Many brands are focusing all their efforts on getting higher conversion rates.
Don’t get me wrong. That’s extremely important for the success of your company. For the most part, conversions ultimately translate to dollars. They encourage sales and contribute to your bottom line.
But before people can convert, they need to find your website first.
Growing a website takes time. It takes consistent sharing of great content for months and months on end. Usually, it takes most people about two years to get big.
This means that your growth is slow and steady just as the traffic coming to your site is slow and steady.
While that strategy will work, it’s always nice to get a huge jump in traffic every once in awhile.
Would you like to know how to do that?
Here are 25 tips and strategies to help you get more traffic to your website today.
1. Take advantage of your email list
With so many new content marketing strategies out there today, it can be tempting for brands to forgo the traditional approaches.
But email marketing needs to be part of your advertising foundation. Over the years, email marketing has withstood the test of time.
It’s still one of the most profitable marketing tactics.
Just take a look at how it compares to other direct marketing mediums:
Because email is generally inexpensive, it delivers a high ROI per dollar spent.
Email marketing is also extremely versatile. There are lots of different ways for brands to leverage their email subscribers.
One of those methods includes driving more traffic to your website. Encourage your email subscribers to share your content with their friends and family.
As a result, you can generate leads from new website visitors as well as your current subscribers.
Plus, email marketing software makes it easy for you to track and analyze the efficiency of your email campaigns. If you see a spike in website traffic, you’ll be able to know exactly where it came from without making assumptions.
Take advantage of those analytics. Make sure you’re tracking the source of new traffic so you can measure the effectiveness of each email you send.
This will also show you how you’re getting new leads.
2. Increase your social media presence
In this day and age, your company can’t afford to ignore social media.
Across the globe, social media usage has been increasing at a rapid rate for the past decade or so. Just take a look at the user growth across the social networks worldwide:
Having a Facebook profile isn’t enough anymore. You need to make sure you have an active presence on other platforms as well, such as:
Do more than just create a profile. Post content on a daily basis.
Try your best to get more followers. Create posts that encourage engagement. Respond directly to your followers to entice communication.
These actions make it much easier for you to generate new leads.
Just because someone follows your brand on social media doesn’t mean they visit your website. But now, you can post links to your social pages with the intention of driving traffic directly to your website.
Constantly posting links will increase the chances of you getting an increase in clicks and traffic.
Similarly to your email strategy, you can use unique links to track where the traffic is coming from. You’ll be able to determine which social platforms are generating the most traffic and which posts get the highest engagement rates.
3. Start blogging
If your website doesn’t have a blog already, make creating one a priority.
It doesn’t matter what type of business you have or what industry you’re in. Blogging is one of my favorite ways to increase website traffic and generate new leads.
Take a minute to analyze your brand. What are you offering? Is it important enough for people to visit your site on a daily basis? How about once a week?
Realistically, the answer is probably not.
But if you have a blog, it gives people a reason to keep coming back. Blogs also help improve your SEO because you’re constantly adding new content to your page, but we’ll discuss that in greater detail later on.
As a result of your improved SEO strategy, your organic lead generation will increase as well. The more often you post, the more traffic and leads you’ll get.
Just take a look at how publishing frequency impacts the results bloggers see on their websites:
The strongest results came from the most frequent posts.
You can even pair your blogging strategy with some of the other tactics I’ve previously discussed.
Each time you write a new blog post, you can email it to your subscribers. Post about it on social media. Now you’re able to generate new leads and get more traffic from multiple sources with just one blog post.
Take your blogging strategy to the next level by guest blogging on other websites. While you may not think this is beneficial to you, it’s a great way to increase your site traffic.
That’s because you can use guest posts to consistently build backlinks leading to your website.
Now, readers who may not be familiar with your brand can click on those links and be redirected to your site as new leads.
4. Produce video content
Consumers want more videos from brands.
That’s why 87% of marketers produce video content online. Videos yield a 157% increase in organic search traffic as well.
Furthermore, 46% of consumers act after watching a video advertisement.
Give the people what they want. Your business should have a YouTube channel set up, and you need to add new videos to it on a regular basis.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to produce video content. It’s easy to create and edit your videos in-house.
People would rather watch a video about a product than read about it. This is a top reason why marketers say video content helped them increase website traffic.
You need to have videos on your website.
Add videos to your emails and social media pages. You can even embed video links into your blogs.
This is a strategy I have been using in my blog posts for years now.
Ultimately, videos can help you generate new leads and increase your website traffic.
If you’re not producing them right now, you need to start as soon as possible to maximize your reach.
5. Broadcast live videos
When it comes to marketing, live video streaming is a relatively new concept.
But many social media platforms have recently implemented this feature, so it’s time for you to take advantage of it.
- Facebook Live
- YouTube Live
- Instagram Live Story
All of these are ways for you to connect with your audience. This also relates to the previously discussed topic of having an active social media presence.
Your live video streams can be used to get more people to visit your website.
Direct them to a landing page you use to generate new leads. Now you’re able to kill two birds with one stone.
Ultimately, live video streaming also has a positive impact on sales:
To get the full effect, you should be going live on a regular basis.
You’ll gain a strong audience of viewers and increase the chances of driving more website traffic and generating leads.
6. Use influencer marketing to establish credibility
If your website is credible, you’ll be able to generate more site traffic.
One of the best ways to gain credibility is to leverage your relationships with influencers. You can approach this tactic in many different ways.
If you have the means, you can use celebrities to promote your brand.
That’s because these people are already known and trusted. Working with a celebrity shows your brand is legitimate.
Their endorsements will reach a wider audience. The problem is it’s obvious to consumers these celebrities are getting paid to pitch your products or services.
As an alternative solution, you can use micro influencers to increase your product credibility.
One of the top reasons why I’m an advocate for using micro influencers is because they have high engagement rates with their followers.
Get these people to post about your products, and you will get more traffic to your website.
Your new leads will be more likely to trust your brand if the recommendation comes from a social influencer.
Now you’ll have an easier time generating conversions and ultimately drive higher profits.
7. Improve your SEO
A great way to generate leads and traffic is through search engine optimization.
As you can see from what we’ve already talked about, implementing some of these other lead generation strategies will automatically help your SEO.
But by using other tools to improve your SEO, such as keyword research, you’ll be able to get more traffic from organic search results.
That’s because when someone is looking for something online, whether it’s a product or service, they’ll probably start with a Google search.
In fact, 85% of consumers use Google to help them find information about products before they make a purchase.
Someone doesn’t even have to know your company exists right now. But you can still get them to visit your website if you can master your SEO strategy.
Now that they’ve found your site from a search engine, it will be easier for you to generate a new lead as well.
8. Leverage long tail SEO
Who doesn’t want to rank for terms like “credit cards” and “auto insurance,” right? Although those terms are lucrative, they are actually extremely difficult to rank for.
On the other hand, long tail keywords are much less competitive, and they will drive the majority of your traffic.
If you look at Quick Sprout, 91% of my search traffic comes from long tail phrases. And just like Quick Sprout’s, the majority of your search traffic comes from long tail traffic too.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t rank for any head terms. It just means that I rank for more long tail phrases. You probably experience the same thing as most sites rank for dozens of head terms and hundreds, if not thousands, of long tail terms.
How do you rank for more long tail terms?
First, you need to log into Google Webmaster Tools. Once you are in, you’ll want to click on “search traffic,” then “search queries.”
You’ll see a page with a list of keywords that looks like this:
The table will list all the keywords you rank for. What you need to do next is take the head keywords (phrases that contain one or two words) you rank for and type them into Google.
For example, I rank for the term “online marketing.” So I typed it into Google and then scrolled all the way to the bottom of the first page until I saw a table that showed “searches related to online marketing.”
These are phrases that Google sees as relevant to a term you already rank for. And the head term is much harder to rank for than those long tail terms.
So if you blend some of those long tail phrases into the page that already ranks for the relevant head term, you’ll start getting more search traffic.
All I am doing is sprinkling in the phrases that make sense, two or three times within the page.
I used this strategy on a monthly basis on Quick Sprout in 2013. And the results were great.
In January 2013, I received 120,365 search visitors:
In December 2013, my search traffic climbed to 174,496 visitors:
9. Write ultimate guides
Ultimate guides are great tools for generating traffic since people like to share them via the social media, so I wanted to share with you the tips for creating your own, based on an article by Kristi Hines called Creating Ultimate Guides and Using Them to Build Your Marketing List.
Here are the tips to your first ultimate guide:
- Subscribe to hundreds of blogs in your field – Get to know what is going on in your industry, wait for that single piece of eye-opening information that no one has blogged about and then create an ultimate guide.
- Read posts on your topic – Once you have an idea about an ultimate guide, see if there are any others out there. If there are, how can you make yours different? Can you combine some of the current guides to make an ultimate guide?
- Provide a ton of screenshots – Even if the topic behind your ultimate guide is pretty basic, provide screenshots. The visuals break up the content and help people scroll through it. If the topic is complex, then do screen shots of the steps.
- Present case studies – An ultimate guide comes alive when you share real life examples. People tend to believe what you are saying when you have credible examples.
Once you’ve written the guide, your next step is to promote it.
If you don’t have that big of an audience, then you may want to offer to share it on a popular blog. This is exactly what the authors of the Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies did with their Ultimate Guide to Facebook Marketing at Copyblogger.
Once traffic dies down, the nice thing about your ultimate guide is that you can then turn it into a free download.
10. Suck in traffic with egobait
Egobait is a pretty simple concept: offer a reward to people who accomplish a certain challenge. If they win, they get to show off to the world.
In other words, this technique appeals to their vanity.
For example, Write to Done runs an annual top ten best writing blogs award. Those who win get to display a badge that declares they are one of the best. Of course, that badge drives traffic back to Write to Done.
Social Media Examiner does the same thing with their top ten social media blogs as does Advertising Age’s Power 150 List.
The disadvantage of this technique is that it is not going to work unless you have some authority in the space. If you don’t and you create an egobait badge, then nobody will care.
You first have to develop a loyal following through consistent publication of practical and persuasive content. Then, you have to offer your badge year after year until it gains a following.
11. Timing your Reddit submissions and buying traffic
Reddit is a huge site getting huge numbers of page views. Back in December of 2011, they got a total of 2 billion.
That means you can post content on Reddit and drive a boatload of traffic to your site. Naturally, you have to create great content, but when you share that content is just as important.
Studies have shown that before 5 PM EST is the best time.
But studies have also shown that other things affect your ranking on your submissions on Reddit. These include whether you shared an older story versus a new one or how quickly you get your first 100 upvotes.
If it takes you 10 hours, then your post will not appear as high on the front page than if you had gotten those 100 upvotes in the first hour.
Here is a chart to explain…
What’s interesting is that the first 10 upvotes matter just as much as the next 100. And those 100 matter just as much as the next 1,000…
Keep in mind that controversial stories don’t really work as well on Reddit as you might think. The reason for it is that a post with many upvotes and downvotes doesn’t rank as high as a post that got proportionately more upvotes than downvotes. In theory, a submission with 1,000 upvotes and downvotes will not rank as high as a post with 750 upvotes and 250 downvotes.
Another element that affects your Reddit rankings is how many comments people leave. The more comments, the more weight that post will get. This means you need to use these strategies to generate more comments.
And just like StumbleUpon, Reddit also offers a way to buy traffic on Reddit.
There are two ways in which you can do this: buy an ad that shows up across all of Reddit or buy an ad that targets specific sub-Reddits.
This approach can drive a lot of traffic since you are targeting a highly-engaged segment.
12. Write a high-quality guest post
One of the hottest and easiest ways to give your traffic a significant bump is to write a guest article for a popular blog.
Easier said than done, of course.
Your first step is to build a relationship with the blog’s owner. Fortunately, with social media, connecting with these bloggers is pretty easy.
- You can contact them on Twitter and comment on their site. When tweeting their stuff, make sure you are using their Twitter handle so they know what you are doing.
- Then head over to their blog and leave high-quality comment on posts.
- Get introduced by another guest writer. Contact one of the writers who has published on this popular blog and ask them for an introduction. That will give you credibility when contacting the blog owner.
- Meet them face-to-face. I love it when people come up to me during conferences and strike up a conversation. They are usually readers of Quick Sprout like Alex Mangini or Doina Oncel. After hearing their story, I’ll either usually write about them or give them the opportunity to write.
Once you have that connection with the blog owner, make sure you take care of it. Make yourself available to do things that they need done. Maybe it’s providing them with content they are missing, or maybe it’s putting a series of articles together they can package as a book.
Now, let me give you a few tips on creating a guest post that will actually knock them out and create a stream of leads to your site.
So, writing a popular guest blog post goes like this:
- Use simple words – You want people to be able to read and understand quickly what you are writing about, especially if it is about a complex topic. So, write at a 5th grade level.
- Write advanced how-to blog posts– Once you have your topic, sit down and write out all the steps to accomplishing your stated goal. Then revise, working in greater and greater detail.
- Links– Put plenty of internal and external links into your post. Bloggers love this. Ali Luke did a great job with her Copywriting Essentials from A-Z post.
- Create a conversation – Ask questions throughout your post that invite readers to think about and respond to what you are saying.
- Prove you are the authority – Fill your post with research and statistics that prove your point and show readers that you are an expert on this information.
- Create powerful headlines – Finally, concentrate on generating some truly persuasive headlines. This is by far the most important feature, so work hard at it! I know you can!
Okay, that will help you create a great article, but you’re not done yet. You want to catch all those leads you drive to your site, right? Then do this:
- Use 3-sentence formula for your byline – Your byline is the bio on your guest piece. To make it truly compelling and concise, answer these three questions: Who are you? What do you do and for whom? What’s the call to action?
- Create a landing page – Next, the links in your byline should drive traffic to a landing page that is designed for that audience and is tied to the topic of your guest post.
- Write a killer headline – Your landing page headline should address that blog audience. For example, if you wrote a quest post for Quick Sprout, you might write a headline like this: -Quick Sprout Readers, Get This Free and Exclusive Report on Traffic Boosting Secrets Today.”
- Write killer copy – Of course, you have to write clear, concise and compelling copy if you want people to read what you wrote.
- Add a call to action above the fold – Make sure you add a clear call-to-action button above the fold on your landing page. Do not bury it below the fold or your conversion will sink.
- Add a short video on the landing page – This Eye View Digital study has shown that you can skyrocket conversions simply by adding a short video to your landing page…by almost 80%. Now, that’s huge!
- Do not request a lot of information– The minimum amount of information that you need is an email address. If you can live with that, then don’t ask for anything more. If you want to, ask for a name. Asking for any more than that will drive down conversions.
- Use social proof – A great landing page needs social proof. This includes things like endorsements, number of clients, subscriber counts and social media followers.
- Don’t forget the design – A well-designed site will always convert better than a site with poor design. No ifs, ands or buts. If you can’t do it yourself, hire someone.
- Test – Obviously, this won’t be the first and last time you write a guest post. A good strategy involves writing dozens a year. That means you need to test with each one…maximizing your conversions each time!
13. Create a Free Giveaway Worth Wanting
Lots of people create free giveaways to build their email newsletters — but few of them take the time to truly craft a great giveaway that people want, and that somehow improves their lives or their business as a result of getting it.
Remember, people aren’t signing up to your list because they like you (unless they happen to be your parents or significant other). They’re signing up because they believe you can help them with their problem. The question most business owners then ask is:
How Can I Help Them if I Don’t Know What Their Problem Is?
And most marketers would tell you to “ask them” via a survey — which is one way, but I’ve found it’s not the best way unless they know and respect you well enough to give you a minute of their time. Rather than posing a blanket question and pigeon-holing people into specific answers, send them a quick email and ask this one simple question:
What’s the biggest thing you’re struggling with right now when it comes to (your topic)?
These days in almost any topic, people are frustrated, excited, hopeful, challenged and confused, all in one. In order to solve their problem, a personal-sounding email asking about that one pressure point can tear down any sales-y “B.S. detector” walls they might ordinarily have up and give them a chance to explain their problems, fears and concerns with you.
And you, in turn follow up accordingly. Thank them for taking the time to respond and share their problem. Let them know that you’re in the process of creating a new product and you’ll let them have it for free if you could just ask them a few more questions. You’ll then use these questions to further refine your product offering so that it has the largest impact with the most people.
You might be surprised to learn that very few people will go through the time and effort to create something truly extraordinary, such as an entire course (for free) or a tangible item that can be shipped. And while you don’t have to go to extremes, the more effort you put into the email freebie, the more your subscriber will think:
“Wow, if he’s giving this away for free — I wonder how much better his paid courses/products are?”
And sadly, most paid e-products are created by people who have neither the experience nor the expertise to truly give people that kind of top-peak invaluable information. Don’t let your free product fall into a swamp of mediocrity just because everyone else is doing it.
What If I’m Selling Someone Else’s Product?
If you’re an affiliate, this advice applies doubly to you. Oftentimes, affiliate promoters will give their prospects a free something-or-other to promote to their lists. You can essentially trash this. Everyone and their dog who is also an affiliate will be taking this “easy way out” and not putting in the extra effort to make something extraordinary.
So take the time to do what they won’t. If the affiliate product creator is giving away a free how-to article on getting started with the product, you go a step further and make a step-by-step video that shows you using the product the way a first-timer would. Better yet, all affiliate products have gaps or areas where users have questions — be the first person to come up with a comprehensive FAQ that answers those questions and issues.
Getting Your Giveaway into the Hands of Eager Subscribers
Originally, I was going to make this part of Day 2’s assignment, but I feel it’s so important that it really needs to be an assignment all its own.
Today’s lesson is all about getting your giveaway into the hands of your subscribers, and the truth is that no matter how much work you’ve put into it, before your subscribers receive it, that can just as easily choose NOT to opt-in. Whether it’s having second thoughts, changing their mind, or uncertainty about spam and the sharing of email addresses with other lists, there’s a very fine line that email list owners walk during that delicate phase between opt-in and delivery.
That’s why it’s vital that you come to your subscribers in a way they find convenient and comfortable. These days they’re not sitting at their desks waiting to hear from you. This is why I highly recommend choosing an email list provider that includes mobile responsive (NOT mobile friendly or mobile optimized) templates.
Wait, What’s the Difference?
Most providers have tended to take the easy (read: lazy) way out and give subscribers who view your email a mobile version or a browser-friendly version. This just adds an extra step in the process — and seeing as how nearly 45% of emails are opened on a mobile device, of which only around 11% are mobile-responsive, your email is one tap away from the trash.
From February to June 2013, mobile email opens rose 44% while desktop opens fell to
33% and webmail to an all-time low of 23% — Source
That being said, some providers and programmers are stepping up to the plate to offer responsive templates of their own. The most popular email newsletter providers that have made their templates mobile-responsive include:
I’ve Set Up My Freebie — Now What?
Sadly, this is where many people stop and wonder why their traffic isn’t increasing. You’re not finished quite yet. The next step is to introduce (through a plain text email) what your reader can expect — for example, you could link to a sample issue to show them what they’ll be receiving from you, and let them know how often they can expect it.
Why plain text when you’ve just found a mobile email template provider?
Because plain text is the easiest to display in any device, browser and operating system, and chances are, right after people subscribe, they’re going to want to know how to get started. They’re excited and ready to jump into your offer.
See below how Sprout Social does their intro email when someone is added to an account. Notice that they’ve covered all the bases here with their introductory message:
- They show how to get more out of the service right from the start
- They include quick bullet points that demonstrate the benefits of using the service
- They include an email address in case the user has questions
Sprout Social’s Introductory Email
After you send this out, within 24 hours, you can send out your freshly-minted, responsive design as a follow-up:
14. Join Quora
Quora is a Q&A site where you login to read, contribute and vote on answers.
Questions range from the eclectic “What’s the most important life lesson you’ve learned up until now?” to the helpful “what are the best tools for productivity” and everything in between.
Quora — a Q&A site that lets you follow and connect with others in your industry
The main reason I didn’t include Quora with the other social networks above is because in all honesty, it isn’t like them. You’re not exactly engaging with people who love your brand, but rather connectin with influencers. These are people who, when approached right, can help you take your traffic to the next level.
Notice I said approached right.
These days, too many people approach influencers and start foaming at the mouth about how their product is the greatest thing, and could I review it on my blog or do I accept guest posts or would I be willing to try it out in exchange for a mention in my newsletter, etc. etc.
Put yourself in the influencer’s shoes for a moment.
We’re pitched products all the time — ranging from things that should have never gone out of beta yet to really incredible resources and everything in between. We get more email, invitations and mentions than we can ever keep up with. If you want to make an impact on Quora, you’ll want to do the following:
- Go beyond shallow, salesy content and truly write an inspiring, thought-provoking, helpful answer. Some posts can go viral and are easily read by millions of people. Readers can tell an intelligent post from a vapid one.
- You can also write blogs on Quora. I’ve found that the best types of blog content on Quora are shorter snippets of things you’ve learned, stories and insights that your readers can gain from, rather than typical blog posts like tutorials, lists and other common types of posts.
- You can get a suggestion of people to follow based on your profile and those you allow, There’s also a great list of hacks that you can perform by adding certain words to the end of the trailing slash.
15. Leverage Rich Snippets & Google Authorship
As you continue writing posts regularly for your own blog, don’t forget to claim your Google Authorship. Some WordPress themes include this feature as part of their user profile area. If yours doesn’t, you can always use the Google Author Box Reloaded plugin to add this type of functionality.
Why bother? Because according to some studies, Google Authorship photos in search results can impact your click-through rates significantly. Although you can expect this to taper off as more and more photos appear in search results, early tests have been nothing but positive.
An example of Google Authorship displaying in the search results
Even after you claim your Authorship profile, there’s still no guarantee or set date that Google will display your photo in the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages), if it will display at all. Once you complete the process, you can check to see if Google can pick up the results by using its Structured Testing Tool. Even if things display correctly here, it’s still very much wait-and-see as to when or even if your photo will display in results.
While that’s going on, you can still enjoy enhanced Google listings through the use of another type of rich snippet — customer reviews:
Google Reviews showing in the SERPs
Google Webmaster Tools has detailed information on how to add reviews/ratings to your pages, but there’s also a WordPress plugin that will give you this same functionality even if you’re not particularly technically inclined.
You can create a page on your blog for customers to submit reviews and have them display through Google’s rich snippets:
Google Reviews showing in the SERPs
16. Interlink Your Posts
A sitemap is a good starting point to make sure Google (and other search engines) can index all of the pages on your site, however it’s a good idea to make sure people can do the same. Ask yourself — if they’re reading your posts right now, what do they do at the end of the article?
If you can’t answer, then your site is lacking “stick-ability” which keeps users involved and on the site longer, thereby improving your relevancy score in Google and rippling across to your ranking. Buzzfeed is a great example of a site with stick-ability. At the end of every article, there are more related articles to whittle away at your productivity:
An example of related posts on BuzzFeed
17. Blog Commenting
To some people, blog commenting may seem like an old-fashioned strategy that no longer works to build backlinks from Google.
And they’re right, it likely won’t.
But that’s not the point.
Taking just 15 minutes a day to comment on a few respected blogs in your industry will not only get your name out there, but can also drive traffic to your site and build relationships with fellow commenters as well as the blog owner.
Don’t just write “me too” or “I learned a lot from this post, thanks”, but rather comment on specific points. Perhaps the author mentioned a few helpful resources, and you’d like to add another that they may have missed? Or maybe your clients have struggled with a similar problem, and this is how you solved it?
Thoughtful, well-thought-out blog comments can also demonstrate that you have the depth of knowledge and the expertise on the topic that make you a valuable contributor in the industry as a whole. Who knows, perhaps your blog comment can lead to a guest posting position within that blog?
Of course, you’ll ideally want to be one of the first commenters, as the more comments come pouring in, the more your well-crafted, polished response will sink to the bottom. To help with this, there’s “If This Then That” or IFTTT
IFTTT uses “recipes” to perform specific, user-specified actions. For instance “If I post a photo to Instagram, save it to my Dropbox”.
So what does this have to do with blog commenting?
As it turns out, there’s a very helpful recipe which will send you an SMS whenever there’s a new blog post on a blog you’re following.
An IFTTT recipe for blog post notification to SMS
Joining IFTTT is free and there are hundreds of recipes to automate just about anything online.
18. Forum Commenting
Forum commenting may seem like a tactic of yesteryear — but just like with blog commenting, the goal is not to get backlinks, but rather make yourself an integral, respected part of the community.
Nearly every forum has its own paragons: shining examples of members who contribute consistent, helpful or new information that the community finds helpful. Some of these people become moderators.
And while your status won’t grow overnight, taking just 15-20 minutes a day to browse forums and look for unanswered topics that you can answer, or posts you can add to, will do a lot to build your reputation.
The good news is that there are forums for nearly every topic, ranging from cars to cats, adoption to vegetarianism. Wikipedia maintains a list of some of the largest ones, but you can also find relevant forums by searching Google for your topic plus the word forum, bulletin board or message board (both with and without quotes).
A list of the most popular forums on Wikipedia, along with number of posts,
number of members, the software running the forum and the year it was founded.
Once you have a list, it’s important to check several points — the first being when the latest post was made to that forum. No one wants to contribute to a ghost down, and one of the most troubling issues forum owners face is getting enough traction to get people registered and keep them coming back.
An example of the latest posts on StartupNation.com,
along with how many threads are in that forum.
If the community appears fairly active and responsive, go ahead and register. Use your real name if at all possible, rather than your company name. The same goes for your avatar, or the small graphic that appears under your name. Resist the temptation to use your company logo and use a nice, professional-looking, smiling photo instead. People are psychologically more attracted to a smiling face than a bland, boring corporate logo.
An example from StartupNation
removing signatures and links
You also won’t want to start commenting on as many threads as possible right out of the gate. Not only does this sometimes trigger the forum’s built-in anti-spam measures, but it also gives the impression that you’re looking to spread your signature link in as many places as possible, rather than becoming a serious person of value to the community.
To help combat this very issue, some forums have instituted a strict no link / no signature rule — either for members that have just joined, members that have under a set number of posts, or overall.
Start off with an introductory post — let people know who you are, how long you’ve been interested in or working with this particular topic, and about your interests or life. Then you can start contributing to posts. Check the forum guidelines — particularly about links to your own site. Some forum owners and moderators are okay with linking to your blog if you’ve written a post that expands on a question that was asked — others aren’t. When in doubt — ask!
19. Advertising on Facebook
Facebook ads can generate a terrific ROI as well as a higher click-through rate — but it’s important to distinguish between the two types plus how to reach out to prospective customers without looking like an intrusion in their newsfeed.
Ads appear on the right side of your news feed or in the timeline and can be targeted to both mobile and desktop devices. The ad only shows the first 90 characters if it’s displayed in the sidebar, but shows the first 500 characters if shown in the newsfeed.
Rather than go through every type of ad Facebook offers, I’m going to share with you which ones have driven the most consistent increases in traffic across multiple types of businesses — both large and small.
If you already have Facebook Fans
Then you’ll want to use Sponsored Stories + Promoted Posts. Sponsored Stories appear when fans take certain actions on your page, including:
- Page LikesWhen a friend likes your page, includes a thumbnail of your page’s profile picture plus a like button.
- Page Post LikesShows when a friend likes a specific post from a page and includes that post.
- Page Post CommentsIf a friend leaves a comment on a certain post, the ad shows and includes the comment plus a link to the post.
- Check-insShows when a friend checks in and includes the friend’s profile picture as well as any comment they’ve made on check-in.
- App Used/Played/SharedShows when a friend does an activity through an app, played a game, or shared something through an app, as well as what the action was (Joe Smith pinned ____ to Pinterest).
- Question AnsweredShows when a friend answers a question in a poll, plus includes the poll results.
- Event RSVP’edShows when a friend responds to an event, plus includes a thumbnail and link to the event they’re going to.
You have control over where your sponsored Stories are placed and can target just news feeds, just desktops or just mobile. Sponsored Stories are the most organic and natural-appearing ads and encourage the most user interaction.
Promoted Posts let you promote nearly anything including links, videos, quizzes and more, and is perfect for mobile impressions as it displays directly in the newsfeed rather than being relegated to the right side.
If You’re Starting Out Fresh on Facebook
If you don’t have a large following of fans just yet, you can use the more traditional right sidebar ads which are designed to target your specific audience and get them acquainted with your brand and your content.
These types of ads cost very little and can help you increase the number of likes and fans you have without spending a huge chunk of money. As you grow your audience, you can bring in Suggested Posts targeted to those who like your page to encourage them to go beyond Facebook and take an action on your site. You can also use Promoted Posts to expand your reach to the friends of friends who have liked your page.
It’s perfectly acceptable to use any or all three combinations of ads to boost your traffic. You can even test your ads to see which ones are bringing you the best return on investment and the greatest number of new fans and friends. It’s important that you then nurture your growing community with great content while encouraging them to take the next important step by visiting your website or claiming a special offer through your Facebook page.
20. Marketing on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is its own unique community, just as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest have their own collective microcosms of rules, expectations and guidelines of how to act and post. Because it caters to professionals, LinkedIn demands a more polished, well-thought-out marketing plan.
However, because of its targeted audience, LinkedIn has the ability to connect you to other “fire-starters” who can help you leverage your existing platform and grow your site beyond anything you could do strictly on your own.
HubSpot has an excellent “Cheat Sheet” guide to getting the most out of LinkedIn, including third-party apps and browser plugins you can download to help you import your email contacts, take advantage of the new Company Pages design section and target your updates to groups accordingly.
Third party LinkedIn Applications let you connect your WordPress blog to LinkedIn, leverage industry-specific applications and find events near you to help you build your network.
LinkedIn’s own advertising network lets you target your ads precisely — including to specific job titles, company size, job functions and more. You can even access group statistics on LinkedIn for groups you’re not a member of — enabling you to determine which groups will potentially bring you the best return on your investment of time and research.
An example of a LinkedIn company page by HubSpot
According to LinkedIn’s own research, posts that are made in the morning tend to get a greater response than those made at other times of the day. That’s why it’s best to use a social media management app like HootSuite or one of the many other programs available to schedule your updates accordingly.
You can also use LinkedIn Recommendation Ads to promote your products. Each time someone recommends you, it is shared with that person’s followers, which can create a ripple effect that gives you greater traffic, referrals and recommendations.
21. Create an Infographic
You can’t even mention Pinterest without mentioning infographics in the same breath. These visual breakdowns of statistics and information, when done right, can be a huge traffic magnet on both the popular pinning site, as well as your own website.
Doing the Research
Doing the research and gathering the statistics is going to be the most time-consuming part of the infographic creation process, but there are several sites that can make it easier:
- Statistic Brain Stats and numbers on everything from food to sports and much more.
- Pew Research Center Provides a detailed look at hot topics including politics, religion, global and social trends.
Crediting Your Sources
Finding and citing the most recent sources for your statistics is also crucial to creating your infographic, as many sites can post questionable stats as fact. Here’s an excellent article along with examples of what to do, and what not to do, when it comes to proper sourcing.
Lowes is one of the most followed brands on Pinterest
Creating Content that People Want
The next step step (and the one most infographics get wrong) is that the information you’re displaying has to be the kind of content that people want to read about. Not surprisingly, someone created an infographic about this very thing (see below).
Beyond these tips, however, there’s very little information on how to actually go about creating the infographic itself if you’d like to do it yourself.
Fortunately there are several tools that can help — my favorite of which is Piktochart. Piktochart uses themes as a starting point for designing your infographic, then lets you drag and drop individual elements for your stats:
An example of the many design choices for infographics at Piktochart.com
Which Topics are Best to Cover in an Infographic?
Just piling stats on for the sake of creating an infographic is never a good plan. Instead, certain types of data and topics do better in this format than others, including:
Comparisons – How does one thing compare to another? Have the changes made a significant difference? Why or why not?
Relationships/Cause-and-Effect – How are things intertwined? Has something happened to cause something else? How has it affected your business?
Time – Timelines of inventions or processes in your industry can show how practices and strategies have evolved over time.
Differences – How does one group or segment react versus another?
What Topics Should I Avoid?
At the same time, there are certain types of information that just don’t work well in infographic format. Mainly aesthetics, feelings, emotions and in many cases, humor — even if to prove a point.
If the process of explaining the process is more cumbersome than helpful, or if the infographic is more of a giant promotional poster than something useful, it won’t be well received by your audience.
Once I’ve Got My Infographic, Then What?
Once you make your infographic, the work isn’t over yet. The next task is promoting it and getting traffic to share and re-pin it. For Pinterest, you’ll want to try the Social Image Hover WordPress plugin from CodeCanyon, or simply incorporate Pinterest Widgets (scroll to the bottom of the page).
Next, you’ll want to share your new infographic across various popular infographic galleries — including:
Finally, you can make the best stats you’ve uncovered “tweetable” on Twitter. ClickToTweet lets you copy and paste a stat in a box, and then create a clickable link that auto-fills in the person’s Twitter message area with that Tweet. It’s a great way to share mind-blowing stats plus showcase your infographic to the social web.
22. Look for Interview Opportunities
You don’t just have to be the interviewer. There are plenty of opportunities out there to make yourself heart on radio shows and podcasts — if you know where to look. RadioGuestList.com welcomes both interviewers and interviewees to post their expertise or information about their show.
An example of a radio show seeking guests
Each show is required to post a description, audience demographics, audience size and proof to back up that claim, as well as the format of the show. You can also subscribe to their mailing list to receive updates on new radio guest opportunities available. Beyond being an incredible resource for pitching, publicity and radio interviews, the site also has a wealth of articles on how to prepare yourself for a radio interview, plus details on how to get your book / product reviewed or become a sponsor.
23. Help A Reporter Out
HARO or Help A Reporter Out is a free email list that helps connect reporters with experts. Topics vary, and there’s currently no search function or way to filter the emails you receive, so like with RadioGuestList, it’s a good idea to set up a separate email just for HARO requests. HARO requests run the gamut from exceedingly niche requests to requests for stories and much more.
HARO publicity alerts let you connect with reporters across a variety of news and
While you may not find any publications needing help at first, it’s a good idea to take a look at the alerts you do receive to determine which ones would be a good fit. As with Radio Guest List, many of the players involved in HARO are small-time news outlets and niche magazines, but it’s much easier to get a mention on these smaller players with a link to your website than some of the larger mass media companies.
One of the many companies that has benefitted from HARO is the HopeFULL company, which sells kits to help children and cancer patients with digestive issues to create healthful popsicles with nutritious whole foods. They responded to every relevant HARO inquiry with a pitch, and were featured on many local and international outlets, including the Nate Berkus show and Daily Candy to name a few.
HopeFULL was one of the many companies who achieved extraordinary success
As a result of one of their media appearances, their sales increased 95%! Think about this — if a company selling recipes and popsicle mold kits can make it big across a number of media outlets — what could your own product or service do?
Not every request you receive through HARO will ultimately turn into a media feature placement — but it’s free and it could be a major turning point for your business. I recommend creating a specific email address — like email@example.com and then setting up filtering in your email program to add all the HARO requests to their own folder. This way you don’t miss any potential matches.
24. Don’t Neglect Local SEO
If you operate a business locally, you’re missing out on the potential for very lucrative, ready-to-act traffic in the form of local customers.
The first step is claiming your business page on Google Business. In this case, you want to make absolutely certain that you are NOT using any keywords that aren’t specific to your business name or description.
But even if you claim your >Google Places page, you’re still not getting the most out of local SEO.
Your citation is the name, address and phone number of your business (also known as NAP). Having these correct and up-to-date is crucial to making sure that Google authenticates your business as a real, verifiable place. There are spammers and scammers out there that set up fake Google Places locations, and if your NAP information isn’t exactly the same everywhere, it could mean a penalty.
Exact names, addresses, phone numbers and even photos can make
a difference with your listing
Beyond your own Google Places entry, Google also looks for citations (mentions of your NAP) on other sites. If it’s not 100% exact, you won’t get a citation. Google pulls your NAP details from review sites, guest blogging links, directories and more. Even seemingly minor differences like St. in one place and Street in another can hurt your listing. You can be hit particularly hard if you’ve moved locations recently.
The more of your NAPs that match across other sites, the higher your ranking on Google Places will be. You can also add your business location to your Places on your Google+ profile.
It’s worth noting that the closer you are to the city center, the better your rankings are going to be for a listing in that area — particularly if you live near a major metropolitan area, than being located on the outskirts.
Local SEO Tools
There are a few helpful tools to see your NAPs and make sure you’re ranking for all the search phrases and variants out there, plus gain visibility across local SEO sites beyond Google Places:
WhiteSpark lets you type in search phrases to see what other variations people are searching for and then shows you citation listings for the top ranking sites. This way, you can build your own citations and keep track of those you already have. They also offer services to build the citations for you.
WhiteSpark helps you uncover and manage citations
Yext lets you see where your locally-targeted site appears across a variety of search engines and specialty sites, including Yelp, Topix, Superpages, Patch and more:
An example of the many sites searched by
Yext to show you how your business appears on each one
The search/scanning service is free, but Yext also offers a PowerListings service to help local businesses secure a presence across 30+ local search sites. They also offer review monitoring and analytics services. Their dashboard allows businesses complete control through one central hub, plus gives you the opportunity to update listings across all sites rather than individually.
25. Use the power of retargeting
Retargeting involves targeting customers through ads on other sites long after they’ve visited your own site. Depending on the type of retargeting you do, you can often convince them to circle back to visit your site by displaying a product they may have looked at, an ad for an item they searched for, and so on.
There are three main types of retargeting:
An illustrated example of how retargeting works. MainstreetROI
Site Retargeting – This is the simplest form of retargeting, showcasing your ads on other sites that your visitors go to. The idea is that this keeps your brand in their peripheral vision and in the back of their mind. There’s a great deal of flexibility here — letting you display the actual product the customer viewed, multiple products, image ads and so forth.
Intent/Behavioral Retargeting – This type of retargeting is more complex, and results when a user follows certain behaviors that could potentially lead to a click through on your ad. They may have made purchases on similar websites, searched different keywords or have the same interests as your customer base. This type of targeting can also be segmented geographically, based on their level of interaction with your other lead generation channels (surveys, emails), or a combination of factors.
There are several retargeting tools and services available, each with varying price levels and features. Here are 2 that you can compare.
AdRoll One of the biggest and most popular brands in the retargeting industry. Includes pricing based on impressions + fixed-price margin.
Retargeter Also offers ad design services in addition to retargeting. Offers search-based, CRM, Facebook and dynamic retargeting.
I get really excited just talking about all of these tactics that can drive traffic to your site because they are the tactics that anybody can use.
As I’ve tried to show you throughout this article, they’ve been used by people effectively.
I’ve used them for myself as well as for clients and so I know they work.