There are countless ways to bring people to your website. Engage them on social media, pay for ads on search engines or even include QR codes in your print marketing efforts. While these are all excellent methods to drive traffic to your site, there’s one approach that may be more important than the others: organic marketing.
Organic marketing means driving people to your site without using any sort of paid advertising. A consumer types a query into Google, Bing or another search engine, then clicks on a link to your site. This is called organic traffic, and it’s perhaps the most important kind of traffic you can bring to your website.
What makes organic traffic so much better than plain old paid traffic?
Organic Traffic Highlights your value
Google’s goal is to help consumers find relevant information they can actually use. When a consumer types in a query, the search engine scours the web for results that are as closely related to the search as possible.
While consumers might not know the specifics of what Google and other search engines evaluate to produce search results, they do know that they’re trustworthy. Therefore, if your website comes up on the first page of a search, consumers are more likely to click on your site and look around for what they need, Jumpem explained.
Paid traffic is good at getting people to your website, but the results don’t last. If you don’t continue to invest in this mode of advertising or if your advertising doesn’t change, the benefits will begin to slow down. Plus, bounce rates for people who find your website through paid results are notoriously high, demonstrating that people don’t value a paid result as much as they do an organic one. When you bring in someone organically, they’re more likely to become a long-term customer, Search Engine Land explained.
It’s important to be in control of your messaging online. If you don’t, someone else eventually will, and it may not always be the message you want conveyed. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are excellent ways to take control of your online marketing. However, these platforms are constantly in flux, changing to benefit the consumer, Search Engine Land pointed out.
Evolving social strategies mean that your visibility could easily change without warning. This will inevitably cause your website traffic to take a hit, especially if these media are your primary source of traffic. But if you have invested the time and energy into organic search results, the effects won’t be as detrimental. People will still find your site they always did – through their favorite search engine.
Email Marketing for small businesses
Clicking the send button on an email remains an essential part of business marketing – something that can be just as important as product pricing and obtaining working capital.
It’s for this reason that many marketers rely on email as their primary tool. The 2015 Marketing Trends Survey from StrongView showed that while offline advertising budgets are shrinking, those for email and other digital tools are growing. Email led the pack with 61 percent of respondents saying it’s their top target for increased budget investment in 2015.
“It is clear from the 2015 Marketing Trends Survey results that marketers consider email the fulcrum of their digital marketing campaigns,” Shawn Myers, vice president of marketing at StrongView, said in a media release.
Meanwhile, a separate survey from Campaigner echoed this outlook.
“Despite the entrance of new marketing channels and technology innovations, the survey found that email remains to be the best digital channel for marketing ROI in 2014,” the company stated in a press release. “Over 62 percent of respondents rank email marketing as one of the top ROI generators, followed by social media (26 percent), SEO (25 percent) and offline direct marketing (20 percent). To achieve the greatest bang for their buck, respondents aim to leverage the leading ROI producers with 76 percent planning to invest in email marketing and 33 percent in social media for 2015.”
If you’re looking to make email marketing work for your business, it helps to understand how best to utilize this tool. Beyond budgets and strategies, successful email marketing depends on messages that incorporate proven methods of engagement.
5 key factors to keep in mind
1. Make it appealing.
No one wants to deal with junk mail, and for many consumers, any message from a business they didn’t directly ask for will be viewed as such. That’s why it’s vital to make your marketing emails feel less like an advertisement stuffed into a mailbox and more like an invitation to a private club. Offering actionable opportunities, such as discounts, coupons and valuable information regarding future products and services, is one way to go about this.
2. Customize the message.
It can be tempting to save time by crafting a boilerplate email to send out, but this is a good way to turn off potential customers. If you want to engage a consumer, you must personalize your emails. Use their names. Try to incorporate news or special shopping events that make sense for them. This will certainly require more planning and time investment on your part, but it also has a much better chance of resulting in tangible returns.
3. Make it pretty.
Even if an email features valuable information or potential discounts, a customer is likely to skip it if it comes in the form of a wall of text. It’s important to make your emails visually appealing in addition to beneficial. Think about how text arrangement, pictures, videos, colors, font size and more can all come together to create a more visually stimulating piece of marketing. Customers are more likely to read what you send if their eyes are drawn to the message.
4. Include a call to action.
You don’t want to bark orders at the recipients of your marketing emails, but you definitely want to nudge them in the right direction. Does your email feature news regarding an upcoming sale? Invite the recipient to come in and shop! Are you looking to make better use of your social media assets? Ask the recipient to like your Facebook page in return for a special coupon. Regardless of the objective, it’s always a good idea to politely tell your readers what to do next.
5. Don’t forget the subject line.
Before a reader even has a chance to open your email, the first thing they’ll see is the subject line. With this in mind, it’s important to keep the text here short, sweet and intriguing. If it’s too long, you risk losing your audience before they even click on your message. If it sounds boring or like junk mail, chances are they’ll be reaching for the delete button. In short, make your subject lines quick and to the point, but also compelling.
Every business today should have a website. The typical consumer has internet access, not to mention a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer with which to search for entertainment and information. Claiming your own spot online makes it easy for your tech-savvy customers to find you.
But while having a website – with product or service descriptions, contact information and images – is good, a blog is great. This is living content that you consistently add to, and which tells your customers that your are an expert in your industry.
Blogs also bolster your SEO efforts, go hand-in-hand with your public relations strategy and provide a platform for you to communicate directly with your customers, Startup Digest explained.
While having a blog on your website is the perfect way to call positive attention to your brand, there’s one obstacle that holds so many small business owners back: topic idea generation.
Coming up with blog topic ideas can seem daunting at first. But don’t worry; it gets easier once you get the ball rolling.
In the meantime, here are a few quick tricks to help you get your blog up and running:
1. Use a topic generator
Luckily for any blogger with writer’s block, there’s an online tool available that does the brainstorming for you.
Topic generators, such as Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator or Portent’s Content Idea Generator, give you fields for you to type your keywords, and spits out several headlines. These are great jumping-off points for your blog content strategy.
2. Ask your audience what they want to read
The whole purpose of a blog is to bring in your customers with content they’re actually interested in, and that applies to your business. Since your posts will be for your customers’ education or entertainment, go straight to the source: Ask them what they’re curious or confused about, Mention, a marketing resources company, suggested.
There are several ways to do this:
- Direct email campaigns.
- Social media posts.
- Right on your blog itself – though this is most effective if you already have content there.
3. Dive deep into the internet
If your customers have a question they need answered, chances are, they’ve already scoured the web. People who truly want to get to the bottom of their query likely dove deep into online forums, posting questions, answers and comments.
Find out what people are already talking about. Find a forum in your industry and start scrolling. You’re bound to find an interesting topic that people have shown an interest in.
To find a forum, Entrepreneur explained you simply need to do a Google search for your industry or a relevant keyword, and the word “forum.” Another resource is Reddit – find a subreddit page on an applicable topic and see what people are saying and start reading.