target audience and post it on social media with a request to share. A little thank you goes a long way. Provide a special link new signups can use to get the item and get on your email list.
20. Set yourself up as an authority – The topic you chose for your website is one you know a great deal about. People in your circles see you as an “authority” on this subject. To help others see you in this light, share, share, and share some more. Get out there and “be seen” in your local area and online. Share your knowledge and experiences on your website. Offer to guest post on similar sites. Team up with another authority figure. Host a webinar to teach or mentor others. Mention and quote your favorite authorities. Sponsor events. Stay up to date on your topic to keep traffic coming your way. Above all, keep learning and sharing in a variety of ways and places to build your authority reputation.
That’s a lot of stuff, right?! But you can do it! Let me know if you need any help along the way.
Stephanie Amy | Social Media Consultant | @Stephsandy Consulting, LLC