You wouldn't drive somewhere without directions. You wouldn't build a house without blueprints.
And you shouldn't launch a campaign to increase web traffic without a strategy.
Without strategy, you'll keep shooting aimless messages out into the world, from which you'll get plenty of impressions and few results. But with strategy, you can integrate your marketing efforts to not only attract more web traffic – but also secure more business.
Just ask yourself these three questions:
1. What is my goal?
What do you want your customer to do once they are on your website? It depends on your specific product or service. For instance:
Retailer? Add to cart.
Manufacturer? Find a retailer.
Service? Call for a free estimate.
Nonprofit? Donate or sign up to volunteer.
Determine your website's call to action (called the "conversion" in web talk), and ask your customers to do it. Make it a giant button on every page of the website. Make it the goal, directly or indirectly, of every marketing message you create.
2. Who is my customer?
Marketing isn't about forcing people to buy things they don't want. It's about finding the people who need you and introducing yourself, in their language, at exactly the right time and place:
A billboard for car air conditioning repair as they sit sweltering in rush hour traffic.
A plumbing business on page one of their Google search for how to fix a toilet.
Also consider the length of the buy process – how long it takes to "convert" them. If you sell clothing, the process can be as little as a few minutes, from grabbing the customer's attention with an image of a cute dress to getting them to click "Process Order." If you're a university trying to attract students, however, the process can stretch over months or even years as your customers weigh their options.
Throughout a longer buy process, find ways to stay in front of them. This might involve using softer calls to action to funnel them closer to your ultimate goal. For instance:
Inviting them to tour the campus will guide them closer to the primary conversion of completing their application.
Enticing them to subscribe to your blog for free advice lets you prove your knowledge and helpfulness while they decide whether or not to pay for more extensive services.
3. Who is my competition?
If you follow the tips listed above, chances are you'll already be a step ahead of your competitors. But you can go the extra mile by:
Targeting their customers. For instance, when buying ads on search engines, add your competitor's name to your keyword list, so your business appears on the results page every time someone searches for your competitor.
Differentiating yourself. Focus on benefits, not features – particularly the benefits you offer that your competitors don't.
Being more attractive. Study their ads before writing your own and find ways to make yours more compelling – like by offering discounts and free trials.
Pinpointing your goal, understanding your customers and knowing your competition are the building blocks of strategy, and strategy is the backbone of any campaign. Don't leave home without it.
Traditional advertising is still very much in the picture. But if your goal is to get more web traffic, you have to do more than just add a URL to the end of your outdoor boards, print ads, direct mail, TV commercials or radio spots. You have to make it ultra clear why they want to visit your website.
Here are a few ways to do that.
1. Make visiting the website your main call to action. On the billboard, TV spot or postcard, literally ask them to go to the website, versus calling a number or visiting a physical location.
2. Tell them how the site will benefit them in the call to action. Don't just say "visit our website" – tell them what they'll get out of it. For instance:
Learn more at website.com
Get tickets at website.com
Compare prices at website.com
Get a free sample at website.com
3. Try using a memorable URL. A fun, unique URL is more likely to stick in your customer's mind and entice them to find out more – like:
4. Offer something exclusively online. Something cool they can only get on your website:
Promo code discount/downloadable coupon
Contest or sweepstakes
Free sample, trial or evaluation
5. Create urgency by limiting the time frame of the offer.("Hurry – the sale ends Wednesday.")
6. Get them involved. Spark community interaction by asking people to share stories or suggestions. With the Can He Rope It challenge for Justin Boots, we asked people to send in funny roping challenges to trick-roper Anthony Lucia for a chance to win a pair of Justin Boots.
Try some of these out on your next campaign and let us know how it worked for you.
PR can drive web results, just like advertising, social media and other endeavors. It's all a part of the right marketing mix. In fact, it's actually one of the best ways that PR can make an immediate, and traceable, impact on your company or organization's communications efforts. Each PR tactic you undertake—from pitching a story to media to pursuing speaking opportunities—can lead people to find out accurate information. It also can lead to immediate decisions.
How many of us have read a story in a newspaper or magazine—and then immediately Googled the product we saw? I know I have (tactic used: media relations). Think about the last time you listened to someone speak well about an issue you cared about. Did you not go look up their organization and consider a donation or membership (tactic used: speaker's bureau)?
So which PR tactics should you consider? Each of the following could be a part of your plan:
Targeted media relations. Before you pitch an idea to any reporter, you should know what they write about and why your company/organization is worth their time. But when you find the right outlet, a reporter who "gets" it, and a product, service or human-interest story worth telling, the result can be beautiful—both online and offline.
Researched blogger outreach. People who write blogs want to share information—but like reporters they prefer to talk about things that are relevant to their content area of coverage. If you come across a blog talking about a subject you have an answer to (such as a product or service solution), you should be able to pitch them on a future blog post mention. If they decide to write about your company/organization, chances are they will link directly to your site.
Informative e-Newsletters. Although not strictly a PR function, e-Newsletters are ideal for communicating directly to interested parties (persons who have opted-in to receive them). A monthly or quarterly e-Newsletter sets you up to deliver relevant content right to consumers. If you use imbedded URLs, you can lead readers to additional information on your site.
Speaking opportunities. Qualified speakers are often welcome at organizational events around town. Prepare a great presentation on a topic of interest in your field, and be sure to inform people about the need that your product or service solves. Don't oversell them—but lead them to your website for information on why you and your company may be a good solution to their problem. Those who are really interested will look you up.
The above suggestions are only a few web-driving ideas that you can consider that are grounded in public relations. But whatever marketing ideas you choose to try, keeping public relations as a part of the mix can help your company or organization taste online success as well.
Email has been around a while, but that doesn't mean it isn't effective. It's still one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to drive traffic to your website. Whether you're a business sending a monthly newsletter or a retailer announcing a sale, it's time to rethink your email marketing strategy.
Don't send just to send How often you send your email campaigns should depend on the amount of valuable content you can produce. A site with multiple posts a day, like Mashable, has enough fresh content to allow for frequent email updates to keep their readership engaged. A small blog with a new post every month or so does not. Know what your email strategy can handle and if you begin to notice lowered open and click rates or unsubscribes, ease off the gas and reevaluate.
Do your research To find out what information will be valuable to your readers, start with your email opt-in form – it's a perfect way to gather data. Knowing where readers live, their age and even gender can go a long way in helping you strategize. You can even take it a step further, like Justin Boots has, and ask people to identify the types of content they'd like to receive. As your email list builds, these answers will help you see what will work best, and your email and web content strategies will come together a lot quicker.
Don't show all your cards Consider replacing lengthy copy with a sentence or two and a "read more" link directing readers to your website. If you "geek out" on email stats, this strategy will also show you which stories are being read and by whom.
Do be social Make it ridiculously easy for your readers to share your email content. Popular email marketing websites, like MailChimp and Constant Contact, allow you to add social share and forward buttons (and they're trackable). You should also be sharing your campaigns. Spreading your email content through your social networks broadens its reach and adds more opportunities for people to find it and subscribe. (Tip: Break up your email content into several social media posts to get the most benefit from the content.)
Don't forget the simple stuff This may seem obvious, but it has to be said. Don't forget to link your logo, header graphic or other relevant graphics to your homepage and be sure to include the full web address in your footer. Featuring a navigation menu of specific areas of your website adds even more click opportunities. Many times these are easily skipped over, but they are an easy opportunity for new web traffic.
Interested in more email tips and tricks? Subscribe to our Balcom newsletter, The Letter B (GetLetterB.com), or message me directly(@LaurenAshleyTX).