If you’re like most small businesses, you’ve worked hard to increase the number of people who visit your website. This number (also know as “site traffic”) is vital to online success.
One of the most successful strategies for increasing site traffic is inbound marketing or, more specifically, content marketing. Using this approach, you draw people to your site by creating useful content that helps customers:
- Find answers to their questions,
- Learn more about your area of expertise, and
- Make decisions.
But a tactic that many small businesses ignore comes straight out of the playbook of more traditional “outbound marketing”: finding your customers where they live and bringing them back to your site.
Finding Your Customers Where They Live
One of the first things that folks do when looking online for a product or service is use a search engine. This is why inbound marketing focuses so heavily on producing content (which search engines love) and SEO, both of which help your content rank highly in search results.Reaching the top of the search results, however, can be a cutthroat battle with already well-entrenched companies that can spend much more time and money.
So, how can you beat these guys? You don’t have to. Instead, you can join them!
Leveraging The Big Guys
The big guys got to the top of the search results by using the same inbound marketing tactics as smaller businesses — creating useful content and optimizing their site for search engines. But a few things set them apart:
- They have been around for a while so search engines consider them authorities,
- They have many links leading to their content from other highly-ranked sites, and
- They have a lot of content and continually update their site with more.
Still, you can leverage the big guys by either providing original content to their site or by listing links to original content on your site.
Providing Original Content
Whether your business is online or off, writing content for other sites, or guest posting, can help draw targeted traffic. That’s because, at the end of each post or article you contribute, you can include a short bio with a link leading back to your own site.
Though guest posting is most often used by bloggers to spread their content far and wide, you do not have to be a blogger to use this strategy. If your industry has some heavy-hitters, check out their sites to see if they include content and, if they do, contact them to see if you can contribute some of your own.For example, if you run a gardening business, you can check the websites of the largest gardening retailers and product vendors. Offer to write relevant content for their site in exchange for links back to your site.
Aside from increased traffic and search engine rank, there is an additional plus to guest posting. By having posted your content, that site is endorsing you as an expert. This is called “Social Proof” and goes a long way toward convincing potential customers that your business knows what it is doing.
To learn more about guest posting, check out these resources:
- 5 Steps to Submitting a Guest Post & Getting It Published
- My 3-Step System for Finding Guest Post Opportunities
- 7 Mistakes That Prove You Are Wasting Time Using Guest Posting As a Traffic Strategy!
Listing Links to Original Content on Your Site
No matter what the subject, there are many targeted communities online. Many of them have a spot where you can share content and this is where you should share links back to your site.
For instance, my target audience is the small-to-medium business community. There are many sites that serve this community and every time I write a post, I make sure to add the link to the appropriate spots on these sites. A few examples are:
One important note: when posting links to any of these sites, remember that you need to be relevant. Do not post links to content that has nothing to do with that community or audience. That’s called SPAM (just like email) and is the quickest way to ruin your reputation.
Just the First Step
In the end, increasing the traffic to your website is only the first step in achieving your goals online. Once you figure out how to get site traffic, you need to learn how to convert that traffic into paying customers. Conversion is where the rubber hits the road and all your hard work pays off.
In addition to guest posting and listing links, you can create email campaigns with pbSmart Connections and share your content through Facebook and Twitter.
Learn about all the different ways Pitney Bowes can help you get more customers.
Matt Mansfield is the Head Tour Guide at Matt About Business (http://www.mattaboutbusiness.com) where he helps entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies use the web to manage and market their business by connecting online strategies and tactics with real-world results. Matt is not a Pitney Bowes employee and shares his insights on this blog as a paid contributor.