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Free Online Marketing Tips For Small Business Owners

Blog / Small Business / Website Traffic

Whether we be meeting with sales reps or a small business owner, this topic is something we address on almost a daily basis. These individuals simply want to increase small business sales; however, they are not necessarily familiar with the foundations of online sales.

Now, you're reading this because you want an answer just like them, however I have no way of gauging your experience on this matter, so this article will offer answers that newbies can understand, while hopefully not offending you if you're more knowledgable.

Increase Small Business Sales

First, let's ask a question: How do small businesses make sales?

Good question, and one we should address upfront. Decades ago, any business that wanted to increase small business sales simply went hunting for their next potential customer by knocking on doors, trying to get past the secretary on the telephone, and even standing on the corner handing out brochures and flyers.

These days, as we talk to these same businesses, we see that some are still stuck in their old ways, doing the above-mentioned actions, HOPING their sales reps can close a few more sales each day; and others have welcomed the online world we now live in, and the opportunities it presents, resulting in online sales that occur 24/7.

Seeing as how you are here reading an article called "Get More traffic to your website", I am going to surmise that you are in the latter group, and that your marketing strategy already incorporates the internet, or at least will do shortly. So, let's look at what avenues you have available to you.

When first starting out online, a website is not always necessary, HOWEVER having a way to connect with your target audience is.

Why would you want to understand your target Audience? Primarily to ensure you are attracting the relevant type of client, not tyre kickers or uninterested parties, which in turn increases your conversions. Once you know who the "right" people are, you can begin creating, or curating, content for them.

A good place to act on your content marketing strategy is Social Media: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube are the core social platforms to look at, and by simply posting content that a potential customer (and existing customers) would be interested in, you will find that your brand will become more widely known. Your target Audience will like your posts, sharing them with their own circles, which indirectly increases your circle of influence. We cover Social Media Management in another article so we won't dig too deep here, but I will expand upon understanding your target audience.

How do I determine my Target Audience


If you are already in business and getting sales, then you have already uncovered members of your target audience, as they have been buying off you. Is this your IDEAL target audience? We shall discuss this a little to give you some guidance, and list some key points to consider below, however we cover this in more detail in our "Who is my ideal client" article.

The great thing to know is that your target audience is looking for you too, so creating a strategy to connect with them is a wise business move.

The key things to consider when determining your ideal client are:

Who has problems that your product/service can solve?

What segment consistently buys from your business already?

Which competitors are currently taking business from you, and what type of client are they attracting?

Why are these buyers attracted to your competitor and not you?

Which of the above customer bases will offer you the least resistance, highest satisfaction rating, and best profit margin?

Now, caution must be used with social media platforms these days. As of recent, we have seen the Terms of Service for many Social Media Platforms modified to allow immediate execution of accounts, and the implementation of filtering on posts and content shared.

social-media-management-service

What does this mean to you?

It means that while Social Media is an incredible resource for gathering names, and a great way to educate your audience, increasing brand awareness, it is wise to redirect your clients to a promotion OFF social media that allows you to capture their contact details (email, phone number, location, etc) so that when (if) your Social Media account inexplicably shuts down, you still have your customers details to continue communication.

So, how do we do this?

There are a couple of ways, and this brings us back to the main title of this article - create a website, even just a basic one that captures the above details. Let’s discuss our options.

A great option could be to Offer a Discount or bonus via an opt-in form. Or possibly a "keep in touch with us for latest news" newsletter. Or even a questionnaire where they willingly join your mail-out list because they love your content so much. These opt-in forms can be done via a simple Auto Responder like Mailchimp, or via a one-page website (called a Sales Funnel) or even a multi-page website, which should be your end game.

So, now that you have a way of capturing your followers' contact details and you can market to them, the next step is to drive business to your website so that you can sell to them off your own platform. The question is how do you get this website traffic? Well, there are a few major ways this can be done.


Direct Traffic


This simply means that you are driving traffic, or persuading shoppers to go to your website directly, by clicking a link, or following directions within an ad. This can be done at no cost, or it can be done at much cost - let's cover 2 in a little more detail.

Free Direct Traffic:

This is where you promote your business website in a post on social media or include the link to your site in text on a blog, an article, or simply in an email. The aim is to get that potential buyer to go directly to your website, or landing page, in as little moves as possible.

Paid Direct Traffic:

Also known as ads, or Cost per click (CPC). This is where you pay every time someone sees or clicks your ad.

These ads will be on the top of page 1 of Google if you use Google AdWords, or in the sidebar or newsfeed on Social Media, for e.g. A Facebook Ad.

Do they work in getting your business name/landing page/website in front of thousands of eyes? Absolutely.

Do they return a positive return on investment (ROI) - not always.

The upside to CPC is just that - hundreds to thousands of eyes seeing your business listing. The downside is that you cannot guarantee that every set of eyes to see your ad will result in a sale, or even a query.

You also cannot guarantee an interested party will even click your ad, because savvy buyers these days understand that these ads cost anywhere from $.50 to $100 per click, and that you have to make it back somehow...They're asking themselves "is that ad REALLY showing the best deal if the seller needs to cover the ad cost itself"?

So, WHY would someone use CPC if the ROI is not always positive? Rushed marketing? Poor advice? Desperation for sales NOW, regardless of the income earned? Honestly, sometimes the copyright and offer are so unique that the ad WILL work - this is a judgement call you need to make when planning your content marketing.


Organic Traffic (FREE!!, or close to)


What is this voodoo magic? Website traffic for FREE? Welcome to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). I know you have heard of these terms, but I don't know if you understand them, so let's go into a little detail.


As a small business owner, you need to be savvy with your opportunities, your capital, and your time. You need to ensure your existing customers are looked after, remaining loyal; you need to keep working on getting that next new customer so that you can grow; and you need to make sure that when someone looks you up in their little search engine, you come up looking, and smelling, like roses.


And much of this can be done using your social media profile, but it can be magnified 100-fold with Search Engine Optimisation, but...


What is SEO?


Well, simply put, SEO is the act of optimising all the text, the images, the coding within your website to look interesting and relevant to your target audience, and if it does, then Google, Bing, Yahoo, YouTube, Duck Duck Go, and any other search engine will pop you up for said audience to look at. But how do we sort this SEO stuff out?


Well first, we look at the search terms that your propective and existing buyers are hunting for, and we then incorporate this into the the website (Headers, metatags, geo tags, ALT text, descriptions, and more).


This sounds easy, and in the old days it really was - it was simply a case of punching those old keywords anywhere in the text on the site, over and over again, and then Google listed you first on their results page.


These days however, Google penalises websites if this is done incorrectly, so take the time to research, develop and learn EVERYTHING you can about SEO before diving in head first.


In addition to the above tweaks that can be made to your content, Search Engine Optimisation now also relies on Domain names, backlinks, page speed, how coherant a page is, and so on. Being a business owner though, you may or may not have the spare time to learn another speciality skill, so we recommend using an SEO expert when the need comes up (we start off as little as $495 a month for small business).


Does SEO give immediate results?


There are many factors affecting the speed at which SEO results impact a website, inluding the age of the website, it's popularity, it's history and reputation, the quality and quantity of any website traffic, the competitors' websites, etc, but it is safe to say SEO will always work and it should be treated as "the long game".


That being said, we have ranked brand new websites on page 1 of Google in under 3 months, with some ranking for up to 10 major keywords in under 6. The website traffic seen on a website when it's on Page 1 is fantastic, but it is nothing like the traffic you will get when you're in the top 3.

You'll see what it's like, when you're in that position - Strap in.


Is this website traffic the only reason our clients were absolutely stoked with us taking 3-6 months to get them on Page 1?


seo-wollongong


Well, it did also mean they were getting hundreds and thousands of dollars worth of marketing (by being on the front page of Google) without the price tag, and the continued results didn't depend on them paying Google for monthly advertising - it was "organic", which means people are searching for these terms and Google was naturally listing the websites as relevant and of good value...because they are.


Organic website traffic means that the rankings in Google and other Search Engines will remain evergreen, meaning that the listings will stay on the front page of Google longer, providing that you tweak the website every now and then to let Google know you are still alive, and make sure to update the article or webpage as the topic matures - keep it up to date with current information to stay on top.


We also recommend you keep an eye on what your competitors are doing online, and DO IT BETTER. If they are taking your online business, then they are doing something better than you...but that doens't mean you have to let them.


If you want to see where they are ranking in search engine results, and why they are there, look at using a website ranking checker and learn off what you see, or better yet get Shaznem SEO Services to do a full in depth website analysis on a few of your competitors and then get them to set you up for "Global Domination!!!! (insert evil laugh here).


Google My Business (GMB)


GMB is free and is easy to fill out, but takes a little bit of research to set up in an SEO freindly fashion. When set up the way we set it up, you will find yourself being found on Google Maps regularly, AND you will be mentioned on the first page of Google in local search results.


What does this mean? Well, as per the image below, you see a "Map Pack" where 3 lucky (well optimised) local businesses get promoted on the map, and their relevant information, including hours of operation, review rating and phone number gets displayed. This sort of promotion is very valuable.

google-maps-optimisation

Look at the Search Engine Results - who is above the map pack? PAID ADS usually (but in this case just a COVID warning). The paid ads that are usually on the top of the page cost a FORTUNE, and getting in the Map Pack can cost nothing...or as little as $300 if you get a GMB Optimisation service like Shaznem SEO Services to set you up for instant results.


As a case study, we set up a brand new hypnotherapy business with NO Google ratings, and they were visible in just 48 hours ...and they're STILL showing up everytime!


It cost them $300. For free Website Traffic that offers them clients worth $250 per hour. They pretty much paid off their investment with one client.


The catch though: keep posting once a week, and keep your images optimised for Geo SEO. Ask us for more information if you need help, or if you want more information on setting up your GMB listing yourself, check out our Google My Business Optimsation article for more guidelines.


While we're talking about getting help, don't forget to like our Facebook Page here and keep up with our info drops and case studies on Instagram here. Now, seeing as how we just showed you some backlinks, let's discuss them in a little more detail.


Backlinks - What are backlinks and how do you set them up?


Backlinks are an incredible resource for setting up well targeted website traffic and should be part of any answer if the question is "How can you make your small business grow faster?"


Backlinks are links from OTHER sources and sites that link directly IN to your site or web page. These links usually refer visitors from the referring site to your page because your article/site/page is of relevance to a topic, or offers great value. The quality of these backlinks is important though, let me explain.


Let's say you are a baker. A baking website or restaurant website sending you website traffic would be a great thing, as you are all relevant to each other. A music store sending you traffic may help "a little", but it would not help much, as the 2 of you are in no way relevant to each other.


We cover backlinks and how to do them in another article "What are backlinks", and we also provide backlinking services in ALL of our SEO packages.


Use Videos to promote your website



With society moving at such an incredible pace today, internet users are not necessarily willing to sit and read an article or website unless the title is absolutely captivating.


What do they do instead? They listen to podcasts or watch videos. This allows them to multi task and still get the value of the content without compromise. So, it makes sense that you too should utilise videos to communicate with your ideal customer base.


A video doesn't have to be of Disney quality in order to get your point across; it doesn't even have to be long. It just needs to offer quality and value.


Points to make when considering videos:



You don't need to show your face unless you want to

You don't need to talk unles you want to

Videos can simply be a moving billboard for images that display your products/services

Audio is important, so consider background music, or if you want to talk to the viewer, text to speech or recording your own voice.

A viewer considers their time valuable, so while still having a personality and making the video fun and informative, get to the point

Consider hosting your videos on a YouTube channel made just for your business. This gives you a free place to store videos, a platform that offers traffic (providing the videos are optimised) and a monetisation opportunity if YouTube considers your videos valuable enough

List your Business in Online Business Directories


Listing directories, or citation sites, are another invaluable resource when used correctly. They offer another point of contact where internet users can be informed of your existence, as well as your offerings.

This helps build up your reputation and also increases your online and local visiblity.


Many citation sites also allow you to link back to your website, effectively letting you create those qualty backlinks we discussed above.


While there are 200+ sites that we use, some business directories worth mentioning include:


Google My Business (as mentioned above)

Bing Places for Business

PR.com

YELP for Business

LinkedIn

Yellowpages

FourSquare

Apple Maps

Tom Tom Maps

Truelocal.com.au

Hot Frog

Hashtags for Business


We figure that we should mention Hashtags in their own section here because when used effectively, they allow you to expand your circle of impact beyond your circle of influence. What do we mean? Well, hashtags can be used on social media, in blogs, on YouTube, etc, but they also have their own little bubble of influence. Let's look at an example:


Sarah is a Florist, and she has started using Hashtags in her Instagram Posts.


She used #RedRoses today, and this hashtag is viewable on her page and images.

"#RedRoses also has it's own little hashtag following, where it shows ALL posts and images that share that same hashtag.


Now, IG is also attached to Facebook, so now the #RedRoses hashtag carries over to that platform, meaning anyone searching for #RedRoses as a tag can now see Sarah's content, despite not being part of her audience.


PLUS, she will potentially be seen online across OTHER platforms who utilise hashtags as well. The scope of her presence has been increase a minimum 10 fold.


Again, as per SEO, content writing, CPC, and web design, Hashtags require a little knowledge and a strategy. They CAN simply be thrown out there with the hope that they will gain traction, but when you're up against hundreds of thousands of other hashtag users also, you need to be strategic.


PLUS it should be noted that digital agencies like us have done a lot of footwork to discover the optimal number and type of hashtags to use on each platform.


For e.g. Daily Hashtags allow users to follow you each day #MondayRoses, #TuesdayRoses, #WednesdayRoses, etc., and while you can have up to 30 tags per post, 11 is the optimum choice as at Jan 4, 2021


We recommend the use of a good free hashtag generator like "All Hashtag" which allows you to see what the top ranking hashtags are and whether there are synonyms that are not being used but could get the same results.


Landing Pages


What is a landing page you ask? It is a one page version of your website that displays a Call To Action (CTA).


Let's say Fate By Design Hypnotherapy and Coaching wants to help people Stop Smoking. The strategy to follow would be to create a single website page that is targeted towards people searching for "Stop Smoking".


A little bit of research would uncover the exact keywords people are using to research their options, a little bit of SEO would set up the page so that Google can see how super relevant the site is and rank it high, and the right content would allow people to see how Fate By Design can help them Stop Smoking.


This landing page would include written text, some images, possibly a video and a CTA (call to action). The actual CTA can vary, but it could be something like "Provide name and email for free Tips", "claim your free consultation here", "Enquire now and get 30% off", or even "Provide your Name, and phone number so we can call you and discuss how we gurantee our results".


A landing page acts as a lead generation tool, adding the enquirers details to your email follow up system and all they have to do is then follow up with the person who wants to stop smoking.



Email Marketing


So, we have mentioned email follow up lists a few times now, so let's look into this a little bit more.


When you gather your customers' names and email details, you are presented with an opportunity to present them with even more value. Have you ever joined a website mail out list and received a thank you email, then another email a week later outlining something of value, then another one with Promotion details? Well, this is email marketing. When done right, offering quality information and opportunities with none of the spamminess shows value. This value implies integrity, professionalism, and customer service - all factors that convert prospective buyers and tyre kickers into actual buyers, and keeps them loyal.


If your database is small, and you have tonnes of spare time, you can simply email clients once a week with your promotion or information and operate off a spreadsheet, however small business owners are not usually inundated with spare time, so we recommend using a service like MailChimp or GrooveMail.


These services require a little bit of technical knowledge and the weekly emails do require a wee bit of content expertise but if you're up for the challenge, it is massively rewarding.


It should be noted that normal email accounts need "Warming up" which means you can't just suddenly start emailing hundreds of people from your account or else the SPAM bots will think you're up to no good - you need to start out with a couple of emails each day and work your way up to about 100. Ask us for some free business advice.


Also note: email subject lines and meta data need to be carefully worded so that


1. they don't go to the spam box, and

2. they actually get opened when they get seen.


That being said, we see most business owners enlist us for that part of the operation, and they simply continue to run the business, manage customer enquiries and continue to make money day after day after day.


I had someone tell me to use a Website Traffic Generator, or Bots, to make my site look busy


Well, you can thank that person...for hurting your Google Rankings, and for having your site blacklisted for "bot traffic". Using bots these days for harvesting visits to your site is a big no no. Just like Twitter will ban an account for using bots, Facebook wil do the same for harvesting likes, and YouTube will do the same for faking views. Using bots is simply a cop out and is considered FAKE traffic. Sure, you may initally see some quick results, but buckle up tight baby, for the drop in performance afterwards will be like NOTHING you have anticipated.

Now, if you have already used bots, and are now being penalised, there may be a way out, but this is something we would need to discuss in detail. That being said, if you have been naughty, note that the longer you ignore your situation, the more your chances fo recovery diminish. We have actually had to register brand new domains and business names for people who have destroyed their repuation for using bots. This affected their social media accoutrns, their email addresses, their marketing, their search engine rankings, the lot.

Will a Blog work for MY Business?


And it is! Though it can be time consuming coming up with great, fresh topics for people to read, if your content is worth reading and it solves problems or offers value, then it will get read, liked and shared for more and more potential customers to see.


When blogging, consider what problems your ideal client may have, and whether your product/service can offer a solution. If yes, then have a look online and see how many articles already exist on that topic. What you're looking for is not necessarily saturation levels, but what content is already there, and whether you can write something more informative, more up to date, simply put - better.


There are many tools available out there that can help any oe put together a goiod article with little to no prior experience - Grammarly is a great example.


Now that you have the grammar and spelling part sorted, lets see what makes a Blog mind blowing. Why do we want "mind-blowing"? Statistics show that over 70% of people who start reading a blog, don't actually bother to finish reading it. Even more concerning is that a greater number of people "scroll past" without even looking at blogs when they are shared on social feeds. That is, unless the content and title are MIND BLOWING!


So, we are not going to go into details on how to set up a blogging site here, but you can see more informnation in our article "How to start a blog".


1. Know Your Audience


Are you noticing a trend here? Know your target audience. It is paramount across your entire online marketing strategy. For a blog you will need to know what your audience is googling for, and then you can address those topics.


2. Decide upon your Topic and choose your keywords


So, you have an understanding of what topic your audience is wanting answers too, but do you know the questions in detail?


A great website to use is Answer The Public, which is a tool that listens to what questions people are asking about certain topics. You will notice that when you're doing steps 1 and 2, you will inaadvertedly uncover keywords that the topics centre around.


Use these keywords in your content in a way that allows Google to see that your aticle is relevant to the topic covered, but don't go overboard - scatter the words 2-3 times throughout the whole work, and avoid keyword stuffing. If you find yourself pulling on the same keywords too many times, think about "related keywords" that you can use.


For example, imagine you are an Electrician. The term electrician can also be related to electricals, circuits, wiring, electricty, electrics, conduits, power points, air conditioning, installation, ceiling fans, switches, etc - Google will read your article and see that you are covering relevant topical terms and not keyword stuffing, and reward you appropriately. This process you are seeing is called using "related search items" and Googles algorithm recognises them using "latent semantic indexing", hence why related keywords are often called LSI keywords.


3. Use Sub headings and paragraphs to make reading easier


Surely you have looked at a bunch of text and thought, "yeah, nah. I'm not reading all that". Well, you're not alone, and this is a sad reality for many blog writers, but there is a way to make your text easier to digest - formatting.


  • Make your text easier on the eye, breaking it up into bite sized chunks that they will find nice to read. Make your sub headings noticeable and be sure to include a keyword in there so it is obvious what the next paragraph is about.

  • Also, make your sub heading juicy, entice people to read them

Bullet Points


Have you noticed that we have been breaking down repetitive and long winded statements and placing them into lists? You may not have noticed, but lists and bullet points make reading easier, allowing you to get straight to the point, without sacrificing grammar.


Pictures!


They say an image says a thousand words, and to be honest, when you know SEO and image optimisation, they are right.

But those benefits aside, images really help tell a story, they can compliment text and reinforce ideas, whle also acting as a welcome break from the never ending black and white text.


SEO


As we hinted above in the image and keyyword sections, Search engine optimization is a critical aspect of any online presence, and a blog is no different.


Write naturally, and write for the reader, but remember to include those keywords throughout your article so that search engines can clearly understand what it's about and marry it up with the appropriate website traffic that comes from online searches.


We cover SEO in more detail in our "What is SEO" Article but let's reitereate the basics here:



  •  Optimise the name of your Blog based upon what users are searching for

  •  Optimise your Meta Title and Meta Descriptions

  •  Embed links to your other internal pages where relevant, and also link out to other sites where relevant

  •  Remember to also link IN to your article from other posts and pages.

  •  As mentioned above in the keyword section, research your keywords, use them wisely to avoid stuffing, and allow LSI to do the work for you. Remember, LSI recognises terms like "Pop", "Coke", "Softdrink", "Soda", "Cola", "drink" all relevant to a term like "Coca Cola", so use it to your advantage to expand upon a tight niche topic when writing a blog


Clearly highlight your CTA or Offer


Throughout the blog, make opportunities to include a Call to Action should you have one. This CTA may be a call to join a mailing list, claim a free item, grab a discount, or even buy off a partner business, but whatever it is, a blog offers great real estate for CTA's to exist, so you may as well capitalise. (See below...Wink...wink)


So, we have covered an incredible amount of information in this article, and as you wipe the sweat off your brow wondering where to start amongst all this data, I want you to slow down and follow the steps outlined in the video below.


Following these steps will allow you to decide where you want to be, and then work your way back through the steps required to get there, arriving at today, NOW, and what you need to be doing in order to achieve your end goal.

IMPORTANT:

As we welcome 2021, we wish to give you every chance to succeed. Your FREE SEO Audit also comes with a complimentary, no-obligation, no-cost 30 Minute Discovery Session where we give you a full marketing plan designed specifically for your business. Whether you work with us or not, that is yours to keep.