How to Find New Customers Online
Know Your Customer
First and foremost, you need to know your current customer. Who’s already visiting your site? Analytic data is a goldmine for getting to know your user demographics. Web analytic sites, such as Google Analytics, give you access to valuable information about your users. For example, you can find out the pages they have previously viewed and where they are located. Others, such as Alexa, expand upon this information by also providing you with their age, educational background, gender, and more. If you already have established social media pages, checking the profiles of your followers will give you insight into their interests and tell you which times of the day they are most engaged online. You can use this information as your starting point to attract new customers.
Next, decide who your model customer is. Once you know who you want to attract, look into what they already like. You can research the products they are interested in, what they are engaging with and posting on social media platforms, and the marketing techniques that are most effective with their demographics.
Perfect Your Landing Page
Your landing page is the first page users will see, including potential new customers. This is where all user traffic will be sent, no matter which search link they click on to find you. The landing page can serve any function. It can be a home page, about us page, contact us page, so on and so forth. Whatever the purpose, all landing pages should have these key elements:
- Stand out headline
- Eye-catching image
- Convincing value proposition
- Compelling call to action
While the elements above are essential for a successful landing page, there are a number of other techniques to make your landing page stronger. Demo videos are an interactive approach to engage with customers while explaining your product. Reducing navigation options is a gentle way to nudge users to the desired next step. You can do this by eliminating outbound links that navigate away from the current page. When designing your landing page, keep it simple but compelling by keeping the principles of visual blocking and color psychology in mind. Lastly, to generate natural traffic, always include keywords in your copy. We’ll go over the importance of keywords when we discuss SEO.
Create the Ideal Call to Action
Nothing is more important to a landing page than the call to action. A call to action is the prompt that urges customers to take the next step. Whether that be to sign up for an account or buy a product, you need a compelling call to action to get the information you want from customers. Here are the basics for an effective call to action.
- Do not make users scroll. Make the call to action easy to find without having to search for it. If you fear users will scroll past it, add one to the bottom of the page, or better yet, have one pop up over your content.
- Make it simple. Only ask for the information you really need from them. Make what you need from them, what they will get from you, and what they need to do next as clear as possible.
- Fit your demographic. Younger users are more likely to fill out information in a Mad Libs format, whereas older users prefer it to be traditional. Change wording and design to fit your model customer.
- Make them click the button. Choose buttons like, “give me access” or, “start learning now” over standard submit buttons to motivate users. This helps create a sense of urgency. Also, make the button BIG.
- Choose your digital marketing strategy: SEO, PPC, or both?
Now that you have defined your customer and improved your website, how do you get online traffic flowing? In this section we will go over the pros and cons of SEO and PPC marketing strategies and discuss how they can work together.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO focuses on increasing a website’s online presence by improving its ranking on search engines. SEO ranking cannot be bought and is referred to as natural or organic. Targeted traffic is the driving force of SEO marketing strategies because the specific words used to search, point users to specific websites. Inundating your website content, or copy, with keywords that correspond to frequently search words and phrases will typically improve your ranking. In laymen’s terms, this happens because the frequent use of keywords helps search engine algorithms locate your website and associate it with queries that include the same keywords. Now that we have briefly discussed what SEO is, let us discuss the pros and cons.
- Traffic is free and targeted. It is a free way to point users to your website. SEO traffic is free in that you don’t pay the search engines directly, however, to have enough copy to boost your ranking, you will most likely need to hire someone to write it. Clicking habits are predictable for certain demographics, so you can target your desired consumer.
- Users are motivated. With targeted traffic comes motivated users because they are most likely looking for a solution you can provide, which is reinforced by your ranking.
- People prefer organic results. When users conduct a search, over 70% of users pick from the first three organic result, ignoring paid results. Of the top three, rank still matters as 50% will opt for the first organic result.
- Secures your online presence. Providing valuable online content improves traffic, which boosts your ranking, therefore, your visibility. Once you have achieved a high ranking, you are viewed as an authority and consumers are more likely to trust you.
- It takes time. You will need to optimize your website to fit the search engine algorithms. Then you will have to spend time writing valuable content to keep customers coming back, provide them with solutions, and motivate them to refer other people to you. The return of investment (ROI) will also take time, which can be a problem for small businesses and start-ups.
- Nothing is free. Unless you take everything on yourself, you will need to outsource to set up backlinks and write copy. Especially in competitive markets where you will need copious amounts of content to increase your rank.
- There is no guarantee. You can work tirelessly to increase your online presence, but there is no guarantee you will make it on the first page. Especially because no one fully understands Google, or other search engine, algorithms. The effort you put in may be for nothing if your content does not fit the algorithm, not mention that Google can update its algorithm at anytime which may make your content obsolete.
PPC is a marketing strategy where advertisers pay each time someone clicks on their ad. These ads can pop up at the top of search engines, like Google AdWords, in social media sidebars, and as pop-up advertising. Essentially, advertisers buy traffic and bid for placement.
- You have control. You are paying for an advertisement so you have control over what the user is seeing. You can choose the headline, the tagline, and the quick links. You get to set the budget, and you can set an upper limit where once you’ve reached a pre-determined number of clicks the ad stops running and you stop paying. Plus, you only pay for the number of clicks you get. Because there are multiple platforms, you are more likely to find exactly what you’re looking for because you can shop around.
- Guaranteed traffic. While only 40% of users claim to click on PPCs, that’s significantly more clicks than you would most likely get just starting. Unlike SEO, as soon as you set up a PPC you immediately have an online presence, which is important for small businesses and start-ups, who would otherwise not be on the first page.
- Gain access to user data. Most PPC platforms give you valuable information about the types users clicking on your ads. This data can be used to adjust marketing strategies to attract the demographic you want.
- Customers are not guaranteed. While you may get more traffic, that does not guarantee more customers. Best advice is to have compelling content and solutions for users.
- Increasing costs. With the rising success of PPCs over the years, prices have risen, too. You may need a significant budget for a PPC on Google, and prices are increasing across all search engines, including lesser known search engines like Ask and AOL. So you must consider whether PPC advertising is going to contribute to your ROI.
- Advertising benefits do not grow. While the analytic feedback from PPCs are invaluable, they do not grow your ad benefits themselves. The only way to increase your ranking with PPC’s is to spend more. Whereas, with SEO, growth is exponential and organic.
Considering the pros and cons of both SEO and PPC marketing, the two methods can be integrated to approach customer acquisition more holistically. Here are some benefits to the integration of SEO and PPC techniques.
- Analytic data from PPC marketing can be used to shape your SEO strategy
- High-cost keywords can be moved from PPC platforms to SEO copy
- You can test and compare webpages on SEO, and integrate the better performing one into your PPC advertisement
- PPC can be used to remarket to users who visited your site organically
- Having strong PPC and SEO presence will boost awareness and trust between the customer and your company
Master Social Media
In the digital age, almost everyone is on some type of social media platform. With the right approach to social media, you can interact and engage with customers, who may, in turn, provide you with free advertising to attract new customers online. Here are a few factors to consider when developing your social media marketing strategy.
- Choose your platform. The platform should depend on the demographics of your ideal customer. If you’re unsure of your target demographic or want to attract all new customers, Facebook is your best starting point. It has the most people in all categories of demographics when compared to any other social media platform.
- Create a viral loop. Add share buttons for Facebook and Twitter to your content pages, and encourage users to “like” your page or “follow” your social media accounts. Include pin it buttons on your images for Pinterest users. After a transaction, offer customers the option to share their purchase or refer a friend. To motivate customers to refer a friend, give them an incentive, such as a discount, more storage space, higher status, or something like this that fits your product.