FEATURE GUEST ARTICLETurn Your Site into a Visitor Magnet and Attract Swarms of
No matter how cool your site is
or how fabulous your product is, you're not going to generate enough sales to
make your business viable unless you get traffic! You have to get the word out
about your site and give people a reason to visit it, or else you'll go the way
of the dodo.
The good news is, there are lots of ways to effectively advertise your site online and drive tons of "qualified" traffic to your site -- free.
("Qualified" traffic consists of people who belong to your target niche market and are most likely to buy the products or services you offer -- THESE are the people you want coming to your site!)
As more and more people turn to the Internet as their first shopping choice, enterprising entrepreneurs are coming up with increasingly ingenious ways to attract visitors to
In this issue, you'll discover how YOU can use these tactics to turn your site into one of the "main attractions" for your niche market -- without spending a dime!
Let the "Top 10" countdown begin!
TRAFFIC GENERATION TACTIC #10:
Use viral marketing strategies to "infect" people with the
desire to learn more about your product!
These days, viral marketing messages are spreading through the Web like wildfire. Viral marketing is any type of advertising that is "self-perpetuating," compelling people
to share it with others so that it spreads through a community like a virus -- but a good one!
Hotmail.com is a textbook example of viral marketing on the Internet. Hotmail was one of the first free e-mail services on the Web. In its first one and a half years, Hotmail
managed to sign up an incredible 12 million subscribers!
How did it accomplish this? Simple: At the end of every e-mail, Hotmail included the following message:
Get your private, free e-mail at http://www.hotmail.com
This encouraged everyone who received an e-mail to sign up for the free service
Large companies use viral marketing messages to perpetuate awareness of their brand, often by creating humorous videos or animation clips that people send to their friends for a laugh.
Some smaller companies have also used this strategy successfully.
An example is "Homestar Runner," a small business that's created a set of cartoon characters and animated shorts that circulate around the Web, encouraging people to visit the main site and buy the company's merchandise. You can check out Homestar Runner at: http://www.homestarrunner.com
If you like to play around with video or animation, you might think about
adopting this strategy to generate interest in your own product.
Just keep in mind that it can be very difficult to determine the exact return on investment for viral marketing campaigns, since it's impossible to keep track of where the ad goes.
This type of viral marketing is good for generating interest in your site and products, but it doesn't always translate into immediate sales.
To see more examples of viral marketing, check out the following sites (warning: part of the popularity of some viral ads is their "cheeky" or risque nature. Some viral ads
contain material that viewers may find offensive):
- ViralBank -- http://www.viralbank.com
Go here to discover "the web's most entertaining e-mails"!
This site features images, video, games, microsites, and
text e-mails that have spread virally through the Internet.
- ViralMeister -- http://www.viralmeister.com
This site features a list of news items concerning the
latest viral ad campaigns as well as a sampling of popular
viral ads circulating the Web. Visitors are invited to submit
"funny or cool videos, images, jokes or anecdotes" to be
featured on the site.
- Lycos Viral Chart -- http://viral.lycos.co.uk/
Offers a top 10 list of "cheeky" viral e-mails, as well
as viral campaigns listed under other headings, such as
"New Releases" and "Celebrities." Visitors are invited to
submit viral ads for review and vote on the best campaigns.
TRAFFIC GENERATION TACTIC #9:
Use online business networking communities to hook up with
other entrepreneurs for link swaps and joint marketing ventures
Business networking communities are springing up all over the Web. They're similar to dating or social networking sites, but are used by entrepreneurs to find other
businesspeople with whom they can establish mutually beneficial business relationships.
Sites like these can offer great opportunities for entrepreneurs to set up joint marketing ventures with like-minded businesses, or simply to find link-swap partners
who can help drive more traffic to their sites.
(We'll be looking at link swapping in greater detail later on, in case you're not familiar with this effective traffic generation tactic).
Business networking communities can also help generate traffic by allowing their members to create personal profile pages with links to their main business sites. These links can improve a site's ranking with the major search engines.
If you decide to join a networking community, be sure to partner with people whose business is complementary to your own. Their site has to attract visitors who are likely to become your customers as well.
For example, it probably won't do you any good to have your all-vegetarian tofu burgers featured on a Cattle Rancher's Association site!
Here are some business networking communities you may want to check out:
- Ryze -- http://www.ryze.com
- LinkedIn -- https://www.linkedin.com
- AlwaysOn -- http://www.alwayson-network.com/
- Spoke -- http://center.spoke.com/public/login/splash.action
TRAFFIC GENERATION TACTIC #8:
Become a recognized "name" in your niche market by
participating in newsgroups, discussion forums, or blogging
A great way to establish an online identity and develop relationships with your potential customer base is by taking part in newsgroups and discussion forums or starting up a blog related to your niche market.
These tools can really help you communicate directly with your niche market and discover what their wants and needs are.
For example, if you sell special mountain biking shoes, spend some time hanging out in mountain biking forums -- that's where your target market's going to be!
Or you could start your own blog in which you describe your latest mountain biking adventures -- complete with attention-grabbing photos, of course!
You could even combine the two tactics and generate interest in your blog by mentioning it in forums and newsgroups.
However, most newsgroups, blog networks, and discussion forums do NOT allow people to blatantly advertise in them!
If you want to generate traffic through these sites, the best way to do it is to offer friendly, useful advice to people who express a need for something, and then include a
subtle link to your business site at the end of all your messages.
If people like what you say, they may decide to visit your site and check out your products or services.
Taking part in newsgroups, forums and blogs can be very time-consuming, but can still be a great way to establish a name for yourself in your niche market.
TRAFFIC GENERATION TACTIC #7:
Get your visitors to tell their friends about you!
A good way to drive visitors to your site is to ask your existing customer base to do it for you!
There are lots of sites that offer free "tell-a-friend" buttons you can place directly on your site, in order to encourage your visitors to send e-mails to their friends
telling them about your site.
If your site offers a free opt-in newsletter, contest, quiz, or "tip of the day" -- in other words, any information that people will want to share because it's fun, valuable, or
exciting -- include a "send to a friend" button in that feature as well.
It's a great way to get the word out about your site to as many people as possible -- and there is nothing more powerful than a personal recommendation from a friend or colleague.
Here are a couple of sites that offer free "tell-a-friend" tools:
TRAFFIC GENERATION TACTIC #6:
Encourage people to "get busy" with your site with interactive
One of the best ways to get traffic to your site is to offer valuable content that's updated on a regular basis, so that your visitors are prompted to pay frequent return visits to see what new information you have available.
Provide content that's relevant to your industry, such as articles, product reviews, or "how-to" advice columns -- anything you think your visitors will find useful or
As you develop your collection of written content, consider placing it in a searchable archive so that your visitors can access past articles and product reviews.
This will encourage people to think of your site not only as a place where they can buy things, but also as a valuable source of information.
You should also consider offering other free resources to attract your target audience. Remember, the most powerful word in a marketer's arsenal is "free"! The more useful
tools and resources you offer your visitors, the more they'll appreciate your site.
Offer fun or helpful interactive tools that relate to the purpose of your site. For example:
- If you sell recipe books or kitchenware, include a
measurement converter that easily allows people to
convert imperial measurements to metric and vice versa.
- If you sell clothing, include a size converter that shows
how the clothing sizes compare to measurement systems
used in different countries. (For example, a woman's
size 10 in the U.S. is equal to a size 12 in the UK and
a size 40 elsewhere in Europe!)
- If you sell scuba gear or sailing goods, link to current
tide and weather information.
- If you sell books on philosophy or self-improvement,
include IQ tests or quizzes that determine personality
- If you sell education products, include interactive math
or grammar games and other fun learning tools.
This strategy tends to be better for getting repeat traffic than for attracting new visitors, but if you include a "tell-a-friend" button with your interactive traffic generator, you may prompt visitors to share the news about your site with others -- and get them to drive new traffic to your site for you!
TRAFFIC GENERATION TACTIC #5:
Increase your site's exposure by swapping links with other
If you want your site to be seen by as many potential customers as possible, try to get it mentioned on sites they're likely to visit. You want to find sites that are
related to yours, but not competing with it.
For example, if you sell ski goggles, try to get your product mentioned on alpine tourism sites, sites that sell skis, boots and poles, and sites that sell winter clothing
-- but not on other sites that sell ski goggles!
A great way to get your site mentioned on other sites is to contact those sites directly and offer to "link swap" with them. Tell them you'll put a link to their site on your site
if they'll do the same for you.
Not only will this generate a lot of increased exposure for your site -- it can also boost your ranking with the search engines.
Search the Web for sites that cater to your niche market -- AND that get a lot of traffic! If you own a souvenir shop, for example, see if you can get your site listed on local
hotel and restaurant sites, as well as other travel and hospitality sites tourists are likely to visit.
TRAFFIC GENERATION TACTIC #4:
Get the message out about your site by giving away free
One of the best ways to make sure your site gets mentioned on other sites is to offer them valuable free content.
Many online business owners are happy to get quality information to put on their site or in their opt-in newsletters so offer them some of the regularly updated
content you've posted on your own site (as suggested in Traffic Generation Tactic #6).
By providing other site owners with free articles, product reviews, or advice columns, you'll be doing them a favor -- as well as increasing the exposure of your own site!
Try to get your content published on popular web sites or in newsletters that have huge mailing lists.
Before you offer your content, do a little research to discover how much traffic the site gets, and how many people subscribe to the site's opt-in newsletter.
Try to find out which sites are the "hot spots" in your niche market -- THAT'S where you want your articles to be published!
IMPORTANT NOTE: Remember, this tactic will ONLY work if you include your contact info and a link to your site at the end of every article!
That'll make it easy for people to visit your site and learn more about the products or services you sell -- so make sure that every site or e-zine that publishes your content includes this contact info and link.
TRAFFIC GENERATION TACTIC #3:
Be one of the first sites people see listed when they search
your keywords in the free search engines
The free search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and MSN are still one of the most effective ways to get the word out about your site. There are lots of different techniques you can use to ensure you get a good ranking with the free search engines. For example, you can...
- Submit your site to the free search engines and online directories
- Optimize your web site so that it's easily indexed by search engine spiders
- Pay close attention to your keyword inclusion and placement
- Create content-rich "information pages" to direct traffic to your site
... And these are just a few tactics that will help you improve your search engine ranking!
You can spend the time needed to do all this work yourself, or you can use software that will do the job for you, such as WebPosition Gold:
To explore search engine optimization strategies in more detail, check out this article.
TRAFFIC GENERATION TACTIC #2:
Use e-mail promotions to present your visitors with offers
they CAN'T refuse!
Yes, it's true: E-mail promotions are one of the top two ways to attract qualified traffic to your site. If you have list of customer or subscriber e-mail addresses, then you're
People who have visited your site and signed up for your newsletter (or a contest or survey) are far more likely to buy than someone who has never heard of your site before. It's essential that you stay in touch with these people!
Encourage visitors to frequently return to your site by e-mailing them attractive promotional offers, such as e-coupons or discounts on new products you're offering...
notification of a sale or a contest you're running... even free services or products you've decided to give away to a limited number of people!
You can manage your mailing list and automate your e-mail promotions using software like Mailloop
To learn more about how to build a substantial list of opt-in e-mail addresses, start by checking out an article here.
For more advanced strategies, you'll want to read "The Insider Secrets to E-mail Marketing":
And now, the time has come for...
TRAFFIC GENERATION TACTIC #1 (drum roll please...):
Build an army of affiliates to drive TONS of traffic to
your site for you!
Without a doubt, an affiliate program is the BEST way to increase your site's exposure! You can get your affiliates to drive qualified traffic to your site using ALL the
free techniques we've mentioned so far, as well as other effective paid advertising techniques.
You can literally get your affiliates to do ALL your marketing for you!
In fact, one of our most successful clients doesn't spend ANY time optimizing his site for the free search engines -- he lets his affiliates do it for him! '
Many of them go to great lengths to make sure their sites are highly ranked -- and because they all link to his site, they boost his search engine ranking as well!
And the best thing about affiliate programs is that you don't pay your affiliates a dime for all the work they do unless they help you make a sale!
It really is a win-win proposition: The more sales your affiliates help you make, the more money they earn as well.
For more on growing your own affiliate program, check out "The Insider Secrets to Marketing Your Business on the Internet," which is filled with lots of in-depth information
on how to start up and make the most of your own affiliate program:
In order to maximize your site's exposure, it's best to use a combination of the tactics listed above.
For example, if you're sending out an e-mail promotion, you may want to include a "tell-a-friend" option in the e-mail so that the people on your mailing list will send the
promotion to others.
If you have an affiliate program, ask your affiliates to post your articles and product reviews on their sites in order to help you build a reputation for yourself as an industry expert.
Remember: When it comes to online marketing, there are three words you need to keep in mind: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!
Your site has to be mentioned often in places where your niche market hangs out if you want your site to be seen by as many potential customers as possible.
If you think you could be doing more to boost your site's traffic numbers (and really, who couldn't?), start putting these Top 10 Traffic Generation Tactics to work for you
today -- then sit back and enjoy all that free traffic coming your way!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Corey Rudl is the owner of four highly successful
online businesses that attract more than 6 million
visitors and generate over $5.2 million each year.
He is also the author of the #1 best-selling Internet
Marketing course online.
To check out his site that's JAM-PACKED WITH THE
EXACT INFORMATION YOU NEED to start, build, and
grow your very own profitable Internet business, we
highly recommend visiting The Internet Marketing Center
This guy really knows what he's talking about!
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