“If you build it, they will come,” is a Field of Lies when it comes to the internet. Though to be fair, if you had Kevin Costner promoting your website, it might be a different story.
Nothing is more depressing than laboring over (read: spending a bunch of money on) a new website for your business, only to realize you have to keep spending money just to get people on it.
But you didn’t get this far with all of your creativity and wit and intelligence and good looks just to keep handing over your credit card number and cross your fingers that some transactions will hit your bank account. The process of getting traffic to your site can actually be relatively cheap.
All it takes is thinking of Internet Facts, and then thinking of how to exploit use those facts for your purpose.
Internet Fact #1: The internet is full of influencers.
Guess what. Lots of other people try to make money on the internet, too! And some of these people create really cool content about the exact kind of items or services you sell. Some of these people aren’t competitors. They actually help boost your niche. Your best move is to network with these people. If you sell electronics, find the top YouTube Vloggers who talk about the latest gadgets or the top tech blogs that write reviews about electronics. They create this content to make money, and you can partner with them to form a mutually beneficial promotion or event.
You are selling a new line of wireless headphones. You don’t want to pay $6 per click on AdWords to get people searching “wireless headphones” on Google to your website. Instead, you partner with Amy Williams who happens to have an audience of 10,000 per month to her review blog about tech products. You tell her that her readers can get a special 20% off deal if she reviews a product on your site and links them to your product page to purchase.
Sure, this eats into your margins temporarily, but you have an opportunity now to gain new dedicated customers. If they love your product and the experience on your site, why wouldn’t they come back?
Internet Fact #2: The internet is full of opinions.
“Never read the comments,” except when they can make you a sale.
Blog comment sections can actually be an incredible place to display your brand on a personal level. Of course, avoid being spammy and just selling your products or website on a comment. Look for forums where people are asking questions pertaining to your industry. Be there to help them out, even if it doesn’t lead to a sale. The more you ingrain yourself into online discussions, you actually get more than just sales on your site. You keep learning about your customers and what they really want or need.
Start with Neil Patel’s, “8 Blog Commenting Mistakes You Need to Avoid,” before jumping into this technique.
Internet Fact #3: The internet is full of people wanting to be entertained.
One thing that a lot of online companies seem afraid of is authenticity. For some reason, it feels risky to level with people and show a fun side to your business.
It shouldn’t feel risky. It should feel right. Even Geico tries so hard to be entertaining (whether they are is debatable), and they’re in the boring world of insurance!
Whether you’re selling pens or software, you’re selling to people. Normal, everyday people. They see thousands of advertisements everyday, so they really don’t have the attention span or interest in what you have to say unless you say something interesting.
So think creatively, and if you’re not particularly creative, surround yourself with people who are. Try something that feels uncomfortable because it might be received much better than you would have thought.
Internet Fact #4: The internet is full of people who care.
Tom’s really kicked off our modern business models of contributing to a cause.
You know the model: Buy 1 and they’ll send 1 to charity, or 10% of total sales go to charity.
Not only is this an awesome way to help non-profits, but it clearly is an awesome way to grow your brand and expand your audience. The moment you show that you give is the moment your customer knows that you care. Trust-building can be a battle through a cold computer screen but is made much easier with messages of hope.
Connect your brand to your heart.
This is not an exhaustive list of Internet Facts, and notice that all of these facts are really just about people. The easiest way to grow your business without throwing away all of your money is putting forth the effort to connect in a genuine way. It takes a little more work than putting money into a machine, but the insights you gain are as big as the revenue payoff you get long-term.