Thursday, January 17, 2008

Creating traffic to your website

Asking how to create traffic to a website is not the same as asking how a new store gets customers. The difference is in location. A store is usually on a busy street or in a mall. Traffic is therefore built in to a certain extent. Of course, there should still be advertising going on.

Creating traffic to a website requires a different strategy. A website is like a store that is located way out in the sticks on a country road. You have to work very, very hard to tell people where to find you. Another, perhaps better, analogy, is that your "store" is located in a very busy mall, but it is a tiny little store on the third level of the mall located down a long corridor, tucked away where few people happen by. Advertising becomes more important than ever and, in addition, there must be “outside selling” going on. Outside selling refers to a business which hires salespeople to go out and sell its products rather than waiting for customers to come into the store. In the case of a website, “outside selling” means becoming proactive about bringing people to your website rather than sitting back and waiting for them to find you.

With a website, “outside selling” can take several forms, but they all have the same end-purpose: to send people to visit your website rather than simply waiting for people to find you. Some peope have made a fortune by calling these techniques “guerilla marketing” but they are really just things you need to do, logically, to help people find out where your website is and what they will find there. Let’s talk about a few of these techniques I call “outside selling.”

One of the first things you will want to do, I think, is go out and put up some signs. Signs are good advertising, because signs can be placed where the people are. You know what a sign is. You see them everyday in your travels. Billboards. Signs on taxis and buses. Signs on poles and walls. Signs are everywhere. In this sense, TV and radio advertising is a kind of sign that goes to people instead of waiting for them to come in.

With regard to advertising a website, signs are a metaphor, of course. I mean you don’t really go out and nail signs to people’s computer screens. When I talk about signs, I was thinking about you going out like an outside salesman and posting signs on other people’s websites. With their permission, of course. But real traditional advertising, whenever you are able to afford it, is very effective as well sometimes. By this I mean advertising your website address by using traditional advertising media such as TV commercials and magazine ads. But that kind of advertising will usually come much later, if at all, for most web entrepreneurs.

What does “putting up signs on other people’s websites” mean? Let’s continue that thought in the next post.

Hint: concentrate on being a “visitor” rather than a “stay at home” manager.

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