I┬?m often asked about how to drive more traffic to a website, so I created this overview of some of the tactics software marketers can use to increase the traffic (or leads) going to their websites. You could make a pretty good argument that virtually any marketing tactic can be used to create traffic. But, since I┬?m an internet marketer, I┬?m going to focus on tactics that drive traffic by increasing your online visibility.
This is an overview. If you┬?d like to see a more detailed discussion on any of these tactics, just let me know in a comment. This is also pretty basic info so I apologize if I bore you, but you might find a quick review of the options helpful.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
I start with this tactic because it┬?s my favorite. It┬?s fast; it┬?s effective; and you actually get what you pay for.
When someone types a keyword into a search engine, they get two types of listings. One type is a paid ┬? or sponsored ┬? listing (usually appearing at the top of the page and along the right-hand side). These listing are actually little ads, and each time you click on one of these the advertiser pays a free. Thus the term ┬?pay-per-click advertising┬?.
As a PPC advertiser, you bid on keywords for which you want your ads to be displayed. The order of the listing varies from search engine to search engine, but it ranges from simply the bid amount (highest bidder gets listed at the top) to a far more complex combination of the bid amount, the relevance of the ad, and the advertiser┬?s past success in getting a high click-through percentage. As an advertiser, you pay only when someone clicks on your ad.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The second type of listings a searcher will see on a search engine page is a natural or organic listing. These non-paid listings show up as the result of algorithms the search engines use to determine which web pages are most relevant to the keyword search.
The goal of SEO is to achieve good organic search engine listings. ┬?Organic┬? means that search engines find your web pages naturally ┬? you are not paying for the listing. Many of the other traffic-building tactics I mention in this article are used primarily to increase search engine optimization.
Online (Banner) Advertising
Google┬?s content network as well as other advertising networks and individual websites and blogs offer on-page advertising as an opportunity to reach their visitors. While this marketing tactic has suffered from big reductions in click-through rates over the last few years, when done right it can still get you some good clicks and send qualified traffic to your site.
A blog is basically a website that allows you to easily add content, which is organized in reverse chronologic order. Blogs have a whole slew of benefits to offer a software marketer - traffic generation and credibility building being two major ones. Search engines love new content and, since a good blog is updated frequently, an active blog can help you get high organic search rankings.
If your blog┬?s articles are picked up and linked to by other bloggers, as they often are, you get a whole new source of click traffic.
Social mediais coming on strong these days with a substantial percentage of business-to-business marketers (over 60%) predicting they will increase social media spending in 2010. The two most popular sites for businesses right now are Twitter and LinkedIn, but FaceBook is making a serious play to become more relevant to businesses.
Also under the topic of social media are a variety of forums and communities (such as SoftwareCEO┬?s forums) that provide great opportunities to interact with peers and experts, and to generate links back to your website or blog.
Software and other business technology buyers use whitepapers to help in their purchase decision process, and by distributing whitepapers through syndication networks you can become more visible to people who aren┬?t aware of you yet. White paper syndication generally involves making your white paper available through a network of specialized websites. You pay the service provider to place your white paper on these websites.
For a list of places to syndicate whitepapers, see 12 Places to Syndicate White Papers.
Public relations efforts can be very useful in increasing your visibility and driving traffic to your site. There are a couple of somewhat different ways this works. One is to publish news releases through online distribution services. When the news releases are picked up by online news services and industry websites, you get some visibility; but more important you get links back to your site. This adds to your SEO efforts.
The second way PR can be used to increase visibility is by reaching 3rd party influencers such as bloggers, conventional media and analysts ┬? all of whom can help to spread the word.
Article marketing refers to writing many articles and offering them for use by newsletter publishers and website content managers. This tactic has been used extensively by internet marketers to gain outside links to their websites (which is good for search engine optimization). This works because the articles are offered free of charge to publishers as long as the publisher agrees to include a paragraph about the author at the end of each article. This author┬?s paragraph contains ┬? you guessed it ┬? a link back to the author┬?s website. Software marketers can use this tactic for the same purpose and end up with good thought-leadership exposure as a bonus.
There you have it. This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the ways you can drive traffic to your site. But concentrating on any one of these tactics can help in the traffic generation department.
Again, if you want to see more detail about any of these topics, just let me know with a comment.
Clicks 'n Conversions
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