When you have a website, it’s all too easy to sit back and assume that people will find it—but in reality, having a website without lead generation strategies is just like having a nondescript office in a big building. No one will visit it unless they know you’re there!
Fortunately, driving traffic to a website is cheaper and easier than directing foot traffic to a store or office. Below are 7 tried-and-true lead generation strategies that can help drive traffic to your website.
1. SEO best practices
Good SEO practices are what helps your business show up near the top of online searches—like having an office in a high-traffic part of town. Here are a few basics:
- Make sure your website is well organized: when your website links flow logically from general pages to specific resources, it’s easier for web crawlers to index your site. Having a good hierarchy in place is especially important as your website grows—otherwise, you’ll just be spinning your wheels creating content that does nothing for your SEO.
- Use internal links and backlinks: having lots of internal links in your content goes hand-in-hand with a well-organized website. Don’t forget backlinks too! They’re links from other authoritative sites that tell search engines that your site is legit. You can create backlinks by guest blogging or by listing your site in a professional database.
- Research keywords to use on your site: keywords are the words or phrases that searchers would potentially type into a search bar to find you. Including them in the text of your site—especially in headers—will help it rank. Use Google Keyword Planner to find relevant keywords with higher search volumes and lower competition.
This is just a start—things like meta descriptions, responsive design, and optimizing images can all help your website rank higher in search engines and get more clickthrough rates.
For more resources on SEO, there are a lot of beginner guides out there. Take a look at SEJ’s SEO for Beginners or Google’s database of SEO info. Also this SEO guide for blogs. If it sounds overwhelming, remember that the best single thing you can do for SEO is creating content that’s valuable and relevant to what you do.
2. Start a blog
Having a blog on your website does a few things for your marketing strategy: first, it gives interested readers a reason to keep coming back. Second, it gives you something to share on social media and email marketing feeds. And finally, a blog with the right keywords is great for your SEO ranking.
As any blogger will tell you, it’s not as easy as just typing out your thoughts and hitting publish. Here’s a brief guide to getting started with blogging:
First, it’s time to do some planning. How will you create content? Will you hire a writer or will you write your own posts? Will your blog incorporate videos, graphics, or other media? What are the important keywords to incorporate into your blog?
Second, decide on how often you’ll post. There’s a raging debate in business blogging as to whether quantity or quality is more important for driving traffic, but the truth is that it’s a balance of both. A third factor to consider is what a realistic schedule would look like for you.
Third, start drafting. If you can, it’s a good idea to create content in batches and then publish it according to your regular schedule. When you’re first starting your blog, creating a backlog of publishable posts can help you stay on top of your blog even on weeks when you don’t have time.
You can also blog on content platforms like Medium or Substack, where the content you write has the potential to earn money on the side, and then link back to your website.
3. Get social
Having a social media presence is a great way to drive more traffic to your website. It’s a good place to give people updates, advertise promotions, and send branded messages using a combination of organic and paid marketing.
Organic social media marketing is when you update your business social media pages with engaging content that your followers gravitate to. Organic social media strategies are good for maintaining a relationship with your existing followers, but they won’t reach new audiences as easily.
Paid social media marketing is when you purchase ad posts on your platform of choice. Paid ads usually come with lots of optimization tools to help you reach the right audience. They’re more likely to get you new customers, but aren’t as useful for building trust as organic marketing.
Can’t decide on what platform to go with? Here’s a breakdown on some of the most popular social media platforms for businesses today:
- Facebook is the most popular social media platform, with 7 billion monthly active users. It’s also one of the most common platforms for businesses, with sophisticated ad features and analytics.
- Instagram is a great platform for businesses like landscaping, interior design, or graphic design that translate well visually. In order to get the most out of Instagram, you need to be able to create eye-catching images (or hire someone that can do it). Start with Canva for an easy way to make branded posts.
- Pinterest is another visually-focused social media platform, with pin boards that let you organize according to themes. This is a great platform for businesses with a few separate categories of products, like a salon that offers both hair treatments and makeup.
- Twitter, on the other hand, is text-based. While you can post pictures, it’s better suited for business owners that want to market themselves with words. It’s popular with writers, journalists, and consultants that want to share important stories with their followers.
- Linkedin is focused on business networking, making it a great option for B2B marketers. LinkedIn has spaces for sharing past experience, credentials, and blog posts, making it a great fit for professionals like management consultants.
- YouTube is the second largest social media platform. Business owners with video editing skills can reach their audience with how-to videos, animated explainer videos, and more. It’s especially great for therapists, tutors, and other professionals whose personal presence is important to their service.
Whatever platform you choose, make sure you have a link to your website or scheduling platform in your bio, along with a catchy description of what you do. Like blogging, you can also batch content for social media and schedule it on a weekly or even monthly basis instead of working on it piecemeal.
4. Google Ads and PPC campaigns
Have you ever Googled something and notice that the top results have “Ad” next to the URL? Those are results from Google Ads campaigns. Formerly known as AdWords, these campaigns let you bid on a chance to show up in the top search results. You can choose a monthly budget and the action you want customers to take, and Google will create ads that improve over time to reach your target audience.
The unusual thing about Google Ads is that you won’t get a guaranteed spot. How successful you are with it will depend on how relevant your ad is to the search, and how much you bid. Successful Google Ads require thorough keyword research, so your ads are highly relevant to your target searchers.
This is a form of PPC (“Pay-per-click”) ad campaign, where you only pay for the ad every time someone clicks on it. Google Ads is the most popular type of PPC ad, but there are other forms of this. You can also buy PPC ads for social media sites like Facebook and Linkedin if you think you’d have better luck targeting your social media audience instead.
5. Google My Business
When you create a Google My Business account, it does a few things: first, you’re more likely to show up in local searches since you’ll be on Google Maps. Second, you’ll be able to create a business profile that links to your website, which will also help your website’s search ranking. Finally, your customers will be able to review your business on Google, so your rating will show up beneath your business listing.
Here are a few tips to make the most of your GMB listing:
- Make sure your GMB account is complete including your business category, up-to-date address, and plenty of photos that showcase what you do. Include keywords in your business listing, just like you would with your on-page content.
- Verify your listing so you can manage the information on your GMB listing. Usually the way this works is that Google sends you a physical postcard with a verification code that you enter once you receive it—that way Google knows your business location is legit. It’s only after you verify that you can edit your business information and respond to feedback.
- Use Google Reserve to schedule online directly from your GMB listing. You’ll need online scheduling software in order to complete this step—but once you do, you don’t even need web traffic to get business. Your clients will be able to schedule right from the listing itself.
Google My Business also has analytics, meaning you can see things like whether or not customers found you via Search or Maps, and what your customers click on when they find your listing. It’s an especially handy tool if you have Google Reserve, because you’ll be able to tell whether clients are scheduling through your website or through your GMB listing.
6. Email marketing
If you get a ton of junk mail in your inbox, you might feel skeptical about email marketing. The important thing to remember about it is that the best email campaigns are short and sweet. They entertain and offer something to the customer at the same time.
First, you need a list of emails to send your campaigns to.
One of the easiest ways to do it is to use lead generation forms on your website or on social media. Your visitors and followers can fill out the form to receive your email newsletter, and you’ll be generating a list of potential customers in your CRM database.
Next, design your campaign.
Email campaigns with eye-catching graphics are the best way to grab your customer’s attention. But graphics need to be optimized for email. The best way to design them is to use email marketing software like vcita that has customizable templates to get you started. These programs connect right to your CRM so that once you’re finished, all you need to do is hit “send.”
Make sure to include several links to your website in any emails you send, and you’ll see your website traffic increase in no time!
7. Online reviews
Each positive review online is like a mini-referral for your business, except instead of one person, it can refer multiple new clients! Once you’ve set up your website and have a solid customer base, it’s time to think about generating reviews. Here’s how.
- Make sure you’re listed on the top online review sites: once you’ve set up a Google My Business listing, you’re already eligible for Google reviews. Depending on your business, you may also want to add a listing in Yelp, Trustpilot, or industry-specific databases.
- Generate reviews: next, you’ll have to encourage your customer base to leave reviews. There should be a spot on your invoice where you thank them for their business—this is also a great spot to request reviews! Alternately, you could try sending an email campaign to your regular customers letting them know that positive reviews would help you.
- Respond to feedback: the one risky thing about asking for reviews is that inevitably, you’ll get some negative ones. The trick is responding to them in a way that isn’t defensive. Even if the reviewer is completely unreasonable, a nice response will show your commitment to staying professional and improving your services.
- Take action on feedback: Gartner recommends responding to feedback, and even using it to craft campaigns. If someone leaves feedback that results in a big change, or just something that stuck with you, don’t hesitate to use it in your marketing materials!
Make sure that whatever your marketing campaign is, it’s something that’s in line with your brand and genuine. One of the best ways to drive traffic to your website is to be true to yourself and know where you can shine. Then tell the world about it!