Email newsletters and social media links can help bring customers to your website, but quality content will keep them there.
So you’ve built your business a flash website. Congratulations, you’ve scaled the first hurdle. But now the hard work really begins – how do you get potential customers, or ‘eyeballs’, to actually visit your website?
As any SME owner will tell you, the most challenging and important aspect of owning a website is driving customers to it. Because without regular incoming traffic, your site becomes little more than a glorified (and expensive) business card.
"The true value of a website is its ability to engage customers and help turn that engagement into sales. And for that, you need a constant stream of eyeballs"
Probably the most obvious way to get those eyeballs is to advertise. Paid traditional, social media and display advertising are great ways to build your brand and get your site in front of people. Don’t forget to include SEO (search engine optimisation), keywords that optimise content for search engines so that customers can more easily find your site.
Speaking of social media, SMEs need to be proactive in using social media channels to promote their content. Twitter is ideal for short, snappy links, whereas Google+ promotion can help your site show up in personalised searches. And we probably don’t need to tell you how image-heavy social sites such as Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram can drive customers to your site.
But while social media can be fun, don’t forget that the end goal is to use it as a way of attracting people to your website.
When they get there, what will they find? As Bill Gates said back in 1996, content is king, a sentiment that’s just as relevant today.
Your website needs quality, engaging content such as articles or blog content, videos, infographics and images. Find a content expert or learn how to do it yourself.
Make sure your headlines are compelling and irresistible, because without a compelling headline, even the most fascinating blog post or article will go unread. The internet is overflowing with articles on mastering the art of headline writing. So do some research, and think carefully about it before you hit ‘publish’.
Another way to entice visitors is to invite experts or guest bloggers/commentators onto your site. This gives you great material for promotion by other channels such as email, social media and PR but the expert is also likely to share the content with their followers, which opens your site up to an expanded audience.
That’s not all: the guest writer also earns more exposure and credit as an expert and you get access to content you couldn’t create yourself, along with the benefit of their credibility.
Believe it or not, good old email, which has been with us decades, is another important channel for building web traffic. Research shows that 99 per cent of consumers check their email every day and that 60 per cent of consumers globally have made a purchase thanks to a marketing email.
Just make sure the content of your email communication is clear, accurate and engaging – and be consistent. One random email a year does not make a successful marketing campaign.
And last, but by no means least, run a competition, because everyone wants to be a winner – and giving something away can give your traffic an immediate boost. Not to mention a spike in social media engagement and followers, increased brand awareness, new targeted leads and the opportunity to reward loyal customers. Which is a win in anyone’s books.