Why can small businesses no longer just get by with a website? A website on its own won’t create customers, it needs to attract visitors! Furthermore, these visitors must be potential customers. If you own a comedy club in Ottawa, and the majority of your traffic is from the US, you can be certain that it’s not generating you additional customers. Even worse, if it’s not generating traffic at all then it serves no purpose whatsoever.
“A website without traffic is like a business without roads to get to it”
– Brent Mondoux, CEO of N-VisionIT Interactive
So then, how do business owners generate traffic? Traffic is commonly generated by a complete and well-rounded marketing strategy that targets both conventional and online methods.
Due to unique attributes of every business, there’s no way to put together a formal plan that meets all needs, but there are many common elements that are vital to ensuring that a website is given the leverage of traffic needed so that it can convert leads into customers.
- Traditional marketing materials
Market online presences in business cards, brochures, posters, product samples, etc.
By mentioning your web address in press releases, television interviews; you provide a way for leads to get in contact with you that’s easy to remember
By mentioning your online presences in your email signature, your leads and clients have a quick, convenient way to visit your online presences. Inclusion of these links in monthly email newsletters is also a great way to increase exposure to leads.
- Search engine marketing (paid search results)
Paid search results are vital for a business at any stage. Even 13 years into business, we still have paid search results campaigns for one reason, because it works. It takes money to make money and if you’re still against paying for targeted search engine results, that’s your choice, but you can bet your competitors aren’t, and they’re likely benefiting from your ignorance.
- Search engine optimization (organic search results)
Organic search results takes time and a lot of investment energies because it’s an ongoing process. Not only does your site need to be put together in a manner that’s appealing for search engines, but, it also needs to have reputable links from other websites in order to be considered a credible website by search engines. Furthermore to make matters more challenging, if you don’t invest regularly in this process, you’ll find your rank dropping while your competitors reputation grows.
Quick tip: Be wary of quick-fix SEO “pros” who promise quick results in a short timeframe. One of my clients was promised to be on first page results for “Ottawa comedy entertainment” and paid dearly for this right, only to find out that there are less than 25 searches monthly for this term. Out of pocket expenses exceeded $5,000.00 and revenue to date is very likely near the $0 mark. Ouch!
- Social media
This hasn’t become popular by chance. It’s not a fad and it’s not going anywhere. This is the perfect forum for people with busy lives (most of the population) to quickly and efficiently share their interests. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing methods and when done effectively can be the difference between success and being an industry leader. Think about it.
Which would make you react first?
An advertisement that says “Buy our tantalizingly good ice cream”
A friend’s comment “Wow! Some of the most delicious ice cream I’ve ever had!”
Not only is social media a less expensive form of marketing, it’s infinitely more effective, when done right!
- Mobile apps and mobile websites
With smartphones on pace to outsell computers by 2015, mobile apps are especially powerful for businesses that target consumers. Think about it. You’re heading downtown with some friends trying to figure out where to go. How often does a phone come out and your friends start naming off options? Mobile websites are helping to tilt the scales on close decisions every day. One decision a day for a group of 5 individuals could amount to an additional $10,000+ in revenue each month for a local restaurant, at little/no additional expense! Now that’s return on investment!
…the list goes on and on (blogs, forum participation, online videos, link building, etc.)!
What’s vital to learn is that experimenting with these methods is unlikely to deliver results in a short-time period and if you don’t know what you’re doing, chances are that any results achieved will be temporary. It’s important to take the time required to learn them. Learning through experimentation is fine also, it’ll just take more trial and error and more time to finally see results. Unfortunately, most individuals grow impatient and give up before results are ever realized. Not to mention there are also ongoing challenge of time constraints and other responsibilities getting in the way.
Don’t try paid search engine marketing for a few weeks; or social media marketing for a few months; or a low quality quickly assembled email newsletter that never goes out on time; or a mobile app that looks like it was built by an amateur designer. The results you get will directly correlate with what you put into it. If you do a half-assed job, then be prepared to pull down your pants and look at your moon because that’s about all the benefit you can expect to receive.
Well… now the rest is up to you. Do you want your business to grow? When’s the last time your website acquired a lead? I’ve had 7 this morning alone.
CEO, N-VisionIT Interactive