By Joe Pulizzi published September 25, 2009

How can I get more people to my website?

Somewhat interesting Bloomberg video from Ad legend Jerry Della Femina on the future of advertising and ad agencies.

The key points:

  • The advertising industry is not run by creative anymore, but the bean counters.
  • The “good-old days” for advertising is over – where they used to make 15 cents on every dollar spent, now it’s more like seven or even five cents.
  • According to Jerry, every meeting with marketing executives starts out with “How can I get more people to my website?

Everyone wants viral

The discussion in the video then revolved around niche, viral campaigns as a way to drive website traffic. That’s fine, but it’s concerning that so many marketers focus on “the viral” believing that one brilliant idea that people want to spread will make all the difference.

The formula for success, according to David Meerman Scott, includes: a combination of some great—and free—Web content (a video, blog entry, interactive tool, or e-book) that provides valuable information (or is groundbreaking or amazing or hilarious or involves a celebrity), plus a network of people to light the fire and links that make your content very easy to share.

Couple Key Points

  1. You first need a network of people. In order to do that, you need to create and share valuable “free” content to your target audience consistently, over a long-period of time.
  2. The power is not in the one, but in the many. Blendtec didn’t just blend one thing up and hope people shared it.  They have done it consistently over years, with now hundreds of millions of people engaging in their Will it Blend? videos – transforming their entire business.

How do I get people to my website?

This Huffington Post article by Charles Warner goes into some detail about how content is NOT king, but it’s all about marketing and search (I strongly disagree with this).

How can you market without having a valuable, interesting story to tell? When executed correctly, your content IS your marketing.

How can you be found in online searches without having valuable information for people to find? How do you rise to the top in search without many people linking to your content because it’s so valuable?

How can you be successful in social media without first having a content strategy?

So if you really want to get people to your website…

  1. First, stop asking that question. It’s not about people coming to your website. If you get a million people to your website and they do nothing, what’s the point?  You want the right people doing the right things that will help your business (and help them at the same time).
  2. Second, don’t think that it’s one time or easy in any way. Creating good content on a consistent basis that people want or need is hard. That’s why so many marketers and agencies look for the “quick” viral hit. That makes it seem easier. That makes it about the creative, the idea, about the campaign. For success, make it about your customers and do it over a long period of time.
  3. Before you do anything, answer these questions. It will save you a ton of time.
  4. Then formulate those into a basic content strategy.
  5. Then use these six steps to content marketing execution success.

Successful marketing is not about the search for the viral hit…it’s about a continuous process of valuable publishing. Who knew that in this high-tech era, that the secret to marketing success would be around a technique used since the dawn of time – publishing?

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the Founder of Content Marketing Institute, a UBM company, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. Joe is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council. Joe’s the author of five books, including his latest, Killing Marketing. His third book, Epic Content Marketing was named one of “Five Must Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange. Follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

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  • Andee Sellman, One Sherpa

    Really great post Joe.
    The most difficult thing is to be absolutely consistent over a long period of time. When we started our blog I thought we should do something every day. After about six months we’ve come back to a publishing regime where we post one video blog and one word blog per week. We’re trying a Tuesday and Thursday so readers know when to look for them. Over time we’re slowly getting more and more readers and members and moving up in our google rankings.
    It’s a marathon not a 100 metre dash!!

  • Joe Pulizzi

    Thanks for the great comment Andee. Sounds like you’ve got it down. Helpful content to the right audience over a long-period of time does the trick every time.

  • Matthew Ray Scott

    Spot-on guidance as always.
    I believe we will continue to see a shift from the SEO emphasis to content marketing emphasis. After all, a great content marketing marketing strategy has a built-in SEO strategy.
    I love “How” questions and I like to follow them up with “Why” questions.
    I’m convinced that so many people are struggling with How to get more people to their website because they can’t name “who” they want to arrive and then don’t know “what” they want them to do when they get there.
    That was alot of Who, What, When, Where, & Why:)

  • Sonny Cohen

    Oy, I hate these kinds of discussions. More people to your website? Ouch!. That is such a packaged goods kind of mentality; mass produced marketing for mass produced products.
    Isn’t it, at least in part, about getting the right people to the right places to interact with you or your online brand presence (wheresoever that may be) at the right time? And to do this continuously over time?

  • Scott Walker

    Seems odd that the old saws are still true, but we have to keep reminding ourselves that they’re still relevant.
    You hit the nail on the head regarding traffic: numbers are useless unless they represent measurable value.
    Also, it’s harder than ever (and will be increasingly so) to secure that meaningful traffic. There are no silver bullet, quick-hit short-cuts for long-term success and staying power.
    How many years has it been since the tech implosion? Why are we still seeing short-term bean-counter priorities being substituted for long-term value-add offerings that will truly generate the stickiness and viral marketing components the bean counters want?

  • Joe Pulizzi

    – Oy, I hate these kinds of discussions. More people to your website? Ouch!. That is such a packaged goods kind of mentality; mass produced marketing for mass produced products.
    Sonny, you are exactly right. I was sort of making a point that it is the wrong question to ask.

  • Blase Ciabaton

    Great post! In my business as well (direct mail), everybody wants a quick fix. Yes, people still send direct mail; the ones who are successful send relevant messages to a targeted audience consistently over time. In many cases, direct mail is only part of the communication strategy with their target audience. Ironically, those who “get it” the most are often nonprofits. They consistently communicate with their donors and reap the long term results. By in large, the for-profit world wants the quick fix, comparable to “going viral” on the web, and this is exceptionally difficult to achieve in a single step for the same reasons that you reference in this post. Thanks!

  • creatine

    Thanks for the information.
    I am working in E-marketing industry. Where you required to get more traffic to the site. This tips will help me a lot. This tips is different from SEO techniques. It emphasis more on core marketing funda. Thanks.

  • Christopher, blog commenting service

    Content marketing is a good important strategy, but how can businesses survive or thrive in this era where there is so much competition in every area? That’s perhaps the reason why many are using viral marketing and similar strategies to reach a vast number of potential customers.

  • jeu pour enfant

    I can give to some tips to attract more people to your website.
    -You could give people a free subscription to your newsletter.
    -Provide your visitors with new and original content.
    -Give your visitors a free ebook.
    -If you have expertise in a certain area you could offer free consulting to people who visit your web site.
    -Give visitors a free entry into a contest you are running.

  • Sheila Goraluk

    great ideas all of you and a wonderful article I hope you don’t mind me sharing it on my newbie entrepreneur blog. I think they would benefit from it as I did, we are so busy struggling to get traffic we kind of lose the plot at times. Thanks again for the reminder of what is really important.

  • Nick Usborne

    Blase wrote, “Ironically, those who “get it” the most are often nonprofits.”
    You are so right, and I can’t believe I hadn’t seen that myself. I have written for hundreds of non-profit and for-profit organizations and companies over the course of over 30 years, and the point you made in just 10 words never clicked. Thank you! : )
    As a side note, I wonder if non-profits are able to mail more frequently because they are promoting good causes.
    As to Joe’s post, yes. Yes, it all takes time. The modern curse on every writer and marketer these days is the myth of “Internet time”.