Monday

How to Drive Traffic to a Website Using Expert Content

You’ve created a writing product or service and have taken the necessary steps to create a clearly defined and relatively simple and SEO friendly website. You’ve also created a quality and valuable FREEBIE that provides a solution to the reader’s problem, need, or want. This is important, because it’s this freebie that will motivate visitors to subscribe to your mailing list.

Now, the question is:

How to Drive Traffic to a Website to Take Advantage of Your Freebie?

The answer: Create an information funnel with expert content. This marketing strategy helps establish you as an authority in your field and drives traffic to your site.

As with the freebie, your content should be focused with your target market in mind and should be valuable. And, remember, any content you publish is a reflection of your writing ability, so it should always be quality writing.

Okay, now you know how to drive traffic to a website: you have the site, the product or service to sell, the freebie, and the content, but where should you put your content to lure those potential customers back to your site?

Places to Publish Your Expert Content?

There are a number of places to post your content, including:

1.    Your blog and/or website/s
2.    Guest blogging on quality sites related to your niche and target market
3.    Article directories
4.    Newsletters
5.    Joint ventures
6.    Reprint strategy - allow others to reprint your content with your byline


Just keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities to share content. Each new site that features your content has its own set of readers, kind of like another neighborhood or town; those readers may very well share your content, continuing to broaden your reach. And, in regard to reprint strategy, you have the capability of broadening your reach even more.

It’s important to remember that the purpose of bringing traffic back to your site is to get email addresses, increasing your subscriber list. In marketing, the subscriber list is Golden.

How to Drive Traffic to a Website - Four Main Strategies That Will Help Get You Traffic:

1. Use social networking sites.

Take advantage of sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, and GooglePlus. Promote your articles and other content on these sites. Your offer and opt-in should be readily visible on the page you’re linking to. You don’t want the visitor to have to scroll down to find your freebie offer.

2. Get involved in article marketing.

Write and submit quality articles to article directories. The content should impress the reader enough to look at your bio/byline. Be sure the link you include goes to the site or page that has your freebie offer and opt-in box.

With a number of article directories, the allowed word count for your bio will be a percentage of your article content, so write tight and choose your words carefully.

While there are hundreds, probably thousands of online article directories, here are ten to start you off:

1. EzineArticles.com (probably the largest)
2. Articlebase.com
3. Buzzle.com
4. AssociatedContent.com (associated with Yahoo)
5. iSnare.com
6. GoArticles.com
7. Suite101.com
8. Helium.com
9. ArticleDirectory.com
10. ArticleCube.com

The first four currently seem to have the largest reach at this time, but remember, in the marketing world strategies and the top contenders can change overnight.

Since services change frequently, there's no guarantee that each service in the list is still live.

3. Joint ventures is the third strategy for driving traffic to your site.

According to Peggy McColl, best selling author of Your Destiny Switch, this strategy is the single most effective way to get major traffic and sales in a short period of time, usually within a 24-48 hour window. Done properly, it has the potential to launch you into Amazon and/or Barnes & Nobles bestseller status, and has even created NY Times bestsellers.

Here’s a link to an article explaining a bit more about joint ventures:
An Effective Book Marketing Strategy: Joint Ventures

4. For long-term traffic effectiveness, search engine optimization (SEO) should be used.

Making the search engines aware of your site and content is essential in online marketing. You also want to ensure the search engines categorize your content correctly through relevant keywords. This is accomplished through a SEO friendly website and using relevant keywords in all your quality content, especially your titles and subtitles.

While there is much more information on how to drive traffic to a website, creating a writing product or service, and promoting and selling it, these tips are some of the basics to help you get started in the right direction.

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MORE ON INBOUND MARKETING

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NEED HELP WITH YOUR CONTENT WRITING PROJECTS?

I can help. Visit the Article Writing Doctor to see how.


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Information Emails: Generate Visibility and Increase Your Subscriber List

Unless you’re brand new to book marketing, you are aware that creating visibility is the foundation of any marketing plan that’s purpose is to sell. And, there are a number of ways to achieve your visibility objective.

Assuming you already have a book or other product to offer, the very first aspect of promotion is to create a website and offer valuable content regularly. This will create an information funnel leading traffic back to your site and product. While this is good, you need to know what you want this traffic to do and clearly convey it to the visitor.

You might be thinking that your purpose is to sell the book you just published. While selling your book is a good place to start, it should not be the end-all or your marketing efforts or expectations.

And, it’s important to know that most visitors will not instantly buy your book or product.

It takes time to develop a relationship with your visitors, and it’s the time invested in establishing a trusting relationship that stimulates the conversion of a visitor into a buyer. To accomplish this, you want to be able to keep in touch with your visitors on a regular basis through ongoing informational emails.

The ongoing connection and steady stream of valuable information is what will motivate a visitor to become a subscriber to your mailing list, motivate your subscriber to trust you, and motivate that individual to be more willing to purchase what you're offering now and in the future.

One of the most effective marketing strategies to create visibility and develop the desired relationship needed to sell your products/services is informational emails.

The information email offers you an open line of communication with the potential buyer. But, be careful not to abuse this tool. Be sure to offer at least 75 percent valuable content to 25 percent promotion, In fact, to be extra careful, boost the valuable content percentage and lower the promotion percentage. And, be sure to provide content pertinent to the target market you’re aiming at.

Initiating an Email Campaign

The first step to initiate a successful email campaign is to offer the reader something of value, a free offering. This valuable gift can be an e-book, a podcast, a video, a workshop, a teleseminar, or other form of information that the reader wants or needs. This is your ‘ethical bribe’ that will motivate the reader to click on your CALL to ACTION, in this case subscribing to your information emails.

The ‘ethical bribe’ or free gift is crucial to garnering subscribers. If you're not offering anything, there would be no reason for a reader/visitor to sign up to your mailing list. And, according to a number of marketing experts, including Jack Canfield, Jim Edwards, Brian Judd, and Daniel Hall, it's the mailing list that is the key component to selling what you're offering.

While the free gift may be the lure that gets the reader to subscribe, it's the ongoing connection, additional free offers, and providing valuable information that will make your subscriber trust you and be more willing to purchase what you're offering, whether it’s your book, your services, or an affiliate product.

A word of caution: Choose how often you send out your email or newsletter wisely. While you may run the risk of annoying some subscribers if you send them out too frequently, if the email provides great content the risk should diminish. But, even so, be careful. There are some subscribers who get overwhelmed and then annoyed at the number of emails filling up their email boxes. This will prompt them to either unsubscribe to sites or just delete all non-essential emails. Either way, it’s not a good scenario for the marketers sending out the newsletters.

Sending out a newsletter or information email once a week might be just often enough, while not being overwhelming. You will need to decide what works for you and your subscribers.

The connection you forge with your subscribers through email marketing will be one of your most valuable assets. Your mailing list is a platform for a number of marketing endeavors above and beyond the selling of your initial book or product.

One final note on the intent of your email campaign: Marketing expert Steve Harrison of Quantum Leap advises that if you genuinely offer information to readers to help them learn and achieve success, you’re subscriber list will not only grow, it will become fruitful.

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Related Marketing Articles:

SEO and Marketing – Basic Tips and Definitions
Email Marketing – My Switch to GetResponse (for better opt-in boxes)
Blogging and Conversion – How to Get More Juice Out of Your Efforts



Plan a Virtual Book Tour: Be a Gracious Guest and Effective Promoter

You researched and planned a unique and engaging book tour. Your hosts are booked, the schedules are prepared, and you chose on-the-mark prizes to give to random winners who will take the time to comment on the tour stops.

But, whether you created and are managing your own book tour, or you’ve hired a publicist or book touring service, there are a few additional touring tips you should consider in order to be a gracious guest and effective promoter:

•    Have all your promotional material readily available, including pictures of you and your book cover, reviews, a synopsis, and excerpts. The same goes for any articles you’re providing. Make your guest spot as easy for the host as possible; this means emailing your host any content agreed upon in a timely manner. Give your host plenty of time to prepare his/her post for you. Many bloggers like to pre-post their posts; having the content early will be helpful.

•    Be sure to make note of each site you will be on and the date you’ll be featured. I have a daily calendar book that I enter all important information into. I also got a monthly desk calendar that I leaned against the wall next to my computer – the bigger the better. But, but you can use any form of calendar or schedule, as long as it will work for you. 

•    Prepare and publish a press release that lists all the information for your tour. You will need to post your tour schedule on your sites, and ask your hosts if they would post it on their sites also. I took advantage of Donna McDine’s Dynamic Media Release Services. Donna did a great job; the release was professional and effective. She no longer provides these services.

•    Promote each tour stop on your social networks.

•    It’d also be a good idea to send a reminder to each host a couple of days before his/her day. It may happen that one or two hosts will forget and that reminder will be very helpful in keeping your tour on track.

•    The day of each guest spot, be sure to visit the site throughout the day to answer any questions from visitors who take the time to comment, and thank them for stopping by. It’s important to also thank each of your hosts in the comments area. You should also send each host a thank you email, after the spot.

•    In addition to thanking each host (during and after the tour), let them know that you would be happy to reciprocate.

•    Finally, go back to each tour stop daily to see if there are any additional comments. If there are, respond to them and add the visitors’ names to the list you should be using for the contest.

Note: Anticipate things coming up and the tour possibly going off track here and there. While everyone of your hosts has every intention of following through, sometimes things happen. Just go with the flow, shrug or laugh it off.

Winding it Up

After your tour, send an email to the prize winners to let them know they won and include which prize they won. You should also create a post naming the winners. Finally, be sure to follow through and send the winners their prizes.

For a week-by-week, step-by-step, comprehensive article about a book tour, you can check out Mayra Calvani’s article: “Demystifying Virtual Book Tours.”

To read Parts 1 and 2 of the 3 Part Virtual Book Tour series go to:

Plan a Virtual Book Tour: The First Steps
Plan a Virtual Book Tour: Attract Followers

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NEED HELP WITH YOUR ONLINE PLATFORM?

Get Website Traffic with Inbound Marketing is just what you need.
It's a 4-week e-class through WOW! Women on Writing and covers: optimizing your website, blogging smart, email marketing, and social media marketing.

It's interactive, in-depth, and priced right. Check it out today. Just CLICK HERE for details.

Plan a Virtual Book Tour: Attract Followers

Your book will be released soon and you decided to have a virtual book tour, and you decided to do it yourself. You did some research and took the necessary steps to garner hosts for the tour stops. And, each host knows what will be presented on his site: an interview, or a review, or an informational article.

You also created a Word doc or spreadsheet with the schedule and details.

Now you want to take it up a notch to ensure readers will be motivated to follow your tour, actually comment, and hopefully buy your book.

Offer Prizes

While there are some readers who are interested in learning about new books, for the majority of readers you will want to offer an ‘ethical bribe’ to follow along on your tour.

An ‘ethical bribe’ is a freebie, gift, or prize that you will offer to entice readers to follow along, and just as important, to comment, and most important, to buy your book.

There are a number of prizes you can use: books (not the one you are promoting though, the chance of winning a book will discourage readers from buying the book), gift cards (to Amazon, Target, etc), informational e-books, or items related to your story. If your book is about a child wanting to learn how to fly, you might have a toy plane or puzzle as a prize.

For my Walking Through Walls virtual book tour I choose two $10 Amazon gift cards – they can be purchased and emailed directly to the winners. I also offered three copies of a 100+ page ‘writing for children’ e-book I wrote and published, and four copies of another e-book. So, you can see the gift can be of value, but doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive.

It’s also advisable to make your prizes enticing to the market and reader you’re aiming at. If you’re promoting a children’s book, your marketing efforts should be aimed at parents, grandparents, teachers, school librarians, etc. So, offering gifts that kids will appreciate or are helpful to the potential purchaser in some way will be beneficial.

Just remember that for merchandise (physical gifts) you will need to mail them to the winners. This will be an added expense. Gift cards on the other hand can be purchased and emailed directly to the winners. So, take this into consideration when deciding on the prizes.

Spread the Word About the Prizes

Be sure to add information about the prizes in your promotional content, your tour schedule, and in your press release. Explain that the winners will be chosen randomly and will be emailed within a week or two after the tour ends.

Usually, the prizes are given randomly at the end of the tour to those who comment on the tour stops. Create a Word doc or spreadsheet to keep track of their names and the stop they commented on. This will help you later when you have to pick the winners and contact them.

You can also choose to have prizes awarded at certain intervals throughout the tour, or even on a daily basis. It’s your tour, your rules.

Make Your Book Tour Unique

Author Kathy Stemke planned one of the best tours I’ve seen. She promoted her newly released children’s picture book, Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep in June of 2011 and added interesting and fun contests with ‘add your input’ questions that amused and engaged the visitor/reader.

This marketing strategy was successful in bringing traffic to the tour stops and having a good number of comments, not only on the tour stop sites, but on the social media and group sites she promoted them to.

So, check out other tours, read articles about virtual book tours . . . do your research. Be sure to think it through and plan it out carefully, so you too can have a unique and engaging book tour.

For Parts 1 and 3 of this three part series go to:

Plan a Virtual Book Tour: The First Steps
Plan a Virtual Book Tour: Be a Gracious Guest and Effective Promoter

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NEED HELP WITH YOUR ONLINE PLATFORM?

Get Website Traffic with Inbound Marketing is just what you need.

It's a 4-week e-class through WOW! Women on Writing and covers: optimizing your website, blogging smart, email marketing, and social media marketing.

It's interactive, in-depth, and priced right. Check it out today. Just CLICK HERE for details.