5 Steps to Improve Website Traffic with Content Marketing

5 Steps to Improve Website Traffic with Content Marketing

How much time do you waste trying to reach people on every social media platform you use? It can be frustrating getting no website traffic from all the energy you are putting into generating social media content as your marketing strategy.

Are you using your content as effectively as possible? How should you adapt to changing social media environments?

The answer to these questions lies in your content distribution system, and here I’m going to demonstrate for you an example of how to use your content effectively.

Check out the video summary of this article!

Step 1:  Start with Your Website

Your website is the ideal hub for all content on your website. 

Unlike social media platforms where you can lose your audience and dilute your brand messaging, your website can provide you a blank canvas to display precisely what type of company image you wish to project and build a loyal following.

If you build your website in WordPress, you have a massive developer community at your disposal with an array of free, freemium, and premium softwares that will interface to build a marketing system tailored to your needs. More importantly though, you will have the freedom to use the exact language your customers need to hear, display your brand aesthetic, and drive people into the best way to connect with you.

No matter what website platform you have, though, these days it’s easy and critical to install Google Analytics to measure where your readers are coming from, how they’re accessing your content, and which content they seem to enjoy most. This is a FREE tool that far too many company websites lack – get it started before you publish content!

A note about Traffic Retargeting/Remarketing:

While this is an advanced technique, if you implement tracking codes for Google Ads and the Facebook Pixel, over time you will have the ability to send paid advertisements to the people who visit your content for education and entertainment. Work with your website developer to put this in place today, and you can thank me later when the successful results from a future ad campaign roll in faster because you took this step.

(If your current website or lack thereof is holding your back, you can do as I did and start by using LinkedIn Publishing as your blogging platform. If you need an awesome website to serve as your marketing hub, schedule a consultation with me so I can learn about your needs and help you get that started.)

Step 1.5: Setup your YouTube channel with the same email account you use for Google Analytics

You’ll need this in a later step. Make sure that your channel has an appropriate company brand so people who see your video there and then visit your website experience consistency in your aesthetic and messaging.

Step 2: Make Your Site Content Evergreen

Deciding what information to share in your content can be challenging. How do you decide what to share?

Start with what your customers ask you.

Think about the questions you get from your clients or customers, and consider the advice that you typically give out to them when they ask. If a couple of your clients have already asked you the same question, chances are that your answer will be valuable to someone who hasn’t yet decided to ask you.

If your content won’t matter in a month or even a year, restructure it.

Content is either topical or evergreen. Topical content is best suited for semi-temporary streams of media such as Facebook, where new content is constantly pushing your own content farther down by the minute.

Evergreen content will be informative or entertaining to your audience (i.e. valuable) when it is structured in a way that is irrespective of the date it is seen.

It is possible to take topical content, extract the lessons and takeaways from that content, and turn it into an evergreen resource – you’ll want to work with a copywriter to do this if you find it challenging on your own.

Once your website has a few amazing evergreen articles, your natural website traffic over time should improve as the world searches for the answers you’ve provided – without needing to publish new articles on the same topic.

Step 3: Combine Video with Long-Form Web Articles

How you go about producing your content is ultimately up to you, but here is my recommendation:

  • Film a video using the best camera you have…
    • A newer Samsung phone, Google Pixel phone, or iPhone should do the trick
    • Find good natural lighting
    • Remember that you are speaking to one person on the other side of that screen to be more personable
  • Refer to your video when it is finished and write out your article using a similar content structure
  • Publish the article on your website’s blog and get the article link
  • Upload your video to YouTube
    • Ask yourself, ‘what benefit will someone gain from watching this video’ and use the answer to help you name the video
    • Use relevant keywords in a summary paragraph in the video description
    • At the top of your video description, add your article link. (e.g. “Check out our article for more information: [LINK]”)
    • Publish the video
  • Edit the article on your website and embed your YouTube video somewhere in the content

Why is YouTube Important?

  • YouTube is owned by Google, the world’s #1 search engine
  • It is the world’s #2 search engine
  • More than just a video site, YouTube is a social media platform (so once your content is up, try not to edit it too much)

Step 4: Publish Pieces of Micro-content to Drive Website Traffic

Great Job! At this point you have created video & article content to educate or entertain the people who you want as customers.

As soon as you publish it is time to drive as much traffic as possible to your content so Google will identify it as rank-worthy to generate more traffic.

You have created what is called ‘macro-content’ – longer content that goes in-depth about its topic.

We need to break it into pieces called ‘micro-content’ – bite-sized chunks that will still inform and entertain, but will only sample the information and grab attention so people visit your website or your YouTube channel to engage further.

Remember to link back to your website (or to your YouTube video which also links to your website) as often as possible.

Screenshot of a Facebook post promoting this newly published article to drive website traffic.
Here is an example of a Facebook post promoting this very article.

It’s worth noting here that people consume content differently – some prefer to watch and listen to a video, while others prefer to read. Directing them to your website where they can do both is ideal for reaching more people more effectively.

Step 5: Go Where Your Customers Are

“Which social media platform should I use?”

The short answer is: “The platform that your best customers use most.”

If you’re a new business, you have an idea of who your dream client would be. If you have some time in business behind you, some digging can help you figure out whether your audience prefers Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or even email marketing as their primary source of educational or entertaining social content.

This is where you test your detective skills to figure out which platform could net you the best return and engagement…

and then you’ll post your micro-content everywhere, starting with the one your audience uses most.

No time to post content? Stick with the main one where you expect your best customers to be most engaged.

Some additional tips:

  • Post in groups where people already know you, such as local networking groups or chamber of commerce discussion boards
  • Post your content on your business Facebook page (be sure to include a link to your article!), and then share the page’s post on your personal profile.
  • DO NOT simply post content on your personal profiles. Always post to business profiles first.
  • Share it to your email list if you have one.
  • Send it out to your customers who have been asking questions related to the content.
  • Send it out to your pending business prospects.
  • Share it as much as possible within a 24-hour period to drive initial interest.

In Summary

Producing content on a regular basis is challenging work, and it can take some time to truly pay off. Using this method, you will be able to increase your efficiency to send a little less time producing content and start leveraging your website to measure and convert traffic into your fans – and eventually into customers.

Relying Entirely on Social Media will Fail You

On March 13th of 2019, Facebook pretty much went down. This issue affected WhatsApp, a widely popular messaging platform, and Instagram, one of the most impactful social media for marketing your business.

As a result, many businesses who rely on Facebook’s family of apps to communicate with prospects found themselves hindered and at the mercy of Facebook’s team of engineers.

This system-wide failure is bad enough, but imagine what it’s like when massive companies like Facebook and Twitter censor your content because they disagree with it – which happens more and more each year.

So what is the answer?

Escaping Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are fantastic tools for SEO and marketing efforts, but when the infrastructure is swept from beneath your business what do you have left?

  1. Email marketing
  2. Phone contact lists
  3. Website

Ultimately, if your business relies heavily on social media to gain new business then there is a chance you are leaving opportunities on the table to build a more secure marketing platform.

Email Marketing

One of the oldest digital marketing methods, email marketing is still running strong. Email lists are easy to start building – all you have to do is set up an account at MailChimp or any other email marketing service and start adding your existing customers to a list.

Now you have a foundation for your email campaigns where you can send out news and promotions to the people who are already looking to hear from you, and when you embed a sign-up form on your website or link to the form in your social media platforms, you can develop an entirely unique experience for your customers which will survive a Facebook outage or censorship.

Phone Contact Lists

Using the phone is still one of the most effective ways to communicate quickly with prospects, rendering it one of your most powerful sales tools. When developing your email marketing list, you can usually include a field for visitors to enter their phone numbers as part of the opt-in form.

Alternatively, you may choose to build forms on your website that bypass email entirely and go straight to gathering phone numbers.

Website

Last on this list, but by far not least, is your website.

Your website is the best representation of your brand on the Web. You don’t have to compete with the aesthetics and rules of social media platforms when translating your brand design, and you have the ability to completely control the content and site functions. With good hosting, and assuming you’re not trying to reach China, your website is pretty much available 24/7 to bring new global prospects into your brand.

All of this is not to say that social media is a good or bad thing for your business. Social media has a place as a ‘top of funnel’ source for website traffic. Social media also allows you to broadcast your content directly into your prospects’ lives at a price that no other medium can compete with.

If your marketing strategy relies solely on social media, however, then you had better hope and pray that the internet deities of Facebook, Twitter, and Google continue to smile upon your enterprise…

For when they don’t, your marketing strategies will die.

Why Marketing or Advertising “Doesn’t Work”

As a representative for my business, I frequent several networking groups in my community. Usually these groups consist of independent business owners, sales reps for small and medium-sized businesses, and multi-level marketing affiliates of various industries. These are the types of people and businesses that my company works well with, people with growing businesses and some establishment with their customer base. Many are relying on word-of-mouth marketing and referrals, which is why they or their employees are attending these events.

When I tell people what I do, which is website and brand design, most people ask me how I got into the industry and whether or not websites, social media, and SEO are really necessary. These are good conversational questions that I enjoy answering, however from time to time I’ll get a response something along the lines of:

“Marketing doesn’t work.”

This seemingly abrasive and generally assumptive statement, while not the most pleasant thing to hear while speaking about one’s line of work, brings up an excellent point; It echoes a sentiment that some may be too polite to voice, especially in a manner which interrupts a professional’s statement, but still turn over in their minds as they listen to marketing professionals talk about their services.

“Why pay someone to tell me how to market my business?”

When I encounter a statement like “marketing doesn’t work,” I usually detect something deeper – a past experience, perhaps, or the experience of a colleague or relative where an advertising budget yielded little to no additional profits. A situation where someone got burned.

Let’s break down what marketing really is.

mar·ket·ing

noun

  1. the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.

Like most things, success in marketing can be attributed to two fundamental building blocks: time, most importantly, and money. A small business starts with more time than money available for their marketing, and if they are successful the balance shifts to eventually favor money instead of time. These results can take months, even years to change, though, and therein lies the problem for a small business which has an 80% chance of failing within the first two years: marketing needs time, and small businesses don’t have it.

So what is a small company to do when both time and money are in short supply? Here are some ideas:

Define Your Brand

Your brand is more than just your mark (the name and/or logo). Your brand is who your business is. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What values does my business espouse?
  • How does my business speak to its customers? What is the tone, the language used to create a connection with the customer?
  • What problem is my business solving for the people it services? Business to Consumer (B2C) companies clearly deal with people directly, but owners of Business to Business (B2B) companies must remember that what they offer affects the people at the center of the businesses they are selling to. Business always comes down to people.
  • Why should customers buy from my business instead of my competition?
  • Who, exactly, is the ideal client for my business? Create a profile of your best customer, in as much detail as you can imagine.

The answers to these questions should give you some initial guidance into your marketing strategy, although this is simply the tip of the iceberg.

Assemble Your Brand Look

With your brand defined, you can assemble your Brand Style Guide. This should include:

  • Your brand name (and any variations)
  • All acceptable variations of your logo (black & white, full-color, vertical layout, horizontal layout, etc.)
  • The colors your business will use for the logo, the website, business cards, and all other visual media representing the brand
  • The font/typeface choices the business will use for print and digital media

The Brand Style Guide will give you a basic template for your creative team to work with to create a consistent message to your customers. This is important because…

Consistency Breeds Trust

Think about the brands you buy from every day: Starbucks, for example. When you visit a Starbucks, no matter where you find one you can expect a similar experience each time. You find consistency in the taste, the atmosphere, the menu options, and the service. Whether you consciously realize it or not, if you’re a frequent customer of Starbucks, when you see their iconic green and their logo cross your Facebook feed, or when you drive by one of their signs, your mind connects that brand identity with the perceived quality of their services. This is true for other massive brands, such as Nike and Apple, however it is equally true for local businesses you interact with and buy from regularly. This is the type of connection your business must make with your customers in order to survive.

“But What About Advertising?”

I like to think of advertising and marketing as a bridge between potential customers and your business. What kind of bridge are you building with your ideal customers? Is your brand strong and consistent, clearly projecting with its logo and voice a quality product to create a safe and stable, steel and concrete ‘bridge’ to the new relationship? Or is a cheap design and incoherent stream of thoughts, riddled with grammatical errors, creating a shaky and questionable rope bridge with missing planks?

Without a clear and trustworthy brand as a destination, advertising is time & money down the drain.

You can spend hundreds, or thousands of dollars in your local paper, Pay-per-Click digital marketing (PPC), or membership in your local business organizations, but if you don’t look like you can do the job, someone who doesn’t know you will chose someone who does – and those advertising dollars and effort will go to waste.

Good News: Marketing CAN Work For You!

To the business owner who has lost confidence in marketing professionals and advertising techniques, I say this: Your efforts are only as good as the quality they project.

If you have a quality product or service, you can clearly communicate its values, and your ideal customer has been thoroughly identified, then you stand a much better chance of making any of your marketing efforts successful – whether you spend money on them or not! What matters most is setting your brand up for success at the very beginning, allowing you to leverage every dollar, every moment, every breath you spend to spread the word about your company.

Find that clarity today, and watch your business succeed.

Homework:

  • Set aside an hour today to answer the questions listed above, and reflect on the answers every morning this week.
  • Write out your value statement in a post on your business Facebook. Share that post with your personal Facebook to your social network. Include an image to improve your exposure!
  • Get coffee with a graphic designer, copywriter, or brand strategist this week to inspire your vision for your business voice and brand style.