It’s a common narrative in the small business world: you spend huge amounts of time and money preparing to launch your website, but when you eventually go live there’s hardly any traffic.
Why? You’ve started (slowly, but surely) building a social media following, and might even have been dabbling in some Facebook ads. Surely you should be seeing more success?
If you’re doing any of the above, you’re on the right track. However, all traffic-driving components such as your website, social media channels, and even your ads, need to be contextualised within a digital marketing strategy if you want to see results.
Why you should ditch the traditional marketing efforts
Rather than focusing on dated, traditional outbound marketing methods – think pop-up ads, direct mail, cold calling and buying email lists – focus on SEO, social media, blogging, email marketing and gated content to nurture leads. The key to making all the different pieces work together is to make them part of an overarching marketing strategy that works towards growing your business by generating more traffic, leads and customers.
It doesn’t require a big budget. You can earn traffic, leads and customers organically without spending a single dollar – all it really requires is your time.
Start with your buyer persona(s)
Can you articulate exactly who your ideal customer is? Is it Emma, 40, in finance, who enjoys going to art exhibitions, shops at David Jones, and is searching for high-quality clothing?
Or perhaps your customer is Fred, 30, in IT, who enjoys shopping on eCommerce sites, reads Gizmodo and TechCrunch in his spare time, and is looking for a leading computer parts online store?
Map out your buyer persona as a representation of your ideal customer, and pull together demographic and psychographic information to build a rounded picture of your customers’ challenges and goals to help form the basis of your online strategy.
makemypersona.com is a really useful tool that asks you a series of questions and produces a free PDF document outlining your persona.
Now you have a set of challenges and goals relating to your prospective customers, you can get started turning your website into a content hub full of information that’s useful to them, and will ultimately pull them in.
Create engaging content and see your organic traffic rise
Your focus should be on creating quality content for your audience that pulls them towards your brand and product by adding value to their lives.
Avoid copy that interrupts visitors with advertisements and spammy messaging. Align the content you publish with your ideal customer’s interests in mind.
Do I need a blog?
When we talk about content, we’re often talking about blogging. Your content is what brings people to your website via Google and social media, and often acts as the first touchpoint between your brand and your prospective customers. It’s where you can publish content that answers the challenges and goals of your buyer personas, attracting them to your website naturally. This is the place for you to showcase your leadership skills as a business.
Your blog’s main goal is to attract visitors to your website and guide them toward the next stage in the buyer’s journey. That means you need to develop a solid SEO keyword strategy to attract traffic from search engines, and use effective calls-to-action (CTAs) to help convert a visitor into a subscriber or a lead once they’re reading your blog.
It’s important to remember that a blog doesn’t exist to sell your product. If you put yourself in your prospective customer’s shoes, it’s unlikely you’d be ready to buy anything from a brand you had only just discovered.
The buyer’s journey is rarely linear, and trying to sell to someone from the moment they land on your blog is likely to turn them off. Instead, you should focus on helping them – whether that’s answering a question they’re searching for, or providing them with inspiration.
Not only does a blog help you drive more leads, it also gives you a chance to become a thought leader in your industry. This is especially true for niche industries where not many other companies have paved the way from a content perspective, as your audience is likely to be even more eager to consume content from experts in your space (that’s you!)
How else can I generate leads?
You don’t have to stick to written content to generate leads. Offering readers with tools and resources relevant to them can also be an effective way to gather leads. Simply ask for their contact information in return for using the tool. If your tool provides enough value – and more importantly, you communicate that value effectively – most people will be happy to exchange their contact details to access it.
Ryan Bocinni is the marketing director at HubSpot Asia Pacific & Japan. He’s an experienced digital marketing leader having held roles previously at Salesforce, ExactTarget, Microsoft and Qantas Airways. For more frequent updates on marketing, leadership & executive coaching, follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.