1.2 billion websites exist on the internet as of January 2020, and the number is growing, i.e. 380 new websites go live on the World Wide Web every minute. So, if you are a startup or a small business owner looking to know how to increase traffic to your business website, you should know how competitive it can be to stand out in billions.
The number one struggle of every small business marketer or the owner who has a business website is to get more traffic, because this traffic will ultimately convert into customers!
This article will discuss each and every detail that you should know in order to drive and increase traffic to your startup or small business website.
Step 1- Know All the Possible Ways to Drive Traffic in Detail
Whether you are a one man company where you are responsible to drive traffic to the website yourself or you have a dedicated team (or person) to do it for you, knowing all these possibilities is a must. It’s essential if you are doing it yourself, and can be a big plus when you have to supervise someone else who is responsible for traffic generation.
Here are the most effective types of traffic strategies that are doing great in present day online marketing arena. Not all of these may act as roadmap to success for your particular business, but some of these would surely be.
Let’s see what each of these traffic generation mediums offer.
- Search Engine Optimization: The best way for any business to get found is through the web search, and SEO serves this very purpose. For a website to appear in the top search results it requires a detailed plan and persistent efforts. SEO is a long term strategy and takes minimum three months to show any results.
- Search Engine Marketing: Another way to appear in the search results is through paid search engine marketing, i.e. Google Ads and Bing Ads. This can show instant results, however, the moment your budget finishes, your ads will stop showing and your website will stop receiving traffic.
- Social Media: Almost everyone with access to the internet is on Social Media and this brings a great opportunity for small businesses and startups to leverage the Social Media platforms for their benefit. Social Media marketing can either be free or paid.
- Email Marketing: This is one of the oldest yet most effective marketing medium today. What else can be a better way to communicate with your audience than sending them an email, however, you need a proper strategy and right tools to make most out of email marketing.
- Influencer Marketing: With the rise of Social Media, Influencer Marketing has gained quite a momentum. Let it be a celebrity or a local influencer, they provide small businesses an active audience who is listening to them.
- Offline Advertising: Despite the exponential growth of internet, people still spend a great deal of time in offline activities including traveling to and from work, dining out, going shopping, and so on. So, using the non-internet options to drive traffic to your website can also be a great way, i.e. radio and TV ads, digital signage, banners, business cards and so on.
- Event Marketing: No matter what industry your business is operating in, there are always relevant events, i.e. trade shows, conferences, workshops etc., which can effectively be used to get people to your website.
- Promotional Offers & Contests: Discount offers, and contest marketing where your potential audience can have chance to win something can be a big motivator to get people to your website.
- Affiliate Marketing: If you are ready to share a percentage of profit with someone, Affiliate Marketing is a great way to save time and effort. Let someone else drive traffic to your website and pay them a share from a sale.
- Content Syndication: Whether you are looking to bring people to your website to read your latest article or buy your latest product, you can do it with digital storytelling and use content syndication networks to bring people to your website.
Step 2- Make a Traffic Acquisition Plan
Knowing all the possible ways to drive traffic is not enough, and in fact, it may overwhelm you as you may like to try them all at once so you can drive more traffic to your business website in less time.
Well, this won’t really work if you don’t have a proper traffic acquisition plan. So, before even you step into making a plan, answer these questions:
- How much traffic do you need?
- What will the visitors do once they reach your website?
- How many dedicated people you have or you can have for traffic acquisition?
- What’s your budget? (Even if you plan to use Free only options, there are some costs involved)
How Much Traffic Do You Need?
“As much as possible” will be the answer of most the people, but you need to remove all the ambiguities and have measurable and achievable answer to this.
Moreover, having a lot of traffic is not always the winning situation, it may just be eating your server resources if it is not paying you back. So, your answer should be XXX number of targeted visitors.
What Will the Visitors do once they are on Your Website?
“Conversions” should be the answer, no matter what industry your business is operating in or whatever the business model you have. Conversion doesn’t just mean making a purchase, but it can be any interaction, i.e. filling in the contact form, spending at least XX minutes reading XX number of articles, subscribing to your blog etc.
How Many Dedicated People You Have Or You Can Have For Traffic Acquisition?
This is very important point to know right in the beginning, because if you are a one man company, you may need to outsource some work or hire a part time or full time person to help you with website traffic.
You must know that effective and long term traffic acquisition requires loads of laborious tasks, i.e. content development, creating ad copies, research, etc. so, it does require a team. The better team you have, the better results you will get!
What’s Your Budget?
Yes, budget plays a vital role in driving targeted traffic to your website. But this doesn’t mean you cannot do anything for free. There are tens of free options, but you need someone to do these and you must pay that someone too.
Other than that, as I mentioned in the beginning, the number of websites being launched every day is overwhelming and it is really not easy to stand out in the crowd. This is where an appropriate budgeting will save you!
Step 3- Set the Traffic Acquisition Goals & Identify Right Mediums
Working on a website traffic acquisition plan without goals in just like sailing in the ocean without GPS or any other device for directions. Knowing how much traffic you need, what you want the visitors to do once they are on your website and how many people and budget you have, setting aggressive yet achievable goals should not be difficult.
There are mainly two types of website traffic acquisition goals that you can set and evaluate effectively:
Short Term Traffic Acquisition Goals & Traffic Sources
Depending on your business model, you may need fast traffic to your website, i.e. you are running a seasonal sale or time specific offer. In the specific cases when you need a high traffic but you have less than one month to do it, consider setting short term goals, i.e. XXXX number of visitors for Women’s Day Sale. You can further split this number into weeks and days to make the benchmarking simple and easy.
Ok, I have set the short term goal and I need 100,000 visitors in next one week, what to do next?
Remember that instant website traffic is never free, nor low cost. If you are looking for high quality targeted traffic to your website faster, it’s surely going to cost you a handsome amount. The traffic providers that promise low cost fast targeted traffic to your website are mostly scams, i.e. bot generated traffic or through pay per view sites where the only purpose of visitors is to gain credits in their account.
So, whenever you are setting short term traffic acquisition goals for your business website, make up the mind to spend a handsome amount in paid advertising that may include but is not limited to:
- Google Ads
- Yahoo & Bing Ads
- Facebook & Other Social Media Ads
- Social Media Contests & Giveaways
- Influencer Marketing
- Industry Specific Newsletter Sponsorships
- Radio & TV Ads
- Email Marketing
- SMS Marketing
- Event Sponsorship
- Content Syndication Through Taboola, MGID and other Networks
You may want to use a few of these or all of these mediums, depending on your business model, budget and traffic requirements. But keep in mind that all these mediums will send you the traffic only till your account has money in it. The moment your balance hits zero, your website will stop receiving traffic. This is why you must work on long term traffic acquisition plan.
Long Term Traffic Acquisition Goals & Traffic Sources
Whether it is a newly launched startup looking to get the business website noticed or an established small business that wants to improve its traffic, having long term traffic acquisitions goals give you a roadmap to step up the ladder and grow your business in a sustainable way.
The long term traffic goals may include XXXX number of visitors per month through Search, Social Media, Referrals, and Direct mediums by the end of 3, 6 or 12 months.
Ok, I want 100,000 visitors per month to my website in 3 months from now…. What to do next?
So, you have a number in mind based on available resources, i.e. dedicated people and their expertise, it’s time to double check your resources. Remember, to best meet your long term traffic acquisition goals, you need a dedicated person (a team is a big plus).
Long term traffic goals include a variety of techniques, each of which requires an expertise at some level, and technically it is not possible for one person to have all these expertise, so you might need to outsource some of the work too, even if you have a dedicated person or a team.
Let’s look at the techniques and methods that can help you drive and increase traffic to your business website in long term.
1- On Site SEO & Functionality Optimization: On page SEO is the key the success in long run and can drive tons of traffic to your website even during the days when you are not working on traffic generation and when you don’t have money to spend on ads.
This Beginner’s On Page SEO guide by Moz is the great way to get started and make sure your website is compliant to these guidelines. Even if you are not doing on-page SEO yourself, knowing these basics will give you’re a fairly well idea if it is done rightly by the other person or not.
Other than these basic factors, make sure to invest in a great responsive website design, have a great website copy with attractive call to actions that make the visitors to get interested in your business and compel them to contact your further. Also consider website speed, because no one wants to continue with a website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
Visitors’ engagement to your website is an emerging idea that is worth considering. eCommerce stores have been using chatbots, FAQs and self-help options for quite a while, and they are having great results with these methods and technologies, however, they can equally be effective for content based websites.
2- Off Page SEO: This mainly includes linkbuilding and there can be tens of ways to do so, however, doing the ethical ones is the right ideas, because, Search Engines today are very intelligent and they can spot good and bad links quite smartly.
The good ways include but are not limited to guest blogging, niche specific listings, links from the strategic partner websites, requesting broken links replacement, claiming unlinked mentions, blogger outreach etc.
3- Social Media Optimization: This is very much similar to SEO, but rather than optimizing your website, you need to optimize your Social Media profiles. Here is a detailed guide on Social Media Optimization by Sprout Social, which can be quite handy in devising an SMO strategy for your business.
4- Content Marketing: If you are new to content marketing, chances are that many agencies will charge you a hefty amount for content marketing, while they will just be doing blogger outreach and guest blogging for linkbuilding purposes. Content marketing is the present and the future of marketing and is not limited to just blogger outreach.
Ideally, you should have a strategy with content marketing editorial calendar which lead you to promote your brand in in-person events, Apps, Games, Videos, Infographics, Case Studies, Quizzes, Contests, strategic partnerships and Movies.
Remember, content is the king, and it matters most what content you are using to promote your brand. It’s the content used in your various campaigns that will drive traffic from online and offline mediums.
5- Email Marketing: This can be equally effective in long run as well as short term, however, when you are considering Email Marketing in long run, make sure not to spam your subscribers with too many emails. Work on emails that people would love to open and read.
Moreover, set goals to increase email subscribers in collaboration with your content marketing efforts.
6- Engaging in Niche Specific Communities: Depending on the niche and business model, you can leverage the power of niche specific communities not only to drive traffic to your website, but also to build reputation and step forward to become an industry leader.
There are thousands of online communities targeted to specific niches, and you need parallel research to find the ones best suited for your business. For instance, if you are into webhosting business, WebhostingTalk is a great platform to grow your business to the next level. Similarly, Hacker News for sharing and discussing computer science and entrepreneurship related content, and GrowthHackers for marketers.
6- Affiliate Marketing: This is a must consider option if you are planning to grow your business without investing more on physical resources, i.e. staff and office expansion. However, this is not as easy as it may seem. It requires extensive research and parallel planning to get your affiliate program off the ground.
You may choose to set up your own platform for affiliates or use an existing network like Commission Junction; this article will better explain which option to go for!
7- Interviewing & Thought Leaders: If you are a content based business or have a blog for your business website, interviewing industry leaders can be a great way to drive traffic to your website without doing much effort.
However, this will require investing good time in designing the interview content, and in case of a video, the production quality matters a lot. But if you have right standard operating procedures in place for this kind of activity, this can drive huge traffic. The more influential leaders you interview, the more traffic they will drive to your website.
8- Investing in PR Strategy: Almost every business needs a good PR at some point and doing it rightly can actually help a lot in driving traffic to your website as well. You may also consider PR as a short term traffic generation technique, but doing it once and then leaving doesn’t benefit the business overall. So, ideally, you should have a strategic PR plan so it can be fruitful in long run.
Step 4- Set the Priorities
Once, you know the long and short term traffic generation methods in detail and have identified the budget, the next step is to prioritize. You may not need to work on all the above areas that we have discussed in step 3, rather pick only the channels that make most sense to your business.
For instance, you might not need to interview industry leaders (because your business is yet not ready to handle this), or investing in PR might not be the right idea at first (because you do not really have a newsworthy story).
However, the most important channels that every business must consider in long run are SEO (both on page and off page), SMO and content.
Step 5- Focus on Execution
You have spent tens of hours in devising your traffic generation strategy, and you are very much confident about the success of the plan, but it may not go as you planned. The reasons can be various, i.e. your team doesn’t have the skills needed to execute the plan, and you are running short of budget, things went wrong due to a technical glitch and so on.
If you are considering outsourcing website traffic generation, know and confirm that your outsourcing partner has it all what your plan need.
- Things to Consider When Hiring and SEO Expert or Agency
- Choosing the Right Creative Agency
- Things to Know When Hiring a PR Agency
Well, the best way is to break down your big plan into small measurable goals, i.e. monthly and weekly goals. On the other hand, the team members responsible for each goal should record their daily tasks as well. This way you can quickly find who is doing what, how much time particular tasks take.
Step 6- Evaluate the Performance of Campaigns
Daily and weekly reporting discussed in the step 5 is also essential because it will help you measure the effectiveness of various campaigns. For instance when comparing employee daily task reports with the results you can easily figure out what is working better and what’s not.
Moreover, the deep down analysis can reveal the new opportunities or the channels/mediums you should discontinue/hold.
Step 7- Tweak Your Strategies
Based on the analytics in step 6, the next is to tweak your strategies. For instance, you may be spending a lot of SEO and less on SMO, and this is the time to readjust the budget. Similarly, you may have aggressively worked on SEO and SMO for a couple of months and now the stats are in favour of moving to affiliate marketing.
Step 8- Repeat
As you tweak a strategy, you need to restart working on it from step 4 onwards!
The Bottom Line:
Driving traffic to your new startup website or increasing traffic to your established small business was once as easy affair. But with the ever increasing competition, budget constraints of startups and small business, and lack of skilled team members it is very challenging now.
On the other hand, too many fake/non-targeted traffic providers who promise a fast traffic to your business website overwhelm the business owners and marketers. I hope this detailed guide will help you formulate your very own website traffic generation plan that will ultimately increase the conversions.