Disclaimer: This article will not teach you how to take advantage of others. Much rather, it is about ways of creating a win-win(-win) situation for all parties involved. As I am a semi-strong believer in karma, I always aim for strategies that help people by creating value in some way. In return, this helps me to build a network and reputation for my business.
No matter if you are just starting out or if you have already been in business for a while. It does not matter if you are an employee looking for more visitors for your employer’s business or self-employed building reach and traffic for your own business: If you want to succeed in today’s world, the tables have turned. Nowadays, you have to rethink strategies. The current pandemic will encourage you to find different ways to position yourself as an expert, or to position your company as a key figure.
In this article I would like to take you on a journey with me through the past 10+ years of being in marketing, working with several industries. It is safe to say that I know my ways around driving traffic and leads to a business. However, nowadays we live in a more digitalised world with fewer face-to-face opportunities. I am going to teach you exactly that: How to have leads rolling in without actively approaching them! Does that sound like a treat?
My approach to generating traffic and leads for my business
As I am an automation geek, it might not come as a surprise to you that my favorite strategies are the ones with maximum outcome that you can incorporate your business with minimal effort. So, whenever I am optimizing for traffic or leads I am not just thinking about the obvious methods, like cold-calling or face-to-face meetings. Instead, I always try to find an approach that will give me a sustainable outcome, which I can nurture or draw from for a very long time. While this might sound a bit abstract right now, it is actually quite easy to understand and copy once you keep on reading!
Social Proof as a Traffic Driver: Become a Thought Leader!
Becoming a thought leader is a powerful tool that can help you speed up your success in business. By being presented on the same level with people that are actually already further ahead or are similar to your position will actually lift up your status. This is the way the human mind works: If it sees something that is supposed to be “superior” (in the sense of being the person that has the say), this thing is automatically more interesting, relevant and influential. Even if nothing has changed compared to the day before.
So, try your best to always be presented as a thought leader. This could be by being invited as a speaker, or teaching other people your ways!
In the following paragraphs, I will tell you about numerous ways you could present yourself as a thought leader, making yourself heard and ultimately impressing all people surrounding you with your vast knowledge and experience.
1. Be a part of associations
Associations are a great way to position yourself as an expert or leader in an industry. They are also a great multiplayer when it comes to generating leads for your business.
Why is that so? Because, as part of an association, you are part of a team. As part of said team, you get access to all the speakers, to all the helping hands with advanced knowledge in their industry. On the other hand, the other side of the community – so the audience – will start listening to you because you are part of a renowned association. In short, you get in touch with many people you would not have known otherwise. What is even better, is that this audience will give you feedback, much like in a circle: You give and you take! Therefore, this is a great lead and traffic driver for your business, while also generating qualitative insights!
2. Awards Wins and Awards Nominations
Is there an even better way to position yourself as an expert or leader in an industry than winning an award? The way the human mind works is that if you are surrounded by top leaders or top companies, the audience automatically transfers this image to you as well.
It is a bit like being a speaker at a conference: You are basically making the most of all the people surrounding you, even if you are only nominated for the award. Plus, every company shares their nomination, which is essentially an additional lead or traffic driver in itself, as people will likely click on linked websites. So this is not only a great public relations story, it is also pushing as much traffic to your company as possible.
3. Teaching at Universities, Courses, etc.
In 2019, I started teaching at Universities as a guest lecturer. Not only did this help in positioning myself as an expert in front of other people, but also in presenting my company. I can tell my students all about what we are doing, as well as why we are great and different.
In 2020 I took over the Digital Marketing course at Vienna University of Economics and Business and launched a case study series with real companies that students have to work on! That is a door opener to companies that might have not acknowledged you otherwise.
On the one hand, this is a great employer branding strategy, because at the end of the day, we also got a lot of applications from the students. On the other hand, however, it is also a great door-opener to companies the said students work for (or will work for in the future). They will always remember the person that gave them valuable insights and golden nuggets during their lectures. In the end, they might just come back for that!
4. Speaking on-stage
On-stage speaking is an amazing tool in so many ways! On the one hand, you position yourself as an expert once more. You are speaking to hundreds of people at the same time, which you can convert into leads all while providing real value. Plus, you will speak to other people that are industry leaders as well.
This way, not only the opportunity to generate clients or customers arises, but also to broaden your network with influential people. In the long run, they might be able to help you along in the future. Furthermore, you will also be published on the website, which is shared with and by all the people participating. And do not forget about the media: Especially if you are a keynote speaker, you will likely be mentioned in the media multiple times.
Cooperating with organizations or institutions
In the past four years, I have been a mentor at Startup Live, TechStars, the female factor and greenstart. This way, I not only got to network with a bunch of cool other entrepreneurs and industry experts, but I was also able to present my business (on stage) to an audience of (future) business owners. Startups are a key element when it comes to making the world a better place. This is why I like to be inspired by the different ideas and approaches that people present at those events all while helping them develop their ideas as a mentor!
In the end, it boils down to this: Within a short amount of time, you get to know very interesting people, very exciting projects, while positioning yourself as an expert. If you have an interesting offer you might be able to turn them into clients right away or you’re selling a product that they might need for their service.
Pro Tip: Try to get as many contacts as you can in order to stay at the top of their mind. This might also be pretty interesting for collaborations with other industry experts and leading companies that you wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.
6. Be on a jury
A jury is just another way of presenting yourself as an industry leader and your company as an important asset of today’s world. Not only will you be featured on the website, which, in turn, will be shared by hundreds. Even better: Just think about all the press releases and articles created by the organization and media, you will be in!
The online world is essential. Nonetheless, being part of a jury has some offline-benefits as well: You will be present in front of a crowd of very important people in their industries and have first-hand access to exciting projects. But if that is not enough, there is even more! You will be able to connect with other people in that industry, all whilst meeting the movers and shakers in your or other industries.
Creating traffic by socializing in your industry
7. Face-to-Face Meetings
Face-to-face meetings – that sounds pretty easy, right? But how do you actually get those face-to-face meetings? I usually like to use Social Media: I simply look for people I know have the same mindset, that will be relevant for my business or personal journey to reach out and build a connection with them. Naturally, this takes a little bit of open-mindedness. But think about all the opportunities that can sprout from meeting just one person!
I challenge you to find a common ground where you both benefit from something. This could be just a joyful conversation, but it could also be a business opportunity, collaboration or maybe you just give each other that one piece of information or impulse that has been missing.
8. Leverage on Referrals
This type of word-of-mouth recommendation (which can also be taken online) is one of the best ways to convert someone into a client. We usually listen to trusted resources, so getting a recommendation from someone we trust, we usually tend to believe that this recommendation is trustworthy as well. Try to broaden your network through other people, companies, networks and associations. You have to keep in mind that the other party needs to have either the same or a similar audience to yours that could benefit from your service or product.
9. Networking events
Networking events are fun, but they are much more than just a party. Because, not only will you make new friends, but you also have the opportunity to find new partners and meet people relevant to your business. And this knowledge is exactly why networking events are so powerful: People are taking part, solely with the intention to build relationships and to find other people who could be a multiplier for their own business or interest. However, please do not be the person that throws business cards around like confetti, pitching their offer and then leaving right away. Instead, try to find a common ground and to interact with other visitors on a personal level.
10. Visit conferences
Much like networking events, conferences are a great way to get traffic and leads, either by having meaningful conversations, collecting business cards or by being part of the conference itself through workshops, mentorship or speaking on-stage. The best way to do this, is by informing yourself about the line up preliminary and the people or companies for joining the event. This way, you will find the most interesting ones for your business. Learn a little bit about them, before approaching them at the event. Especially doing this for the first time can be quite overwhelming, so already having a plan going for you will help you throughout the day.
11. Host a meetup yourself
Actually, this is one of the strategies I came up accidentally after being back from living abroad for a while. As I had made a lot of new experiences, I was now facing loneliness in my industry back at home. I wanted to know if there were more like-minded people in Austria that share my mindset and experience. Upon searching, I did not find a single Digital Nomad Meetup or anything Remote Work or Location Independent related.
Before long, I planned my own meetup and simply used other communities as a reach driver to promote my event! In the beginning, it really was just a very small meetup with 10 people. But soon, people got so hooked on the idea that we turned it into a regular event!
Are you looking to be part of an engaging community of location independent people in Vienna? Check out the official We Work Location Independent Website to learn more!
Now, we have gained more than 300 email addresses just by event registrations. The hook? People had to register because I needed to know how many seats I had to book in the restaurants, therefore, I needed the contact information. Afterwards, we also liked to send pictures and some other great information on building the network.
12. Become part of a network
If there is one thing that will truly boost your business and bring in heaps of traffic, it is collaborating with people that completely stand behind their own causes. Once they start grasping your aspirations and are enthusiastic about them as well, they will automatically start spreading your message, simply by incorporating it into their daily lives and talking to their peers about that.
While conferences, awards or networking events usually are the homes of truly driven people, you could also try becoming a part of a network. This is where all the people fascinated with a specific matter come together and support each other. It is safe to say that networks are based on making each other thrive.
Here are some things you might want to try:
- A closed network community
- A mastermind
- A retreat specifically designed for your niche
Be active on Social Media
13. Social Media Content – no matter what platform
It goes without saying, however, one of the first steps for creating online traffic is by creating an audience and then referring it to your website. There is no such easy tool for gathering all the people that might be interested in what you have to say than Social Media. And that goes for almost any platform.
Start by building a Social Media presence through creating valuable, grasping content that makes its recipients want more. Then, refer them to your website. However, never forget to actually give them what you promised them on your website, otherwise they will be gone faster than you can say “Google Analytics”.
14. Social Media Interaction
Okay, so I said you should use your Social Media profiles to refer people to your website. But, how do you actually get people onto your Social Media profiles? Try interacting with accounts in your industry or with accounts that have an audience very similar to yours. This could be anything from liking, to sharing their posts or commenting. When doing this, remember to always be helpful so that people will actually have a reason to check out your profile as well.
15. Facebook groups
Facebook groups are a great way to generate traffic. And the best thing is, it does not even have to be your own group! You could also use other peoples communities to build traffic for your business. To do so, invite people to join a conversation, help them with your advice. Soon, you will be able to see your following grow, your influence increase and you might also be approached by other people for potential work collaborations. Also think of client bookings or interviews.
On the other hand, if you have your own Facebook group you are automatically the thought leader of this group. That is why you should think about a way to get the group members into your email list or CRM as soon as possible.
Related topic: Why Your Business Should Have A Facebook Group
16. Performance Marketing
Performance Marketing might not be for everyone – especially if you are only hitting off your Online Marketing journey. Instead of “only” investing your time, Performance Marketing requires you to set a budget and spend money from the first moment on.
So, my recommendation is the following: First, you could implement retargeting strategies. This will make sure people that have already interacted with your website are automatically nurtured by your ads. Eventually, they will bring them back into your circle. Compared to other strategies, this is rather low-cost and will take up less management time.
On the other hand, you can also launch lead campaigns, which help you to generate leads right away. However, you need to be very careful with the setup of an active approach as you might burn more money than you actually make. This is why it is so important to work with experts – especially when you have no idea how to do it because the learning curve is quite long.
Use the power of the Internet
17. Write guest posts
By writing guest posts, you essentially redirect traffic from another company’s website to your website. So, generally speaking, articles are a way to position yourself as an industry expert in front of the eyes of a similar audience to yours, simply on the website of another business. This means, you are already talking to a warmed-up audience in a specific niche! Always remember to consider some sort of valuable service or product that you can offer after somebody has read the guest post. Make sure they want to work with you or at least want to know more about you.
18. Write guest articles
Writing guest articles is a great way to use the media’s reach in order to drive traffic to your own website. It is also another way to be portrayed as a thought leader. By being interviewed or presented on renowned websites, people will automatically think you are relevant as well.
I like to keep this separate from guest posts, as these are rather written for a community that is already shaped towards an industry. Naturally, this could be interesting in terms of potential clients or referrals for your business. However, when I speak about guest articles, I am referring to newspapers, magazines or any other way where you can add some sort of input – online or offline. Personally, I prefer online resources so that I can repost a link, boost my SEO or mention a free download that gives the audience value and brings me leads.
19. Public relations: send out press releases!
Before doing Digital Marketing, I actually studied Journalism and Public Relations! And what I found was that if you have the right wording and the right story at the right time – well, then it is pretty easy to make yourself important. That goes for newspapers or magazines alike.
The main thing here is that you have to think about the approach you want to take. For example: Do you want to attract B2C or B2B companies? Depending on your choice, you might need to rephrase or rethink the story, so that it will resonate with your recipients. Also keep in mind which media you are turning to. The Auto Review will likely not be the right audience if you are talking about the latest sustainable service or coaching business of yours.
In a nutshell, you always need to build a story that will be relevant to the audience. Think, what is the benefit for the reader? What is the benefit for the journalist? You have to think about the journalist’s mission to either inform or entertain the reader. Even better if it’s an exclusive information.
I would like to close this blog post by reminding you of two very important things. One of them being that traffic sources are dispersed all throughout your path. You simply have to be creative enough to recognize them as such and use them to your advantage. So keep your eyes open and try to use every opportunity!
The second message, I would like to give you on your way is to make sure your website is prepared to take on and convert traffic. All the traffic in the world will not convert into a single lead, let alone sale, if your website is not set out for it!
In our free eBook “Is your website ready to convert traffic coming from Social Media Advertising or are you losing money and customers?”
we go through your website step-by-step to determine if it is ready to convert the traffic you send to it. It is available for only a limited time!
When networking wizard Bettina is not working on the next big idea, then she is focusing on how to constantly improve workflows, and systemizing the “stuff that is not so much fun but needs to be done”. She believes in giving and that being kind gets you a long way.
You might spot her as a keynote speaker, a guest lecturer at universities, or a mentor at StartupLive or Greenstart by Climate and Energy Fonds Austria.
Bettina describes herself as a foodie, travel addict, and her team sees her as a true leader, who always encourages everyone she is working with.