Imagine what your business would be like if you were listed number one in Google when someone searched for your product or service. At no cost to you, you'd have hundreds or even thousands of highly targeted potential customers coming to your website every day. It would be like shooting fish in a barrel. If you sell a quality product or service, your profit potential is unlimited.
I see people all the time bragging that their website is listed number one in Google for a specific search phrase. When I Google their specific keyword phrase, they do come up number one. Then I look at their traffic statistics and they are ranked over 2 million on alexa.com. That means hardly anyone visits their website. Then I check to see how many people actually search those keywords at inventory.o*****re.com. Maybe 10 or 20 people a month search for that combination of keywords. Does being number one in Google for an obscure search phrase help your business? I don't think so.
I'm not going to kid you, getting to number one in Google is no easy feat. And staying there can be a full time job if you're in a completive market. There are many tips and tricks I can teach you to raise your search engine ranking but I'll save that for another day. Today I want you to try a different perspective...
Can my website be successful without a high search engine ranking?
Absolutely! Finding your website through the search engines is just one way for potential customers to find you. There are many other ways to drive traffic to your website that are much easier than trying to be listed on the first page of the search engines. You can use a variety of online and offline tactics to attract visitors to your website.
But, before you start driving traffic to your website, make sure your website is ready for new visitors. You must give visitors a reason to stay at your website and come back again in the near future. Give them valuable information that is going to quickly solve their problem. Give them a reason to tell your friends about your website. Give them some incentive to sign up for your newsletter by giving them a free report that will help them solve a common problem they may be facing. For example, "How to..." or "The Top 10 Ways to..." are great beginnings to your free report.
Once your website is full of problem-solving information it's time start driving traffic. You should use a combination of both online and offline methods to get people to visit your website.
Offline traffic methods
1. Put your website URL on all of your collateral including your business card, stationary, brochures, your print advertising, your Yellow Pages ads, and anywhere else your business name appears. If you have a sign on your office building include your website URL.
2. On the back of your business card, offer a free report and include a website URL that leads the reader directly to a specific page on your website (a landing page) that describes how your free report will solve their problem. You can even have a series of free reports, each with a separate landing page that leads visitors to different promotional campaigns based on their search phrases. Always get the reader to give you at leas their name and email address when they are signing up for the free report. Also mention that as an added bonus, they will receive your newsletter free of charge just by signing up for your free report. This gives you permission to add them to your newsletter email list.
3. Publicize your website URL anywhere you can while maintaining a professional appearance. Don't compromise your integrity just to get your website URL advertised.
Online traffic methods
1. Add your website URL to your email signature. Also promote your free report or one of your products or services in your email signature but don't overdo it. Too much information in your email signature can do more harm than good.
2. Participate in newsgroups and forums where your potential clients look for solutions to their problems. Don't advertise your services, just post answers to their questions or problems. Include your website URL in your signature in the forum posting.
3. Buy ezine advertising. Find ezines that your potential clients subscribe to and purchase advertising. Create ads that talk about their problems and direct them to your website for answers. Direct them to your free report landing page and get their name and email address. The free report will build your credibility and open the door to potential future sales. Don't try to sell them your service right away without building some trust and credibility.
4. Purchase banner ads. Yes, banner ads really do work. Many experts have been saying banner ads are dead but they've taken on a new life. You can purchase very affordable, highly targeted banner ads that are only displayed to your target market. Use the same approach as with ezine advertising, direct them to your free report landing page to solve their problem.
5. Advertise on craigslist.org. There are many ways to advertise your product or service for free on craigslist. You have to be subtle with your advertising or they may block you posting if you violate their policies. Read their guidelines before posting your ads. If you're promoting a workshop, use the same approach of directing people to a landing page on your website for information.
6. Write articles that talk about a problem your clients are facing. Show them how to solve the problem and direct them to your website for more information. Post the article on your website as well as submitting it to article directories on the internet. Always include your bio and website URL at the end of the article with our copyrights. Encourage people to share and reproduce the articles with others as long as they don't change the content and leave your bio and contact information intact.
7. Set up your own blog and update it regularly. You can even post your articles in your blog if you don't feel comfortable writing about yourself. Register your blog with blog directories on the internet and always include your bio and website URL in each blog. Blogs are now getting picked up and reproduced like articles. The search engines love blogs with quality content.
8. Send press releases promoting your new product or service. You can send a press release easily at www.prweb.com and it will read by thousands of press people within minutes. You can send the press release for free or pay a fee to reach even more news services.
These are just a few ways to drive traffic to your website. As I try more methods I'll share my results with you so you don't waste time duplicating my efforts. It's important to use multiple methods of driving traffic to your website because you want to reach as many potential customers as possible. You won't know which methods work for your target market until you experiment and measure your results. Remember to thoroughly track your campaigns and measure your results.
About The Author:
Ted Prodromou spent over 25 years in the computer industry working for IBM, Digital, and Cellular One. Today he's the owner of Valiss Internet Solutions, a consulting firm that teaches you how to use your website as a marketing tool.