I have seen so many business owners make the mistake of “If I build it, they will come” with their websites. The traditional brochure-style, static site no longer cuts it in today’s fast-paced, overcrowded, attention-span-of-a-gnat online culture.
If you want to generate traffic to your website, you need to be engaging and you must offer something of value. Give me a reason to visit in the first place and another reason to come back for more. Build a relationship with me so that I am inclined to share you with others.
Here are 10 ways to engage, add value and grow your tribe:
1. Create a Free Giveaway – otherwise known as a “Pink Spoon” (aptlyPink Spoon free taste 98×300 All Posts named for the free taste at Baskin & Robbins). It can be a special report, an mp3 download, e-book, checklist or anything else that would be of value to your target client. Create an opt-in box on your website where people can sign up by giving you their name and email address in exchange for your freebie.
2. Publish an Ezine – when potential clients sign up for your freebie, let them know that they will also be receiving your weekly (or monthly) newsletter. This will allow you to regularly communicate with your target market, provide valuable content, share news about your products and services and direct them back to your website on a regular basis. For your feature article, you can include a link back to your blog in each ezine to drive readers directly to your site.
3. Write and Publish Articles – this is one of my favorite strategies for two reasons. First, most article submission sites ask you to include a resource box with your article. This is a byline at the very bottom of your article that should include your short bio, info about your “Pink Spoon” AND a link back to your site. Second, use keywords in the byline so search engines like Google can index your website. I use keywords such as “personal branding” and “marketing strategy” as links back to my site. I have hundreds of links back to my website because of articles that have been posted online over the past year. Three of my favorites include: www.ezinearticles.com, www.ideamarketers.com and www.ehow.com.
4. Write and Submit Online Press Releases – keep in mind that it’s important for other sites to link back to your site to be picked up the search engines. Therefore, submitting press releases about you and your business to press release websites is an essential tool. PRNewswire.com offers tips and templates for writing releases and there are many sites you can submit to for free, including: www.prleap.com, www.openpr.com, www.prweb.com and www.pressreleasepoint.com. Again, make sure you include a link back to your site in the release and appropriate keywords for your business to boost your search engine ranking.
5. Create Valuable Content…And give it away! – Yep, you read correctly. Give it away – for FREE. Build your “know, like & trust” factor and people will be flocking to your website in droves. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a white paper, e-book, audio file, online course or a complimentary session with you, just give it away. Constantly ask yourself, “What can I share that will help my target market?” Better yet, ask them what they are struggling with and then go create a solution!
6. Create Strategic Alliances – Find other like-minded, professional people who are targeting a similar demographic and strategize on how you can best help each other grow your businesses. For example, if you are a nutritionist, perhaps an acupuncturist could promote your business through her own website, newsletter, email marketing and direct mail – and vice versa. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement and both of you will have the opportunity to build your credibility with a new audience and grow your business.
7. Go Offline With Direct Mail – If you have access to a list that contains a high percentage of your target clients, then I highly recommend sending a direct mail piece that features your “Pink Spoon” or any other valuable content you are offering at no charge, with your website address. Give them a reason to visit your website without having to purchase anything.
8. Put Your Web Address and Pink Spoon On Everything – It’s very simple and often overlooked. Make sure you include your website address and a simple teaser for your free giveaway on all of your marketing materials – business cards, letterhead, envelopes, mailing labels, thank you cards, catalogs, etc. And don’t forget your email signature. If you’re sending out 200 emails every day without mentioning your website and giveaways, you’re missing a great opportunity to drive more traffic directly to your site.
9. Tweet Your Blog Posts – Every time you post something new, send a simple, one-line tweet sharing your new post. An easily digestible and re-tweetable sound byte such as, “How To Get More Peeps To Your Site: link here” is all you need. If you’re sharing valuable, interesting information, you’ll probably start building your social media following as well.
10. Be Social – As I mentioned above, if you are positioning yourself as a thought leader, engaging other people online and providing valuable content and resources, you will build your online network exponentially, and ultimately, drive more potential clients to your website. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are all good places to start. Having profiles on these sites will create powerful links back to your website.
©Liz Dennery Sanders 2010