As you know, it’s not enough today to just throw up a website and pray to the marketing gods that you will get enough website traffic to be truly profitable and viable. Instead, you need to take advantage of every internet marketing channel that makes sense for your type of business. In this article, we look at 9 inbound marketing channels.
Traditional offline marketing channels are the avenues and means by which goods travel outward from the vendor to the end-user. A typical channel can look like this: Producer – Wholesaler or Manufacturer’s Agent – Chain Store Buyer – Consumer. Each intermediary in the channel plays their part in helping promote and move the producer’s goods into the hands of a consumer.
For purposes of internet marketing, you can think of your website as your online marketing “hub” and the routes through which you pull in visitors to your website as your online marketing channels. In this case, the traffic flow is INTO your website and through your “sales funnel.” (For more on this, see INBOUND MARKETING.)
Here are 9 inbound marketing channels or means through which visitors can be attracted to your website…
1. Social Media Sites: To be successful on the net today, you MUST place quality content in SM sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, etc. As we have stated in other articles, in social media sites your content cannot be too sales-oriented, although you can place ads in Facebook and LinkedIn, etc.
But for your “meat and potatoes” content, social media users want helpful, interesting, useful content. So you need to build a following on these sites consisting of people who have some interest in the things you have to offer. In your content you can place strategic backlinks to your website. Just don’t overdo the self-promotion. It can take awhile to get really skillful at this, but if you research the SM sites, you can observe what other successful companies do, and emulate them.
2. Your Blog: It almost goes without saying that you need a blog. Unfortunately, many business websites do NOT have a blog. Honestly, if you are serious about generating more website traffic, you NEED to blog. Blogs are a great way to provide useful, interesting information to your prospective customers. Blogging allows you to become an expert in the minds of your prospective and existing clients, and blog articles often get picked up by other websites and blogs and passed along. This can bring you more visitors and potential customers. And the search engines “like” quality blogs, too, which can improve your rankings in the search engines.
3. Other Blogs – to your blog – to your website: As mentioned in point #2, other bloggers will often post a link to your blog article if they found it useful and informative for their readers. Really, this DOES happen. So it is a channel in its own right.
4. Online Web-Based Newsletter: Here is another good channel to cultivate. If you create an Online Newsletter that visitors can subscribe to and view directly on your website, you can establish an ongoing relationship with those subscribers. The newsletter looks just like a web page. If you capture subscribers’ email addresses, you can also email them notices when the most recent newsletter is posted online. Your main Newsletter page can have summary statements of each newsletter as they come out, and visitors just click on the link to the newsletter they are interested in… similar to how blogs are setup on many sites. Search engines will also index and list your web-based online newsletter, which can bring you even more traffic.
5. Email Marketing: If you have a mailing list of people you’ve done business with, send out email newsletters to that list, or at least notices to visit the one on your website. In addition to email newsletters, you can send out pertinent tips and updates about your activities, new products or services and other items of interest to your mailing list. Naturally, you always include a relevant link back to your website so recipients can visit the site for more info, and also include a way for them to unsubscribe to your mailing list. Ideally, you want an opt-in mailing list where subscribers have to actively subscribe by providing their name and email address. Better yet, a double opt-in list. You send your new subscriber an email in which there is a link they must click on to confirm they want to be sent your emails. Whatever, do not send out unsolicited newsletters to people you have no real connection with. It can turn people off and get you in trouble with regulators.
6. Links from Other Quality Websites: If you know of other quality websites that would have some valid reason to provide a link from their website to your site, find a way to contact them and see if they would be interested. Obviously, this would not be a direct competitor, but it could be a site that contains quality content that is in one way or another relevant to the content on your site.
For instance, if you owned a nice restaurant in a town that gets a lot of seasonal tourist traffic, it would be great to get a link from your local tourism website, your local Chamber of Commerce or a tour operator’s website, etc. And despite some false rumors, there are still quality, online paid directories that can bring in traffic and help improve your PageRank. Yahoo! Directory and JoeAnt are two, and there are others. Ask your webmaster.
NOTE: Google strongly penalizes web pages that have spammy or low quality backlinks coming in from “link farms” and “content farms” that have no realistic relevance to the topics on your website.
7. Online Press Releases: If you have timely news that would be of interest to your prospective and existing customers, why not issue an online press release. For information on that subject, see ONLINE PRESS RELEASES. And if you do have timely news to report fairly frequently, make sure you have a News Room on your website.
8. YouTube Channel: If you have some product or a certain aspect of your business that you think would be great to feature in a series of short videos, and you have the technology, create your own YouTube channel. You can find out how by doing a little searching on Google and Youtube, and you can visit some existing YouTube channels to see how they operate. It’s not all that complicated. Even putting one good YouTube video up could attract prospective customers that you wouldn’t be getting otherwise.
9. Cost-Per-Click: Strategic use of paid advertising in Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Adwords is an effective means of getting your message in front of a lot of viewers and connecting up with potential new customers. In addition to CPC you can choose CPM which is where you pay for impressions instead of clicks. You would need to check each of these out to see which would best suit your budget and marketing objectives. Some webmasters use paid ads to jumpstart a marketing campaign, and then gradually phase out the paid ads. Others continue using them because they bring in new traffic consistently.
In summary, these are some online marketing channels that you can cultivate to bring more traffic to your website. Yes, it will take some research and honest work to get these all up and running and producing the desired results. But nobody said success comes really easily. But it IS attainable. Perhaps you prefer some other internet marketing channels… over to you!
Written by Bob Nelson
Bob is a very experienced Marketing Specialist for both the internet and traditional methods. He is a valuable member of the Results Professional Marketing Company team.
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