Episode 12: Eight Strategies to Drive Traffic to Your Website

podcast Aug 27, 2019

Remember the movie, Field of Dreams. Its where the quote "If You Build it, They Will Come?" When Iowa farmer, Ray, hears a mysterious voice one night in his cornfield saying "If you build it, he will come," he feels the need to act. He builds a baseball diamond in the middle of his cornfield and eventually, the ghosts of baseball legends come through the corn and play baseball. It's an amazing movie...

This concept of just building something and your dreams come true doesn't typically apply to the online marketing world. Especially your website. Creating a website is not the same as launching one. 

Too often businesses fail to do the work AFTER their site is launched. The work of driving traffic to their website. I've got eight strategies to help you get started.

  1. Use SEO strategies. I won't go into detail here, but changing up your content regularly - this is why blogging is not dead. 
  2. Ensure your Google My Business Profile is claimed, optimized, and includes a link to your site.
  3. Be sure your social media profiles are optimized and include your web address as well. 
  4. Ensure your website is handy on marketing materials - business cards. - No, I don't think business cards are dead. They are a reminder, a post-it note, and for some, they are used exactly as they originally were intended to be. 
  5. Network online - be helpful in groups. People will eventually decide "Who is this amazing person and what do they do?" Your website should be handy on your profile. 
  6. Become a guest blogger or podcast guest - typically the host of the content will gladly share your bio and links to your social media and website. 
  7. Don't be afraid to pitch yourself when you're at networking events, and use the excuse of "We just revamped our website. I think you'll find a lot of useful info in there so here's my card so you can take a look later." 
  8. Advertise - Social Media ads are a great way to drive traffic through your social media to your website. I recommend you give them a compelling reason to visit. Offer a free checklist or ebook, a free video/webinar, or discount.

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Read the Full Transcription:

What is up? You are listening to the DIY Marketing School Podcast. I am your host and your marketing coach, Melanie Dyann Howe. Today we're talking websites. Specifically, I'm going to share eight strategies to drive traffic to your website.

Hello, my lovely DIY marketers out there, all of you working hard to do it yourself solo mode or learning how to work with a team to do this or anything, you just, you're learning it. You're doing it and you're learning it. So I know that websites come up often. And some of you are working on websites, or you have recently built a website, or you've launched a website. Or maybe you're thinking about revamping your website. And traffic to your website is important. I know that I have talked about how we can't just use social media to run our business. That was last week's episode, episode number 11, for those of you wondering. And also, I've talked about how we should not just be using social media to sell and that we're not on social media to sell... that we need a website to do that. And that was episode five, for those of you. I'll link to those in the show notes. So if you haven't listened to those episodes, you don't need to stop this and go back and listen. Those are some foundational pieces that contribute to some of the strategy and that is that we need websites, people, we all need websites. If you're in business, you need a website, okay? But, you know, it's not just automagically going to become famous. And we're talking about traffic. So I talked about, in episode five, that one of our objectives with social media is to essentially drive traffic to our website. And that our website is the hub of where we can sell people and give them detailed information about our products or services, how to get ahold of us, we can be very call to action heavy on our website. Because people have decided at that point that they're wanting to learn more and make a decision about what kind of business you are and if you're a good fit for them. So the question is, is how do we get them there? Right? 

I wanted to talk about this because I do think that a lot of businesses struggle with this. They struggle with the concept, but they struggle with it in two ways. One, they're not really sure how to drive traffic, but two, they don't realize that it's not just, like I said, automagically going to happen. So remember the movie Field of Dreams? It's where that famous quote, “If you build it, they will come” You know, “if you build it, they will come”...  remember that? Was that creepy, me whispering? The movie was in 1989 (amazing movie, I literally have goosebumps just thinking about it). But it’s when this farmer named Ray hears this voice, like constantly, like he's all over, he's going places, doing things and he keeps hearing this voice. And he first hears in his cornfield. And it says, “If you build it, they will come.” And so he feels the need to act. And he builds this baseball diamond in the middle of his cornfield. And eventually, the ghosts of baseball legends come through the corn and play baseball. So literally, he built the cornfield. And they came, and it was that simple. They didn't have to, like, go create a social media ad to get them to come, he didn't have to do things like that, they just showed up.

Your website is not going to work that way. I wish it could, but it's just not. So you can't just launch your website, and then all of the sudden expect people to find it and to be there… “well, I've got a website!!!” You know? So there are definitely some strategies and I want to go through a few of these strategies with you so that you can either make sure that you're, you know, fully focused on this or start putting some of these things in place. So first, we're going to assume that you have a website, and that it's a good resource. And it provides a reason for people to be there, meaning, you know, when someone comes to your website, there's helpful information, it's not just a landing page of selling. Now, if that is the case, then we're going to need to be a little more focused on maybe some advertising, but I'm assuming that there's a good reason… that they're going to get value -- that it’s going to answer their questions. And their questions could be, “What products do you carry?”, “What's in stock versus not in stock?” You know, so we just need to make sure it's user friendly, and it's meeting the objectives of what people need. My website, for example, is not like that. It's very full of helpful articles and resources like this podcast, because I am in the education space. I am educating small businesses how to do their own marketing. So that is how I enrich that experience. So first, we're going to assume that you've got a website that is offering value, it's meeting the objective. So the first tip that I want to cover is one that we hear about often. And that is to use SEO strategies. So SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. And the way that it works, very briefly, -- this is not an episode about SEO -- but the way it works is, you know, Google and all these search engines, they use technology. Again, leprechauns. When I talked about the algorithms in episode four, I just, I don't want to try to give them all the right descriptions, so I just say they're like secret little leprechauns in your computers. Anyway, they use this technology and they are able to crawl sites. And by crawling sites, what I mean is they use these bots and artificial intelligence, and they scan for words, they scan for media types, images versus videos, whatnot. And it gives them a very fast way of knowing what kind of website you have, how long people are on your website, what pages do they stay on, what kind of content is on your website...  So what words are being used -- These are keywords -- what phrases, what questions are being answered? And so SEO is Search Engine Optimization and that is Google wanting to make sure that when you search “Field of Dreams,” or when you search the quote, “If you build it, they will come” or “he will come” or whatever it is that you're going to get the best answer that you want. The best result is going to show up, because they want you to keep using Google They want you to rely on Google and so they want to be the best search engine. And right now, they are. Now there's all kinds of other search engines. I mean, even YouTube uses SEO strategies. I mean, SEO is all over the place. But we're just going to kind of keep it simple. And so how do you focus on SEO? There are books and websites and online courses that can help you be an SEO expert, I am not one of them. But I do know this, I know that from a basic standpoint, you need to make sure that your content on your site is useful and, again, you're offering value, which is going to keep people on your site. Another thing though, that's a little bit more on the strategic side for SEO, is changing up your content regularly. Give people a reason to keep coming back to your website, because those return visitors is also going to help your SEO score, which is going to help you show up in search results more organically. And that's why SEO is important for driving traffic. So one of the ways you can be changing up content is by adding, you know, videos -- kind of, like, a vlog style on your website. You could be podcasting and creating a new post and new blog posts that has your podcast. If you want an example, my website at MelanieDyann.com, again, that's D-Y-A-N-N, you can see that, if you click on “blog,” you'll see that for every podcast episode, I have not only embedded the podcast episode, but I've also got some text that shares a little bit of detail around it. Because again, these bots are searching for words, keywords. But I also have the embed code for the audio player because if someone decides to click on that page and listen to the podcast on my site, well they're on my site for 15 minutes, and these bots know that. So there's reasons there. Another is just its ease of accessibility. I want it to be easy for people without having to click around everywhere to find the information they need, which again, it's going to make them happy people and they're going to keep coming back. And so by changing up your content, you're not only offering a resource for people, but the other thing is that these bots, they know that the content is new, they can memorize the data from the first time they scanned your site and then they come back around and if there's new information, they're going to be like, “Oh, whoa, pump the brakes, the site's got new info, let's go scan it too” and they like that. Those bots like that, they want fresh content, because they want to be offering the most relevant, up-to-date, valuable content in their search results. Okay? Now, this is a super basic explanation. It's a “Mel” version of it, which is like condensed and dumbed down. And it's not all the details, okay? Because again, I am not an SEO strategist, I am not an SEO expert. There's only so much room in my brain. So if you want to learn more about SEO, there's ways to do it. You can also hire SEO strategists. You are going to pay a penny, typically, when you hire out SEO services. So I definitely would say get informed, learn as much as you can. That way either you decide to try to do these content updates yourself or, when you do work with an SEO strategist or hire somebody to do it, you know what you're talking about, and you don't get hosed on the pricing. Because it does happen. There are people out there charging triple, quadruple, even more than they should for some of these services, because it is kind of foreign to people. And they know it's important, and so they're willing to pay a penny for it. So get yourself informed so you can at least be a smart outsourcer.

Okay, moving on. Another thing that's really important for you to ensure that people can find your website and get there is to make sure that your Google My Business profile is claimed, optimized, and you know, by optimized, it includes information about your business, your hours… but, especially, a link to your website. So if you have not claimed your Google My Business profile, I want you to just go Google search for your business. I would recommend you search the name and the city that you're located in and you'll see that it will probably pop up. If you're in Chrome, it'll show up kind of out to the right. And you'll see a button that will say you know, “do you own this business,” if it's unclaimed. And you will go through a process to claim that business. Once you have the business claim, you can control the information that's in there. If you haven't claimed the business, then it's possible that the website’s not in there. It's possible that they store ours are incorrect because Google basically uses public information to try to figure out what your business is about, what you do. They will use user-sourced images from when people check in from their location on their devices… all kinds of crazy, artificial intelligence stuff. It's it's a little creepy, but it's the world we live in. So make sure your Google My Business is optimized. And here's why. Because a lot of people, again, you just Google searched and if your business came up, well, that's what they're going to see too and if there's not a button that says “website,” they can't click through to get to your website. So this is a big traffic driver for a lot of local businesses is, you know, people search for something, they may not even search the name of your business, they may search, you know, “pest control,” and then the city name and your business very likely could come up, and you want to make sure they can click through to your website. So make sure that your Google My Business profile is claimed and optimized. 

Another thing kind of in the similar realm is to make sure that your social media profiles are optimized and include your web address. So what I mean by making sure your social media profiles are optimized, it's basically making sure all the data is complete. I think that this happens a lot. People don't realize… I mean, if you if you created a Facebook page years ago, and you haven't really revisited the information in it, it's probably likely that there's missing information. Because Facebook over the years has added features, they've added fields, they've added, you know, you can now add services, you can add your products, you can add a story... there's so much you can add to your profiles now, that really help people know what you do. And all of this is used… I mean, you have to make sure it's used. It's used in SEO, searchability, not only in... it's used in even Facebook Search Console. So go back in, go to your business page, go to edit your information. And just make sure it's all complete... phone number, store hours, your website… make sure your website is there. Now this goes for your other social media profiles as well. Make sure that your website is in there and included. You know, a lot of people I think start social media profiles before their website’s ready. And they're afraid to, or they're not proud of their website, at first, and so they don't put the web address in there. But then they forget to go back and update this stuff after they have got a website that they're now proud of. So make sure, just kind of a checklist item, make sure all your social media profiles are optimized and include your web address.

So the fourth little strategy I have here is make sure your web address is handy on your marketing materials. And the obvious one here is business cards. Make sure that your web address is on your business cards. And if you're thinking this already... what about business cards? So I believe business cards are still a viable marketing piece. They are not expensive, you can get business cards for very cheap now. Whether you decide to buy them online or even use a local printer, they just do not cost a ton of money. And are you going to go hand out 1,000 business cards? Maybe not. But anytime you go to a networking event, or if you travel, or you're out in the community talking, you want to be able to give them your business card. Not necessarily because somebody is going to be like, put it in their Rolodex and use it to, like, call you every time. Think of it this way. It's a reminder, it's a Post-it note. Because if you talk to someone, you have a conversation with them, even if you sit there and exchange phone numbers, they don't have a visual prompt, because they just went into your phone. You're, like, the ninth John and their phone. I mean, come on, like, how are they going to remember this? Right? Are they even going to remember your name? So take the conversation, give them a business card, and they're going to stick it somewhere. Now, some of them might throw in the trash, they just might do it. I'm not I'm not gonna lie, it's going to happen. But what if they put it in their purse? What if they put it in their wallet? And then when they get back to the office, you know, the next day or when they go through their stack of other business cards from that trip they just got back from, the conference they just went to, where they met you. And they look through them and they’re like, “There is that John guy... Yeah, I want to check him out.” Do you think he's gonna remember the name of your business just because he remembered the conversation he had with you while he was on the plane coming back? Maybe not. But if he sees your website right there, he's going to be able to grab it and look at it and he's got the website, he's like, “boom, there's their business, I'm going to check it out.” So don't think of business cards as, like, an old tactic or an old-school marketing tactic. Just look at them as they serve a different purpose. Now, it's like a little Post-it note, it's a reminder, it's a visual prompt. Now, because of this, I also would recommend that you consider, you know, modernizing your business card. So don't just put a bunch of text on there, put your face on there. I highly recommend that you put your face, a picture of you, on your business card. Now this might mean you need to go hire a photographer and get a pretty good portrait shot. But it's worth it. Because again, they may not remember exactly who that person is when they’re looking at the name on the card and the business name. But they're going to remember a face. Most people will remember a face. And if you had a memorable conversation, they've got the face. They know, they remember. Plus, they're more likely to keep it because people are going to feel guilty about throwing your face away. It's that simple. So little sneaky tactic there. Unrelated to your website, put your face on your business card, I highly recommend it. So this also goes for, like, making sure your website... it's not just business cards, it's anything. Are you sending out custom thank-you cards? Do you have flyers? Posters? Do you have brochures? Anything that is a customer-facing marketing item or business item should always include your website somewhere. So just make sure it's on there. Even t-shirts, I like websites on t-shirts even if it's very subtle, like on the sleeve or on the nape of the neck. Just make sure that website is visible for everybody. Because you've spent all this time on it, you want people to know about it. 

All right, so the fifth tactic or strategy I've got here to drive traffic to your website, is do some networking online. I'm not talking like just open up social media profiles. I'm talking like get active, like be networking, be helpful. One of the best ways you can do this is in Facebook groups. So join some Facebook groups of like-minded people. Ideally, you could find some Facebook groups that include your ideal customers. And don't just go in there and start spamming people, but go in there and use the group to learn about people. But also when people ask questions that you can answer, answer them. Be included, be involved, just be super, super, super helpful. I have a podcast episode from my friend, Bobby Clink, and he owns a business called Your Online Genius (and I will link to it in the show notes). I am failing to remember the name of his episode or the number, but I will link to it in the show notes. He did an amazing podcast episode about how to use Facebook groups and he shares his story with how he has grown a following by just simply going out and being involved in Facebook groups and helping people. And it's where he does the majority of his networking. And I can tell you, I know for a fact, it has worked really, really well for him. So that episode is awesome. But you're not going to just spam people with your website. In fact, Bobby covers this in that episode. But here's the thing, eventually someone is going to be like, “Who is this person?” And they're going to want to stalk you a little bit. So they're going to click through, they're going to figure out what business you own, and they're going to eventually find that website as long as it's on your profile. So again, going back to, you know, strategy number three, make sure your website is handy, even in your social media profiles. Because eventually, people are going to be like, “Who is this? Who is this person who is being amazing right now?” And they're going to click to stalk you. And you want them to find out what you do and what you offer. And of course, find your website. 

So the six strategies I've got for you is a little bit of a deeper strategy. So I want you to try to become a guest. I want you to be a guest blogger or be in somebody's Facebook Live as a guest or better yet, even more so, go be a podcast guest. And the reason for this is because, you know, typically the host of the content, so meaning the owner of the website, the owner of the Facebook page, or podcast is going to be more than happy to share your bio and links to your social media and your website. So this is a great tactic for you to get in front of an audience, especially if you're newer, and you're just new in your business and you're just trying to get the word out there and you're trying to get as many eyes on your website as possible and to get people to be aware that you exist, you've got to do some networking. And this is a great way for you to do some virtual networking is to, you know, I mean, sometimes we get asked to be guest speakers at lunches and things like that... this is the virtual version of it. So go out there, offer some content, be helpful for people and be a guest on these other people's platforms. And again, they will share links, including one to your website which could drive a new audience to your website and raise awareness about who you are. 

And the seventh tactic I've got -- I've got two more for you, hang in there -- The seventh tactic is don't be afraid to pitch yourself when you're at networking events. So, you know, what I mean is don't be afraid to talk about what you do. I think sometimes people kind of hold back, they stand back, but go meet people. And if they're not asking you what you do, then ask them what they do. Because guess what, the likely response to that is, “So I told you what I do. So what do you do?” But don't be afraid to pitch yourself. And I don't mean pitch yourself like be all commercially. I just simply mean, like, don't be afraid to tell people to go to your website. And all even say this, if you've just recently launched it or changed your website, use that

as an excuse, just simply say, I mean I'll give you a script: “Hey, yeah, you know what, we just revamped our website. I think you'll find a lot of useful info in there. So hey, here's my card. Take a look at it.” There you go. I just, I mean, it's that simple. Use it as an excuse, like, “Hey, I’d love your feedback. So here's my card, it's got the site, it's got my email address, like, just let me know if you think it's helpful, or, you know, is there… what do you think else we should include in there, we're really trying to make a website that just creates a great customer experience, and really tells people our story, yada, yada, yada,” right? Ask for feedback, it's a great way to get people in there. Don't be, like I said, don't be spammy, be real. And you know what, here's the other thing, offer to do the same for them. So say, “Hey, well, you know, I'll tell you what, you know, I'd love to look at yours, too, and let you know my thoughts and whatnot. If you're, you know, looking for it.” Be willing to reciprocate the favor.

Okay, lastly, I want you to think about an advertising strategy. So if you're brand new, just starting out super, super, super on a budget, then you may not be ready for ads. But if you’re really ready to drive traffic, one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website in the fastest way possible, is to use social media advertising. So these are Facebook ads, Instagram ads, and the like. And they're a great way to get people, new people new, I mean, you can really target people you can... there's so many ways to target people, you know, specifically in their niche, their interests, their age, where they live, whether they've, you know, clicked on one of your social media posts before or whatnot, you can really, really, really hone in on your market and you can drive traffic to your website through social media ads. Now, I'm going to recommend that you not just go create an ad and try to, you know, sell them something and then get them to your site. Really, like, give them a compelling reason to go to your site. So one of the ways is, of course, to offer, you know, a freebie. And a freebie would be like maybe a checklist for something, you know, maybe like if you're in the vacuum business, you could offer a free checklist for, you know, spring cleaning, like, “Hey, here's, you know, here's your honey do list, print it off, and then you and your family can get it done.” And, you know, it's just all the stuff that maybe people don't think about, like, you know, cleaning out your outlets or something... dusting your outlets, get the dust bunnies out of there, I don't know. But just offer some compelling stuff. It could be an ebook, or a checklist or any of that stuff. It could be a free video or a webinar. So you could actually show them or teach them how to do something. And even if you're not necessarily just... I definitely want you to be collecting email addresses with this. But let's say you're not even doing that yet, which if you're not doing email marketing, I want you to consider it. But even if you're not there yet, still consider offering something. Give them a compelling reason to go there. You can even offer a discount in these ads as well. So social media advertising again, is not a I mean, yes, you can spend a small amount of money. But to get those real good, traffic driving results, you probably need to be ready to spend anywhere from you know, $100 to $500 a month. And that's kind of on the minimum side, really. Now, if you've got one quick hit initiative that you need, you can certainly spend less than that and really, really hone in on what you're doing. But if you're really just, your strategy is just to drive traffic, you want to have a budget of running ongoing ads over a period of time. They do perform better over a period of time. So it's not always a good strategy if you're just looking for, like, a quick boost in traffic. So keep that in mind. So when you're ready to start spending that money, and that's a small budget, you know, you can have much bigger budgets, for sure, but only if you're ready. That's why I kind of left it for last. All these other things you can do in the scrappy method, meaning you don't have to spend a ton of money. But that one is one that costs money. So only do that one when you're ready, for sure. 

So well, there you go, you guys, there's eight strategies for you on building traffic. Now, this is seriously a thing. I mean, You cannot just have a website and expect people will automatically find it. You've got to be strategic, and you've got to be driving traffic to that website. I don't want you to be in the camp where you spent all this money and all this effort and time building a site and then you fail to drive traffic to it. Because it's just, it's not automatically going to be found by people. The movie Field of Dreams is amazing, but that quote does not apply to websites, okay? You can't just build it and it automatically happen. And to be really honest with you, the same can be said for social media. You can't just create a Facebook page and expect all of a sudden that all these people are going to find it and show up. So I think I'll be doing an episode on that as well. How to get people to know you have social media profiles, and to get them to be there and to hang out with you on social media. Because it's the same thing… It’s not “If you build it, they will come.” That doesn't apply to websites and social media. So that's a future episode coming up, you guys. So, you guys, that's what I've got for you, I hope you have an awesome day. I hope you took some notes. This one was kind of heavy, and it had a lot. But I wanted to give you those eight strategies on driving traffic. There are certainly many more strategies out there. So don't give up, don't just use these eight. These are just eight ones that I wanted to provide that I think are fairly simple, easy to put in place right away. They do not take a ton of money or effort. You can do them! You can DIY these strategies. So start here and move into the other categories and keep researching this. There's tons of information out there. Literally just Google “how to drive traffic to your website”. It's that simple. Google's amazing because they know how to find great content because they use SEO, right? All right, I will talk to you guys next week. And in the meantime, I hope you have subscribed to this podcast because I don't want you to miss a beat. And if you're enjoying it, and if you're finding help, I'd love to see a review from you. I'd like your feedback, but it also does help me and I would appreciate it. So I'm trying to move along here. I’m trying to get the DIY Marketing School Podcast it in big places. So if you are a follower and you enjoy it, let me know. Please do it. I will love you forever and ever. So all right, you guys have an awesome day and don't forget to go be awesome.


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