Step #2: Attracting Buyers to Your Website
Every business, no matter what size it is, where it’s located, or what has to offer, needs shoppers before it can have buyers. Unless you have people who are looking at your products or services, you aren’t going to sell to any of them, regardless of what you have available or how competitive your prices are.
Online, this leads to a simple truism: you can’t have sales opportunities until you generate web traffic. And not just any online visitors will do – you have to attract the people who are a great match for your business, or your efforts are going to be wasted.
There isn’t any singular formula for bringing buyers to your website. Instead, most successful companies find a few different channels that work for them efficiently and reliably.
Finding, Testing, and Utilizing Traffic Sources
Marketers have a lot of different choices when it comes to finding customers online. They can look for traffic on Google through search engine optimization, and post material to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to make the most of social media. And, naturally, they can bring visitors back using email if their subscriber list is substantial enough.
Often, the success or failure of search engine optimization depends on how crowded a particular search market is, and whether or not there are several local competitors for customers to choose from. At the very least, however, a website should be optimized for search visits, since it’s easier than ever to rank highly for targeted keywords within your own city, county, and state.
Some companies have great success with social media, although it takes a lot of content to attract followers. And, since most of what tends to be liked and shared on social sites is entertaining rather than informative, you can run the risk of generating lots of traffic that doesn’t lead to conversions.
Luckily, there is a reliable way to bring the right kinds of customers to your website day after day…
Making the Most of Online Advertising
We regularly meet with business owners who shy away from Internet advertising, and even some who outright fear it. Usually it’s because they’ve gotten bad advice in the past and have wasted big chunks of their marketing budgets as a result.
The secret to profitable Internet advertising is using focus and discretion when you set up your campaigns. Not all web visits have value to your business, but each click does cost you money. So, rather than aiming for volume, you have to pay close attention to the audience you are advertising to (and, just as importantly, the people you don’t want to spend money on bringing to your website).
A pay-per-click campaign set up through either Google or Facebook allows you to be extremely narrow with your reach, albeit in different ways. That means that getting the right combination of messaging and audience can take a little bit of work. Once you get your campaigns configured, though, they can keep bringing you sales and profits day after day with very few adjustments.
It does take a little bit of time, attention, and expertise to get online advertising right. But once you do you’ll wonder how your company ever got by without it.
Setting a Sustainable Budget
Advertising costs money, as do web design, content writing, and a dozen other jobs associated with online marketing. Some you can handle yourself, but you’ll have an easier time staying on track – not to mention getting better results – if you have creative professionals helping you out.
Knowing that, it’s a good idea to set a sustainable and realistic budget for web design and ongoing promotion. A good website should cost anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000, depending on how large your business is and what kinds of features and programming you need. Plan on spending what it takes to get the job done right; otherwise you might end up with a web presence that doesn’t pay you back later.
Your design team should be able to work with you to establish an ongoing figure for what it will take to keep fresh visitors coming to your web pages. Focus on the tactics and advertising channels that are most likely to bring you a solid return, in terms of new conversions. That way, you’ll be in a position to branch out later and compound your success over time.
Building Campaigns for the Long Haul
A classic Internet marketing mistake is to design campaigns and efforts for the short term. While everyone wants to see instant results, the reality is that the biggest gains happen over time, as you get to know your audience and see which ideas or channels will work for you and which ones won’t.
We regularly tell our new clients to start thinking in terms of 6 to 12 month timeframes. That can be difficult for owners and executives who want rapid feedback and instant gratification, but if you’re looking to build a reputation and a sustainable customer acquisition plan, you should count on exercising a little bit of patience.
It can take weeks or months to build up a strong search engine position, grow your social media following, and organize your Internet advertising campaigns. Give up too soon, though, and you’ll miss out on the biggest benefits.
Next article – Step #3: Generating Conversions from Your Website