In Kevin Costner’s great movie, Field of Dreams, our hero hears a persistent voice in his head that says, “If you build it, they will come”.
Well that might be fine for a corn patch baseball field, but it certainly isn’t true on the web. If you build it, they definitely won’t come. No matter how fancy your site looks, no matter how many great products and no matter what compelling sales-copy you have, it doesn’t amount to a thing if you don’t have traffic.
You have to go out, find your audience and cajole them back to your site, with the right marketing techniques. Here are my four key routes to traffic success.
- Pay for traffic. No, I don’t mean by buying one of those ‘guaranteed traffic’ packs from the charlatans out there. I mean placing pay-per-click adverts on Google AdWords that show up when a user types in a search using keywords that relate to your site.
If your ad catches their eye because it’s totally relevant to what they’re looking for right now, they will come through to your site and you then have a chance of grabbing their e-mail address with your opt-in form and autoresponder.
Although AdWords costs money, with enough tweaking and experimentation you will arrive at the right balance of cost versus results. For list-building, when you start out, there is no surer way of steadily increasing your subscribers.
- Write articles. Article marketing is becoming one of the most favoured ways of promoting your site and yourself. Create small, 500 – 600 word articles which talk about subjects relating to your site, your skill set and/or your e-book. Then publish them for free on as many of the article directories out there and have them distributed all over the world.
The link back to your site that appears in your bio is the route that will bring interested and motivated visitors straight back to you. The benefits are that it’s completely free to do. The possible drawback is that you have to produce a lot of articles to really reach a critical mass; some people say 25 should get you going, others say it's a lot more. However, if you enjoy writing, then this is a great route for you.
- Press releases. These used to be considered an offline only method of publicity, but nowadays, writing and distributing a press release is very similar to writing and distributing articles. The format and layout of a release is somewhat different but there is absolutely no reason why you can’t think up a hundred reasons for issuing a release.
Maybe you’re just launching your site, or you have a new e-book, or you’ve just taken on a new range of products or a joint venture partner, or maybe you’ve just changed the colour of your background. No matter how trivial the reason, why not publish a release? It costs nothing (in most cases) and who knows which search engine, e-zine or directory page it might appear on and who might then click through to become your next customer?
- Last but not least: Search Engine Optimization. In the early web days, having your site content, your links and your keywords in total alignment was the only way to ensure that your site would be anywhere near the top of any of the major search engines.
Since the phenomenal growth of Google AdWords, where anyone can pay to get straight to the top of the page, SEO has fallen a little out of favor, except among those smart site-owners who still prefer traffic that costs nothing. Research also shows that visitors, who click through to a site from its natural listing instead of a paid-for position, are twice as likely to become paying customers, so why wouldn’t you want them?
There are plenty of online sources of information which will give you more information on what you need to do to begin optimizing your site for maximum effect. It may take a little effort and the results might be a little slow to show up, but believe me, it will be worth it in the long run.
Finally, don’t forget that following ANY of these routes will bring you results, but it is only if you pay regular attention to all four that you’ll really start to see the traffic rolling in.