Top 5 Ways for Small Businesses to Increase Traffic
Surprisingly, it isn’t common knowledge that small businesses should have a website. In fact, less than 2/3 of small businesses have a dedicated website, preferring traditional advertising (or none at all). And while there are several factors that go into such a decision, it is a fact that businesses without websites are leaving money on the table.
But, don’t let the fact that you do have a website make you think that your marketing job is done. A website that doesn’t draw traffic or show up on search engine results isn’t any better than a nonexistent on. . . all you have at that point is a glorified pricing sheet and business card. For contemporary businesses, a website that generates traffic and shows up on search results might be the deciding factor for thousands of dollars in business.
Here, we’ll discuss 5 ways that small businesses can generate traffic and substantial business leads.
Optimize Your Content
A website is only as good as its content. With that in mind, what does it mean to “optimize” your content?
Essentially, it means that you:
- Include relevant keywords that link your business and common search terms on search engines like Google or Bing,
- Use attractive and relevant headlines and sub headers to logically break the content and signal how information is organized,
- Link to authoritative sources that provide high-quality information, and
- Provide interesting, informative content for your potential customers.
Google algorithms in particular have shifted over the years, ostensibly to provide searchers the best content related to their queries. The best way for you to show up in Google results is to make sure your content organically links to important information in your industry, includes popular search terms in the text, and provides content that people want to link to and share.
This strategy is like a “big net” approach; you are casting a wide net to try and draw as many visitors as possible by showing up higher on search engine results. Since roughly 67% of browsers click on the top five search results, it stands to reason that getting your site further up the chain can only drive more traffic to your website.
Open Up for Conversion Marketing
And while organic content is king, don’t underestimate the benefits of direct marketing targeting sales. Many businesses use “landing pages” that follow all the rules listed above to optimize their content but tie them to direct marketing emails or Pay Per Click (PPC) search engine advertising.
If organic search optimization is the wide net, this is the harpoon. With this kind of strategy, you capture people who know exactly what they want, but they just don’t know who to go with. This kind of strategy works great for small businesses serving a regional area, because you can use pad advertising and landing pages geared towards location-specific services and use high-quality copy to get that person to call, click, or buy.
Diversify your Strategy and Maintain your Brand on Social Media
There are a number of digital media outlets to leverage in order to drive traffic to your site, depending on your goals.
If you want to get traffic and increase sales, then social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and others are potential places to make your mark. Having a social media site doesn’t increase traffic, however, unless you direct your content to your website and (ideally) places where customers can get information about your services. Your Facebook page can share content from other sources all day… but if you decide to share your own content, and that content gets shared, and so on, then imagine the amount of potential traffic your site can pull in.
So, when you use a social media platform (and you should) make sure that you are funneling potential visitors to a location on your website.
Measure, Every Day
If you’re writing blogs, sharing on social media, cultivating an audience with emails and advertising, and applying some direct marketing strategies, you now have a set of lead-generating media outlets that can add up to some serious traffic (and serious sales). But you can’t rest on that… because eventually, media channels can dry up. Audiences move on to other things, get bored, or drop out and shift to other platforms. That’s why it is important to track your visitors.
Many social media platforms provide tools to help you track visitors to and from your page or channel, including how they got there. More importantly, use a tool like Google Analytics in your site to develop an understanding of where your visitors come from, and where they go on the site. Is your Facebook page driving huge traffic between 9am and 11am? Then make sure to publish some new content there every morning. Instagram blowing up your landing pages in the middle of the day? Schedule some fun posts and a blog article midday on Mondays.
Measuring data like this helps you see what works, what doesn’t, and where to place your marketing energy.
Hire the Professionals
Marketing isn’t a rocket science, but it is a skill that professionals have developed over time. And handling efforts in a data-driven online market isn’t easy when you have a website, paid advertising campaign, and social media market to contend with.
A small campaign to drive traffic can’t hurt, but if you’re serious about bringing potential customers to your business, then you get the best results from hiring professional digital marketers. Content strategists or firms will typically specialize in multiple forms of advertising, and will also hire or contract out with copywriters, web designers, digital designers, and other experts to produce campaigns for you tailored to your industry and audience.
And yes, you might try and keep costs low by setting a small advertising or marketing budget. If you do look for a specialist or firm to handle your marketing, but you don’t want to buy every single service you offer, then typically you can’t go wrong with anyone who offers
- Organic SEO content development.
- Social media and online reputation management.
- Website and/or graphical design options.
With that in mind, throwing good money after bad on your own unsuccessful marketing isn’t going to justify your spending. So, think about bringing people on board who do this for a living. It lets you increase your customer base while concentrating on what is most important to you: your business.