Increase Web Traffic
Internet-savvy web entrepreneurs use a number of free or low-cost strategies to drive traffic to their websites.
These strategies work equally well for a small-business owner in Kenya, or a European company trying to sell products in the ever-expanding and largely untapped African market.
In every marketing test, search engine rankings outperform other types of online advertising. Excellent search results permit entrepreneurs to capture customers who are “in buying mode” and actively seeking their products and services, whether it is an antique Lobi stool in Ghana, a mobile phone in the U.K. or legal representation in Nairobi.
Swap Links with Similar Sites
Having relevant sites linked to yours increases search engine rankings. Outgoing links from your site have no impact on your rankings. But be careful what sites you link to – being associated with a disreputable or poorly executed site can actually cost you money by discouraging customers.
It is considered rude to send out mass emails offering to swap links – akin to a young man asking every girl he meets to marry him. Instead, focus on personalized emails to sites you respect and want to be affiliated with. Spend the time to determine which sites are likely to be visited by your prospective customers.
Use Text Ads
Instead of paying high fees to a designer for a graphic banner, post simple text links on related sites. The fees are less than for graphic advertisements, and they perform very well, with high returns for the advertising dollar.
Put Your URL Everywhere
Sometimes the simplest marketing ideas are the most effective. Remember to include your web address in every communication you send out – emails, flyers or print ads, online forum posts, and business cards.
Try Pay Per Click Marketing
Google, Yahoo and Superpages.com all permit website owners to purchase small advertisements on the results page. The best feature is that unlike traditional advertising, you pay only for the people who actually visit your site, not everyone who sees the ad. Because you pay only for those who click on the advertisement, it is called “pay per click”. Rates in US dollars range from $0.15 to $1.25 for the most coveted search terms.
Think Global – and Local
The Internet is a global marketplace – but some of the most effective strategies are local. If you own a small accounting firm in Rwanda, it may not be cost-effective to advertise it in London. Instead, run a pay per click ad with “Rwanda Accounting” as the keyword to reach customers throughout the world who need an accountant in Rwanda. When a business is regional, or just starting out, this will yield the highest results at the lowest cost.
Use Alternate Search Engines
Search engine rankings are a paradox. The more web traffic you have, the higher your rankings on all search engines. The higher the rankings, the more visitors the site will have. One effective way to break in is to focus on smaller search engines rather than the industry behemoth, Google. Instead, get listed on directories like Yahoo and DMOZ.org. Both are free, although Yahoo will expedite the service for a fee of about 250 US dollars.
Register Keywords with Google
Google is still the biggest and most successful search engine. Companies of all sizes, from the smallest to the largest should register their keywords with Google. It’s free, and easily the best advertising deal available.
Do Invite, Don’t Spam
When is an email advertisement not spam? When the customer has opted in to your information network. Have potential customers sign up for a newsletter, updates or a special report by giving their email address. Stay in touch – today’s prospect is tomorrow’s customer, whether you are in Tulsa, Oklahoma or Kananga, DR Congo.
Never send email to random addresses, even if you have purchased them. Such spam will result in being banned by some service providers, and only generate ill will from potential customers.
Any entrepreneur can use these free or low-cost tactics to increase web traffic, sales and revenue.