Online marketers are often in search of cost-effective ways to increase targeted traffic to their company blog in order to offset high CPAs coming from their direct response media spends. Just across the hall (or across the Atlantic in our case), content marketers are looking to hit traffic and lead goals on a shoestring budget. Thankfully these teams in small and large companies are increasing their collaboration and working together on content promotion strategies and tactics that reach new audiences and potential customers at a fraction of the cost.
Here are 15 ways that online and content marketers are increasing targeted traffic to their company blogs without spending an arm and a leg:
1. Leveraging Long-tail Keywords
Unlike a single keyword, long-tail keywords are a collection of words, or a keyword phrase. These keyword phrases are more specific, and tell the consumer more about what you offer. Google’s latest algorithm update, dubbed The Quality Update, has increased the need even further to create in-depth content that answers the question of the searcher. By writing your blog content with long-tail keywords in mind you can drive significant increases in organic traffic.
You can use Google’s Autosuggest and Keyword tool to find the best long-tail keywords for your marketing strategy, both completely free.
2. Refining Sales Nurturing with Email Campaigns
Very specific emails that are designed to nurture sales are a key aspect to an email marketing campaign. According to a Direct Marketing Association study, email marketing has an ROI of 4,300%. The goal of these emails is to help the sales team know when to approach a customer to make a sale. Using free or low-cost email marketing web applications, you can design a series of specific and automated sales-nurturing emails at once, saving you the time of having to build a new email every time you want to communicate to your leads or existing customers. Email marketing web apps can also help you set up automated autoresponse emails, content-sharing emails, invitation emails, and more. Some great low-cost email marketing services (with prices starting as low as $20 per month) include MailChimp, Constant Contact, Get Response, Drip, and Emma.
3. Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is one of the most effective ways to tap into another brand’s existing audience without paying a dime. Everyone is looking for great content. As long as you can write relevant and interesting content about your niche, there’s no reason you can’t be a major contributor on a high traffic publication. When submitting your guest post, remember that the blog is not an advertisement for you; instead, it should act as an informative piece of content. The article should also satisfy the blog owner’s posting requirements, and include links to their own content. Instead of linking to your own website within the post, make sure you reserve any self-advertisement for your author bio.
4. Optimizing Load Time
One thing that may be limiting the amount of traffic that your blog is receiving is your site’s load time. If your page doesn’t load instantaneously, there’s a good chance that the user will leave before your site even gets a chance to wow them. To optimize your load time, you may need to resize images, restructure text, and make changes to plugins. Pingdom and tiny png are two online tools that are great for optimizing load time. Pingdom allows you to test the load speed of your website, and tiny png reduces file size of your png files.
5. Adding Value in Forums and Other Blog Comments in Your Niche
A well designed comment on another’s blog or in a forum can drive 17.4 visitors per comment, if not more. Leaving comments is not effective when all you contribute is “thanks for a great post!” followed by a link to your blog; rather, an effective comment that will drive traffic is about adding value to the conversation. Comments should be at least two sentences, and should add a new perspective or address a specific aspect of the blog.
To make comments drive traffic, choose blogs that are in your niche and that are already popular and are receiving a lot of traffic. Also, know that the higher that your comment is on the page (i.e., the sooner you post it after the blog is published), the more likely it is to drive traffic. Of course, the cost effective benefits of commenting are obvious – contributing to another’s blog or forum only takes time.
6. Revamping Your Evergreen Posting Strategy
Neil Patel, founder of Crazy Egg, has revealed that one of his seven strategies for getting Crazy Egg’s traffic to jump by 206% was through the creation of great evergreen posts.
While you may already be using evergreen posts, it’s time to revamp your strategy. Patel suggests:
- Making a specific promise to your readers, i.e. “Learn Cost-Effective Tactics to Increase Traffic;”
- Using numbers in your title, i.e.“15 Ways to Grow Your Business;”
- Choosing odd numbers; and
- Knowing that the higher the number, the more likely a user is to read it.
Revamping your evergreen posting strategy is free, requiring more planning than anything else. When done correctly, it will attract people who are specifically interested in what you have to say (hence the importance of making a specific promise in the title), aka potential customers.
7. Asking for Social Promotions
Getting more traffic to your blog may be as straightforward as simply asking for it. In this analysis, the team at socialbakers were curious whether or not just asking for a retweet would encourage people to share content. And it did – here’s what they found:
- Asking for audience members to “RT” a tweet resulted to approximately 73 retweets per tweet, on average.
- Asking for audience members to “please retweet” only generated an average of 64 retweets per tweet.
- And asking for audience member to “please RT” or “pls RT” resulted in the lowest retweet average of all – 20 retweets per tweet.
- Not using any ask only resulted in an average of 2.09 retweets per tweet.
The evidence is clear – asking for a social promotion may be the key in getting one, and may be one secret to driving traffic to a blog. Don’t limit yourself to Twitter, though; try the strategy on other social media platforms, and for high quality traffic, target thought leaders and industry experts.
8. Assessing Your Competitors’ Strategies
Just as important as your own strategy are the strategies of your competitors’. By conducting research about your competitors’ marketing strategies and tactics, you’ll be able to see what’s worked well for them. This can allow you more insight into the market, and more opportunities to make changes that you already know will result in success.
SEMrush.com allows you to enter a competitor’s website address. When you do so, it will provide very specific information about their organic search, paid search, backlinks, display advertising, top keywords, and main competitors. This information can be extremely valuable for making changes to your website. To run a basic search on SEMrush is free.
9. Investing in Customer Surveys
One of the most important things that you can do as an online marketer is know your customers. Online tools, like Qualaroo–which provides a free trial–can help you to target specific groups, and learn why your customers are taking the actions that they are on your site. As their website states, “when you understand the intent of your website visitors and customers you can more effectively address the concerns and issue that are preventing them from reaching their goals.”
10. Using Guestographics
A “guestographic” is the term that’s been coined to describe an infographic that acts very similarly to how a guest blog post would (read below for more information about the steps to creating a “guestographic”) – rather than posting guest blog text, you post a guest infographic, or “guestographic”. In this case study, the use of guestographics increased organic search engine traffic by 963 percent. According to Backlinko, the steps to using guestographics are simple, and include:
- Posting an infographic on your site
- Find an array of websites that publish content about your infographic’s topic (if your infographic is about long-tail keywords, for example, find content related to that);
- Share your infographic with those websites;
- Offer those websites unique content
- Get contextual backlinks by having the website publish your content and infographic with a link to your blog.
11. Becoming More Mobile-Friendly
Okay, so this may be one of the more obvious ways to increase your traffic, but its importance is so significant that we couldn’t help but put in on here. In case you haven’t heard, Google’s algorithm has changed as of April 21, 2015. Now, pages won’t rank as highly unless they’ve been optimized for mobile use. In other words, responsive design is an absolute must.
Also, remember that the change applies per page, not per website. That means that each and every individual page on your website needs to be updated – you can check pages using Google’s mobile-friendly test.
According to an article by TechCrunch, optimizing sites for mobile use can help site owners get more traffic; search accounted for 43 percent of all smartphone traffic in the first quarter of 2015, a five percent increase from the quarter before.
In regards to cost effectiveness, creating an app can be expensive. However, some blogging platforms, like WordPress, automatically create responsive websites, and do so affordably, or even for free.
12. Publishing an Ebook to Capture Leads
31 percent of ebook sales on Amazon are of self-published books. Self-publishing used to cost thousands of dollars, but now, there is no cost to publish content in Amazon’s Kindle Store. What’s more, you can publish it within Kindle’s direct publishing program. By doing so, your book will be up for grabs–at no cost to readers–for a 90 day period. To drive high quality traffic to your site (it’s likely that a large majority of your readers will be potential customers, after all, they’re reading your book), publish a link to your blog directly within the text.
13. Using the Skyscraper Technique
Another excellent recommendation from the folks at Backlinko is the use of the Skyscraper Technique to drive traffic. The technique is incredibly simple, yet incredibly effective – in this link building case study, search traffic was increased by 110 percent in 14 days. In this one, 348 percent in seven days.
The first two steps to the skyscraper technique is to find and improve existing content within your field that has already been shown to generate a lot of interest in social. BuzzSumo is an awesome tool for seeing what content about a specific keyword has recently been popular. A search for “blog traffic” reveals the most shared content on that topic in the past year.
You can see how this post you’re reading has a similar title to these ones, but this article is about how to increase high quality traffic and do so without spending a fortune. This article offers a different perspective but we’re building on top of these “Skyscraper” posts that we already know people want to read and share.
The third step is just as simple: share the content by connecting with the right audience. Don’t just send the content out to a random email list; instead reach out to site owners and industry leaders who have already expressed interest in your topic.
14. Optimizing your Meta Descriptions to Increase CTR in the SERP
To increase the number of visitors who click on your website in a search engine results page, you need to optimize your meta descriptions. One study, published by Adobe, shows that an optimization of a meta description can significantly increase traffic to your blog or landing page – the results of the study saw an 86 percent increase in CTR from SERP. This specific case study focused on using branded messaging in the meta description. Changing your meta descriptions is a no-cost strategy that’s easy to implement. Meta descriptions should be concise, kept to under 160 characters, should be unique, and must be specific to the specific page you’re advertising.
15. Pay-Per Click (PPC) Advertising
PPC should not be ignored as a potential method for driving traffic to your blog in a cost-effective way. Before you start, make sure you know what your goals are for your content. If you were to drive 1,000 more visitors to your blog post tomorrow, what would success look like? What do you want these new visitors to do? If your goal is to have them read your entire blog post, make sure you’re measuring bounce rate properly. If signing up for your newsletter is the KPI you’re focusing on, make sure you’ve set up the right goals in Google Analytics (or your preferred web analytics software). If you want them to read another article, what article are you recommending when they get to the bottom of your article, and what’s your call-to-action (CTA)? Are you A/B testing two CTAs? If these same visitors come back to your homepage a week later and buy your product, will you know they first learned about your company by reading your blog post (if the answer is no, make sure your looking into attribution tracking, not just “last-click”, to understand the true impact content marketing is having on your company’s bottom-line).
Once you know the goal for your content and how to measure it, using a content discovery platform like Outbrain, can be one way to increase how quickly your blog posts are discovered by a new audience of potential customers. If you’re looking for some trusted PPC experts to help you navigate this space, we’ve just profiled 12 pay-per-click professionals who are among the best in the game.
What else would you add to this list of cost-effective tactics for driving traffic to a company’s blog?