In modern marketing, clicks are currency. You need to drive as much traffic as possible to your website to build authority and become more accessible to your best leads. There are several practices that businesses can do besides include online strategies like Pay-per-click ads and SEO.
The most important thing is to start seeing your website as more than a cool-looking digital business card with neat interactive features. Your website can be an operational tool and a valuable resource for customers, employees and suppliers.
Why does traffic matter?
This question can be answered in one word: authority. Authority is how you get to the top of the Google search results page. The way Google and other search engines look at it, popularity is an indicator that a website is giving users what they’re looking for.(Popularity is only one indicator. A while back we wrote an article about the three main drivers of Search Engine Optimization, which you can read here
The right way and the wrong way to get traffic
The wrong way to get traffic is “click bait”. Click bait is sensationalized or misleading titles and/or meta tags that promise something a web page doesn’t actually deliver. There’s two reasons you see click bait: 1) website owners make money off every click-through on ads on their website, so they want maximum exposure to these ads, and 2) more clicks = more authority.
Clickbait is disingenuous and cheap, and it demonstrates to users that you’d rather manipulate them for money than provide value (like reputable businesses do).The right way to get traffic is to make your website a valuable resource, and use honest meta tags that communicate the value your web pages offer to the users who will be most interested. Don’t bother trying to get clicks from unqualified leads. This is bad for your image, and it’s a waste of resources that could be used to talk to qualified leads.
For a quick crash course on the basics of writing meta tags, you can read this post
If your website is useful and your SEO is solid, you will see increases in traffic over time and build your authority. This is a slow process, but gains can be exponential; as traffic increases, so does your authority. And that makes your website easier to find than competing websites...which leads to more traffic...which leads to increased authority.
The click-rich get click-richer, so to speak. Which is exactly why now is the best time to start building authority in your niche. Marketing is a long-term game.
Six practices that will increase traffic and build authority
1. Send your customers directly there
If your website is a valuable customer resource, there will be tons of opportunities to send prospects and customers there. One of the local companies we work with, Snohomish Tree Company requires that people go to their website to request an estimate.
This means that every single person who requests an estimate goes to the website. No more are there leads that never see the website because they learned about Snohomish Tree through business cards, vehicle branding, or referrals.
Hopefully, the user sees how useful the website really is while they’re there. STC has a polished website with helpful blog posts and other resources that help customers navigate the process of hiring a tree removal service.
Resources like these give a business more opportunities to send their customers to their site. Customer is wondering why a job costs so much? Check out this blog post that explains all the cost factors in tree removal job. Customer is worried about potential hazards? You can read our safety protocol on the website.
Links from other websites will 1) drive traffic there, and 2) indicate to search engines that other websites approve of their content. Networking with other businesses for SEO purposes can go a long way, particularly if you’re in related fields. Somebody in dirt work, for instance, can provide value to their target audience by sharing resources from a website about trucking, survey work, or raw materials.
This becomes much more practical when you blog on a consistent basis, because you generate more content for other sites to link to. The most important step is to share your expertise as much as possible by generating a lot of useful content.
3. Inbound Content and SEO
The term inbound content refers to marketing that provides value to the target audience, as opposed to marketing that interrupts whatever they’re doing. With inbound content, the customers opt-in to hear your message. With outbound, they’re held hostage by their desire to see the feature program.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, refers to content strategies that make your website relevant to users that are looking for specific resources and/or content. One of the main drivers is word count. By writing content with a high frequency of certain words, you show search engines that your content is relevant to certain searches.
The best SEO and inbound content strategies support each other. That means your content is 1)providing value to the user, and 2) optimizing your website for certain search queries. Inbound content is an umbrella term that refers to visual content (videos, photos, illustrations, infographics), podcasting, resource pages, and blogging.
Blogging is the first step to take, since search engines can actually “read” written content. It’s also easier to get into than visual or audio content. As an expert in your field, you already have the knowledge. You just need to put in writing, or hire somebody to do it for you.
See this post for a list of prompts that will help you turn your own knowledge into high-value inbound content.
What’s great about modern online marketing is that it’s more scalable and targeted than marketing methods of the past (see how the internet has improved marketing for small businesses, here).
Strategies like Pay-per-click only charge you for conversions (click-throughs). You get impressions for free. When a user does click through, they’re typically a highly qualified lead. They were searching for a specific thing, and your website happens to be optimized for that very thing. These leads are worth paying money for.
We often prescribe a PPC campaign to websites trying to break onto the front page of Google, because your ads go to the very top of a search. Even if your organic link is at the bottom or on the second page, you can still generate traffic through PPC...which increases authority...which, along with your other SEO efforts, will move you on up the rankings.
Established websites can benefit from PPC, too. We run PPC campaigns for new products/services, seasonal offerings, and any small areas of weakness in a website’s SEO. You focus on the big things first, then you dial in the little things. Again, the cool thing about PPC is that you only pay when it’s working.
5. Have resources on your website for your employees or partners/suppliers
Your website is more than a repository for your contact info and portfolio. Using it as an operational tool has two benefits: 1) it increases traffic, and 2) it improves operations.
For example, you can set up your website so that your employees can do things like request PTO, check the job schedule, find answers to customer questions, request meetings, submit suggestions, communicate with other team members, check inventory, or find customer and supplier contact info.
You could send your suppliers there to schedule a drop off or contact the shipping and receiving team. This is particularly useful if you have security concerns. You could even send them to your site to get a code to enter your facility.
E-commerce has taken a substantial share of shopping from brick-and-mortar. The people have spoken: E-commerce simply works better for some purchases. The best part about e-commerce, for you, is that users constantly visit your site to make purchases.
We’d like to see every business offer e-commerce in some capacity, even service companies. In a recent post we shared several e-commerce opportunities that service businesses should consider. These include branded apparel (a highly practical form of marketing that basically every businesses can benefit from) and “packaged services”, such as scheduled inspections, cleanings, or consultations.
The most important thing is to be familiar with the resources on your website and start sending customers/prospects there as often as possible. This is a practice you can adopt today, right now, without sinking any money into it. Just start browsing your website once in a while, so that all of there sources on there are fresh in your mind.
While you’re at it, you can brainstorm more content ideas. As you go through your work day and encounter the same questions and conversations over and over again, you’ll realize that your customers are telling you exactly what will drive traffic to your site.