The success of your lead generation efforts depends on website traffic. Otherwise your website is just sitting there like some emo kid’s LiveJournal from the late 90s. So once you’ve built a funnel, it’s time to start pouring traffic into it. And how do you do that? I’m about to tell you in this article all about how to get website traffic.
There are a few ways to start generating website traffic. Actually, there are almost infinite possibilities, but many of those possibilities require real world interaction. We’re going to focus on the digital stuff here.
How to Get Website Traffic
There are seven main channels you can use to get website traffic, and each one has it’s own set of advantages and disadvantages. Ideally, you should try to have a good mix of multiple channels (and multiple sources within each of those channels- e.g., Google and Bing for organic search). By diversifying your traffic sources, you won’t have to worry as much about your business tanking if one channel stops performing for some reason.
7+ Traffic Channels
The majority of your traffic will probably come from a combination of the following channels:
- Organic search
- Paid search
- Organic social
- Paid social
- Display advertising
- Content distribution platforms
But you should also look for other opportunities like sponsoring blogs or email lists or premium listings on review sites (like Capterra).
Organic Social Media
If you’ve got a following (or just friends) on Facebook, Twitter, etc. then you have a potential source for leads.
Pros: It’s free.
Cons: You’re reliant on the different social networks for your traffic. So when Facebook decides to cut back organic reach, you could take a serious hit to your bottom line.
Paid Social Media
If you’ve got an audience that uses some social network, then you have a great opportunity to connect with them affordably through paid social. Well, depending on the network. Not all are created equal. You’ll need to examine the different social networks to see which one has the targeting you need, and then test them to see which are cost-effective for your business.
Pros: You get reach and (depending on the network) detailed targeting without spending too much money.
Cons: These leads will tend to be higher up the funnel, because they’re not looking for your product or service on social media. They’re just trying to see some baby pictures or network with colleagues. And depending on the channel, they may be more expensive than you’d like.
Ranking for key terms is an important goal. And you should have a content strategy in place from day one. It’ll take a significant investment of time (and maybe money too depending on how you do it), but it will pay off in the long run.
Pros: You’ll show up when people are looking for what you have to offer.
Cons: It can take a while to rank for highly searched terms.
This one is my favorite methods to get website traffic. If you’re just starting out and looking to drive a significant volume of traffic, paid search is the way to go. At the very least, it’s a great way to get traffic until your content starts to rank organically.
Pros: You can target people at the bottom of the funnel through keywords that indicate purchase intent, and send them right to your landing page.
Cons: Clicks in some industries can be expensive, and there’s a learning curve when it comes to understanding how to build an account and get your campaigns up and running.
Display advertising is tricky. You can spend a lot of money on display advertising without generating measurable results. While it may be that your ads are raising brand awareness and increasing direct traffic to your site at a later date, if you don’t have a way to know that for sure it’s hard to justify spending much money on this channel.
If you do decide to use display advertising, it’s probably best to focus on remarketing. And be sure to track view-through conversions (conversions by people who didn’t click on your ad when they saw it but still converted later through another channel).
Pros: The clicks are cheap.
Cons: The click-through rates are low. People tend to ignore display advertising these days (or avoid it all together with an ad blocker).
Content Distribution Platforms
You know those weird clickbait articles you see at the end of news articles and things like that? Those are ads distributed by companies like Outbrain and Taboola. They don’t have to be clickbaity though. You can create great content and honest ads that get people into the top of your funnel (or at least onto your remarketing list).
Pros: If your product or service has a broad appeal, content distribution platforms can be a great way to build up your remarketing list.
Cons: Limited targeting.
Here’s another channel you need to strategize for from the beginning. Using an email list is the most cost-effective method for getting website traffic. You’ll want to have your email opt-in forms set up right off the bat to start building up your list so you can utilize this channel.
Pros: You 100% own this channel. Whatever Facebook or Google decides to do won’t affect you on this channel (well, accept if Google decides to do something funky with Gmail).
Cons: If you don’t have an email list yet, well… yea. Not going to work.
What Channels Should You Choose to Get Website Traffic?
The specifics will depend on:
- your objectives, and
- how much money you have to spend
but you should aim to have a good mix. Don’t rely too much on any one channel, for reasons discussed earlier in this article.
This chart that shows the channels you should use to get website traffic at each stage of the buyer’s journey:
So if you’re just getting started and you’re trying to drive sales, you may want to focus most of your budget on paid search while you work on SEO and building an email list. If you’re looking to fill up the top of your funnel, a Facebook campaign that drives traffic to your blog content and builds up your remarketing list might be a good strategy.
Once you’ve been around for a while you’ll have more resources at your disposal. If you don’t want to spend any money, and you’ve already built up an email list and have a website, then you can work on optimizing all of your current content and using your email list to get website traffic.
The possibilities are endless. If you’d like help with your specific situation, send me an email at [email protected] and I’ll make some suggestions.