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You've probably heard that Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the secret to increasing traffic to your website. While SEO is a necessary practice, it's certainly not the only game in town.
Imagine your favorite corner cafe (or if you're like project manager Heather Lyon, the nearest Starbucks). What draws you back to that place? Is it a cozy atmosphere, amazing food or coffee, a rewards program, a good deal, the people ... or all of the above? Your website, blog, email and social media strategies can create an experience that brings first-time visitors coming back for more. But how do you create that kind of environment for your audience? You have to do more than just knowing the right keywords.
No matter where your visitor might be in their buyer's journey, you want to be seen as an authoritative source for information in your field and the place to go for help. We have a few tips to help you do this, and simultaneously grow your website traffic in ways that are built on a foundation of search optimization, but extend beyond it.
First and foremost, provide the answers that your audience is looking for. Offering useful resources is one of the greatest ways you can increase your site traffic. The more consistently helpful you are, the more likely it is that you'll be the first place that a person will go when they've got a question.
In addition to assisting visitors to your site, you'll be lending a helping hand to your customer service department. They probably get a lot of the same questions day in and day out; if you can generate content that addresses these issues in a simple, easy-to-follow manner, your customer support representatives will thank you.
For example, our website support staff informed us that they get a lot of questions about resizing images. So, we created a helpful blog post that they could direct people to when they call with questions about changing the size of the image on their site. The nice thing is the people can bookmark the link and refer to it whenever they need it, so they don't have to take time out of their already busy day to call our support team to refresh their memory. (I'll be honest. I have this post bookmarked, too. It's very useful.)
Now, when these users have other questions, they'll be inclined to do a quick search of our blog to see if there are any hints that could help them resolve their issues quickly and efficiently. They consider us to be an authority, and our site to be a resource they can visit over and over again.
Tell a Good Story
You've probably heard that quality content is a major part of digital marketing. Well, spinning a good story is the key to quality content. Storytelling in a business context simply means that you're creating an alignment between your business and your website's readers. The average adult spends about 5.6 hours per day on digital media; there are millions of queries on Google per minute, and 293,000 Facebook status updates every 60 seconds. How can you capture their attention amid all of this digital noise?
Make a human connection. That's why I put the cafe story in the intro...I was hoping to tap into an emotional/memory space with my reader.
The best way to tap into your reader's emotions is to tell a story. Tell them why you do what you do, and tell it in a way that appeals to your intended audience. A story will help you stand out from the rest of the pack, and while facts and figures are great, a human story will make your audience remember what they read for a period of time longer than it takes to scan the screen.
You won't be able to create a connection with your audience unless you've been listening to them. You must respond to their wants and their needs, offering them answers to the issues that affect them every day. Next, introduce conflict; this is simply the way that the character (aka your audience) is transformed in the midst of a challenge. You can speak to your audience's problems directly here. Finally, offer a resolution that will not only wrap up the story but issue a direct call to action. If you are genuine in your desire to assist your reader with their problem, this will shine forth like a beacon in the fog. They'll remember the emotion, and they'll remember your website when they have another issue to be resolved.
Promote, Promote, Promote
You can be creating the most helpful resources and the greatest, most emotional storytelling ever, but if you're not promoting your content effectively, you're basically talking to the wall. We're big fans of social media advertising here at SpinWeb. Most people are active on at least one social media platform, if not more, so it's a good way to cast a wide net. Even better, you can really customize your message, ensuring that you're not just bringing warm bodies to your website, but people who are actually interested in what you've got to offer. Of course, you should be providing them with value—your content must be of use to them, or they'll lose interest and you'll lose their recurring traffic.
You can utilize the pre-existing information that you've already collected from your contacts to create a segmented list; you can direct your ads according to the buyer persona that you're looking to attract, so you know that the user will find your information useful. Bonus—social media advertising is relatively inexpensive, allowing you plenty of space to experiment and optimize your ads until you're honed in on your audience. Play with the different platforms until you determine which one is most effective, and then you can focus your budget in that direction.
You can also seek out venues to republish your content. Choose wisely—pick one of your "greatest hits," or else pick a post that covers a topic that's got a lot of traction. A site like Buzzsumo can be of great assistance here; you can use it to determine which topics are frequently shared within your preferred niche. You can then approach sites that you feel might be a good fit for your piece, and offer it up. Be sure to include a link back to your site within the post, so you can benefit from the other site's traffic.
Are you ready to see a steady growth your website's traffic? Create content that is practical and emotionally compelling and make a plan to promote it properly—your effort will pay off in the long run and you'll see the kind of traffic that you'd hoped for all along. Does it still sound a little overwhelming? Contact us—we'd be glad to help you out!