As the saying goes… What if you threw a party and nobody came? Launching a new website for a high-tech startup that generates low traffic is kind of like that. If you are investing valuable time and resources into designing or re-designing a website for your emerging technology company, then be sure to follow these important steps for driving visitors to your new site. How many of the boxes in the chart below can you check off? If you want to drive more website visitors, you will need to address the missing ingredients of your traffic generation strategy.
Your website is probably built with three different containers for your content:
- Web Pages to present static content that tells your story in a highly structured way
- Blog Posts with dynamic content that educates potential buyers about relevant topics
- Landing Pages with content offers and forms to capture contact information
Ideally, your web design is based on a well-defined content strategy that guides the messaging on your pages, the topics of your posts and the offers behind landing pages. Once you have these marketing assets in place, you are ready to get the party started by driving a high volume of traffic to consume your content and progress through your sales funnel.
Why You Care About Traffic
If you are a startup or small technology business, then you want to grow your monthly site visitors as quickly as possible. Getting the most out of your website as a marketing engine for your business is really a numbers game. For example, if you average a 2% conversion rate for site visitors that become top-of-funnel leads and qualify 25% of those leads into sales-ready opportunities and close 40% of opportunities as customer deals, then 1,000 visitors will generate two new customers for your business each month (see graphic below).
Now imagine the impact on sales if you grow traffic by 10%, 20% or even 30% every month. Your sales funnel and customer acquisition numbers will grow proportionately. You can run your own numbers by downloading the Funnel Metrics Calculator and modeling different values for traffic, leads, opportunities and deals to see the effect on conversion rates.
This post is part 1 of a 2-part series on ways to drive traffic to your website. It will describe the steps you should take to maximize your social media presence on the web. Part 2 will focus on generating website traffic by optimizing your site to get found by the major search engines and leveraging external websites as traffic sources.
Social Media Channels
In order to maximize the amount of organic traffic to your site, it is important to establish a strong social media presence on the web. Think of social media as your communications channels to the marketplace that behave in a similar fashion to conventional broadcast media like radio and television. They have many of the same characteristics (i.e., audience size, demographics and reach) but also have the potential for direct engagement and community building with prospective buyers. Here are the top 6 social media platforms for high-tech startups and why you should care about them for your online marketing efforts.
- Twitter With over 270 million subscribers and the average user following five or more businesses, Twitter should be a staple in your social media diet. Use it to build your brand, promote your blog posts, announce news and events and engage with customers and prospects. Build a following by posting quality content multiple times per day, selectively using hashtags to expand your reach and following others who will follow you back. Twitter is a great networking tool and the easiest, cheapest and fastest way to get your message out to the marketplace.
- LinkedIn Build and leverage your professional network of industry contacts to generate interest and demand for your business with LinkedIn. It’s a phenomenal B2B marketing tool with strong global reach having 332 million users across 200 countries and checked by 40% of its users on a daily basis. It allows you to engage in group discussions, meet potential clients and build relationships that translate to future business. Start by sharing blog posts and other non-promotional updates on a daily basis with linkedIn updates and graduate to joining and participating in relevant LinkedIn groups to make new connections and cultivate future clients.
- Facebook Conventional wisdom says Facebook is simply a “friends and family” version of LinkedIn and therefore a less technical audience that is better suited for consumer marketing. However, your technology business can realize real benefits from the enormous reach of this social media platform. There are over 1 billion Facebook users and they have the highest level of engagement of any social media platform. Many of them are quite possibly current prospects and future customers. So make it easy for them to find your Facebook business page and share your blog posts, multi-media content and company news several times per week. Leverage Facebook as a social extension of your corporate website to provide a more personal touch to an otherwise corporate identity.
- Google+ With over 300 million users, Google+ is worthy of your time and effort as an important social media platform. Use it for posting updates, starting conversations, hosting hangouts and much more. One of the most compelling benefits of Google+ is that each of your updates is automatically Google-friendly from an SEO perspective and therefore a great way to increase your chances of getting found on a search engine that commands an impressive 67% market share of all Internet search queries (over 20 billion searches per month in the US alone).
- YouTube Video is an increasingly important form of digital marketing and YouTube is the unqualified leading platform for serving up videos of all kinds. With 3 billion searches per month, it is the second largest search engine behind Google and larger than Bing, Yahoo, Ask and AOL combined. Video is an excellent medium for technology tutorials and having a YouTube channel with links back to your corporate site is a great way to build SEO credit at the same time.
- SlideShare While not the social media powerhouse of the other platforms on this list, SlideShare is an effective way to visually share your content with an audience of 60 million unique visitors per month representing 215 million page views. You can repurpose your webinar slides and sales presentations or create a purpose-built presentation from the ground up. SlideShare offers you another channel to publish content that can be search-engine-optimized and linked back to your corporate website. Use it to drive traffic to your home page or to specialized landing pages to capture leads with content offers.
In a future blog article, I will address ways to drive traffic to your site via search engines and other external traffic sources. I will also address other checkbox items from the chart above that should also be part of your website traffic generation strategy. They include the Content Categories you should be covering to maximize the audience appeal of your web pages, blog posts and landing pages. They also include the Key Performance Metrics you should be tracking to continuously improve your results.