by: Bill Ringle
Face it, the novelty of launching a web site has worn off. Teenagers in homes and schools across the country are developing their own web sites as you read this article. Simply owning a web site is no big deal anymore. What matters is how you’re using the many tools at your disposal to strengthen your business.
Having a business web site is a necessity in today’s customer-driven marketing climate. My bank, insurance company, office supply house, travel agent, newspaper publisher, and yes even my pizza parlor, all have web sites that I use in the course of doing business. This short list of businesses avoids anything associated with high-tech. We can simply stipulate that they are online.
So, with virtually endless sites to choose from, how do you take steps to drive more traffic to your business web site? From my project work with entrepreneurs and corporations, here are four of the most effective ways to boost traffic that will work with virtually any business web site. The trick is knowing your purpose and how to measure the success of your efforts.
1. Tell people through co-marketing. The people who are most likely to visit are those who know you and your business already. How are you building on this relationship? If you want your customers to visit your site, you must do two things, and do them well: A) prepare something of value for them and put it on your web site, and B) invite and instruct them to visit.
2. Hold a contest. Tap into your customer’s creative or competitive spirits. Cisco Systems held a contest for the most creative uses for their high-tech equipment and got ideas for new products and services that were worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. One entrepreneur I know offers a $50 book certificate for the best caption to a silly photo. Be creative to attract creative ideas. It may not matter so much how you engage visitors, so long as you attract their participation. Contests also produce great “word-of-mouth” traffic that introduces new visitors to your site.
3. Submit to search engines and directories regularly. Forget the solicitations to “submit your web site to 6,000 of the world’s search engines for only $200” when you send your credit card number to such-and-such an address. According to a WebHits report, over 90% of the traffic that gets referred to a web site from web site search engine comes from one of these 7 locations: Yahoo, Altavista, Excite, Go (Infoseek), Lycos, Snap, GoTo.com. Rounding out the top ten brings aboard MSN, WebCrawler, and Ask Jeeves. If you are responsible for marketing a single web site, there’s no reason to duck this responsibility once you know where to focus your energies.
4. Build a community. If you have a business with customers, you have an untapped community waiting for your leadership. Engage any group with common interests (such as benefiting from your products and services), give them an opportunity to interact at their convenience via your web site, and a chance to get to know each other, and you’ve got the basic ingredients for an online community. Visitors return to communities more so than to online locations that do not offer such opportunities.
You now know how to drive more traffic to your business web site. With a bit of creativity and knowledge of your business, you can adapt these techniques to build stronger relationships with your customers and attract new prospects to your business…which is really the core purpose of any business web site.
About the Author:
Entrepreneurs can find more resources to build their business at: www.mybusinessgym.com
Bill Ringle works with business leaders from high tech and professional service entrepreneurs in the Greater Philadelphia region and shares the strategies and tools for accelerating growth through my Business Gym with business leaders from across the United States and in 15 different countries.