You’ve heard all the arguments about the importance of having a website for your business – it’s a showcase for what you have to offer and most often potential clients’ first port of call when they are deciding whether to trust you with their hard-earned cash.
You’ve spent hundreds, or maybe even thousands of pounds, for a professional to build your website, or maybe you have invested your valuable time and effort into creating your own.
It all looks tickety-boo – it may even be better than that, amazing even, but it’s still not everything you hoped it would be.
Build it and they will come…or not!
And that’s because it’s sitting there in the World Wide Wilderness and no one is visiting it – making it about as much use to your business as a chocolate teapot!
Unfortunately, the truth is that just because you built it, it doesn’t mean the visitors will come!
In that sense, your website is like your business – if no one knows about it, you have very little chance of success.
The only way for your website to be a success is to promote it.
It needs to be seen by your prospective clients if you are to build a following, create trust and brand awareness and ultimately secure new business from it.
A website without visitors is about as much use as a chocolate teapot.
The good news is, there are several strategies you can adopt to take control and drive targeted traffic to your website.
But first, to drive “targeted” traffic, you need to understand who your idea client is, by narrowing down who your business is aimed at.
Factors to take into consideration include:
- Age – does your product or service cater for a particular age group. Generally speaking, you may be wasting your time promoting your mobility aids business to 18-25 year olds, for example.
- Financial status – this may be related to age in some cases. If you are selling high-end cars or five-bed executive homes, is your target market realistically going to be your average 18-25-year-old who is at the bottom of the career ladder and has income to match?
- Interests – this can be harder to pin down as individuals can have wide and varied interests which have nothing to do with your product or service but they may still be interested in what you have to offer. However, this can be useful in the sense of pinpointing generalised groups, such as business owners if you are selling office furniture, or outdoors enthusiasts if you are pitching to sell them tents.
- Location – If your business is specific to a geographical location, such as a bricks and mortar shop or on-site service, there is little point promoting it to an audience hundreds of miles away or even on a different continent.
Once you have pinned down your target audience, you will also have to take into account other factors, such as your budget, time available and even your own skillset before deciding how best to promote your website, but here are Plan B’s Recommendations on how to drive traffic to your website and build your business.
Paid Online Advertising
Obviously, this option requires a budget, but if you have some money to spend there are several different avenues available to explore to promote your website, including Google AdWords, where you “pay per click” (PPC). This means you are charged based on the number of clicks your advert receives.
You may also consider Facebook ads, which also allow you to target your demographic. This means you can choose who sees your ad depending on their age, location and any interests you specify.
This can be an effective way of promoting your website, but it can be difficult for those without any marketing expertise to produce a compelling advert with strong words and images to draw your potential customers in – and without that your ad is doomed to fail.
Use what you know about your ideal client, such as:
- Financial situation
to effectively target paid for online advertising, such as Google AdWords and Facebook ads.
Use eye-catching images, compelling copy and strong calls to action to draw your potential clients in.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
This is a strategy aimed at helping your website rank higher for relevant searches on Google and other search engines.
While many website content management systems in use today, such as WordPress, create sites that are sound for SEO, they will only take you so far and there are companies out there with serious expertise in this field who will charge you thousands of pounds to zoom your business up the Google rankings.
If you are looking for a middle ground, you can improve your site’s SEO by creating interesting, original and engaging blog posts and try to attract “backlinks” – links to your site and it’s content from other authoritative sites and pages.
As mentioned, blog posts are a good way of improving your website’s SEO. Each blog post you add is another page for the search engines to “crawl” and index, improving your chances of being discovered when potential clients search using relevant keywords.
If you aim to entertain and inform – as opposed to just using your blog to make a hard sell and shout about how great you and your business are – you should eventually build up a loyal fan base familiar with your brand. Those people are more likely to trust you and consider you when they are looking to buy what you are selling.
Find out more about why you should be blogging and how to get started with my Blogging for Business post
Social Media offers you the opportunity to connect with hundreds of millions of people. That may sound daunting but all it means is that there’s a good chance that there are a number of your ideal clients using social media, just waiting to hear about your business. This is true even if your business operates in a very niche market or is restricted to a very small geographical location.
The key is to identify who your target market is and then research which social media platform they are using and the reach out to them in a way which means they will be happy to interact with you. Provide value by offering help and advice on relevant groups and drive traffic back to your website by sharing your informative blog posts.
Make sure your website is geared up to drive those visitors to take the next step in their buying journey. Have strong calls to action, telling visitors what they should do next, whether that’s to give you a call or sign up to your mailing list.
Find out more about using social media and its benefits in my Ten Reasons Social Media is Good for Business blog post
There are a number of other things you can do too to drive traffic to your website.
Probably the most important of these is to share your website address as often as possible, in as many ways as possible. It should be clearly visible on every piece of promotional material and every correspondence you make.
Incorporate it into your company letter head, your logo and even your email signature.
Newspaper advertising remains an effective and low cost way of promoting your business and can include a call to action to drive visitors to your website where they can find out more about your business and what it offers.
Leaflets (Read my Why your should include leaflets and flyers in your business marketing blog post) are another low-cost alternative to promote your website and your business.
You may even be able to send out a press release (Learn how to write a press release with my How to Write a Press Release for your Business blog post) announcing the launch of your website and receive some free editorial coverage in your local newspaper or relevant trade or industry magazine.
Is it time to put Plan B into action?
If you need help with any aspect of marketing your small business, talk to Plan B’s Tracey Sweetland today for a free consultation on how she can help.