Since Amanda retired she's been an active entrepreneur, gaining "hands-on" experience in online marketing and small business development.
Market Your Website for Free
Advertising on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media, together with PPC (pay-per-click) ads in search engine results, can be time-consuming and expensive. It can work, but it requires constant monitoring, a budget you're prepared to lose, and lots of experience to manage.
You can use less risky and cheaper strategies to reach a niche audience and draw them into your sales funnels. The keys are:
- gaining free exposure
- building authority and reputation
- and retaining loyal customers
Here are three powerful strategies to pull in a ton of traffic to your niche website with little or no investment other than time.
1. Write an Expert Column in Your Niche and Grow Your Reputation
Establishing expertise in your niche is crucial in a competitive marketplace. A primary strategy to prove authority in your niche is to capitalize on the reputation of popular online magazines and websites. With the right approach, you can siphon off a ton of pre-targeted traffic from your competitors' sites to your own.
The fuel in the engines of big sites is a constant flow of fresh, original, relevant content. Most of them welcome article submissions or guest posts by experts in the field. Studying the content they serve and submitting well-targeted, well-crafted, high-quality content with a unique angle can lead to massive exposure. Whether paid or not for your content, the real gold is a live link back to your niche site. One article or post on a big site will drive a ton of traffic for months or even years to come.
Expect rejections and persevere until you get published. You lose nothing as any piece that doesn't get published on a big site you can publish on your own. But don't stop there. Once you get published, follow up with another submission.
After you've provided three or four successful articles to a site, put in a proposal for a regular column. Yes, you must write that column once a week, month, or quarter, but the returns in terms of reputation-building, deepening your understanding of your niche, and driving a ton of pre-targeted traffic to your niche site will make all the work worthwhile.
2. Be a Good Host and Get the Party Rolling on Social Media
By definition, a niche site serves a small but enthusiastic group of people with a specialist interest. Social media leverage isn't about talking up your business on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Google Plus. The key to using social media to drive a ton of traffic to your site is to start a special interest group of your own, tailored to your niche market.
Most of the major platforms have options for hosting groups. The most powerful approach is to select the platform already favored by people in your niche and focus all your efforts there. If you already have the outreach and credibility, you can start your own forum on your website. But nothing looks worse than an empty forum, so if you're just starting out, concentrate on social media.
At the outset, you must be active on the group page, but as it becomes a magnet for niche followers, they will talk to each other. Because they are enthusiasts, you have a good chance that the page will become busy on its own. There's no need to do any hard selling. In fact, it's best to avoid it. Join in a few conversations, leave links in appropriate places and they'll find your sales pages.
In time, a lively special interest group page can be a self-growing source of traffic to your site as people link back and share posts with their circles. Once it takes off it's a hands-free strategy to drive a ton of traffic. But if you're smart, you'll keep an eye on those conversations. This is the community you want to sell to, so listening to what their interests, needs, problems, and buzz points are, should help you target your products and services.
3. Build Your List
Much has changed in online marketing over the last 30 years. But the old saying, "the money's in the list" is still true. Your guest posts and columns, your social media outreach, and a sign-up form on your website are all opportunities to build your mailing list. Research has shown that people are more likely to trust you with their email address once they come to trust you and if you offer them something of value in exchange.
If you want to build your niche audience, your most important call-to-action isn't a sales pitch. It's an invitation to sign up for your mailing list. Make sure you use a reputable provider such as Aweber or MailChimp and offer a high-value, original product free to people who sign up. If you fob them off with a low-grade product you'll hammer a nail into your marketing coffin. If you offer something of real value, you'll have a lead you can sell to again and again. And they will bring other people in the niche to your site.
The Best Things in Life Are Free
There's no need to spend a lot of money on advertising and promotion to drive traffic to your niche website. These are the free and enduring strategies that will always work:
- building your reputation and authority with first-class content
- reaching out to your audience through social media and with guest posts and columns
- building a strong list
If you pursue these three core strategies and no others, with hard work and patience, you will drive a ton of free, laser-targeted traffic to your website and build a following that will not only stick with you but grow all by itself for years to come.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2018 Amanda Littlejohn
Amanda Littlejohn (author) on October 29, 2018:
Yes, it's "easy" in the sense that each step is simple, but it can take several years of dogged, persistent action before you pick up the momentum which brings in results. That faith in the future fruits of current labor is one of the hallmarks of the successful entrepreneur.
FlourishAnyway from USA on October 28, 2018:
It’s interesting how once you build your brand, people do start to approach you and pitch ideas. Getting there is the challenge.