It’s never easy to stand out from the crowd. After all, there are probably over a thousand sites in your industry, and while you know your product or service has the potential to be at the forefront, getting there probably seems like an exhausting, labor-intensive (and potentially very expensive) venture.
However, gaining traction for little-to-no money or effort could be much more feasible than you may think. In fact, you’re probably already taking some of these actions right now; and, with a little bit of tweaking to your strategy, you could be off to the races with more traffic than rush hour in L.A.
1. Start a blog (and keep up with it).
Starting a blog is one of the most efficient ways to not only drive traffic to your site but give visitors a taste of how you think as well as what your brand is about. However, while a lot of folks want to hop right in and start writing, it’s important to have a plan in place so your content doesn’t become redundant or stagnant. Not to worry though, as there are plenty of guides on how to begin. I recommend Moz’s “Beginner’s Guide to Content” as a good place to start.
2. Become a thought leader.
Thought leadership follows in the same vein as blogging but differs in that the content you produce is based more on ideas and observations about your respective industry. As (Entrepreneur contributor) Jayson Demers relayed in “5 Steps to Becoming a Thought Leader In Your Industry,” the goal is to become the spark of innovation for your peers.
While thought leadership isn’t always an available option for every industry, it’s worth every second of effort to not only drive traffic but to further both personal and professional growth, as well.
3. Change up your email strategy.
As BlueHost noted in its 8 Outstanding Ways to Promote Your New Website, strategies like developing a contact list and changing your email signature are simple steps in the right direction. There are also tons of great products out there to help your direct email responses, such as Mailchimp (an easy to use email marketing platform), Boomerang (a Gmail add-on to help you choose when you send/receive emails) and Mailtrack (which lets you know if/when someone opens and reads your emails).
4. Form a partnership.
Partnering with another successful business can be an excellent way to show off the types of brands you align yourself with and to gain new followers almost instantaneously. However, while plenty of business owners have their bucket lists of people they want to work with, a partnership still needs to be a symbiotic relationship.
Entrepreneur writer Kate McKay summed this up perfectly in her piece, “How to Create Strategic Partnerships That Are a Win-Win”: “Be clear on the value you bring to the table,” she wrote. “Be honest about why you’re interested in creating a partnership and what you bring to the table. Write down the answers to the following: ‘Why does this relationship benefit my professional and personal growth?’ and ‘What do I expect to gain from this partnership?’
“This is not a time to hash out your business plan or a mission and vision statement,” McKay added. “If you don’t have clear answers to these questions, you’re not in a position to create effective connections.”
In short, a partnership is just like any other relationship: a shared experience of value. So make sure you bring something to the table, too.
5. Become a social media master.
Tackling social media isn’t as hard as you might think. In fact, the key to success with it is right in its name: “social.” All it takes to begin gaining followers is the ability to start a conversation and keep it authentic.
The driving factor behind customer-acquisition success is that you make sure to keep your brand’s online presence genuine, instead of giving in to the temptation to serve canned content and activity. Don’t post articles just for keyword metrics; don’t pay for followers just to make your account look more appealing. Operate your brand’s online presence the same way you run your personal social media accounts.
While it’s important to be mindful of driving your social channels to your primary website, as long as you remember your brand’s mission throughout the site, people will be flocking to it in no time.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.