Growing your business can be tough.
In the past you cold called, built business networks and advertised in print. If you were into guerilla marketing then creating a PR stunt could work well. But I don’t like dressing up as a rabbit to sell Easter eggs.
For most, the opportunity of massive media reach like television was also out of the question.
So……the choices were few but the opportunity was also smaller. It was local. Most media did not go beyond national borders. When I stumbled into social for the first time there was sudden clarity.
The world could be reached with one tweet.
But there is a challenge
For many of us the new digital world is strange and forbidding. We read about technology with its terms and acronyms that are overwhelming and unfamiliar.
This stops many from even starting.
But ignoring the strange and sticking with the known is not an option if you want to press forward into the future. Staying with comfortable is a mindset that needs to be fought tooth and nail.
Learn to live at the edge of constant discomfort.
You need the right mindset
What is that?
It is often tossed around like confetti. But a new century mindset is a prerequisite to making progress in the world of digital transformation.
Here are some to ponder.
Open to continuous learning, dedicated to mastery and flexibility are in the mix. But the big one is an open mind. If you are closed to new ideas and fixed in your ways then it won’t be evolution but extinction.2
Reinventing yourself and your business is becoming mandatory to success as a digital entrepreneur.
More reading: 14 Inspiring habits of successful Digital Entrepreneurs
The world beckons
Many people are location stuck. It even comes up in their questions. Like…..when should I tweet? The correct answer is 24 hours a day.
These hacks are not just about traffic growth, conversion optimization but revenue growth.
Even though this blog started as a passion project it is now a serious business. Today the blog has reached over 20 million visitors since we started with a simple 106-word post in 2009 and here are the top growth hacks that helped me get there.
More Reading: “101+ Tips & Tactics To Grow your Web Traffic“
Growth hacks for traffic, conversion and sales
Traffic is the place where is starts. It is the lifeblood for digital entrepreneurs. A website is no longer just an online billboard. It should be your marketing machine. Driven by the art of engaging content and the technology of marketing automation platforms, pop-ups and landing pages and data collection.
This should lead to ongoing optimization of tactics and business tweaks that use the data insights to drive change. Here are some of the tactics that have made a difference.
1. Publish long-form content
Banging out short fluffy post maybe worked a few years ago. Then Google decided that it would give more authority to long-form posts that added real value to readers.
So try writing posts that are 1000 to 2000 plus words. Make them a resource type post that people will want to link to when they are writing their posts.
This organic link building will push your posts up the rankings. Hence more free traffic from search engines.
Here is some data from SERPIQ that shows the average length of the top 10 results of search queries. They are all longer than 2,000 words!
2. Publish your best content on Medium
With over 12.5 million unique visitors a month (according to Compete.com), Medium is a blogging style platform that gets your content in front of another audience. Building an audience there is also an important part of growing awareness and traffic.
Since creating my profile on Medium and publishing there have been able to build a following of over 55,000 readers.
So take some of your best content and re-post it on Medium.
Sometimes the traffic will surprise you. In September the 10 top social media marketing trends post received over 5,000 views.
Make sure you link back to your blog or website to get more attention and traffic with a simple call to action or even link from your bio at the bottom of the post.
3. Publish on Flipboard
Flipboard with over 90 million hits per month is a site that allows you to grow followers. Create your own magazine(s). This can drive more visitors than Facebook on some posts.
Marketing your brand is about being everywhere in a wide range of media formats to increase brand awareness and drive traffic to your web properties. So create your own Flipboard magazine for your blog. Load up your articles and you have your blog in a magazine format. Flipboard just happens to make it look sensational!
As Flipboard is not just an app now but also on the web. This adds another distribution point to amplify your content in another format. Here is the traffic being driven to the Jeffbullas.com blog by Flipboard a couple of days ago.
Example: Here is the Jeff Bullas.com Blog Magazine
4. Automate Twitter sharing
Twitter is great for sharing thought bubbles and even breaking news. But if you use it for marketing or sharing your content and do it manually it is very time consuming
There is a range of tools available including SocialOomph that allow you to automate a range of different types of tweets. Loading up a bank of tweets with evergreen content that can be set up as recurring is what SocialOOmph is great for.
This tactic has generated nearly 15% of my traffic on automatic pilot.
5. Share Influencers content on autopilot
Social media is sometimes seen as a narcissists heaven as it provides global online attention. If you want to succeed then enlisting others to help starts with helping them first. I share over 20 other bloggers content on Twitter every day. Sometimes it is manual and other times I automate it.
The original app I used for that was Twitterfeed but is now closed. One of the best ways to do this now is to use a combination of Feedly, Buffer and IFTTT to trigger tweets that when bloggers post content you love and trust it is shared on Twitter.
This is how it works!
You will need to link Feedly to IFTTT and then to Buffer to set up automated Tweets that are scheduled to go out at times you set, 24/7/365 just like this;
This will enable you to share top content on autopilot. This will grow your Twitter following and so more traffic! If you want to see how Larry McGuire explains how to do this check out this post, “7 Powerful Twitter Apps You Need to Work On Autopilot”
6. Tweet often
Many people are not sure how often they should tweet.
Most people bring their email goggles to Twitter tweeting. They think it is an inbox. It’s not. It’s a stream of online consciousness. It needs to be fed with constant updates.
Posting frequency on Twitter and Facebook is sometimes treated by companies in the same way. It shouldn’t. Twitter will tolerate much more frequent posting than Facebook. In fact, studies show that a tweet every 15 minutes receives higher engagement than every 30 minutes.
The study results from Simply Measured shows that tweeting every fifteen minutes instead of thirty led to the following:
- Increased traffic by 31%
- Engagement was up by 89%
That just confirmed what I have been doing for years.
What is also interesting is to see brands tweeting more frequently.
Even though nearly 50% are only tweeting 1-5 times a day, the number that are posting 25+ times has increased.
Load tweets once and then tweet many times. So tweet often and use apps to do this for you without having to do it manually all the time.
7. Write evergreen articles
Evergreen content is posts that don’t date easily like the latest news.
But why is evergreen content important?
One big reason is because of search engines. It’s called SEO. According to Appnovation, new content with 2-3% keyword density will get the highest rating in Google’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
But what about authoritative posts? If an article isn’t authoritative, if it doesn’t have relevant information, the advice is for sites to take it down during redesign.¡
The old stuff is called ‘legacy content’. When a third party is linking to an article with “outdated information”, it’s a shoddy legacy for a host site. The host has the incentive to take it down and make room for currently relevant content.
That’s why you should write evergreen posts. So your work stays up, so it stays useful to an audience and therefore, a website. Evergreen content maintains authority over time because it continues to be relevant.
This piece, on the other hand, deals with the underlying concept of SEO as we know it:
More reading: How to Increase your Authority with Evergreen Content
8. Publish and re-purpose content on Slideshare
Almost everyone is looking for quick easy big wins but you just need to grind it out. Slideshare is one of the tactics that is incremental but keeps giving.
Slideshare is also often underrated as it isn’t a sexy social network but just a visual media platform that is more for the buttoned up set. But turning the appropriate posts into Powerpoints and uploading them to Slideshare can generate traffic and leads.
Since I started on Slideshare I have reached nearly 2 million views and from that comes some traffic back to the blog from presentations like this one below which has received over 155, 000 views.
One of the best posts on this with some very cool tips and tactics comes from Eugene Cheng. (See her post below).
More reading: How to Get Insane Amounts of Traffic and Subscribers from SlideShare – Eugene Cheng
Use GIFs in Tweets
As human attention drops to levels below that of a goldfish the fight for clicks and shares becomes a bun fight. So use GIF’s that scream (in a nice way) at the viewer.
Here is an example of one we have used for AgoraPulse’s very cool social media marketing automation app that is one of our favourite tools.
9. Use hashtag jacking
When the latest series for the Game of Thrones was launched there is a lot of buzz. People Tweet, Snapchat and Instagram. Hashtags are a big part if this online.
So we decided to write a post titled “3 Powerful Social Media Marketing Lessons From Game of Thrones” and tweeted it with the top trending hashtags.
The result was 2,300 shares.
10. Calls to action and conversion tips
Traffic is one thing but that is just the start of turning that into engagement and then leads and sales is where the real money is. Once you have traffic then it is important to start focusing on calls to action and then optimizing your conversions.
11. Co-create free ebooks with other businesses
Collaboration is one of the most powerful ways to reach new audience grow brand awareness and traffic and conversions. You can double your reach alone with this tactic.
Here is a free ebook I created with GetResponse on marketing automation which is a topic that is relevant for both our readers
12. Convert Instagram visits to email subscribers
On Instagram you have one link in your profile so use it wisely.
Most send it to a website or a blog. Instead of that tactic create a call to action offering something of value for free. Then capture emails and build your email list.
13. Test your tweets
When Twitter started it was just text. That has changed.
Since they introduced the new function of allowing full images in the stream, I noticed a significant increase in engagement. This means more retweets, favourites, mentions and sharing.
Buffer performed some tests and analytics on the impact of this change and has discovered the following:
- Tweets with images received 89% more favourites
- Tweets with images received 18% more clicks than those without
- Tweets with images received 150% more retweets
Now this doesn’t mean that every tweet should include an image. But it certainly means that wise use of images should be woven into your content amplification strategy. An increase in engagement on Twitter can be a very effective tactic to increase sales and traffic.
I ran my own tests and found it was even higher using these 3 types of images.
- Mini infographics
- Images containing quotes
- Generic images
These were the results from my data.
- The percentage increase in impressions of a tweet with image over a tweet without is a substantial 197%.
- Increase for “engagement” of a tweet with an image over a tweet without is a staggering 581%
- The percentage increase of a tweet with an image over a tweet without is a significant 111%.
So the increase in metrics when you include a great visual with your tweet can be between 100 and 600%. That is significant and leads to a big boost in traffic, so start adding visual tweets to your tactics.
Try 3 different images but with the same 140 text characters and headline in tweets for your next post. Check the metrics with Twitter analytics and then use the top performing image as your recurring tweet.
14. Implement marketing automation
Social and other digital marketing in its infancy was all manual but with automation now affordable the best way to scale and test your marketing is to implement a marketing automation software.
One of our top-performing projects in the last 2 years was moving from just traffic and content engagement to focusing on email list building, conversion and optimization.
This light bulb moment happened during a Mastermind weekend event in Chicago in 2015. The insight was captured in this blog post. “Do You Have a Traffic Problem or a Conversion Problem”
Since then I have used a variety of tools starting with a marketing automation platform, set up auto-responders to send email sequences after the initial optin. We also implemented Leadpages to capture and test landing pages and tested conversion rates.
15. Soft gate your website
Over the last 10 months, I have been using one simple tactic to grow my email list. It’s the “welcome mat” landing page from SumoMe. It is now used by many sites and even though some pundits say they are annoying. They work.
This “soft gating” doesn’t block access with a payment gateway but is just a simple request offering something for free before clicking to access the site.
The stats show that the welcome mat is one of the highest converting list building tactics you can use. Some data shows that it can triple your conversion rate with its full-screen call to action.
It encourages your visitors to join your email list and check out your latest and popular blog post!
Since launching the pop up 10 months ago it has collected over 51,000 email addresses. Just putting a call to action in a side banner even at the top right will not perform that well.
But the reality is that these CTA’s should be woven into every corner of your blog and website marketing strategy.
Wrapping it up
None of these tactics is silver bullets.
But together they become a synergy of traffic, engagement and conversion that can turn a passion project into a real online business. It will allow you grow traffic from search and social, build your email list.
This then gives you the distribution and reach to sell both your own and other people’s products with affiliate marketing campaigns and joint ventures.
It is a journey that needs to move on from just getting traffic and building engaging content. That final step to convert attention into leads and sales is the difference between success and failure as a blogger and online business.
About the author: Jeff Bullas
Jeff is an entrepreneur, blogger, author, marketer and speaker and works with personal brands and business to optimize online personal and company brands with emerging technologies, content, social media technologies and digital marketing. He has spent most of his career involved with information technologies, telecommunications and the web.