This article is the tenth chapter in our Digital Marketing Blueprint. Our series includes Identifying Your Marketing Problem (Step #1), Understanding Why Digital Marketing Is the Solution (Step #2), Creating a Digital Marketing Budget for Your Business (Step #3), Getting to Know Your Audience (Step #4), Examining Your Key Messages (Step #5), Analyzing Your Existing Online Presence (Step #6), Creating a Keyword Strategy (Step #7), Optimizing Your Website (Step #8), and Developing a Content Marketing Plan (Step #9). Additionally, you can download the full guide here for free!
Step #10: Getting People to Your Website
With the blog calendar in hand as your starting point, it’s time to start driving traffic to your website!
There are different strategies for this that ultimately fall into two distinct categories: immediate and long-term. Both have pros and cons. We recommend doing a little of both for the best results.
Getting Immediate Traffic to Your Site
If your goal is to get traffic to your website now, then pay-per-click advertising is the way to go. There are two types: search ads and display ads.
Pay-per-click text ads show up along the top and bottom of search results. See the example below.
These ads are great because you are instantly reaching people who are actively searching for your products or services.
For example, if people are searching for “plumbers Birmingham AL,” then you want your plumbing business to appear in front of them. The fastest way to get your business near the top of search results is with pay-per-click text ads. However, it is a pay-to-play platform. When you stop paying, your ads go away.
Another pay-per-click option is display ads, which show up throughout approximately 90% of the web (which includes all of the websites that support the Google Display Network). The great thing about these ads is that they build brand awareness, allowing you to choose which websites your ads will appear on.
Take your buyer persona and then determine what websites your ideal customers are on. Those are the places you want your ads to appear! Like the text-based ads above, display advertising is also pay-to-play.
So, online advertising is great for immediate traffic, but only works as long as you’re paying. Some industries are more expensive than others, and others, such as locksmiths and garage door repair companies, have special verification processes. Different industries have limited eligibility for what you can and can’t advertise for, so you need to work with a partner who understands how to navigate the ever-changing landscape of digital advertising.
The Long-Term Strategy
If your goal is to show up higher in organic (non-paid) search results, then you need a long-term strategy. It’s essential to understand that long-term strategies do not give you results overnight; it takes patience and consistency.
We recommend search engine optimization, local optimization, content marketing, and social media marketing for building a consistent, long-term strategy that helps your business establish a solid online presence over time. For best results, supplement with pay-per-click advertising until your long-term strategy takes effect. Let’s discuss how each of these areas leads more traffic to your site.
Search Engine Optimization and Content Marketing
We won’t stay here long since we’ve already discussed search engine optimization and blogging in detail. At the end of the day, the only way to appear higher in search results organically involves providing a lot of high-quality and relevant content on your website—and then optimizing that content for search engines with keywords.
If you write a blog today, will it help your search engine optimization efforts tomorrow? No. However, it all adds up, and over time your online presence will improve when people search for your products or services. Plus, remember that you are building trust and showing expertise by educating your target audience.
Local Search Engine Optimization
Local search engine optimization involves providing accurate and consistent information to trusted directories (other websites) online. By ensuring these profiles are completely and accurately filled out, Google will trust you more. As discussed earlier, when Google trusts you, then you are more likely to appear higher in search results. Higher search rankings ultimately lead to more traffic. However, there’s more to local search engine optimization than building trust with Google.
Local SEO is all about proving authority in your area, and reviews are central to achieving that. Reviews on Google have always been important, but Google is putting more emphasis on them now than before. And on top of acquiring and managing reviews for Google’s sake, you should be paying attention to your reviews for the opportunity they provide for your business to monitor your brand.
Managing online reviews through tools like review tracking allows you to keep an eye on your brand’s image while simultaneously helping prove to Google your authority in the local search environment.
The best example of the importance of controlling your online presence involves a very well-known, high-end restaurant in Birmingham. Google creates a profile on your business, whether you want it to or not. If you do not take control over that profile, then they will scrounge for information on the web to fill in your profile themselves. This profile is known as a “knowledge graph”and looks something like the one below.
However, the restaurant mentioned above failed to take control of their online presence, so Google created their profile for them. Google crawled the internet and found an image of a woman taking a selfie in the bathroom, tagging herself at the popular restaurant. Thus, that image started representing this business in search results, as you can see below:
Obviously, if you had never been to this restaurant, this representation probably wouldn’t encourage you to give it a shot. (Fortunately, the restaurant caught wind of the situation and decided to invest in local search engine optimization.)
Don’t leave it to search engines to create profiles for your business. Instead, take control of your online appearance with local search engine optimization—providing consistent and accurate information to trustworthy online directories. How does it work?
Google buys your information from data providers, who buy information about your business from other, smaller data providers. If your business details are inconsistent across these sources, then Google decreases its trust in you. With local optimization, you are providing correct and complete information across each of these directories, which over time improves your reputation with Google. The process also sends quality links back to your website, which is one of the key areas of search engine optimization—so it’s a win-win!
Social Media Marketing and Advertising
Social media activity does affect your reputation with search engines; however, there is more to it than that. When you are active on social media platforms, you are meeting your target audience where they spend their time online.
By creating engaging, informative content and sharing it on social media platforms, you drive people to your website. Plus, you can (and should) create Facebook ads and narrow down your audience by everything from zip code to certain demographics and interests. This dual use makes social media a strategy for both long-term and immediate results in terms of driving traffic to your website.
The Bottom Line
Your business needs a tailored plan that includes both immediate and long-term tactics for getting traffic to your website.
This article is the tenth chapter in our Digital Marketing Blueprint. Download the full guide here for free!