So you’ve finally released your site into the big bad world: after months of research, design and preparation, it’s officially live!
But there’s just one problem… you’re missing the traffic.
Whether you’re a newbie or veteran in the online business world, increasing traffic and sales to your site can be the biggest challenge.
In a saturated market, it can feel pretty tricky to make yourself stand out from the crowd.
Aside from creating quality, regular content, leveraging social media and making use of the highest quality images, often we just need a little something extra to give us that important boost.
Luckily, there are tons of fantastic tools crafted to help give you that much needed push.
And to make your job all the more simple, I’ve narrowed down the top five marketing tools you can use to grow your online traffic and sales.
Invest in these, and I guarantee you’ll see your business flourish!
1. Hootsuite: Social Media Management
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that, these days, social media is essential in driving business activity. If it doesn’t hold a prominent place in your marketing mix, then you’re seriously missing a trick.
And that’s where Hootsuite comes in. A social media management platform, Hootsuite lets you control all of your channels in one handy place. It makes it easy to have a very strategic level of social activity, with the ability to monitor influential accounts through dashboards, save time through scheduling and measure success through analytics.
Basically? It helps you get the most out of your social media accounts.
Here’s a bit more information on its features and how Hootsuite will help you grow your business:
- Supported networks: Twitter, Facebook (profile, page, group), Google + (page), LinkedIn (profile, group, company) and WordPress. Recently, through integration of “applications”, it also will add Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo, Reddit, Flickr, VK, Tumblr and Foursquare. So it’s a HUGE time saver if you’re making use of most of these channels, allowing you to put your efforts into other aspects of your business.
- Schedule and autoschedule content: Rather than labouring over individual posts every day, you can schedule a whole period of content in one go with Hootsuite. This doesn’t only save time, but also allows you to immediately see upcoming content across a range of channels (awesome for ensuring consistency!). Auto scheduling will even work out the best time for you to post in terms of conversions, increasing social media referral traffic.
- Dashboards: You can set up dashboards to list all posts from competitors, customers, industry trends and even just specific hashtags. This is a great way to tie in with important conversations and to ensure you are seen by all the right people.
- Analytics: Hootsuite is also set up to measure the success of your posts through analytics. The Hootsuite link shortener is automatically set up to measure clicks and engagement on posts, giving you reports on your content, social networks and social traffic. This is crucial for deciphering what does and doesn’t work in pulling in the most site conversions.
- Individual account – Up to 3 accounts. Up to 2 RSS: Free
- Pro – 1 team member and up to 50 accounts. Unlimited RSS: From $10.99 p/month (with an additional user at $15 p/month)
- Enterprise – Unlimited everything: price not disclosed
2. SumoMe: Social Sharing Buttons + Image Sharer
We’ve already established how important a strong social media is in harnessing business activity. Now it’s time to increase your use of it even further.
The SumoMe plugin is the best tool on the market for increasing social shares and driving traffic through social networks. It’s beautiful, quick and bursting with features.
Just take a look at how my social sharing buttons look like. See those share buttons when you hover on my images? Cool, right?
And hey, SumoMe is actually free but you can upgrade to their PRO version if you want to get the other benefits like the ability to A/B test, premium templates, further customization, tracking + more.
- Design: SumoMe is incredibly attractive, with uniform designs for your sharing buttons that will add a seriously professional touch to your site.
- Flexible location: Yep, you heard it right. You can either place the share buttons on top and/or bottom of your content, or make them float on the side of your content (just like what I have). Awesome, NO?
- Customizable: Here’s another thing I love about them, you can easily change the look and feel of your buttons like change the colors, # of buttons to show, size of your buttons, style (square / rounded / circle) + more!
- Social proof: Buttons also show how many other people have already shared the content, influencing visitors to not only read (encouraged by the high amount of people already interested) but also to share themselves.
- Responsive + mobile friendly: … whatever the screen!
- Text highlighter: Did I mention that they also offer text highlighter? When people highlight any text within your content, they can easily share on Facebook or Twitter.
- Image Sharer: I think they’re the only plugin that offer this. When you hover on images, you’ll see multiple share buttons like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest + Yummly!
- Analytics: You can see the top pages, # of clicks and # of shares to determine your performance.
- Free – just install the plugin and get free access to all of their apps
- Extra Features Upgrade: $10-$100/month
3. Aweber: Email Marketing Management
Having a mailing list is a simple but vital way to regularly reach the people who have willingly shown an interest in your business.
Not only are they brilliant for connecting on a deeper level with your target audience, but are a proven and successful method for driving conversion and website hits.
Aweber is a popular platform to manage mailing lists and send out stunning campaigns as it is attractive, professional and very user friendly. It provides opportunity for versatility so you can really create something unique for your mailing list.
It’s full of features, with gorgeous designs that are easy to implement ensuring seriously professional looking emails that will impress your subscribers, grab their attention and pull them back to your website.
Check out how Aweber will help boost your business:
- Straight forward usability: Aweber is incredibly simple to use and create without the need for coding. With very little tech-knowledge, you can build something beautiful in no time at all and monitor feedback and conversions. Aweber also allows you to use one account for multiple lists across multiple sites, which is a huge bonus for larger companies or for those dealing with several brands.
- Templates: Leading on from this, you have around 700 email templates to choose from… that’s a huge amount! They’re all extremely visually appealing and serve a wide range of marketing purposes.
- Auto responder: One of the vital elements of an e-marketing campaign for your mailing list is the ability to send auto responders. They allow you to send out messages to your subscribers at predefined intervals after they have signed up. This is a much more efficient way to send out your marketing messages as it saves plenty of time. It’s great for many reasons: firstly, if you already have a pre written set of newsletters ready to shoot out to all new subscribers. It’s also ideal for filtering out discounts and calls to action over a period of time, as well as delivering any tutorials and courses you are offering to new subscribers.
- A/B split testing: This is where you can send out different newsletters defined by different mailing lists. It’s a good way to measure competing levels of conversion to see what works best!
PRICE: Depends on the amount of your subscribers. Packages starts at $19 per month.
If Aweber feels a little pricey, MadMimi is also a great tool for mailing lists. It’s far less complex than Aweber, but super easy to use and really visually appealing. Even at a cost, its pricing is considerably lower than Aweber’s.
4. OptinMonster: Email Subscription Opt-in Forms
To send out your irresistible campaigns, it goes without saying that you need to collect your leads!
It’s important that you go about this in an intelligent and respectful way: the last thing you want is a brash pop up instantly turning your customer off and pushing them away from your site.
For me, the ultimate tool for this would have to be OptinMonster: the all-in-one building list plugin, it pretty much offers the whole package if you’re looking for the best in lead generation.
It’s been around since 2013 and is arguably one of the most mature methods on the market. With OptinMonster, you’ve got a strong range of collection options depending on your preference as well as some really cool features that will keep your site looking professional.
Their main features include:
- 6 different types of collection method: Traditional pop-up as either a canvas or lightbox, footer bar, slide in at bottom of page, after post widget, side bar widget
- Integration with most email marketing tools: this including Mailchimp, Madmimi, Aweber and Campaign Monitor
- A/B testing to ensure maximum benefits: Test different content, headlines, layouts and styles
- Conversion tracking: Number of impressions, total conversions and conversion rate
- Superb design customization: So you can make sure everything is in keeping with your brand, keeping consistency high as well as a strong sense of professionalism. This will impress your site visitors and make them more likely to leave their details
- Smart user targeting: Target specific pages, categories or even user behaviour
- Exit intent: Tracks user behaviour as they browse through your website in order to detect the precise moment they are leaving to show a targeting campaign
- Built in analytics: Making it easy to see what does and doesn’t work so that you can really maximise on your activity.
- Basic: $49 p/year OR $9 p/month
- Plus: $99 p/year OR $19 p/month
- Pro: $199 p/year OR $29 p/month
5. ShareASale: Affiliates Management System
ShareASale is an affiliate marketing network that allows you to extend the reach of your business by harnessing a commission based sales force online.
In simple terms? It gives you the tools to tap into a wider consumer base with no extra work at all.
With ShareASale, you have access to a huge network of affiliate partners who can drive solid traffic to your site: and you’ll only ever have to pay (a small percentage) for completed, validated transactions.
It takes the hassle out of finding your affiliate partners by working as the “middle man”. Not only does this save you time (a big bonus of course!) but it also increases your access tenfold.
Some of its brilliant features include:
- Upload your consumer targeted content: Give your affiliates as much to work with as possible by using ShareASale to store any coupons, free shipping offers, sale details etc so that they can push them out to their own site visitors
- Make widgets: ShareASale makes it easy to create widgets ready for your affiliates to integrate into their site hassle free
- Create affiliate groups and newsletters: Especially as your affiliate partner list grows, this is a great way to send out special offers, new banners etc for them to make use of. It can also be a good way to send out incentives to your partners… for example, a prize for the affiliate who gets the most conversions that month!
- Variable commission rates: This is a great incentive for your affiliates. ShareASale makes it possible for you to alter your commission rates for high performers or those you consider to be “VIP” (perhaps they have a substantially higher follower count and you want to entice them with a better rate). It’s a brilliant feature that is sure to make affiliates work that little bit harder to advertise your goods
- Creative uploads: You’re seriously unlimited here in the amount of creative uploads you want to add for affiliates. And honestly? The more the better. If you can offer a variety of banners in different sizes, colours, shapes and design, affiliates are more likely to be drawn in by the wide choice (which will hopefully link in with their own blog design!)
- Progress reports: There are tons of different options for reporting on ShareASale, including daily, weekly and ones for specific banners and widgets. You can keep a close eye on activity and also see what is and isn’t working so well in driving site traffic.
- $550 Network access fee
- $100 minimum deposit 20% transaction fee (based on commission payout to affiliates)
Now you’ve got the tools in hand, it’s time to go out and maximize the reach of your website! And don’t forget to back them up with a well-designed, professional and engaging content strategy.