We all know how tough it can be launching a small business online. More often than not we are constrained by a tight budget and lack of resources. Driving traffic to your website is essential in order to attract potential customers.
In this post we take a look at how to get visitors to your website when faced with a limited budget and when the only marketing resource is yourself.
9 straightforward and cost-effective ways to drive traffic to your website
We’ve outlined nine key actions to help you generate more traffic to your online business and grow your potential customer base. It will mean time and effort on your part but all the actions are straightforward to implement, will help in the long-term success of your business and won’t break the bank.
We’ll kick off with content. Content is the linchpin to everything that you do and if you only take one thing away from this post then it should be the importance and value of having high quality content on your website. Your content should be;
Relevant: Your content should reflect the needs and interests of your audience.
Engaging: Does it read well? Is it interesting? Will it catch your reader’s eye with an easy to follow layout, supported by interesting images (try Pixabay for sourcing great images that are free for you to use).
Shareable: Your content should inspire people to share it with others. 94% of people who share posts do so because they think it might be helpful to others.
Try enhancing the content of your site with visual content. Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images. Think about implementing:
- Images and photos to support text
Following on from content, blogging is one of the best ways to ensure your website is being regularly updated with fresh, relevant content. This is key to driving traffic to your website. Every time you publish a post it provides additional opportunities for your business to appear in search engines results pages. As nicely put by Hubspot – “The only thing blogging costs you: your time.”
- Blogging creates 55% more traffic .
- 57% of companies with a blog have acquired a customer from their blog.
- Small businesses that blog get 126% more lead growth than small businesses that do not blog.
Blogging also has the added advantage of offering long-term benefits. Each post you publish will continue to pull in traffic for months to come. Indeed, Hubspot notes that 70% of the traffic it receives each month to its blog comes from posts that weren’t published in the current month.
The great thing about referral marketing for small businesses is it inexpensive and effective. Essentially you are getting current customers to help drive traffic to your business by using word of mouth to promote your products and services to friends and acquaintances.
- 82% of small business owners have said their main source of new business is referrals.
- People are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend.
- Referred customers bring 25% higher profit margin
The key things when it comes to successful referrals is:
- Ask your customers. Interestingly, the majority of customers who have had a positive customer experience would be happy to refer a friend and yet only a small proportion do. So you need to actively encourage your customers to recommend your business to friends and family.
- Make it easy. You don’t want make your customer jump through hoops to make a referral, so make it as straightforward as possible for customers to refer a friends. Try introducing a refer a friend scheme that incentivises both the customer that provides the referral and the friend they refer.
4. Search Engine optimisation
44% of online shoppers begin by using a search engine.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) essentially involves making your website search engine friendly and people friendly. It involves researching the right keywords and phrases to generate traffic and improving your site structure to make it easy for search engines to find their way around. Much of it links right back to ensuring your content is relevant, engaging and shareable to your customers.
To find out more about getting starting with Search Engine Optimisation then checkout these two comprehensive guides to getting started with SEO.
- MOZ: SEO: The Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization
- Google: Search Engine Optimization Guide
5. Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)
OK, PPC such as Google Adwords will involve you parting with some money however, with pay-per-click advertising you can set your budget to what you can afford to spend and you only pay when someone actually clicks via the advertisement to your website. The key to successful PPC advertising is spending time researching the best keywords for your business – they need to be specific and relevant. Google’s Keyword Planner is a great free tool to start with (you just need to create a Google Adwords Account). It will help you identify keywords and phrases and let you know approximate cost-per-click.
With a bit of playing around and practice Google AdWords is pretty easy to use. Checkout Google Adwords Support will help guide you through the basics of getting started.
6. Social Media
80% marketers felt social media increased website traffic
Social media plays an integral, supporting role in driving traffic. It is a great way for you to promote your content with customers and in turn, makes it very easy for customers to go on and share that content on with their social media contacts.
It is a good idea to start out establishing your business profile on the main networks such as Facebook then concentrate your efforts on the key social networks used by your target audience. For example if you business is jewellery you may find your focus on more visual networks such as Pinterest or Instagram, whereas if you are professional services you may find more of your target audience using LinkedIn or Twitter.
Remember to add social media buttons to your website, blog posts and email communications. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to share your content with their friends.
Email is one of your most cost-effective tools with a healthy ROI. Use email to stay and front of your customers and drive traffic to your site. Share content such as promoting your product and services, blog posts, news articles, infographics and events – all linking back to your website. Focus on building up a quality email list of relevant and permission based contacts as ithe quality of your data will reflect the effectiveness of your traffic :
- Create a newsletter sign-up form on your website (think about incentivising sign-up to boost response).
- Gather names through events you attend, run quizzes and contests offer promotions.
8. Mobile responsive
Ensuring your website is multi-device compatible is essential for getting more visitors to your website. Your website should display equally well whether it is being viewed on a desktop, tablet or mobile.
More and more people are using mobile devices to search the web. Indeed research shows that 60% of web searches in 2015 were conducted from a mobile phone or tablet. Put simply if your website doesn’t view well on a mobile device, people simply won’t take the time to engage with your website. Added to this, if your website is not responsive then it will effect your search engine ranking on mobile searches.
9. Share your URL
Finally make sure you share your website URL at every opportunity. It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how often it is overlooked. Display your website address wherever you can – no matter how insignificant it may first appear: For example;
- business cards
- Email signatures
- Invoice and order acknowledgements
- Promotional material
Of course everything we’ve mentioned in this post will entail time and ongoing effort on your part, however they are all effective and inexpensive ways to drive traffic to your website – with long-term, sustainable results.
We’d love to hear your thoughts and experience of driving traffic to your website, so please do leave a comment.