Seven ways to increase your website traffic

You want more visitors to your site.  It’s simple you sell a product or service and want more eyes to see these products and services.  You’ve looked at services like Google Adwords and are shocked that the price per click is so high.  Especially considering that most of these clicks will not result in sales and are people just browsing the web.  The best form of traffic is organic traffic.  That is, traffic that is unsolicited and, even better, FREE.  There are several techniques to improve your organic traffic, increase your ranking on search engines and provide for better longevity than running a campaign on Google.  I’m not saying that running Google Ads from time-to-time is a waste of money.  It’s just hard to swallow that cost if you are a new business online or if the market you compete in has a lot of competition.

  1. Read our previous article on Do It Yourself SEO.  This is an important step to make sure that your site is optimized for search engines and helps your overall organic search ranking.
  2. Leverage social networks. Regardless of what you are selling there is a group of people willing to talk about your products and services somewhere on the internet.  This group of people are influential in your community and have a higher authority on your product than you probably do.  The key is to be where they are and to listen to what they are saying.  Social networks such as twitter, facebook, linkedin, myspace, and digg are large networks which contain your potential customers.  Starting groups, following people, and getting others to interact on your fan page are all ways that people can find your website.
  3. Comment.  There are blogs for nearly every topic imaginable.  Find the key blogs in your area using a Google Blog Search or services like Technorati.  Knowing the key blogs in your area will help you weed out any that are not worth your time in reading.  I suggest you choose around 4-5 blogs to follow or subscribe to their RSS feed.  When you see a post by that author that you enjoy, disagree with, or have any comment on, then comment.  Don’t try plug your product or service, just add to the conversation already in progress.  If you don’t have anything to add to the conversation, then don’t comment.  People can spot spam on comments and they either won’t get approved or simply be ignored.
  4. Sharing.  Let your current visitors or customers share their experience with a friend.  This suggestion is simple yet effective.  If I have a great experience with a product or service I want an outlet to share this experience with someone else who I might think is interested.  This word of mouth marketing takes you out of the picture and puts someones friend as a spokesperson for your product.  There is no better source of marketing for your brand.  For example if you are selling laptops, you could say.  How was your experience with your new laptop?  Would like you to share your experience with a friend?  Customers will become advocates for your product when they feel that the product or service goes well beyond expectations.
  5. Shock them! When someone forwards you a video to view on youtube, most likely it’s a video that is shocking.  Shocking videos, products, or stories are great for going viral.  People love to pass along things they think will shock others.  If you are selling super glue and want to show how well it works try recording a shocking video (like gluing a cat to a tree).
  6. Data mining.  Although not fun, well not as fun as gluing a cat to a tree, data mining is important to increasing your website traffic.  Using services like Google Analytics can show you exactly how customers are getting to your site, and what keywords they used to get there.  Emphasize content that receives the most keywords and downplay content that receives fewer keywords.  If your product page shows all products equally, then try to adjust it so that weight is given to your most common products.  This makes the buying experience better for the majority of users.
  7. Content.  Even in 2010, content is king.  Hire a writer or find a writing service that will provide you will relevant content for your product or service.  It doesn’t matter what your product or service is, people will gravitate towards your site if your content is good.

Well those are my seven ways to increase traffic.  If you have any of your own please leave them in the comments below.  I am interested in hearing how others increase traffic as well.

Tips for Marketing Your Brand

This article is to help you get a better understanding of what’s going on in your marketplace.  How to turn around a sinking ship and how to position your product in the mind of the consumer.

Do not focus on price

It’s basic economics, the more you lower your price the more you increase your quantity demanded.  So what companies tend to do is fight their battle over price.  This will only lead to one inevitable conclusion, you will end up either selling your product with very little profit margin or you will be out of business because someone else can make it cheaper.  Do not focus on the price of what you are selling.  Lowering your price is not a marketing strategy.

Market your idea not your brand

It is important to market your idea and not spend time or money marketing your brand.  People are not stuck to your brand.  As soon as the next cool thing comes along, they will dump you for that alternative.  The theory is that by getting your name out there you will get people to not only recognize your name, but buy your product.   This theory is flawed.  People do not buy on just a name, they buy to supply a need or a perceived need that your product solves.
In order to make a extreme point of this, take a look at what is now known as The Bubble Bowl. This was the Super Bowl of 2000. Not many people remember the actual game, but what they do remember is the ads that seemed to doom the companies that ran them. These companies spent millions of dollars on thirty-second time slots only to see their business fail. Some lasted a few months (Pets.com & Computer.com) and some are still holding on today, but are falling fast (WebMD). So what happened? These companies clearly go their name out there, but we unable to capitalize on these views.  They marketed their brand and didn’t market a clear message of why you should buy from them and not someone else.

Distinguish yourself from your competitors

Often labeled brand positioning, this is finding your place in the market.  The more you try to become the Jack of All Trades, everything for everyone, the more you become the master of none.  It is important that you focus on your key differentiator.  What makes you unique?  As others have put it, what is your unique selling proposition? In simple language this is why someone should buy from you and not someone else.  What makes you unique.  For Volvo, their unique selling point is safety.  For Nintendo, their unique selling point is games for the entire family.   These factors distinguish them from the competition.  If you want to buy a cool MP3 player you get an Apple iPod or iPhone.  They have clearly distinguished themselves as a cool elite product.  You need to find out what separates you from your competition in the mind of the consumer.  Not in reality.  The only thing that matters is what your customers think of your brand.

I recently ran into this as a partner for a CCIE Rack Rental Company.  We had been in business for a few years as solely a rack rental company.  We then tried to take our brand as a rack rental company and extend that brand to a new line of training products.   This venture was a failure.  It seemed that people were unwilling to see a Rack Rental company as a training company as well.  The product was solid and was from top trainers in CCIE, but the perception of our company was a rental company and not a training company.  This is a very telling of extending your brand further than your customers will allow it to go.

Remember to hold true to what makes you unique.  The more you try to become the competition the more you will lose yourself and become nothing in the mind of the consumer.

Phrase your offering in plain English

People are bombarded by the minute or even by the second with ads for one thing or another.  Don’t be afraid to keep your advertising simple and direct.  You don’t need to have an elaborate commercial with fancy CG.  You just need to vocalize your unique selling point.  Let people know why they should buy from you.

Spend your time selling not entertaining

Leave entertainment to entertainment companies.  Marketing is an investment.  If you are expecting a return on your investment, then you should steer clear of wasting money on entertaining.  I’m not saying that ads can’t be funny, dramatic, emotional, or even scary.  However, you are not in the business of entertaining you are in the business of selling.  You have a very limited time to get your message across.  Start your message by selling to your audience.  If people are interested in buying your product, they will listen.

Use common sense

The best advice I can give on the subject of making the most of your brand is use common sense.  Don’t try to over think simple situations.  All the data and analysis in the world can’t overcome the simple fact that if your product or idea doesn’t make sense then no one will buy it.  There are to many alternatives out there, and  probably at a cheaper price.  Don’t let any one talk you into something that doesn’t make sense.  Walmart selling a 2009 Porsche, or a $150 Kitchen Knife?  This is an exaggerated example but you can see it doesn’t make sense.

You are only as good as your customers will let you be.  Their perceptions about your business are all you have.  If you understand these perceptions, then you should conform to them.  Don’t waste your time trying to change their mind.  Sell to what they already know.