When many people launch their website, they seem to think to themselves, "Now that I'm online, all I have to do is sit back and let the numbers roll in." Sure, being online helps, but people aren't going to come out of nowhere. As a small business, getting people visiting your website generally follows more conventional means:
- Put your website address everywhere! On your business card and other printed materials, you and your employees' email signatures, and ensure your website address is appropriately placed on your social media profiles
- Encourage your prospects, customers, friends, family, and everyone else in your network to check out your website
- Make your website a resource for your customers and refer them to those resources
- Hire a search engine optimization (SEO) specialist
- (Advanced) Run ads on social media and search engines
Put your website address everywhere!
For some of you, this may seem obvious, but I am always astounded how some businesses seem to make it unnecessarily difficult to find their website. Here are some places you should make sure your website address is on:
- Business cards
- Brochures and other printed materials
- Swag like pens, totes, mugs, etc.
- You and all of your employees' company email signatures
- Packaging, price tags, and labels
- Social media profiles (including your personal profiles)
- Google My Business
- Local business improvement association (BIA) profiles
- Websites of non-profit organizations that you have supported
- Websites of business partners, vendors, and people/businesses in your network
Encourage your prospects, customers, friends, family, and everyone else in your network to check out your website
Presumably, your website is designed and written in such a way that clearly and concisely describes who you are and what you do. When everyone in your network knows who you are and what you do, the networking effect becomes even more powerful. Not only that, but it helps boost your traffic numbers which can, in a small way, increase your search rankings on Google, Bing, etc.
Make your website a resource for your customers and refer them to those resources
When your website becomes a reference point for your customers and the customers of your competitors, it positions you as the authority in your space. It becomes the go-to place for people to learn about the products and services you offer and how to interact with them – and you. When people find value in your website as a source of information, search engines will recognize this and show your website to more people looking for the same information. Here are some ways you can be a valuable source of information:
- Maintain a blog where you post at least once a month
- Create pages on your website with Questions and Answers (Q&A) that answer commonly asked questions as it relates to your products or services
- Create guides on how to use/interact/troubleshoot with your product or service
- Create pages with detailed specifications of your product
- Create a blog that documents the success stories of customers who use(d) your product or service
- If you run regular events, post these events on your website and make sure your website can integrate to cross-post these events on Facebook
- (Advanced) Start a podcast with your website as the primary host and index for the podcast. The topic of the podcast is up to you, but it should relate to your products, services or customers in some way
Hire a search engine optimization (SEO) specialist
Depending on your industry, getting to the top of a Google Search can be a highly competitive endeavour, and sometimes doing it yourself isn't enough. A trained SEO professional can make sure every tiny detail of your website is resolved in such a way that maximizes your search ranking. Additionally, they do routine scans to and analyzing to mitigate the damage of negative SEO campaigns against you.
(Advanced) Run ads on social media and search engines
If you're not careful, running ads online can be much like gambling at the casino. You throw down $100 and can easily see it disappear into thin air. Our recommendation is to run 4 to 8 $2/day ads with multiple variations between device type used, demographics, and other data related to the prospective customer. Run the ads for a few days and shut off the ads that are the least performant. When you feel comfortable that you have found a formula that provides a worthwhile return on investment, you may want to consider increasing the budget.
At the end of the day, however, knowing how to run a successful ad can take months or even years of experience. Depending on your product or service, you may want to consider hiring a professional to manage your digital advertising.