The internet is a fiercely competitive arena, and no fight is more fiercely fought than the battle to be on page one of Google. For those with smaller online marketing budgets, it’s often not possible to buy a slot at the top end of the results via a pay-per-click campaign, as the cost is simply too prohibitive. Likewise, with most major retailers now online, a search engine optimization campaign can also be a costly endeavor for the smaller outfit up against a corporate giant. When financial resources are exhausted, other avenues may hold the key to online survival…
1. Establish Your Site As A Go-To Resource
Web users (and therefore potential clients) will always return to sites that they find useful. By giving some of your site over to a resource area such as article library, FAQ, forum or news center, you’re creating a reason for repeat visits. These repeat visits will often lead to inquiries because you’re already an established source of help and information.
Creating a resource section on an existing website doesn’t need to be a costly endeavor and can be done for nothing if you already have a CMS system or the ability to manually create and upload new pages to your website. Knowledge of the subject at hand is essential, as well as an ability to communicate that knowledge in a digestible, interesting format to site visitors. If you’re working to a very tight budget and creating your own content, be sure to make it accurate, informative, and fresh – the last thing you want to do is rehash old news and competitors’ viewpoints. How-to-guides, instructional pieces, updates on relevant legislation and studies or academic research into your particular field are all good places to start a resource area.
When you have the content, you’ll need to commit to keeping it updated, adding new pages on a regular basis to encourage readers to come back to see the latest, and establish inbound traffic by promoting this new area of the site. This is easily done via relevant social media promotion and by mentioning the facility to potential clients calling in-store or making a telephone query. Don’t forget to also include a link on email footers and in any email marketing you have planned.
2. Become An Authority
Becoming an authority on a particular subject can be achieved in much the same way as establishing your website as a useful resource — the only difference being that rather than promoting the website and company brand as a knowledgeable one, you promote yourself as an expert in your field. While competition for the top end paid search placements and organic listings is fierce, there’s also a certain cachet to becoming an authority. Despite this, it is still possible for the smaller concern to muscle in on corporate space. Often, a smaller business or owner manager will have a firsthand view and experience of their industry or sector since this up-close and personal knowledge gives an edge over larger corporations where ideas and processes may take longer to filter through.
3. Develop A Strong Brand Identity
Whether online or offline, a memorable brand identity makes it that bit easier to remain at the forefront of consumer consciousness. Say the word ‘Amazon’ or ‘Disney’ and you immediately know what to expect in terms or products and service. This same level of brand presence can work amazingly well on a local level and will serve to drive traffic to a physical location and online site.
Developing a brand presence is something that is done over time, but the process can be hurried along by the simple means of picking a distinctive logo and color scheme for the website in keeping with other brand communications and developing a very specific tone for use on the site and in social media communications. A quirky or unique style of writing or communicating information will give you an instantly recognizable quality. This will help to draw traffic in from social media and other sources but will also help to establish a deeper relationship between your website and its target market.
Think of brand identity in terms of your own dress sense – what is it that makes something ‘you.’ Identifying that defining characteristic about your brand and building on it will help you to carve out a visible online presence.
Use these three tips as a way to start making your website stand out from the crowd and watch your traffic grow!