So you’ve got a shiny new website. That’s great. But building your site is just the beginning: you also need traffic – to encourage as many people as possible to come and look at it. If you sell goods or services off that website, then getting people to see your particular part of the internet is likely to be what drives your business.
You’ll need to start with ‘search engine optimisation’ – the techniques that help your website appear high up in the list of results when someone uses Google or another search engine to look for something relevant to your business.
SEO specialists make a good living from advising businesses on the tricks of the trade, but there is plenty that SMEs with no budget for such help can do for themselves. Partly, this is a technical task – you need to set up your website in the right way for search engines to find it. But it’s also a creative exercise – Google’s famous algorithms are top secret but the company says they favour sites with interesting and original content that is regularly updated.
In fact, the best source of advice on SEO are the search engines themselves. They all publish free guides packed full of information on how to improve a website’s search engine ranking. See Google’s Webmasters pages for a start.
Another option is to pay for advertising on the search engines through services such as Google Adwords and Bing Ads. These guarantee your business will appear prominently in search results in certain circumstances and you can target precisely – with adverts placed in response to particular search times, in particular locations and at particular times of the day, for example. You’ll need to spend money, but you can set a daily budget.
Social media, meanwhile, presents another opportunity to drive traffic to your website and to raise your business’s profile. Which social media platform provides the best fit for your business will depend on the nature of your trade, so do your research before deciding where to focus your efforts. Equally, don’t be half-hearted about your social media– aim for engaging content rather than an outright sales pitch and keep working at it, posting as regularly as you can.
Don’t overlook the way traditional marketing methods can be adapted to digital technologies. For example, email marketing campaigns can be a highly effective way to reach out to new customers.
That doesn’t mean bombarding random groups of people with spam emails. Plenty of companies sell bespoke data lists, which should enable your business to purchase the contact details of key groups of potential customers who will be susceptible to your message. Make sure your campaign is as relevant as possible to the target group to give yourself the best chance of good conversion rates.