We noticed a few Facebook discussions with questions about how to get more traffic to your website, so we created this tutorial to make it easier for everyone to learn what they can do to begin increasing their online traffic and sales. This only scratches the surface on a few suggestions that are free and simple to follow. Our goal is to point you in the right direction and provide resources to help you continue your education.
Note: the Internet is a powerful sales channel; but keep in mind selling on-location or doing local marketing in person will bring the largest return, especially when you're just getting starting. It brings immediate revenue and builds awareness for your business. Not to mention these products are an impulse purchase, which means people may not have been thinking about ordering these products when they woke up that day, but once they hold them in their hand and can see the quality and low price, they're much more likely to buy on the spot. To maximize your revenue, it's crucial you focus equal time learning how to master both online and offline marketing. Click the following links to learn more about on-location sales, Give-A-Book programs and other Marketing and Sales ideas.
The journey to your success starts with mindset, so we'll start there.
RULE #1: Sharpen the Saw
I chose to start with this rule, a term created by Steven Covey in 7 habits of highly effective people, because it's the foundation to your success in everything. It's easy to invest money in a business, but few people take the time to invest in themselves to improve their business. The analogy given by Steven Covey is you can spend 10 hours cutting down a tree with a dull blade, but if you take the time to sharpen the blade you'll significantly reduce the time and effort required to finish the job.
I challenge you to spend 30 minutes a day educating yourself through blogs, books, forums, and anything you can get your hands on. Be a sponge! You can Google terms like "Using Facebook for business, online marketing, internet marketing, Social Media Optimization, Improve web traffic, improve online sales, Search Engine Optimization, etc..." The list is endless, so I suggest sticking to one topic at a time.
After one year, you'll have 182.5 hours of knowledge under your belt. If 30 minutes a day is too difficult to fit into your schedule, start with 15 minutes a day (that's still over 91 hours!!!)
Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still.
~ Chinese Proverb
It's important to remember that simply "reading" is not the solution. You have to learn, do, learn, do... and repeat until you see results. There's a reason school textbooks end each chapter with exercises, so put your newly acquired knowledge to use. The results will not happen overnight, but don't give up and you will see a difference.
Most importantly, the Internet is forever changing, so after you master a technique keep in mind you should revisit the latest tips for that technique often.
RULE #2: Give a little elbow grease
"All the so-called "secrets of success" will not work unless you do."
It's no accident the first two rules deal with work ethic, and the quote says it all. The Internet is the ultimate "Catch 22" as it opened the door to an endless supply of customers, while giving everyone the impression they can work less and earn more. The common misconception about having a website is "if you build it they will come." It might have worked with Kevin Costner in "Field of Dreams", but I guarantee for your website it will not. In terms of work required, an Internet business is no different than a traditional business, minus the drive to work. You understand work ethic, so I'm going to illustrate an example to make the point:
If you opened a start-up sandwich shop (a traditional brick & mortar business) that was not a franchise chain (no brand awareness or advertising) how would you attract customers in the front door? Sure, you've got the best sandwich in town, but until you've proven that to enough customers you have to work extra hard to make sure people remember you at lunchtime. The worst thing you could possibly do is not show up to unlock the front doors.
What if it was 11:30 am and the store was empty? Would you lock the doors and go home, or stand in the street waiving down cars? With a traditional brick & mortar you have higher startup costs as well as fixed costs, like your lease, so the constant pressure to fill the seats will stretch your comfort zones.
Now think back to your own personal work ethic since joining Create-A-Book. Have you treated this business with the same tenacity and work ethic as if you invested $100,000 to get started? How many days have you simply "not opened the doors?"
The best thing you can do is create a work schedule and stick to it. Include your family in the planning, as you'll need their support. Whether it's an hour a day, an hour a week, 8 hours on the weekend, or 8 hours a day... create your plan and stick to it. Overtime, your sales will gain momentum and you won't have to work everyday to make money everyday. It just takes a little sweat equity to get there.
RULE #3: Don't focus on Search Engines... not yet!
Disclaimer: My explanations are specific to a Create-A-Book business, and more specifically to someone with a relatively new website (less than 3 years) and a limited budget.
First, some common definitions from Wikipedia:
The question I hear most often is "how do I get to page one on the search engines." While that should be a goal, it should not be your short-term goal and here's why:
- It can take years to get there in a highly competitive market
- Most SEO companies that get results charge at least $1,500 to start.
I'm not recommending you ignore SEO. After all, search engine traffic can bring high revenues. I just wouldn't recommend it as a first priority when you can see faster results with social media like Facebook...without having to spend money.
There are many variables that determine who Search Engines list first. For example: How long the site and domain has been active and how many people visit the site. That being said, if your website is new you're already facing an uphill by focusing your efforts on SEO alone. The best thing you can do is spend the first 6 - 12 months proving to search engines your site has valuable content based on the traffic you generated through your own efforts. Doing this will make your SEO investment (time or money) much easier down the road.
So how do you generate your own traffic? The best advice is treat your website the same you would a flyer. If you printed flyers, you're goal would be to hand them out to as many people as you can. If you don't hand out the flyer, nobody will know they exist. Focus on sharing it with as many people as you can, as often as you can, which we'll explain below.
RULE #4: Social Media is better than Search Engines!
This topic is highly debated, and you can find information that supports both sides, so it's important to remember my advice is based on helping you gain the fastest results without spending a small fortune.
"We recently switched our focus from PPC ads to increasing our Facebook Fans and building relationships with them. Within 2 months we're noticing a big difference in sales and the best part is it's FREE!"
- Sue Nightengale, Create-A-Book Dealer | View Sue's fan page
There are many Social Media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to name a few, though I'm going to focus on Facebook as they've locked down the top spot with close to 900 million users. Facebook allows anyone to create a FREE Fan Page, which is a profile page to promote your business on Facebook that also allows people to become fans and follow your updates.
How does this help you in business? To illustrate, assume your Fan Page is a storefront you've leased in a mall. And this mall has close to 300 million visitors walk through it every day. That means there are millions of people walking in or around your storefront everyday. All you have to do is bring them to your store, win their trust.
Even better, people who like your page can become "Fans" which means they follow your posts, which means they'll receive a post on their own page when you post to yours, which equates to them walking in your store and providing their contact information to receive updates on news, promotions and coupons. Are you starting to understand the potential? Fans equal your current or future customer base!
You're still curious why I suggest this is currently better for you than PPC advertising, or what page your site appears in the search engines, aside from the obvious that Social Media is free? Let's first look at why people pay for SEO or PPC, because search engines have customers searching for your product and you want your website and products in front of those people. If search engines lost the traffic, the value of their PPC or your SEO efforts would disappear.
Next consider the type of visitor you're gaining from search engines. When someone clicks your link or ad they're essentially a cold lead. You haven't established trust or a relationship so they're more inclined to shop for price. Comparing that to Facebook, where your Fans have already made it known they like you and your products. Where do you think you'll see the highest return on your time? People prefer to buy from people they know and trust.
In the next rule we'll focus on how to increase your fan base, but first...if you're new to Facebook and don't have an account the first thing you should do is create a personal account. Once you've setup your profile, you can create your fan page here.
RULE #5: How to increase your Customer Base
Before taking the first step with Social Media to create new relationships, you should first start with your existing network and local community. Do your friends and family know you've opened a new business? If you belong to organizations, do those members know about your business? If you're like me with aggressive goals, take it a step farther and reach out to the "Connectors" in your network. Ask them for help spreading the word, and to introduce you to individuals and organizations that might like these products.
One of the MOST EFFECTIVE things you can do right now if you haven't done so already, is include your website link, and maybe a tagline in the signature in your email. This way you're making a passive impression (reminder) with every email. If you really want to get noticed, you can add a logo as well.
Since we're focused today on your online network, we'll move on. However, know there are many more things you can do to saturate your local community and surrounding areas.
There are many great techniques to building an online network, so I'm covering the basics and included a few great resource links to help you get started. If you get exciting after reading the resource links, and want to keep learning to get ahead, you can Google the article headlines and find a ton more!
If you're new to Facebook, or haven't yet grown your friends list on your personal profile you should start there. Once you've done the following you can invite them to your fan page (Etiquette rules still apply). Warning: You will not get (or keep) many followers if you simple spam with your own submissions
Online Etiquette - it's no different than offline!
- Be genuine and sincere
- Don't come firing out the gate with a sales pitch
- Don't send or post what you wouldn't want to read or receive
- Show an interest in other people, and participate in conversations
- Don't use your posts only to spam or sell - be personal, and make it fun!
- A timeless resource: How to win friends and influence people
Find your old connections:
- It's simple, engage and interact with others
- Be a friend and you'll get more friends.
- How to find your friends and connections
- Search for groups and organizations you've belonged to, past and present.
- View your friends' contacts; you'll always bump into old friends!
Create new connections:
- Search for groups of interest and engage.
- Search for topics or keywords related to your products or interests
- Add a link to your profile or fan page in your email signature
- Add a Facebook Badge to your website
A few resources to get started:
- How to create a Facebook page that attracts millions
- Tips to increase your Fan base
- Top 30 Most useful Facebook blog posts of 2009
- How to use Twitter to increase your sales and your network
- Social Media Success with Twitter
- Twitter Dramatically increases Business Leads
RULE #6: Stay connected, often!
I mentioned in the beginning of Rule #4 that adding your website and a tagline in the signature of your email was one of the easiest things you can do to increase your exposure with every email. There are hundreds of simple things that are just as simple and effective when it comes to email marketing.
Not only is email marketing effective, it's extremely interesting because we send emails every day and it's fun learning how the tiniest adjustments can drastically improve your sales.
I've included a link to a gold mine of a resource on this topic. I'd recommend subscribing to their newsletters and visiting their site at least once a month for an hour or two. I'd also suggest trying what you learn, as soon as you learn it. These guys have the best newsletters, so I'd highly recommend subscribing.
There are many services you can use to manage your contacts and send professional emails. If you're brand new, it's probably not yet necessary. However, when your contacts begin to grow, it will make your life much easier, and your business more effective as you can track the success of each campaign. We use Aweber because it has a tremendous amount of features, and they've made it simple.
Their blog is a great resource http://www.aweber.com/blog