Attracting Visitors to Your Website
The topic of attracting potential customers or clients to your website can be a tricky one. On the one hand, you can’t make your sales funnel work if you don’t have visitors who can convert into leads. But on the other hand, there is so much attention paid to the process of getting those visitors that it can be easy to get bogged down in the details.
For example, there are thousands upon thousands of business owners out there who are convinced that inbound lead generation and search engine optimization (SEO) are the same thing. They certainly aren’t. While SEO is usually an important part of attracting visitors to your website, it’s only one way to get people looking at your pages and content. And getting prospects to your website is just the first step – that search position and those visits aren’t worth anything if you don’t get conversions.
With that in mind, I’m not going to spend a great deal of time in this book on the various ways to get people to your website. Instead, I’m going to give an overview of some of the more popular tactics and a few key takeaways. There’s a good chance you will be familiar with this part of the process already. And even if you weren’t, best practices are always changing.
So, if you want to learn more about topics like SEO, I encourage you to check out my other books and blog posts. Or better yet, talk to a web design team with a good track record. They’ll show you how easy it is to draw traffic to your pages. In the meantime, let’s look at the basics of getting website visits as they pertain to your sales funnel.
Which Buyers Do You Want in Your Sales Funnel?
Before you can do a lot to bring buyers to your website, you have to know who those buyers are going to be. This goes back to the point I made early on, which is that profitable sales funnels are built as much on an understanding of the market as they are technical skill or creativity.
I don’t want to do too much to hammer on this point again here, except to say that everything you do to bring traffic to your website should be aimed at a certain type of prospect. Or, to look at things another way, it’s perfectly acceptable to make your target market a little bit smaller.
Your sales funnel can’t be built for everyone, and you don’t want to focus on strategies, keywords, or ideas that look good on paper but don’t appeal to a certain kind of buyer. It’s no good racking up big traffic statistics to your landing pages if the men and women who arrive aren’t interested in getting more information or meeting with your sales team.
When someone who is a bad fit for your products or services arrives at your website, it’s a waste of everyone’s time. You don’t want that person to become a possible lead because they would ultimately distract you from more promising opportunities or become a dissatisfied customer.
Remember that and focus on the buyers you want, and don’t want, on your website as you consider different strategies to get people onto your pages.
Drawing Visitors Through Organic SEO
You probably already know that organic search engine optimization, or SEO, is typically the backbone of any strategy that involves pulling people in from the internet and on to your website.
There is a good, mathematical reason for this. At the time of this writing, Google is processing about five billion searches per day through its home page and mobile apps. In almost any business or market, having a top-three position within those search listings can mean attracting thousands upon thousands of potential customers every week, and doing so at the exact moment they are thinking about what you sell.
However, organic SEO tends to be a long-term project. And there are a lot of factors (like location, web hosting speed, mobile compatibility, and very specific keyword combinations) that can make you successful or cause you to waste your time.
Still, organic SEO works well with content marketing, which is another major building block in your sales funnel. So, unless you happen to have many heavily entrenched competitors who are firmly lodged at the top of Google’s search rankings, you’ll probably want to devote a good portion of your marketing schedule and budget to improving your search visibility.
Making the Most of Paid Internet Ads
You can use pay-per-click (PPC) ads on search engines and social media sites to attract qualified buyers to your website at very low costs.
The biggest advantages of PPC are that it works very quickly, allows you to compete head-to-head with any competitor, and can be incredibly adaptable. You won’t spend months and months setting up your campaigns and waiting to see results the way you would with SEO, and you can target buyers by keyword search, location, demographics, browsing history, and other factors that help you identify your best prospects. In other words, you have many levels of control over your PPC accounts that wouldn’t be available in organic SEO.
As a consequence, paid visits to your website tend to convert at a higher rate, meaning you have more people coming into your sales funnel on a per-click basis. However, it can be hard to guess exactly which searchers or social users are going to be the best ones, so it can take several weeks of data (and PPC expenses) before your ads become profitable.
Leveraging Social Media for Traffic
Social media marketing was once something of an oddity, but it’s become mainstream in the past few years as hundreds and hundreds of millions of people have formed attachments to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other networking sites. Now, smart marketers can leverage their profiles and posts into traffic for their websites.
The one defining factor of social media marketing is that it often requires time instead of money. That can be a feature or bug, depending on your budget and point of view.
Because the best way to get prospects through your social accounts is by earning their attention, and then getting them to share your content, it’s hard to succeed by simply outspending other businesses in your area or industry. Instead, you have to be so creative and engaging with your messaging that customers can’t help but take notice.
If you and your team are naturally skilled at putting together images, videos, and viral ideas, social media can quickly equal or even replace search engines as a primary source of website visits. If you only check your account sporadically, and issue updates and tweets that read like press releases, you aren’t likely to ever get real results from any of your efforts.
Still, you should have at least a basic social media presence on all the platforms your customers prefer. That way you can promote any new content or offers you release, engaging new prospects and keeping in touch with others who have stalled in your sales funnel in the process.
Cultivating and Measuring Traffic Sources
One question I hear on a weekly basis goes something like this: “What’s the best or most cost-effective way to get people to visit my website?” The real answer is that it depends on your situation.
For most small and medium-sized businesses, SEO is going to offer the biggest returns over time. It’s consistent, and once your campaigns get up and running, you can see big improvements with a minimal investment of time and money. That’s especially true if you can focus your efforts on a specific part of an industry or a geographic area. Because Google’s algorithm has been getting more and more sophisticated, it’s never been so easy for buyers to zero in on the exact information or vendors they need.
However, things are always changing and no two businesses are ever alike. So, while SEO might be the preferred tool for one company, it’s entirely possible that your business could be better equipped to get referrals from social media, paid search ads, or even affiliate websites. Any of these can be a good source of traffic, and some might be more appropriate to your customer base than others.
Knowing that, the smart strategy is to ensure you are equipped to get visitors and referrals from every different platform or source you can think of. Then, you can configure your web analytics to not only understand how prospects are finding you, but also track them as they move from one step of your funnel to another. Before long, you will likely discover that some traffic sources are more profitable and consistent than others.
Often, the work of getting visitors to your website, and into your sales funnel, is the most cumbersome and frustrating part of the process. That’s particularly true when you have just put your lead generation plan into place. So know that there are a lot of ways to get the job done and don’t let up until you find a winning formula that delivers results.
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About Glenn Brooks
Glenn Brooks is the founder of WebWize, Inc. WebWize has provided web design, development, hosting, SEO and email services since 1994. Glenn graduated from SWTSU with a degree in Commercial Art and worked in the advertising, marketing, and printing industries for 18 years before starting WebWize.