Search engine features, guidelines and rankings change on a regular basis. It has become almost impossible for the average person to comply with all of their demands and compete with not only other merchants, but also the search engine itself. They still serve up most of our organic traffic, but it seems wise to plan for a future when that won’t be the case.
Advertising to the masses in the hopes of reaching a few is the offline way of doing things. In today’s digital world, you can hit your target market bullseye and spend less doing it. The first step is identifying your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and getting to know your ideal customer avatar. Then do some research to reveal where your potential online customers are and how you can engage them.
7 Ways to Diversify Your Traffic Sources
1. Information products sold on third-party platforms, such as ebooks on Indigo or courses on Udemy. There are many popular online marketplaces that will host information products. You can benefit from their massive marketing budgets that bring in shoppers. The products themselves will promote your relevant website and bring in traffic. Choose popular marketplaces that attract your ideal online customer and diversify further by listing on the top few. Research their terms and conditions thoroughly and check their fees before deciding.
2. Email marketing has been an effective way to bring in visitors and sales since the beginning of email itself. Newsletters and sales funnels are sent to people who are already interested in what you have to offer. They sign up, confirm their subscription and you’ll be brought to their attention whenever you send something to them. Remember to follow email marketing laws for any country you send emails to. In Canada, that’s covered by Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL). Don’t go overboard with the number of emails sent and make it valuable to the recipient.
3. Online communities come in several forms, such as social media groups, discussion forums or blogs. You can start your own on a third-party platform, and/or join groups that are popular with your target market. Demonstrate your level of expertise by offering thoughtful, helpful responses. Read the rules of each group before promoting your website or you’ll probably be kicked out.
4. Social media can bring in tons of traffic if you do it properly. However, organic reach on some social networks, like Facebook and Instagram, has fallen to practically nothing. Paying for advertising on these networks is still effective (although their automated ad rejections and account bans have had many glitches lately).
Other networks provide mixed organic results, depending on how well you know your ideal customer. Some visual networks, like Pinterest, can still bring in a lot of traffic, especially if your products need to be seen to be appreciated. Others will be better for video, such as YouTube. Research each one and choose the networks that will best engage your ideal customer. Learn more about how Canadians use social media in our annual reports.
5. Start an affiliate program! Affiliate programs are based on performance, allowing you to advertise on countless websites around the world, yet only pay for it when a sale is made. You can quickly build an online sales force that is virtually guaranteed to boost your bottom line through an unbeatable Return on Investment (ROI). Most leading American retailers have affiliate programs in their customer acquisition toolbox, but Canadian retailers have been slower to adopt the strategy. Learn How to Start an Affiliate Program for a Canadian Business.
6. Content marketing on other websites may offer a variety of options. If you choose websites or influencers that appeal to a similar audience as the one you hope to reach, you can generate some high-converting traffic. That could be as simple as submitting a guest post, press release or paying for an involved influencer campaign. The ROI of influencer and content marketing is off the charts.
7. Offline marketing can be used to increase website traffic too.
- Make sure your website address is included in offline advertising and product packaging.
- Include a __% off your next order coupon with any orders you ship out.
- Have product support information on your website.
- Bring multiple channels together, such as encouraging customers in your store to go online for more information, options, coupons, or what have you.
Stabilize a Volatile Environment
“The concept is straightforward: Position your site to be found in more places by those looking for what you offer, in order to convert more clients from an additional flow of visitors,” suggests Christian Carere. “Driving multiple streams of targeted traffic improves the profitability of your website by increasing the number of leads your site generates.”
The volatility of all online traffic sources is one of the hazards of digital marketing. Any one of them could disappear tomorrow. When your traffic and leads come in from multiple sources, you’ll have a built-in backup plan to help compensate if one ceases to work for you.
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Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In 25 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available on Amazon.
Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on CanadiansInternet.com, CanadianFamily.net and AllNaturalPetCare.com, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.