As the Internet matures, getting Traffic to your Small Business site becomes increasingly difficult.
The biggest names have highly sophisticated sites and Internet Marketing budgets that can exceed the entire revenue of most small companies.
Home is for the Heart
The Internet is no longer the unique marketing tool it was many moons ago. Having a website isn't an advantage anymore--it's simply expected.
I personally don't believe in depending on Search to bring me Traffic, but I had better provide everything expected, and more, to those visitors who do arrive through Search.
Especially if my business is local.
I'm currently looking for an exceptional roofer for a special project, and the local roofer without an info-packed website is highly unlikely to get my first phone call.
Sadly, most roofers in my area don't even have websites.
I sent my business to the local company who's website introduced me to their staff, explained their services, and listed their material suppliers--as well as providing a detailed FAQ.
Before picking up the phone, virtually all of my questions had already been answered.
Several other sites I visited had almost nothing to tell me.
Local companies smart enough to have websites packed with useful information will always have a place high on Page One when the Search is obviously Local, i.e. includes City or Zip in the Search criteria.
Piggy Back on Bigger Sites
One site I like is Yelp.com. It's packed with User Reviews, and is beginning to appear in Results when I'm looking for reviews regarding various services around town. Looking for Reviews and Complaints is my standard practice when considering a company or product--especially one I have never heard of before.
While it's always good idea to get your satisfied customers to give you a written testimonial, it would be even better to get those testimonials posted on "outside" websites.
For one thing, Testimonials appear more impartial when they come from an outside source. But an outside website can have the added advantage of giving you a link from a third party back to your own site, giving you a little more credibility with Google.
This idea transformed Amazon.com. I always check the Amazon reviews before buying anything, whether my purchase ends up with Amazon or not.
It's pretty easy to sell your Product through Amazon, and should be seriously considered for the Testimonial value alone, not to mention one more method of getting your offering higher on the Search Results.
A product I created long ago showed up much higher in the Search Results when it appeared on websites with much greater Page Rank than my own. Piggy Backing off someone bigger is smart 😉 And the bigger, the better!
Free is for the Famous
The idea of getting "free" business from Search Engines has never really been easy for the little guy, regardless of what the Gurus may tell you. Everything takes time and effort.
On the other hand, getting free publicity is easy for someone who has already caught the public's eye.
But how do you catch the public's attention in the first place?
The Media wants a Story, so it's your job to give them one. When Media tells your story, people Search for you. If you're really lucky, Media publicizes your URL.
Celebrity Search Engine
There are two types of companies and/or products that dominate Search.
- The Specialist - Unique Product that Solves a Specialized Problem
- The Famous - Companies with Brand Recognition
Newbies who want to break into Entertainment will often resort to outrageous, shocking, or even heinously vile behavior to attract media attention. If you need more information, just ask your children about their current favorite Acts.
Most businesses, on the other hand, must introduce something a little more constructive, but equally attention grabbing. The "Next Big Thing" in technology is a perfect example of something nobody knew they needed until they saw it. Overnight that product becomes a "Must Have."
Well, Isn't That Special
Unless people have already been exposed to a specific Product enough times to be convinced they need it, Search will center around finding a specific Solution.
You want their Solution to be your Product.
But the more unique the Problem to be solved, the smaller the pool of people searching for you or your unique Solution.
It's hard to get people Searching for a Solution to a Problem people don't know they have.
And of course, building a better Mouse Trap is only successful if mice are a problem to a lot of people. But the bigger the problem, the more competitors, so your Mouse Trap must be "better enough" to attract Media attention.
Whether you need to promote a Solution to an "Unrecognized Problem" or show off your Bigger Idea, Media Attention is the key to leap-frogging over a much bigger competitor, and getting Traffic to your website.
Famous Is As Famous Does
The more that people already know about you, the more they want to know. Publicity seems to feed upon itself, and becomes self-perpetuating.
As much as you may like the idea of sitting at your computer and creating Demand thru great original Content, the fact is that you will still need to get out there into the "real world" and make some noise.
Working through Search alone may work for a tiny Niche, but taking your business to the next level requires taking your Marketing to the next level as well.
You don't necessarily have to spend a lot of money on Advertising in order to get your name out there. The old fashioned Press Release can be worthwhile and inexpensive, although it does take time to gather all the appropriate News Outlets.
Be creative and either stage or participate in Newsworthy Events. Send a Press
Release ONLY when your activity is all but guaranteed to generate Media interest, otherwise a Dud Event will cause them to ignore you when you are involved in something that IS really big.
Then use your Press Clippings and Interview Recordings to give you a foundation of credibility. When the Media gets to know you as a solid source of a good story, it will be easier to get their attention each time you venture out.
Always direct the Media to your website, and always write about your current Media Event in your Blog.
Well written Content should be between 600-1000 words. If you post more often than once a week, the post can be shorter. If you post once a month, they should be much more substantial and valuable.
Regardless of how often, it's important to have a regularly scheduled date for posting.
Like clockwork, your postings need to be dependable in that regard if you want to generate a regular following.
Regular posting is even more important if your plan includes having Media personnel checking your site for your latest developments.
When you're Famous--or merely very Interesting--Media keeps watch over your Twitter postings. Twitter has almost become the preferred method for major Stars to make Announcements to the Media, replacing the old fashioned Press Release.
When the Paparazzi stalk your every move, a Press Release is kind of redundant, anyway.
You may not be that Famous--Yet. Even so, be sure to use Twitter as a gateway back to your website. As your Following grows, you will have an easier time getting coveted Media attention.
You may not be "The Most Interesting Man in the World," but Twitter will be of little use to you if you're just another bump on the log.
Simple Isn't Always Easy
These are only a few simple ideas that can be relatively inexpensive. But they do require an investment in Time, Effort, and Creativity.
And Simple can require a lot of gumption. It's not easy to get out there before the Public and become a Media Personality.
But a number of successful CEO's have found that to be just the ticket to grow their business.
Tom Hopkins is a premier Sales Trainer who has been around for years. Tom jokes about the person who wants to reach the "Pinnacle of Success, but wants to stay home all the time."
Major Success rarely works that way.
And as we all know, if making big money were easy, everyone would be rich :-)!