5 Traffic Hacks: A Cheat Sheet for Generating Web Traffic
Jul 03, 2012 4:00 AM - Posted by Brad Smith
Everyone has limited resources.
You’re either short on (1) time, (2) energy, or (3) money. That’s totally normal. Not everyone is blessed with the budget and staff of a Fortune 500.
But here’s the issue.
There’s too much noise today. And this problem is only going to get worse.
Because you’re not just competing against the competition.
The first goal of marketing is to grab and hold people’s attention. So that means you’re competing against every other alternative that people can choose from.
So everything you do needs to be excellent. You need to figure out what you’re good at and focus intently to shine above everyone else.
And because you have limited resources, that means you need to choose what you’re going to do (and what you’re going to ignore) very carefully.
Below you’ll find 5 different types of traffic tactics. Each one has multiple options, and you need to be able to prioritize one over the other (depending on how they fit your business).
1. SEO vs. Content Marketing
Let’s start off with a trick question.
Search engine optimization seems like the obvious choice here, right?
It’s one of the best sources of direct traffic because it consistently sends people to your site who have intent, and are looking directly for the page they land on.
But here’s the thing.
In today’s post Penguin world, SEO can’t exist on its own. It needs content marketing to fuel it, and social media to promote it.
So what does that mean?
If you want to improve your SEO, then you need to improve your content marketing first.
Outstanding content marketing will attract links, sharing, and visits to your site. But you don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time.
You can easily get more traffic by repurposing your existing content.
2. Email Marketing vs. Social Media
You should obviously invest in both email marketing and social media.
But which do you prioritize?
I’ll answer that with another question.
What is the “job” of marketing?
The job of sales, is to sell. And it’s easier to sell to higher quality leads than lower ones (obviously).
The job of marketing then, is to deliver high quality leads. These leads are potentially worth the most money to your organization.
Email marketing has the highest ROI of any online channel (by far). So it’s your best source of high quality leads. According to a recent study by MarketingSherpa (an online market research company),
Email marketing can be amazingly efficient. B2C marketers report an average 256% ROI from the channel — pulling in $256 for every $1 invested.
But when asked if these companies had a way of quantifying the ROI of email marketing, 59% said NO (probably because they were wasting too much time on Facebook…)
And there’s some additional benefits to email:
- Email has a longer lifespan than individual social networks, which trend in-and-out of popularity.
- You own all of your email data – while your Fans and Followers belong to Facebook & Twitter.
- You have more control over that data. So you can see who’s opening emails and clicking through to your website. You can tell exactly who the best leads are.
- And you can easily quantify email subscribers. So you know who your best customers are, and how much money you’re making.
Social media is sexy. Email marketing is unsexy. So people ignore it.
But it’s profitable. And most organizations don’t have systems for capturing email leads and nurturing those leads over time. So here’s where you should start:
- Build high-quality, opt-in email lists so you’ll have an engaged audience.
- Send simple emails, highlighting one main Call-To-Action (CTA) for each.
- Mix information and education with selling in your emails.
- Learn some email best practices so you can optimize and improve your results.
- And set up lifecycle emails to go out automatically based on triggers.
Focus on getting the foundation in place, then you can start to experiment in different social networks.
3. Twitter vs. Facebook vs. LinkedIn
Choose between the big social networks by finding where your core audience hangs out. There’s typically very little overlap, and users will gravitate towards one over the others.
So that makes your job easy.
It’s also helpful to bring in the context of the lifecycle adoption curve:
- Twitter: Is your audience tech-savvy innovators, early adopters or obsessed with pop culture? Then focus on Twitter.
- LinkedIn: If you’re selling to other professionals (Business-to-Business), then LinkedIn will give you the best bang for your buck. The LinkedIn audience is typically early adopters and the early majority.
- Facebook: For almost everyone else, you should focus on Facebook. The Facebook audience is typically made up of everyone between the early majority to the laggards.
Again, this doesn’t mean you should only use one of these. It simply means that you need to pick one channel over the others.
It doesn’t matter if celebrities are on Twitter and the media always talks about it. If you’re audience isn’t there, then you can ignore it and go hang-out somewhere else.
4. Google+ vs. Pinterest
Let’s look at Pinterest first.
Is your product or service extremely visual? Does using visual images make the experience exponentially better than simply writing about it?
If it is, then Pinterest may be a good bet. (Just be careful of copyright issues).
But you also have to look at the audience. Pinterest’s audience is predominantly women between the ages of 18-44. So again, if that’s your target customer base, then it’s a great match.
Now Google+’s active audience is mostly tech-savvy, early adopters at this point. But it also integrates heavily with the other Google products, including YouTube. And it’s poised for growth because Google’s search engine serves over 3 billion people per day.
So if you have a (1) visual product/service, and are (2) marketing to women between the ages of 18-44, then prioritize Pinterest.
But if not, then you should figure out how to use Google+’s unique features like YouTube or Hangouts. (YouTube especially will continue to grow, because TV’s are becoming internet-enabled.)
5. Google AdWords vs. Facebook Advertising
Note: With any online advertising, your knowledge, ability and skill makes a huge difference. Generally, the better your ads perform, the less you’ll pay overall. So invest the time to learn, test, and get good, or invest the money to hire a professional to manage it.
Google AdWords is still the most direct and effective way to advertise online.
The beauty of AdWords is that people searching have intent. So your advertisement is actually helping them, and they’re much more likely to opt-in or buy something if they go to your site.
But of course, it has it’s own problem. It’s popular, which means more people are using it, which means it’s more expensive.
So it takes more money up front to get started, and you also have to pay more per click. This is fine if you have a high margin business. But if you don’t, then paying a high Cost-Per-Click (CPC) might not make sense for you.
And that’s where Facebook Advertising comes in. The traffic won’t convert as well, but it’s also a fraction of the cost.
So if you have low margin products or services, and don’t have as much capital to invest up front, then Facebook Advertising could still be a valuable option.
The Key to Unlocking Growth
There’s no one-size fits all when it comes to marketing.
The way you implement each tactic depends on your business and customers. But there are certain things you should be doing (or ignoring) that will help you see results quicker.
For example, there is a specific approach to social media marketing that accelerates your growth. And there are clear-cut ways to apply SEO, or use content marketing to get traffic and attract leads.
But there’s a catch.
You still have to do the work.
It’s not difficult or very time consuming. But it still takes effort.
Because tactics don’t work if you only do them once or twice. Like anything in life, consistency is the key.
If you’re ready and willing, then all you need is some ideas and insight.
And some personalized help along the way.