Driving traffic to your website can be a bit mystifying for many business owners, and many opportunities can be overlooked with the hectic day-to-day nature of running a business. Be sure to take advantage of these free and low-cost ways to drive clicks to your website.
Leverage Free Directories – There are literally thousands of free directories popping up all over the web. But, before you try to send in submissions to all of them (which can be really time consuming), try to find the websites that will be the most fruitful for your business. Here’s how:
- Search “best _______” and insert a common phrase or keyword that matches your business’s services
- Depending on your industry, the search results will vary widely, but you should be able to locate a few directories that land on the first page results. Here are a few for “best web design service.”
- Start with submissions to this list. Some may be free; some require a fee for a premium listing. Start small and see what kind of traffic you get.
Use Facebook Call-to-Action – This is a new feature offered by Facebook, but was not widely publicized. And true to many of Facebook’s new features, it has been rolling out gradually across users’ Pages.
To check if your page has been enabled for the feature, log in as an administrator and go to your business Facebook page. If you see a “Create Call-to-Action” button in your profile image, then you’re page has been enabled for the feature. Click the button and follow the steps to choose a call-to-action and landing page that suits your business.
Send Emailed Receipts or Thank You Notes – If your company relies on repeat business from customers, return traffic could be one of your most valuable traffic sources. While many businesses might be taking advantage of email marketing to gain return traffic, most forget about opportunities with more transactional communications like emailed receipts, reminders, or thank you notes. Whether sending these messages manually or through an automated system (i.e. your payment gateway or invoicing software) be sure to add a personal note, include a promotion code with a link to your website, or capture some feedback with a survey.
Assess the Need for Paid Search for Brand Keywords – Consumers love to use different mediums to make purchase decisions. We might hear about a service from a friend, do a quick search on our mobile device, then visit the website later from our laptop. If your business doesn’t show up in the top half of the search page for your own name, you could be losing this word-of-mouth traffic (the most valuable kind)!
Running a successful paid search campaign can be a complex and expensive endeavor, and typically requires a search engine marketing expert to ensure you’re getting the most for your money. But, you can run a smaller paid search campaign around your brand terms that delivers just the results you need, for significantly less time and money.
First, assess how your business is doing in search results.
- Clear cookies on your browser (if you’re unsure how, click here for various browser instructions). This will ensure you get a clean view of search results that are not skewed by your browsing history (which can make your website appear higher in the list than it would for a potential customer).
- Starting with Google (since it’s by far the highest trafficked search engine) and type in your business name.
- Assess where you are. If you’re at the top of the list, then you may not need to spend the time and money in a branded search campaign. If not, a small monthly budget to capture this traffic could be worth every penny.
If your business name is shared by common phrases or even other businesses, you could be losing traffic to another website, or worse, a competitor!
Adwords (Google’s paid search branch) provides some pretty helpful tools to get started with a paid search campaign, including building keyword lists, setting budgets, and understanding your results. Google is even now offering free phone support to set up an account. Be sure to take advantage of this service and have a rep walk you through your goals of the campaign (capturing branded searches) and how to set your daily/monthly budget caps. You can set up campaigns to automatically “shut off” when your budget is reached so there are no surprises at the end of the month.
At the end of the day, your website can serve as one of the most valuable marketing assets for your business; it even works for you while you’re sleeping! Be sure to use it to its fullest potential by making it easier for potential or return customers to find it.