One of the most basic and essential elements of business is the centrality of the customer. The products you sell and the services you offer are important. The brand image you create is crucial. Your promotional efforts are helpful. But in the end, it’s the customers that bring in the money. It’s the customers that make a business profitable.
Once you understand this truth, you can focus your efforts on that vital goal: to bring in the customer. Otherwise, you’ll have no business at all.
If you haven’t already, ask yourself, “What am I doing to draw more customers into my business and more visitors to my business site?” You know as well as any that the world of commerce is not made solely with bricks and mortar anymore. A great portion of your target audience (if not all) is found online.
Driving that audience to your website is certainly a challenge. However, the web traffic trends of 2017 show that even websites with less-established followings can increase their site’s traffic drastically with these proven methods.
Create a Boss Content Marketing Strategy
We’re not talking here about brainstorming a few mediocre bullet points, scratched onto a sticky note one evening. For considerable traffic each month, you need to increase the quality of content you are creating and improve the plan you have to share that content.
Notice that quantity of content isn’t necessarily a factor of increased traffic (unless your amount of shareable content is seriously lacking), but your content’s quality is. Content that resonates well with an audience gets more audience engagement, which in turn organically gets that content a higher spot on search engine results. If you’re serious about SEO and increasing traffic from all avenues, make your content worthwhile to your audience.
Shareable Content that Matters
To start, define the type of content you want associated with your brand. A few questions to consider:
What kind of content does my audience already consume? What are they looking for when they come upon my content?
What kind of tone will my content carry? Light and quirky? Professional, informative and succinct? Perhaps a little bit of both?
How can I make my content unique from the competition?
Remember, content comes in many forms. To engage the audience you currently have, and to bring in larger crowds, don’t just stick with one medium. Test out what catches your audience’s attention. Are blog posts or short videos more popular with your target audience? What would the engagement be like if you tried both?
If you’re looking to do more testing, shake up an article by including a survey or a personality quiz. Add more personal stories and short narratives to your content. Include images beyond your simple stock photo. Make your content something your audience wants to share.
Really, one of the most important questions you can ask yourself is, “Does my content matter?” Are you just compiling fluff you’ve found from other sites or are you giving your audience something they can sink their teeth into? Give them something with more substance, not just something to fill space.
Keywords that Convert
Under the umbrella of content creation, remember to consider which keywords will rank your content higher on search engines. Some novice entrepreneurs fall into the trap of including as many of the top-ranking keywords into their posts as they can. But what you need to learn early on is that more is sometimes just more when it comes to keywords.
You’ll need to ask yourself what kind of website traffic are you looking for: traffic that will lead to converting customers, or just traffic for traffic’s sake? For traffic that converts into loyal customers, be more specific with keywords and keyword phrases. Choose phrases that someone who is looking to buy would use, like “winter coat under $50” rather than simply, “coat.”
Become a Social Media Master
The second way to drive traffic to your site is through effective social media campaigns, by meeting your audience where they are at: on social media. If you don’t have the budget for advertising on social media, you can still have a successful campaign by posting the shareable content you’ve already created.
Each social media platform is different, so optimizing on each of the platforms will require small differences here and there. For instance, Facebook posts can see some good engagement on the weekends, while Instagram sees more engagement Monday through Thursday in the afternoon. You’ll want to schedule out posts during the prime times for each of the platforms you choose to use. But knowing how often to post during these times can be tricky.
You don’t want to come across as spammy, but also shouldn’t only post once in a blue moon. Again, each platform will have a different formula to follow. But one overarching key is consistency. You’ll gain more traffic to your site by reliably posting on a consistent schedule your audience knows they trust.
What else makes social media campaigns successful?
Along with building your audience’s trust, your efforts on social media should grab their attention. Mixing up that content will help engage long-time followers who don’t want to keep seeing the same ten type of blog posts in rotation. Images, especially, are necessary to getting the viewer’s attention. One study showed that posts shared on Facebook that included an image had 2.3x the engagement compared to posts without any images. The content you share on social media cannot afford to be void of images. Be aware of the image qualifications for each of the platforms. One poorly sized image may cost you more traffic.
Keep in mind, too, that some content won’t resonate with your audience like other content does. If you post a video on your business’s Facebook page, but see no engagement, don’t try to force that content again on your audience. The response won’t be positive. Test out another video, or try out another form of content. Always be looking for that sweet spot your audience will gravitate to.
Look Outside Yourself
And third: look to share your content on even more outlets. Beyond social media, there are many other platforms that could spread your content’s impact further and further. But when you stick only with social media, you miss out on untapped potential elsewhere. We’re talking about increasing your audience to over 10,000 visitors, not just 100 of your close friends and family. You need to reach further outside yourself for real growth.
One company went from 0 to over 30,000 users in about 5 months, without any paid traffic. What they found most successful to increasing traffic organically was finding like-minded communities to share their content. That’s it. They went outside of Facebook and Twitter to find other online communities that contained their target audience. Because their content was catered to that audience, it was a success.
Look around you for similar communities of followers waiting to embrace your content. Search for your target audience on Reddit, or answer questions on Quora to let them know that you are a resource they can trust. On whatever platform, your objective should be to (1) find your targeted audience and (2) build a relationship between them and your brand.
Consider, as well, investing in guest posts, either publishing others’ content on your site or asking to be published on another’s page. Look to the influencers in your industry: who is your audience listening to? Can you get your content in with them? Or offer to host their content on your site? A little collaboration never hurts. Their audience and yours begin to merge, benefiting both parties.
The same can be done through affiliate marketing, a similar approach where you promote someone else’s product or they yours. Check out how Digital Altitude can give you the tools, tips and tricks to expand your circle of influence and see the traffic start rolling in.
Above All, Keep it about the Audience
If we were to add a fourth step, it would be this one: keep your focus on your targeted audience. Like was mentioned in the beginning of this article, your audience and subsequent customers are what drive your business forward. If you are not connecting with them, then your methods need to change.
SEO and marketing expert, Brian Sutter put it this way: “It’s all about the audience. It’s always been about the audience. From what content formats they prefer, to where they hang out online, to how much (or how little) they trust our marketing. The technology around content marketing–the platforms, the formats, the strategies–exist solely to engage our audiences.”
What Sutter is tapping into is the nature of organic SEO. Content that reaches a wider audience and sites that have better traffic don’t have to pay for better SEO. They create and share the content that matters. Such content naturally ranks high in SEO because of its high levels of engagement. When you want to drastically increase site visitors, take a look at your content. Take a look at where you’re sharing it and make sure it delivers on what your target audience is looking for.