Time and Attention As marketers we have a lot on our plates like increasing conversion rates, decreasing bounce rates, and cultivating more customers from our various channels. Additionally, we have to work on traffic acquisition in an effort to increase conversion rates and cultivate a new customer base that drives sales. What we’re often at fault of doing, though, is balancing the need to create profitable conversions along with driving traffic to the website. Spending too much time on optimizing landing pages for peak conversion means you’re neglecting your acquisition, in turn decreasing the potential conversions you could create. In a 2015 post, Zapier outlined the need to balance your efforts and cited sources that say you should spend 50% of your time on building your product and the other 50% on bringing in new customers. For marketers specifically, that means we need to spend 50% of the time building our products (content, emails, social media posts, optimizing landing pages, creating social campaigns, etc.) and the other half on bringing new traffic to those products. Together, this creates “traction” (a term defined and explained in-depth in the above-linked Zapier post). Traction is simply a quantitative evidence of demand for your product, and each tip in this list will help you increase brand traction. With that in mind, let’s take a look at 14 ways that you can effectively use to increase website traffic in 2017.
Product ViralityWhat it is This isn’t creating a viral video. It’s much more subtle. Product virality depends on its ability to:
- Increase the value of the product for customers when their friends/coworkers sign up (Facebook, Slack, etc.)
- Pass by word-of-mouth. This happens when your product so effectively solves a problem that customers can’t help but discuss it with friends and coworkers.
- Incentivize collaboration. We see this a lot with project management software like Trello or Asana, where users are incentivized to collaborate within the product to better manage workflows. This is a pretty indirect way to create product virality, but it’s incredibly effective.
Public RelationsWhat it is This is the process of reaching out to the press to create discussion and news around your product. It’s important to note this doesn’t mean calling the local paper; rather, you’re looking for content creators (blogs, online magazines, etc.) within your niche who’d benefit from telling the story of your product. How to use it This is a lot easier than it’s made out to be.
- First, create a list of blogs or online news outlets relevant to your product’s niche.
- Second, package a story about your product into a succinct press release, making the job of writing the story that much easier. (For tips on a great press release, read this piece from Kissmetrics.)
- Once articles are posted, share them on aggregator sites like Reddit. There’s always a distinct chance of them getting picked up by a larger publication.
Unconventional PRWhat it is Traditional PR is formal, dry, and lacks personality. Unconventional PR is the exact opposite. It reeks of personality and creates instant connections with customers. This Prada video, for example, stars Helena Bonham-Carter and Ben Kingsley – and it’s a brilliant piece of marketing. You can also get ideas from this article of the best PR stunts of our time. How to use it Don’t be audacious, insulting, or overtly controversial. Something like, “Tom Brady or Peyton Manning?” is an appropriate level of controversy. Playing off the Ferguson-related police tensions like Pepsi did is not. Use it to provoke a funny, thought-provoking, or moving emotion.
SEMWhat it is Search engine marketing (SEM) is the process of using search engine algorithms to increase where your site’s various landing pages rank as high as possible on search engine results pages (SERPs). Specifically, though, SEM is accomplished through use of Google Adwords and paid ads. This process of generating traction will increase website traffic fast, but it also comes with a higher price tag. How to use it There’s tons of actionable information and data on using SEM to increase traction. These 5 tips, though, are key to doing so. SEM is best used in conjunction with everything else. You can’t depend solely on this channel to generate traction, just as you can’t depend solely on social media or email marketing.
Social and Display AdsWhat it is Social and Display ads are placed strategically throughout websites and social media networks, allowing your product to show up in different areas of the web than you would organically. Display ads weren’t as effective in previous years as they’d been at the advent of online marketing. Now, with retargeting pixels, display ads are making a ferocious comeback. How to use it These resources (for retargeting display ads and social media ads) explain in detail how to use both of these ad types, pros and cons, and use cases.
Content MarketingWhat it is Content marketing is the use of content to win over customers. It creates traction by giving customers as much helpful, worthwhile, and detailed information as possible – for free – so that when a customer needs the product you provide, they’ll remember your product and purchase it. How to use it Blogs are by far the most effective way of disseminating content. Blog posts, eBooks, whitepapers, infographics, and case studies are all worthwhile pieces of content to create. Distribution is most effective through email and social media marketing. You’ll also want to take a look at these 10 rules that’ll help you use content marketing to increase sales.
Email MarketingWhat it is Email marketing is still the most effective form of direct marketing. Conversion rates for ecommerce email marketing are high – 16.5% open rates and 2.32% click through rates, according to Smart Insights. Email marketing drives revenue that, according to marketing execs across America, matches revenue from social media, website, and display ads combined. How to use it Email marketing’s best practices change year to year, and 2017 is no different. This recent post details everything you need to know about best practices for this industry.
Engineering as MarketingWhat it is Any service or tool that you create that helps others in your niche is an example of engineering as marketing. Buzzsumo, for example, aggregates trending topics and articles based on the amount of shares the content has on social media. It’s an incredibly useful tool that helps marketers tap into real-time conversations in their niche. How to use it Using engineering to market means you need to provide something worthwhile, but also tease the full capabilities of what else you have to offer. Buzzsumo allows for free trends and top articles analysis, but competitor research and content monitoring comes at a price. Their free service is great enough to attract business to their paid service.
Blog ParticipationWhat it is This is essentially guest blogging. This practice got a bad rap about five years ago, but depending on how you go about it, guest blogging can be a great form of marketing. It allows you to expose your product to a different audience while earning approval of the publication you guest blog for. How to use it Guest blogging follows some pretty simple steps, though if you need more detail you can view this article from Kissmetrics.
- Make sure the blog you want to write for is either in your niche or very closely related to it.
- Ensure the blog’s audience is engaged in the topic you want to write about, and has the need for your product.
- You can accomplish this by browsing old articles on the blog and looking over comments to see if you’re the right fit.
- Send a pitch email explaining your topic, what you’ll link to, keywords, and potential benefits for the other blog in having your content on their site.
CollaborationsWhat it is This is when two companies come together to partner on a marketing campaign that results in positive returns for both companies. How to use it Collaborations – or partner marketing as it’s commonly called – only works when both parties benefit. Consider this example – The Infatuation, a restaurant review website, released a summer guide that featured clothing from Paige Denim. Paige Denim helped offset the cost of printing the guide and got free direct placement in The Infatuation’s widely distributed guide. These are some key points to remember, courtesy of Inc.com:
- Choose a company to partner with that your customers will also enjoy or benefit greatly from.
- Make sure that you and your partner meet each other’s needs. The value of your combined marketing campaign needs to be mutually beneficial.
- If you’re approached by another company for a partner marketing campaign, make sure it’s one with whom you can work and maintain your company’s high reputation.
- Lastly, you need to set firm guidelines for the deal – mutually agreed upon, of course – and retain the ability to walk away if any are broken.
Affiliate ProgramsWhat it is This is a pretty common form of marketing in the apparel industry. For customers who represent your brand well (formal brand ambassadors or brand loyalists who are active on social media with a large following), an affiliate program rewards them with either free product or money. This creates a deeper bond of brand loyalty, which in turn makes your customers more vocal about the efficacy of your product. How to use it Affiliate marketing works best when:
- You only give out certain products to brand ambassadors, creating more desire for other products and elevating their value in the eyes of all customers.
- Find affiliate marketers in as many different channels, niches, and markets as possible that are still relevant to your product.
- Consistently distribute product that’s high in demand.