Every day I run into someone who wants to learn how they can make money from their website. The most important factor is that you have traffic coming to your site. If nobody knows of your website, great content and products, nobody is coming. There are 2 ways to get people to your website: Search Engine Optimization
(SEO) and Search Engine Marketing
(SEM/PPC). In other words, the two ways are organic or paid traffic. The less expensive (free) traffic is from SEO. Search Engine Optimization is all about good marketing with a technical component.
Technical Component of SEO
Make sure you follow best practices outlined by Google Webmaster’s Blog
or get a quote from us
to do the work for you. Make sure your site is ‘zippy’ so people aren’t waiting around for the site to load on their internet browser. Make the site user-friendly and navigable. Do proper on-page SEO.
Now that the technical piece is complete, what’s next?
Go Forth and Find Prospective Traffic
Where are those elusive visitors. Best place to start is where they already are, in online communities and social media. Go look for your target market in Craigslist, Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Quora, and Niche Forums.
A client of ours sells specialized Accent LED Light kits that are used on motorcycles, cars, boats, and RV’s. Great Product for fun and safety! They have lots of car and motorcycle enthusiasts that love to talk about their fly rides on forums like:
- http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/forums and
By interacting with like-minded people you can provide them information, interact, become trusted, and can provide them guidance by giving them solutions to their problem. Every good product solves a problem, you just need to communicate with the people that have the problem you are solving. If you have a weight-loss product, go to diet forums and all-you-can-eat buffet’s.
Make Yourself Viral
Now that you are communicating with others and they are able to solve their problem, incentivize them to share the information with their social media friends! Can you give something in order to get something in return? Give them a free report or ebook. Give them a coupon. Give something of value, because they are giving you the keys to your successful online business. By incentivizing sharing of what you offer, it increases the amount of people that will see your message/valuable offering and it will turn into more clicks and visitors. Can you come up with a fun contest that will encourage interactivity and the result you are looking for?
When we were working on rapidly growing a social community for an activist and news information website
that services Florida, we came up with a contest to have users take a photo in some of our swag (t-shirts) and post the image to our Facebook page. To seed the contest, we reached out to models on Model Mayhem
, sent them shirts and invited them into the contest. By having some high quality photos with models it encouraged sharing and interaction. We got some great responses and the community voted for the winner. The winner got a $250 gift certificate and we got thousands of hits back to our social media pages and website. Win, win, win!
Outreach To Other Website Owners
You’re not alone in this web thing. There are lots of others online who are trying to reach the same audience you are! They are not all competitors. This isn’t a cold war era thing. Go try to help them out! You can identify other bloggers and YouTube video channel operators who have a community and offer them something of value. Don’t just ask, but think about giving, too. Caring is sharing (by the way please click on the caring is sharing button to share this post)!
These other experts are constantly looking for great content to share with their audience. It’s hard to come up with unique and witty stuff all the time. Why don’t you offer to write some unique content for them that they can share on their blog? If they have millions of people reading their site and you’ve got 7 users on your site, isn’t it more valuable to write for the millions? Don’t be so controlling that you have to own your own content so it has to be on your own site. What is your goal? Is your goal to make sales? If so, go spend the effort to help others in the community. Helping others helps you and someday you’ll be in the position where you can have others writing for you!
Extra Extra Read All About It
Do you have friends? Do you have family? Is the least they can do for you to share a link on their social media for you? The answer is yes. Tell your friends and family what you are doing and ask them to help you. Some will be complete jerks and you can tell them so at the next holiday dinner, but most will be glad to do an incredibly small amount of effort like clicking the button 1 time on their mouse. Yup. That’s really the LEAST that they can do! Don’t ask for too much. Your friends are lazy. They won’t do anything if you make it difficult.
Try pre-writing their post for them, include a link and picture. Tell them where and how to share on their social network. Offer to help them with their new endevour. Most importantly, some of your friends may need what you have to offer. If they don’t know what you’ve got, you will get a sale. For example, a couple weeks ago I was in need of a really great editor for a ton of stale content on a new client’s website. I am no literary genius and I spel horibly, to (incorrect spelling being used to create emphasis – I know how to spell horribly, as well). After going through resume’s for a new editor I realized that I hadn’t even reached out to my personal network. I made a quick post on Facebook and I had several friends provide referrals. One of the referrals was a friend of mine from high school who has had her own professional writing and editing company for years. I had no idea that’s what she did for a living! Why hadn’t she made a post or 10 in the last ten years to let her friends know about her company. She doesn’t like to brag and doesn’t want to be annoying. I get it, but if I had known she was a professional freelance editor, I definitely would have sent her thousands of dollars of work. She was always one of the best writers around writing with brevity and clarity (unlike myself). Every project could have been better with her working on it to edit the content professionally. Since, she didn’t reach out through social media or in person, she didn’t get the business.
Reach out. Tell all your friends what you’re doing. If you do it 1 time per year like a status update of what’s going on in your personal and professional life, it isn’t annoying. Even if it is, who cares if you get some new customers that you love hanging out with and talking to. Right?
I hope I’ve provided some direction and clarity on just a few ways to get more customers for free without paying for advertising. First, make sure you’ve got worth sharing/selling/reading. Next, do what Google says or hire a the best seo company. Lastly, do really good marketing (off-site SEO). Please take a look at the excellent infographic courtesy of Quicksprout and tell me what other ways you’ve used to get customers for free without spending any money in the comment section below.