Websites, Hits, and SEO (OH MY)
The digital era has drastically changed the landscape for doing business including the way products and services are advertised. Today, apart from utilizing traditional media (print, TV, radio), businesses delved into another realm – the internet.
Internet As A Powerful Channel
A powerful channel in shaping consumer mindset, the internet is a sphere where there’s a fast-paced and continuous influx of information. And since users are accustomed to finding anything they need just by tapping on their gadget screens, advertisers are challenged to create content that will hook them on the onset and prevent them from switching pages or scrolling past in a few seconds’ time.
Your target market, if not all, owns a smartphone or has access to the internet. Studies show that people now spend more time on the web versus listening to the radio, watching TV, or reading a newspaper. Traditional media still has its charm, but don’t you want to amplify your advertising message in another channel where your customers spend most of their time on?
Building A Strong Online Presence Is No Longer Just An Option
Your business has to keep up with technology and have a strong web presence. You have to be there when they search for you or the kind of products or service you can offer, otherwise, they will look somewhere else. Moreover, being visible online gives your company more credibility. Some don’t even have to have an actual store, all they need is a website or an online shop.
With the internet, you have in your hands the power to influence your customers until they arrive at the point of purchase. The competition is high. You need to give your customers what they need when they need it. And such is possible when web presence is part of your marketing strategy.
Indeed, the web can help your business become more sustainable by increasing not only your sales but also your customer retention. Owning a website, building traffic (hits) and utilizing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are just several strategies to establish your online presence.
Before you dive into creating your own website, make sure you have your goals in order. Is your website for information dissemination? Engagement? Order processing? Leads generation and conversion? The objectives may be more than one and will vary per company. It is important that you know what you need and why, so you don’t end up with a mediocre website that will have little or no impact on your sales.
Also, people tend to stay and explore websites that have clear messaging and relevant content. Create a rich user experience. Think about what matters to your target audience. If you were in their place, what do you need? What do you want to see? What will make you visit a website and explore the contents within?
Capture your visitors with clear messaging. State directly why your brand exists and what are the customer pain points you have the solutions for. This way, visitors will not only stay, they will come back because they quickly realized what’s in it for them.
Go for a visually-engaging, professional-looking website that is aligned with your brand image and personality. Make it mobile-friendly to adapt to any user screen.
You can cut on costs by using site builders with ready-made templates and designs (Wix, Weebly, etc.) instead of hiring your own web designer. Templates are usually put together in a drag-and-drop style and is user-friendly for beginners. You can just invest in website enhancements as your business grows.
There are numerous ways to increase your website hits. Some are the following:
1. Social Media (FB, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, etc.)
There are a billion social media users to-date. Social media sites have become a portal for prospects and leads. Choose a platform that will fit your marketing objectives (you don’t have to be in every single social media site). Link your social media pages to your website and create posts that will lead them there. Create a playbook that will set the persona of your page as well as community guidelines.
Grow real followers, not dummy accounts. Organically increase your fan base by creating and posting original, high-quality and shareable content. Be more visual and avoid text-heavy messaging. Use creative photos, interesting videos, and infographics paired with catchy captions. Or create an online promo to spread the word about your product if your budget will further allow.
Moreover, social media is a platform that enables companies to engage more with their customers in real time. It is a good avenue to create a fan base that will genuinely love your brand and voluntarily share your products and services to others. Make them feel that you care about them. Respond to comments, answer private messages – be as responsive as you can just like you would do to a friend in need!
You can take it a notch higher and invest in Ads, which are reasonably-priced and way cheaper than traditional advertising. Facebook Ads, for example, allows you to create your own Ad content to be shown on the feed of your target audience or as side banners on the home page.
Asking bloggers to create sponsored content is another way to increase hits on your website. Use an online tool to generate the list of popular blog sites and their respective niche and rankings. Identify the influencers that are most relevant to your brand.
Blogs are a great avenue to promote your products or services in an authentic way. A well-crafted blog post will create brand awareness and conversions without hard selling. Just make sure the blog post is linked to your website so customers know how to reach you.
A blogger’s rate is definitely lower than paying a brand endorser. This for sure is negotiable so that it becomes equally beneficial to both parties.
3. E-mail marketing
Grow an e-mail database (can be from your website, below-the-line activities, customer purchase history etc.) and create visually-appealing content that is linked to your online store or website.
E-mails can be about offering a new product or by thanking a new customer for a recent purchase (part of retention program). Give them the opportunity to sign-up or opt-in so you can build a more long-term relationship with your prospects and customers. Create compelling content that will direct e-mail recipients your website.
There are online email marketing tools that offer free services. You can pay a meager amount if you want to increase your database and reach more people.
4. Customer Reviews
Another way to increase website visitors is to use the testimonials of your satisfied customers and proudly post them on your website or social media accounts. Encourage visitors to leave a review as well. You may send them ‘thank you’ gifts in appreciation of their positive feedback.
5. Online Listings
Put your business on free digital listings like Yelp, Google Business, and Bing. Be visible and let them know where you are and how they can get in touch with you. In this age, digital listings are the counterpart of good, old telephone pages. Indicate your website on these listings so you can route inquiries to your official page.
Be present in forums such as Quora. Answer questions that are related to your brand, engage with people and position yourself as an expert in your field. Talk with authority and gain trust as you help them by answering their questions. Direct them to your page by including your website when you answer queries.
7. Online Community
Create a community of people with the same interests as you do. These are individuals that are more likely to be interested in your brand. Interact with them and build a long-term affinity by creating value for the group.
Create free and relevant content and upload them on your page so your community members will have reason to visit your website.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Another way to direct more people to your website is by using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) like Google. SEO is all about having the right keywords related to your business. Think of what people will type when they are looking for you or a product or service that you offer? What are these keywords that you can own? Use specific keywords associated with your brand rather than settling for general words.
These keywords should appear on your site and form part of your copy. Doing so will increase your search engine rankings. Your goal is for your website to be ranked high and seen on top of the search engine when a keyword related to you is typed.
Google’s SEO rates are very affordable. It will appear as a sponsored ad on the search engine (pay-per-click). You will only get charged when your link is clicked, otherwise, your budget remains intact.
Once you have a Google AdWords account, you will also have access to online tools that will allow you to create ads, generate reports and analyze which keywords are generating results for you.
Ultimately, the success of your brand will go back to great products & excellent service. Customers don’t want a pushy advertiser or a manipulative one. Refrain from hard selling, instead, let your target market see the value of what you have. Your website, your social media account and more – what is the value of these all to them? What do they gain if they follow you or share your content?
Make them feel you’re not just there for the sale but that you are interacting with them because you care. Listen to what they say or feel. Reach out to them. Be genuine and truthful.
Lastly, it is vital that you measure your efforts. What you cannot gauge, you cannot improve. Analyze your performance on these platforms and modify your strategy as needed.