How to set up your website and attract the right kind of traffic to it.
This post is written keeping new entrepreneurs who are starting off with their first product. If you’ve figured out a problem that is worth solving, kudos – the next part is to ensure the right audience gets to see your product.
With so much information floating around on the internet, it can get extremely difficult for entrepreneurs to define a marketing strategy. Before you begin investing your mind share into the latest ‘growth hacks’, figuring out your escape velocity and other fancy words related to internet marketing – it’s very important to understand what makes for a successful marketing play.
There are three parts involved when you’re looking at your company / product’s growth problem:
- Traffic generation
Broadly speaking, these three components make up for a successful sales funnel as well.
For a new product, the biggest challenge is setting up a continuous inflow of targeted traffic. If there’s no traffic, there can’t be any conversions nor can you focus on retention. Generating high quality traffic, consistently, should be one the first things an entrepreneur should focus on.
How Do You Generate High Quality Traffic For A New Website
A lot has been written on the internet regarding means and ways to get your product’s website in front of your target audience. Mostly broken, isolated pieces of information that needs to be collated together to form a cohesive strategy.
Think about how the real (read: offline) word advertising works. To make it easier, imaging 30 years back when there was no internet and all the businesses relied on people walking-in to their stores or purchasing via mail orders.
The process followed back then was:
- Set up a nice store which was accessible.
- Create a brand value around your store.
- Develop a creative strategy to get the word out.
- Distribute the content so that it reaches the right people.
Comparing this method with online marketing, the process looks like:
- Set up a nice website.
- Create brand around the website’s offering.
- Develop a creative strategy to the get the word out.
- Distribute the content so that it reaches the right people.
Quite simple, right?
Breaking this down further into actionable tactics, the whole process would look something like this:
Creating A Solid Website.
One of the first things to do when starting out selling your product on the internet is to create a website that succinctly conveys the user what your product is all about. Think deeply about how you want to position your product, the tone of your communication – both written and subliminal and the design aspect.
When working on creating your website, there are two factors you need to keep in mind:
- The technical aspect of your website.
- The user facing aspect of your website.
The technicalities of a good website make up for how easy it is for search engines to show your website or it’s pages for relevant search queries. When thinking through the technical side, you need to ensure that the website is crawlable and indexable.
What is Crawlability?
To mimic how a user might access and browse through a website, search engines have created bots, called crawlers. Crawlers, as the name suggests, have one job – to go through a website by following each and every link on it.
There are certain best practices laid out by search engines that explain how a webmaster can make her website as crawlable as possible.
What is Indexability?
Crawlers crawl through a website with an aim to index the content on the website. Indexing means adding the content and the links attached to that content in the search engine’s database. This is how Google and the likes are quickly able to show results for specific user queries.
The kind of content you write on your web pages, the URL structure, Sitemap, meta tags etc. – all together determine how and for what type of content will your website get indexed.
Well, if the aim is to get indexed for as many keywords as possible – shouldn’t you be stuffing your pages with all sorts of keywords and content? Well, no! Remember you are creating your website for humans – people need to be able to go through your website easily and understand what you’re selling.
That’s where the user facing aspect of your website comes into picture.
No matter what you do on the technical side, always remember that you are building your website for real people to come in and have a good experience. Writing gibberish, full of keywords designed to fool search engines, might get you some traffic early on – but it will not culminate into anything worthwhile. And sooner than later you’ll be flagged by search engines, throwing your website into a dark pit, recovering from which will be a herculean task.
Build your website keeping the users in mind. That’s the bottomline.
Creating A Brand Value Around Your Website.
Internet is full of noise. There are a bunch of websites vying for your attention at any given time. To cut through the noise, it is essential that your website carves out a brand value for itself.
What does this mean? Simply put, it means that your website should offer high value to its users and should not be focussed on selling only. When your users begin associating your website (read: brand) with a solution to their problem, you will have earned yourself something really invaluable – user’s loyalty.
Other factors that contribute to your brand’s value:
- Good design.
- A tone of communication that speaks to your target audience.
- Content that offers real value to your customers.
- A good overall experience.
MailChimp is one of the prime examples when talking about carving a brand value for yourself. Their tone of communication, the design and everything around the brand has been built so meticulously. So much so that MailChimp is has been one of the most well known Email Marketing Tools since forever and their logo/icon is instantly recognizable.
Creating a brand takes time. Delivering value to your potential customers can begin from day 1.
Creative Content Strategy + Distributing The Content
a.k.a the growth hacking the traffic generation
This is the part where things start getting interesting, and fun. Before you delve into this part, ensure that you have a solid foundation built with the two points mentioned above.
Now we begin the experimentation and getting on with growth hacking!
Essentially, this is how a typical marketing outreach campaign looks like:
I’ve not closed the loop with the user coming back on the website/product/landing page/app. We’ll get to that in the next section.
So, keeping in mind the above diagram, there are three variables that work together to drive relevant traffic to your website:
- Finding the right target audience.
- Finding the right message that resonates with the target audience.
- Finding the right channels to deliver the right message to the right target audience.
Phew, the last line makes is look really complicated!
But this, ladies and gentlemen – is what growth hacking is all about.
In short, growth hacking for traffic generation is:
Rapidly experimenting with multiple channels to identify the right target audience and the relevant messaging to drive high quality traffic to a web property.
Finding the right target audience:
- Where would your ideal customers hang out on the internet?
- If you’re looking to target businesses, LinkedIn comes across as an obvious choice.
- Google is the place to tap into intent based users.
- If you’re target market is women dominated – Pinterest is essential.
Channels to use:
- Facebook – has one of the most extensive targeting options.
- Google – the perfect place to tap into intent driven users.
- Instagram – great for distributing more visual content.
- Remarketing – For longer purchase cycles and brand recall.
How messaging affects your metrics:
A couple of years back, I was working with Siminars – an e-learning platform. We ran a lot of paid campaigns on Facebook and Google to understand the users and what kind of messaging they respond to.
The following ads had the exact same target audience.
See the difference? Same ad spent, same duration of experiment and the same target audience. Not only did the second ad set got more engagement (more likes and shares), we also noticed a marked increase in click through rates and almost a one-tenth drop in the cost per acquisition.
Okay, the landing pages were different for both the campaigns – but higher engagement on the ads made a whole lot of difference!
This post was purely centered around the basics of traffic generation. We’ll cover the next part – traffic conversion in detail in our next article.
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