If you're selling cupcakes, you need to ask 'are your customers looking for your cupcakes to buy' or do you need to remind them they love, need and truly want one of your cupcakes?
Working out how to get traffic to your website comes down to answering two questions. Are people actively looking for you?
If not, where are your target market hanging out online?
Actively looking for you
If people are looking for you, we call this intent-based marketing. That means for example, they are looking to purchase something or they have a problem that they want to solve and are searching for the solution. Their options are to ask someone (eg. a trusted friend or family member) or visit a store to ask the where, what, how – or they will search online for the solution.
In fact, research from the Pew Institute, indicates that the majority (over 70%!) of people will research online before purchasing - regardless of whether they are going to buy online or go direct to your store. That means that your target market ARE online - even if you aren't!
Tactics to use when people are actively looking for
The principal approach online when people are looking for you is search engine marketing. This means you either put effort into making sure you come up in the search engines naturally. This is called Search Engine Optimisation or SEO. Or you pay to appear in the search results (paid search).
Both are effective, and both have their pros and cons.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is all about appearing in the search results when someone looks for you. First page and preferably first in the search result listings is what you are aiming at.
That means you need to have content that Google (I'm going to use Google throughout this piece as an example) – can index into their gargantuan database of ‘content’ which they match people’s search terms (the words they use when they use when looking for something) against. Content can be a article or blog or FAQs, a video, images like infographics etc.
Google will always look for the most relevant content to match the search term. Therefore, it’s looking for content that contains keywords and other indicators that the person’s search term or keyword phrase is a perfect match with the content on your website.
So, you need to think about the content that will be put on your website that will match with what people are actively search for, and the more specific you can be, the more likely you will be the perfect match in Google’s eyes.
So let's step through an example. You sell cupcakes. Now, if people are searching for cupcakes, what kind of cupcakes? What do they want to know about cupcakes? You want to get specific with the keyword that you're trying to rank for. If you aim for “cupcakes” - what really does this mean? Are people looking to “buy cupcakes in Melbourne,” or for “cupcake recipes,” or “cupcake decorating ideas”?
To be specific simply have a complete phrase that will help bring people to your site that are qualified, because you have exactly what they looking for. eg. 'cupcake home delivery east melbourne'.
Targeting traffic that is too broad or not relevant will mean you have a lower conversion rate on your website and that people are going to bounce straight off your website.
Paid search is when you use Google AdWords or other paid service to place ads within search results. Every time someone uses your keyword phrase you can bid (against other businesses) to appear in the search results. Depending on how you structure your advertising campaign with Google, you generally will only pay for when the person clicks on the actual advertisement sending them through to your website.
There is real power in promoting yourself right at the very time that someone is trying to find your product or service because they want to find you and you’re helping them to achieve their goal, rather than an interruptive and intrusive approach to your marketing.
Other tactics when people are searching for you
You should also think about is being listed in as many relevant online directories or specialist blogs or websites. Let's stick with our cupcake example. There are many directories that specialize in directing people to cake decorating or designer type food activity. Identifying and being listed on the right directory or referral website will help drive traffic to your website. It increases the chances of being listed in the search engines and it makes you discoverable to the audience that frequents the directory/ referral website.
It also makes sense to be listed in the more general ones, such as Yelp and, in Australia it's Yellow Pages, so what would be the equivalent in your local area or country? Work out which referral type websites are going to be most relevant to your market eg. A directory on shops that sell cupcakes versus a directory that’s all about designing and decorating cupcakes. Being listed on directories will also help you be discovered in the search engine results.
I also suggest that people look for related referral type sites eg. If you make gorgeous cupcakes, then being listed, or have referral deal with related service providers such as event organisers or baking sites will also help drive traffic to your website and help you be discovered. That's what I call six degrees of separation. The whole idea is finding related people to help build your network online so more people can discover you. Get creative and explore the plethora of specialised blogs that cover all manner of topics.
What if they're not actively searching for you?
If people are not actively looking for you, then you need to take a different approach. You need to find out where your target audience are online eg. Social media, podcasts, video and then create content so that they can be exposed to your product or service.
Your content is about piquing someone's interest so that they have the internal dialogue with themselves, “Oh, that's a problem I'm experiencing right now, or that just sounds really interesting, so I'm going to click through and have a look at this.”
When considering how to work out the best approach when people are not looking at you, there are three things you need to determine and act on to be effective.
1. Choose the right channel
By channel I mean, the platform or place that your target audience spend time on. This might be Facebook, or Instagram, or Pinterest, or LinkedIn or YouTube or even podcasts? It will all depend on your audience, so you really need to sit down and work out which is the most appropriate channel for your audience.
I have a comprehensive article on the different social media platforms (eg. Facebook, LinkedIn) that outlines the demographics, income levels and general usage behavior of each channel to help you understand which social media channel best suits.
In addition to these, and even more importantly when you’re selecting a channel, is understanding people their interests and which platform best delivers this type of content.
For example, my mother, in her sixties is all over Facebook. Why? She wants to see what her kids, grandkids and friends are up to.
Women with interior design interests might use an app like Houzz. Or women that like to do crafty type projects might spend time on Pinterest or YouTube.
Don’t determine interest just on demographic information alone. There is always a human behaviour behind your audience and you need to understand this.
2. Use the right tactics for the channel and your audience
The second thing that you need to work out is tactics. Tactics will encompass a broad range of things, including are you just doing organic posts, are you doing paid promotion activity, are you doing live video versus prerecorded video? You need to take these type of things into consideration based on what will work most effectively in the channel you have chosen.
For example, a business getting up and running and using Facebook, will need a combination of both organic and paid promotion to get some traction. Facebook is not keen on business related content, why? Because advertising is their revenue model, so paying to promote is what will give you the time in the Facebook news feed so that people can see your message or offer.
3. The right content
Content is extremely important. If you don’t have good content then you won’t get people’s attention. Good content is relevant, which means your giving people content that they are interested in and they find it compelling based on their own circumstances. Being relevant will make your stand out and raise their interest. The more on point with their problem or situation you are, the more your content will resonates with them.
For example, if a person has a penchant for gorgeous cupcakes, then putting beautiful images of cupcakes in front of them is going to remind them and even raise a craving for a cupcake that they may have forgotten or even been attempting to avoid!
Social media, regardless of which social media you choose, is a very effective way of driving traffic if you can crack that magic formula of getting channels, tactics, and content all working together well.
Getting traffic to your website is not hard if you can understand the behaviour of your target audience online, and then match your experience to this.
If you’d like to see how getting the right digital experience right can make all the difference to the business you generate online visit the creating a digital experience that works or book in for a Digital Discovery session to explore how digital might help with your business.