Erik Barnlund

Thinking about launching your 1st website? (part 5: Generate traffic and sales!)

Generating traffic and sales using online marketing

When a business owner opens a physical storefront, he or she typically works hard to let the community know that they are open for business.  Often, they create print ads for newspapers or magazines, offer coupons/listings in the yellow pages, run radio and/or television advertising and join the local chamber of commerce.  Without this kind of advertising, generating a repeat customer base quickly is almost impossible.

In similar fashion, no one knows that your website is “open for business” until you market that site.  Let’s review some ways that you can begin to tell the world about your website and generate the much needed traffic required to create sales for your business.

Search Engine Marketing

Being found on the major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo is an absolute MUST.  More and more shoppers are going to the Internet first and searching for the products and services they need.  If your website and business does not show up in a search for the products or services you provide, they will buy from a competitor they find during their search…it’s that simple.  People no longer use yellow pages when they are ready to buy, they use a search engine!

There are three primary ways to market your website on the major search engines:

  1. Pay Per Click (PPC) ads
    All of the major search engines have a column of search results reserved for paid advertising.  These listings are generally found on the right side of the search results page, but can bleed over into the top of the wider center column of results.  Advertisers bid on these listings and are displayed in order of bid amounts.  For instance, a $1.00 bid is displayed higher than a $.75 bid.  When a shopper clicks one of these ads, the advertiser pays one cent more than the next highest bidder. In the previous scenario, the $1.00 bidder would pay $.76 for the click.  Advertisers can control their daily spend/budget and their ad is pulled from the results when that budget has been reached.  Even though these are paid listings, you can generate quality and targeted traffic to your website almost immediately!
  2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
    SEO has become an integral part of launching any website.  Small businesses want to be listed in the top 10 of the search results when they have something to offer the shopper…but getting those kinds of rankings is very difficult! Optimizing your website so that it can be ranked well by the major search engines takes skill and lots of work.  Find a specialist who can help to educate you on your SEO options and assist with improving your position.  You will be glad you did as it can result in a tremendous amount of traffic to your website and new inbound sales activity!
  3. Google Places
    The major search engines continue to improve the way they present quality results to their users.  As a result, geo-targeting the information they provide has become more and more important.  One of the newest features and changes Google has made is with their Google Places listings.  Now, you can claim your geographic business location and register with the search engine.  When shoppers use the search engine to find a local provider for a service or product, you can be listed at the top of those results.There are many different ways you can modify your Google Places listing and all of them can result in increased traffic!  Don’t hesitate with this one, get registered today and watch the new customers roll in.

As you can see, launching a website is a serious endeavor.  However, the results can be a huge return on your investment.  Small businesses are having HUGE success with their websites and you can too!  Simply build a plan, execute and engage the right help along the way.  Good luck and stay tuned for more great tidbits on turning web traffic into sales!