10 Things You Must Do to Drive Massive Traffic to Your Local Small Business Website

In my consulting practice, the thing my clients ask me most often about marketing online is, “how do I get people to find my website?”Generating traffic for your website is simple – but it’s NOT easy. Let me explain what I mean…There are multiple tactics that you can – and should – use to make people aware of your website and to encourage them to visit. Each one of these tactics is very simple to do – BUT you can’t just do one. That’s where it gets tricky – and why I say that driving traffic is simple – but not easy.You MUST take advantage of a variety of tactics available to you to drive traffic to your website because these tactics have a cumulative effect. Each one builds upon the other, helping to raise your ranking with the search engines, establishing you as THE “go to” expert in your field, and raising awareness with your potential customers so they come flooding to your website to buy your products or services.While there are dozens of tactics that you can use to drive new traffic to your site, to be effective you need to focus on a few key items first. Become a master of those tactics, then move on and add additional tools to your toolbox. I’ve listed below the tactics that I recommend to my clients that they start with and master first.Before you jump into the list though, remember – all traffic is NOT created equal. You don’t just want any visitors to your site – you want visitors who are interested in your products and services. I’ve seen far too many small business owners spending time – and money – getting traffic for the sake of traffic. Bad move. Sure, you get to see your site visitor count increase, but it’s a waste of your time – and theirs – if the visitors you are driving to your site aren’t interested in what you have to offer.Knowing who your target customers are, specifically, before you embark on any traffic-generating program, will dramatically increase the chances that the new visitors you drive to your site become new customers for you. The more you know about your target customer, the better your chances of driving those new customers to your website with these techniques below.So now – the 10 Things You MUST Do to Drive Massive Traffic to Your Local Small Business Website:# 1 List Your Website with Search Engines & DirectoriesGoogle alone attracts more than 250 million searchers every day. 3,000 people PER SECOND type something into the search box and visit someone’s website. And that’s just Google – it doesn’t include all the searching done on Yahoo!, MSN, Ask and all the other smaller search engines. It only makes sense with this many people searching on the web, that you would want to list your website where the people are looking for what you sell.Get your website listed in all the top search engines, including Google, Yahoo!, and MSN. Research directories on the web with listings for products and services your customers would be interested in. Some directories offer free listings, others require a fee; I’ve found paying the nominal fee that they charge is worth it, as your listing will get posted faster and more reliably than with the free directories.# 2 Use Article Marketing to Your AdvantageThis has been one of the most successful ways of driving traffic to my website that I’ve found – and the good news is, it’s free! Don’t worry – you don’t have to be the world’s best writer to put together useful, readable articles that your potential customers will read. Whatever your industry, there are thousands of electronic newsletters (or e-zines) that are hungry for articles they can use to publish to their subscribers. There are also hundreds of directories where you can publish your articles – some of them are extremely popular and will result in your article being seen by hundreds or thousands of potential customers.Unlike advertising, which people tend to be skeptical of, articles are more like “news,” which people tend to trust.
When your prospects read your article, they will also see your bio, which will include your website address. If they like what you have to say in your article, chances are they will click on your website link and purchase from your website.# 3 Publish Your Own E-ZineThis is another way that I’ve found to be hugely successful in driving new prospects to my website. By publishing my own e-zine, I can stay in touch with my current customers easily (and cheaply!), and market my new products and services to them. A secret to using your e-zine to drive traffic to your site is to always be adding new content that your customers want to see. Things like free articles and reports, discount offers on your products or services or special””subscriber-only”promotions are great ways to use your e-zine to drive visitors to your site.Probably the best thing about publishing your own e-zine is that you will be able to reach new customers you never would have found. When your subscribers read your newsletter and find your content helpful, they will send it to people that they know (but you don’t). When those people like your content, they will subscribe, giving you access to an entire pool of new prospects that you would never have access to otherwise.# 4 Advertise in Other E-ZinesOnce you have your own e-zine, look in online e-zine directories for other e-zines that your target customers likely read. Check to see if these e-zines accept advertising. If they do, you can purchase ads for your business in these e-zines, or offer to do an ad “swap” where you advertise in their e-zine in exchange for running an ad for their business in your e-zine. I recommend running at least 3 ads in a row so that you can get an accurate picture of how ads in that e-zine work for you.How can you tell which customers visited your site as a result of an ad you ran, and which ad it was? I use the ad-tracking program that is a part of my shopping cart software (www.autowebbusiness.com). I can assign each ad a unique tracking code, so I can determine exactly how each ad in each publication performs for me.# 5 Pay-Per-Click AdvertisingBecause so many people use search engines to find what they are looking for online, implementing a pay-per-click ad campaign for your small business is one of the easiest ways to put your website in front of those searchers. With pay-per-click, you bid on keywords that are associated with your business that your customers would likely use to find your products or services. And, you don’t pay for your ad until someone actual clicks on it to visit your site.All the major search engines offer pay-per-click programs – the most popular being Google’s AdWords. Your pay-per-click ad will appear on a search engine results page above the other listings – where your ad appears exactly is determined by a combination of factors, and it’s slightly different for each search engine. Google uses a combination of how relevant your ad is to the keyword you’ve bid on, and the dollar value of your bid, for example.Another advantage of pay-per-click advertising is that you can customize your campaign to run just to the geographic area you specify. Say you have a carpet cleaning business, and your service area is within a 50-mile radius of your store location. It doesn’t make much sense to be running advertising outside of that radius, as you will be paying to reach people who aren’t potential customers for you. Specifying the area you want your ads to reach is one of the great benefits of PPC advertising for a local small business.With pay-per-click advertising, you have the ability to put your ad for your website right in front of your prospects who are looking for your products and services. Your new customers are just a click away!# 6 Internet Word of Mouth – RecommendationsBefore the Internet, people would ask their friends and associates for recommendations when they were looking for a particular product or service. Known as “word of mouth,” this form of advertising has been around as long as commerce itself.Today’s Internet equivalent of word of mouth advertising is being placed in a recommended resources section of a website that your target customers already visit. Find websites that offer products and services that are complementary to your own, and then contact the Webmaster or owner of the site to ask them to recommend you to their customers. Or, ask businesses in other industries in your local area to exchange links with you. A good way to do this is to put a link to their site on your website before you ask for their recommendation – people are more likely to recommend you if you’ve already shown that you are willing to recommend them to your customers.# 7 Advertise on Other WebsitesDo some web surfing and find out what websites your target customers visit online. What websites have content that would appeal to your potential customers? Check with other businesses in your local community to see if they accept advertising on their sites. Place a series of ads with them or ask if they would be interested in doing an “ad swap” with your website.# 8 Help the Media Find YouAnother method I’ve had great success with in driving traffic is by writing and sending press releases to the local media, and releasing them on the many free PR sites online. By tactfully following up with local media personalities after you’ve sent your release, you’ll build a relationship with them as someone knowledgeable in your industry that they can call for an interview or a quote on a subject when needed. Consistency is the key with media releases – don’t expect to be booked on your local nightly news with your first press release.Even if you aren’t booked for a radio, TV or newspaper interview after your release, one of the great things about press releases is that when you post them online, other sites and bloggers will pick up your release and put your business and website in front of thousands of prospects you wouldn’t have otherwise reached.Press releases can help you drive traffic to your site in so many ways, it’s hard to overlook them as a key tactic you should use to find new customers.# 9 Direct MailA terrific way to break through the on-line clutter is to take the old-fashioned route and go off-line – using direct mail post cards. Post cards are an overlooked tool in driving traffic to your site – and they are effective and inexpensive too. Remember that you don’t have to tell your prospect everything about your business in one post card (space is at a premium with this tool)! Just tell them enough to “tease” them into wanting to know more, and then feature your web address prominently on the card. Post cards are a great way of reaching customers who need your products and services, but may not be savvy online shoppers.#10 Recruit Your Own Sales ForceImagine having an entire team of people actively working to sell your products and services for you that you didn’t have to pay a penny for until they actually made a sale. That’s the beauty of what’s known as an “affiliate program.”By starting your own affiliate program, you offer people a commission when they sell one of your products or services. Once they send a new customer to you, you can market to that new customer again and again – so while you may not make as much profit on the first sale as you normally would, these are sales you would not have had otherwise, to customers you likely would not have found on your own. You will more than make up for any initial loss in profit over the course of the life of that customer as you sell additional products and services to them.Use this list as a checklist of the things you must do to drive traffic, and begin slowly. Don’t try to do them all at once – master each item and then move on to the next one. For help with each of these tactics, visit our website and download our free e-book, “Local Small Business Internet Marketing Secrets.” It’s filled with resources you’ll need and advice on how you can implement each of these techniques in your business to drive traffic to your site and find new local customers today!