The single biggest struggle for most online businesses is traffic.
You need eyes on your site, no matter what you do or how you want to make money online.
Whether you’re the local chiropractor trying to reach new customers or you’re hoping to make money with affiliate links from your blog, getting people to visit your site is the first step.
Building an email list? You need an audience.
Selling your online course or coaching program? You need an audience.
Planning to make sales from your website? You need an audience.
So how exactly can you build an audience in the first place and how can you start driving more people to your website?
Pay Per Click ads? That’s an option. But you’ll need a decent budget to see results, especially when starting out. And there’s a steep learning curve. Yes, if you’re tech savvy you could probably spend some time figuring out how to actually place an ad and get it live. Even then, for the majority of business owners and marketers, there’s so much to it and you’ll have to spend time and money testing and tweaking your PPC ads before you get something that starts to get results.
You could hire an agency or a PPC expert to get your ads up and running faster and with better results, but that doesn’t come cheap. And even then it’s still easy to send the wrong kind of traffic to your website instead of targeting your ideal customer.
And sure, you could buy ads, but if you aren’t careful, you could end up with a mailing list full of less-than-ideal audience members and that will do nothing for your sales. You could focus your time and energy on search engine optimisation but unless you have years to build your business (and who does?) then SEO should not be your top choice.
Luckily for you, you still have other options.
One thing all content creators have to deal with is that there is never enough content. That’s your opportunity to help.
By guest posting on other blogs, you can “borrow” some of their traffic.
Guest posting isn’t just a case of pumping out your old content to a selection of other blogs though. To make it work and get results, try doing these things:
- Create new content aimed at your host’s unique audience.
- Make it worth consuming. Give value with actionable ideas and tips not found everywhere else.
- Don’t be bland. Add your own personality to your work so those new to you will instantly connect with you.
- Leave them wanting more. Be sure to give people a compelling reason to head to your website or blog to learn more or get a freebie.
One quick way to “borrow” someone else’s list to start your own: Host a free event with a partner.
Here’s how it works.
- You (you’re the one with the small or non-existent list) create a compelling, free training which leads naturally to a tripwire product. Your tripwire is a low-cost, risk-free, no-brainer product.
- Use affiliate tracking software. Do some research to see what works for you but there are plenty of options from standalone software like Thirsty Affiliates and email marketing software with affiliate tracking like Keap (Infusionsoft rebranded). And if you have a WordPress website you can use plugins like WP Affiliate Manager, Affiliate WP, or my personal favourite, Pretty Links.
- Offer your best affiliates a higher percentage of profits in exchange for co-hosting your webinar and bringing their traffic along for the ride.
This is a win/win for both of you, as you gain the traffic while your affiliate gets a bigger payday. Just be sure you have a good funnel in place so that your new list members can benefit from all that you have to offer.
What about when you’re ready to share your knowledge, show off your expert status and attract a wider audience at the same time? The easiest way to get your name out there is to start getting interviews.
This is effective and it’s the reason we still see actors, musicians, and authors doing interviews to talk about their latest work. Interviews give you the opportunity to get in front of new audiences by talking about what you know the most about.
Of course, you’re probably not going to make an appearance on prime time tv or in a massive publication straight away (but never say never), but there are still plenty of opportunities out there for business owners no matter what you do.
Look for interview and speaking opportunities on:
- Other blogs
- Periscope and Blab
- Local events
- Industry conferences
- Virtual summits
Start by reaching out to your colleagues and to podcast and blog hosts you most admire. Get the word out with your friends and your list that you’re looking for opportunities. Search for podcasts related to your area of expertise but don’t stop there, find other podcasts that your ideal customer will be listening to.
And if you don’t want to spend time and effort doing that or you just want podcast hosts to start coming to you asking to bring you onto their show, take a look at PodcastGuests.com and get listed in their directory. There is a charge, with their Basic listing costing $9 per month or $99 per year or Premium costing $29 per month or $299 per year. They send out regular emails to podcasters listing various experts looking to be interviewed.
To find other media opportunities you can use free a service like Help A Reporter Out to find opportunities related to your expertise. Sign up for alerts and you’ll get daily emails listing requests from various publications. Sometimes you’ll see requests for a short quote, other times you’ll see requests for interviews or more.
Even if you don’t have a list of your own right now, it’s easy (and fun) to kickstart your audience growth simply by making yourself available for these and other opportunities. Every guest post, podcast interview and webinar is another chance to get in front of a whole new market, so take advantage of it!