The website is the foundation of your online presence, but there is much more that goes into getting your website to bring in sales, leads, and purchases. Even though your website is one of the most important channels of your marketing strategy, simply having a website online is not enough to grow your business in itself.
To use your website effectively and grow your business, you need to develop a marketing strategy to drive traffic to your website so that you can convert more leads and prospects into customers. Ultimately, you want your website to convert, more or less, you want website visitors to do what you want them to do.
To grow your business, you need:
- To generate more traffic.
- To optimize your website for conversions.
Before we dive into the specifics of organic vs. paid marketing tactics to grow your business, let’s consider the customer journey and how that influences which methods will be most beneficial to you. Even though these are all valid marketing tactics, it does not mean each and every one is an approach for your business.
The Customer Journey & Your Marketing Strategy
Let’s start with the assumption that everyone wants more sales and revenue. However, if you just go after sales, you will not be successful. Sales cannot be your sole objective.
You need to think like the customer and help facilitate the customer journey from awareness to interest to consideration to purchase. For every marketing strategy, there are at least 4 basic objectives – build awareness, build a following, increase sales/leads/purchases, and foster customer loyalty. By defining these objectives upfront, you can align metrics to evaluate your performance towards each.
Let’s debunk the most common line I hear from new business owners, “I need to grow my business, so I need a website and Facebook page.” A website and Facebook page are essential to many strategies, but my question is, “How is someone going to find your website or Facebook profile, if they don’t know who you are?”
Without a referral, a search result, a hashtag, an advertisement, or an in-person introduction, prospective customers have no way to discover your business and become aware of your product and services!
When it comes to driving traffic to your website, you need to develop (1) a way for the customer to become aware of your products/services, (2) peak their interest to learn more about your company, (3) to earn favorable consideration that puts you ahead of the competition, and (4) ultimately, capture that conversion and close that lead. For more on how to align your website and choose marketing tactics that align with the customer journey, visit Design Your Website to Fit the Customer Journey.
Organic vs. Paid Marketing
When it comes to driving traffic to your website, there are both organic and paid marketing tactics that you can incorporate into your marketing strategy.
Organic marketing, also known as inbound marketing, draws in customers and leverages word-of-mouth. It is all about content that is strategically crafted to educate, is optimized for search engines, and builds long-term relationships.
Inbound marketing takes time but ultimately there is unlimited ROI. There is no telling how much traffic a #1 ranking page can bring in. Furthermore, inbound marketing is more of an authentic approach, rather than a sales pitch.
The following are a few examples of organic marketing:
#1 Website Links
Your website is an example of organic marketing where you publish information about your company, what you do, who you serve, why choose you, etc. Anytime your company’s name is published online, make sure it’s hyperlinked to your website!
#2 Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization, or SEO, the process of improving the quality and quantity of traffic to a website. It’s all about increasing the visibility of your website in the search results so that your search result appears when a customer is asking a question or searching for a solution to a problem that your product or services solve.
#3 Blogs, Portfolios, Galleries, Infographics, etc.
Content marketing is a strategic approach to creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain your target audience and ultimately to drive profitable customer action.
Blogging, landing pages, infographics, portfolios, work samples, and before/after galleries are just a few examples of content. This content often lives on your website, so by sharing the link on social or via email, you are giving users a direct path to your website which in turn generates traffic. The goal is to create valuable content that engages your audience & brings them to your website. If you do it well, others might just reward you with a backlink to your content!
Great content is necessary for all forms of marketing. Without it, what do you have to share? How will you provide value to your users? Furthermore, fresh, quality content benefits SEO. When it comes to content ideas, create content that answers FAQs, facilitates the customer journey, and is optimized for preferred keywords (Download our Content Idea Generator). Then share away & link back to your website!
#4 Videos, Podcasts, Webinars, & Presentations
Videos, podcasts, webinars, and presentations are a great way to demonstrate your expertise, explain what you do, and be a resource. Make sure to include your contact information and URL so that attendees can visit your website or contact you to learn more and/or take the next steps to get started.
#5 Social Media
Social media refers to an online application that facilitates the sharing of ideas, info, and thoughts through the building of virtual networks and communities. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat are all a few examples. The goal of social media is to build your following, engage your audience, and expand your reach. Use hashtags to extend the reach of your posts beyond your following and get discovered by users searching for similar products and services.
#6 Email Marketing
Email marketing enables businesses to send messages directly to their subscriber’s inbox. The goal is to facilitate a purchase via a discount, bring traffic to your website to check out your content, & to provide helpful resources that foster loyalty. Best of all, unlike social media platforms who own the data, you own your email list.
#7 Build Backlinks & Referral Traffic
A backlink is an incoming link from another website. You can almost think of it as a citation. Building backlinks is a form of off-page SEO.
The goal is to get links from reputable, high-authority websites as a vote of confidence from one site to another. A backlink is a signal to search engines that others vouch for your content (i,e. trust signal). The more backlinks you have, the more search engines can infer your content is worth linking to.
Backlinks improve SEO and provide another path for users to find your website. If you look in Google Analytics under acquisition, you may see a segment for referral traffic which is traffic coming to your website from another website via a backlink.
Case studies, white papers, templates, worksheets, and other free downloads are a great way to provide value in return for an email. The goal is to provide value in return for subscribing to your email list. Once they subscribe, you can send them offers and resources directly to their inbox to encourage purchase.
#9 Online Directories
An online directory is a directory of businesses and links. Google My Business, Chamber of Commerce, and the Better Business Bureau are few additional examples. The goal is to expand your reach with a listing on reputable sites.
Most importantly, remember not all directories are equal. Focus on the ones that are relevant and have a high authority, not spammy ones. Also, consider your industry. For examples, for plumbers and contractors, home advisor is a great place to have a listing.
Before signing up for an online directory listing, ask yourself, Will this increase a customer’s trust in my business? Is this a reputable site? Does my target audience use this website?
#10 Promotional Materials
Business cards, brochures, product sheets, flyers, etc. are examples of promotional materials that you can distribute at networking events, tradeshows, etc. Promotional materials are a great way to help leads follow-up with you. For example, say you meet someone at an event who is interested in your products, when you give them your business card or product sheet you are giving them a direct path back to you!
Networking is the exchange of ideas and information among individuals with a common interest or profession. The goal is to connect with like-minded individuals to expand your reach to their networks.
When it comes to networking, invest in groups where your target audience is and show up consistently with your business card! A good old-fashioned business card with your website URL helps direct individuals to your website. Once the visitor is there, you can capture leads who were referred to your website. Make sure to include your website URL prominently on every single piece of promotional materials.
#12 Cross Promotion
Cross promotion is a form of marketing where customers of one product or service are targeted with promotion of a related product. A few examples of cross promotion include co-hosting a webinar or podcast, joint promotional newsletters, social media mentions, etc.
The goal is to collaborate with a partner who has a similar target audience and expand both of your reach. When it comes to cross-promotion, identify meaningful opportunities where you can create something bigger and better. Make sure you look for a complimentary fit, not a competitor. It can be a cost-effective strategy that increases trust in your business & creates value!
Tradeshows are industry-specific shows where you can promote your products and services. Granted you have to pay for a booth, tradeshows are a great way to get in front of your target audience, interact one-on-one, and generate leads.
#14 Press Releases & News Articles
Press releases, news articles, and media mentions are a great way to raise awareness of your business and your products/services.
Paid Marketing pushes the customer to you and is all about paying for prominent placement in front of your target audience. It is all about paying for results to generate a faster return than would be possible through organic marketing in that time frame.
Paid marketing generates results faster, but these results can be fleeting. For example, with pay-per-click advertising, you pay for each and every click. Some clicks may convert while others may not, but you pay for both. It can be a great way to generate quick results and can be a more direct approach to reaching your audience.
The following are a few examples of paid marketing:
#1 Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, and other digital ads are a great example of pay-per-click advertising. When you set up the campaign, you choose a goal, target your audience, and craft the ad. Once you start running the ads, you pay for a specific action such as a click on a Google Ad or the completion of a lead form on Facebook.
#2 Direct Mail
Direct mail through the form of promotional flyers, door hangers, or print ads sent directly to your target audience’s mailbox. It is a form of paid advertising where you pay for the creation of the promotional materials and distribution. It can be a great strategy for targeting residential and/or B2C customers.
#3 Outdoor Signage
Yard signs, business signs, or billboards are a few examples of outdoor signage where your customers who see the sign become aware of your business. Yard signs can be a great way to market your business if you are a contractor or realtor. Business signs can be a great way to capture the attention of individuals who pass your business. Billboards are a mass-market strategy, but it works well for restaurants and other travel stops.
#4 Print Ads
Print advertisements come in many forms and may be placed in a Chamber of Commerce Guidebook, a local magazine, newspaper, event brochure, etc. With print ads, you pay for placement in print media that is distributed to your target audience.
#5 TV & Radio Ads
TV and Radio ads are another mass-market strategy where you pay to air your commercial to a specific audience who aligns with your target audience.
A publication refers to a journal, book, or another piece available for purchase. Often, for featured articles and ads, you have to pay for placement based on readership. Publications are a fantastic way to position your brand as an expert in the industry.
Sponsorships require you to pay in return for the right to advertise during an event or include your logo on the event’s promotional materials. Sponsorship is a great way to advertise while supporting an event you believe in.
Combining both organic and paid marketing can be powerful and each complement each other very well. When you medley the two approaches, you can find a synergy by combing both. The right combination for your business should be defined in your marketing strategy and refined over time. There is no one size fits all approach. You will want to research, analyze, strategize, evaluate, and pivot over time.
How Kreative Solutions Can Help
As the foundation of your online presence, you need to leverage other marketing channels to drive traffic to your website. Therefore, Kreative Solutions offers two approaches to website design:
The straightforward approach where Kreative Solutions helps you build and maintain a new website. This is often a good approach for a larger established business who already has a marketing plan and can share it so that Kreative Solutions can build a website that aligns with the marketing strategy.
The analytical approach where Kreative Solutions helps you define a marketing strategy for your business and then builds a website that aligns with that strategy. From there, Kreative Solutions can help in a consulting role or implementation role.
If your business needs a new website and a strategy to grow your business, contact Kreative Solutions today!