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5 Easy Ways to Drive Traffic (Besides Search)

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Search is good. Let me say that right away.
 
Thinking about — and maximizing — your search results is a smart move. Funneling some of your marketing dollars toward branded search results will give you a high ROI and guarantee that people looking for you can find you.
 
But if search, especially branded search, is all you focus on, you’re missing a big opportunity. There are more interesting ways to attract the people who need your service — but don’t know your name — than just focusing on search results.
 
1. Contextual Display Campaigns
 
People now spend 21 percent of their time online searching. The other 79 percent is spent actually engaging with content or people.
 
Contextual display campaigns are what we think of when we consider the next step after search in online advertising: text or banner-rich ads on websites. You can use these to get in front of customers who are still making decisions and gain insight into which topics and interests lead to engagement with your brand.
 
Smart marketers know how to find sites that will yield a high ROI. For example, if you sell car insurance, you may find a site that talks about good cars for teen drivers or one that reviews different kinds of insurance. These campaigns can be hard to manage, but if you pay attention, it’s easy to see where you’re getting returns and tweak your ads.
 
2. Similar Audience Campaigns
 
Remarketing is a popular technique that involves serving up ads to people who have been on your site, even after they’ve moved on to another.
 
A similar audience campaign looks at your remarketing list and finds other users who “look” like them. Because it targets users who have similar interests and browsing habits, it can pull in customers who may not have heard of your company before.
 
This technique is best for products and services that aren’t too intricate or niched, but appeal to a wider audience.
 
3. YouTube InStream Pre-Roll Ads
 
If you consider YouTube a separate search engine from Google, it’s the second largest on the Web. Use your YouTube channel to target users with skippable ads on videos that align with your company. You’ll only pay for entire-ad views, not skips. However, you’re also able to display a banner ad on the video, which the user sees even if he skips your video. YouTube provides stats on when viewers lost interest in the ad, as well as your overall view rate.
 
These skippable ads even enable you to expand remarketing into YouTube and online video. Using remarketing with YouTube allows you to target users who were on your site with a much richer visual experience. If they’re still not interested, they can skip the video, and you don’t have to pay!
 
4. Twitter’s Promoted Tweets
 
Conversations happen all day (and night) long on Twitter, and buying Promoted Tweets guarantees you appear at the top of the page. When people engage with these, you’re able to follow up with unpaid, organic conversations. The platform offers robust targeting options like keywords, user handles, followers, and lookalike audiences.
 
Promoted Tweets work best if you have a team member who’s great with social media. Inviting conversation and engagement through paid ads means you need someone to manually optimize and report on it.
 
5. Facebook Ads
 
Contrary to some opinions, Facebook is alive and well. Facebook Ads carry a lot of potential for traffic and page views, mainly because you can target prospects with interests similar to your fans’. You can also leverage your fans as brand ambassadors, and they can do a lot of the legwork to up your page “likes.”
 
Like Twitter, if you plan on targeting Facebook users, make sure you have someone who can engage regularly and well. Facebook can require you to recreate ads more often as they grow stale and your click-through rate falls — even with the same audience and messaging.
 
A robust strategy, stretched across several types of campaigns, is the best thing small businesses can do to drive traffic. Search is good, but if it’s all you do, you’ll miss out on huge opportunities to grow your business. How will you claim your portion of that 79 percent?

Published: February 4, 2014
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Marc Weisinger

Marc Weisinger is Director of Marketing at Elite SEM, one of the fastest-growing search engine marketing agencies in the U.S. Marc has worked as a search engine marketing (SEM) professional for over 8 years and teaches an SEM course at New York University. Marc is a thought leader in SEM and online marketing, and he can be reached on Twitter or Google+.

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