One of the best ways to increase traffic to your website and to boost your search engine rankings is to have referrals from other websites. Referral traffic results when a website sends possible buyers to your website.
It’s the simplest way to boost your leads. Anyone who lands on your website by clicking a link that wasn’t on a search engine would be included in referral traffic.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is lengthy, and pay-per-click advertising is expensive. Blogging and social media are time-consuming activities that don’t always lead to satisfactory results.
However, referrals send visitors to you from a trusted website. These websites, especially if they belong to an affiliate of yours, already have the same target group, and people tend to have faith in their recommendations.
Online referral marketing has changed the ecommerce game. When websites with a loyal following send customers your way, these visitors can be easily converted. You have social proof in your favor, and more bank links on other websites mean better search engine rankings.
There are many ways to increase the success of your referral marketing and lead generating strategies. Let's check out 8 key ways.
1. Leverage Social Media
Nearly 90% of marketers agree that social media has provided massive exposure for their brands. Social media marketing tends to boost web traffic unlike any other digital marketing effort.
Every time you tweet, share, like, or post to ensure your customer engagement action plan, you drive up your referral traffic.
Social media is the most important referral marketing channel. Customer acquisition cost on social media can be contained because there are organic ways to increase your reach.
While Instagram and Facebook allow you to run sponsored ads as well, if you understand their algorithm you can drive referral without paid ads.
Building a presence on social media can be time consuming, but it’s highly rewarding. The effort you give it converts into referral traffic and better search engine ranking in multiple ways.
Social networking sites can propel prospective customers down a lead funnel faster than any other digital marketing channel. However, you need to be consistent on social media and keep your engagement rates up in order to keep the referrals at a constant high.
In the age of influencers and micro influencers, referrals from people’s social media pages – and, eventually, their websites – can be a big chunk of your referral traffic.
Recruiting influencers, having them unbox your products on YouTube and link your website in their captions can drive the most traffic.
If you have an affiliate program, your affiliates could recommend your products with website links on multiple social media accounts instead of just their websites. Which brings us to our next point.
2. Affiliate Programs
There are a number of ways to build backlinks on the internet. While a robust SEO strategy includes building quality backlinks through a variety of methods, the best way is to have links on websites with a similar target group. That way you don’t have to work on building trust.
Start an affiliate program to take advantage of the following that someone has built, and use that to increase referral traffic.
The greatest advantage of affiliate marketing is that you only pay the affiliate if someone clicks on a link on their website or social networking profile.
Affiliate marketing has become one of the surest ways to drive traffic to a website, and there are now plug-ins available for your website – like Easy Affiliate – that can help monitor your affiliate program.
You don’t need to have a daily standup meeting with your affiliates to update you on progress. Easy Affiliate offers you a dashboard with detailed metrics and account activity as well as real-time reports.
3. Guest Blogging
There are many reputable websites that have spent years building a name in their respective niches. These could be industry experts within your niche, or bloggers from your industry. If they have sizable traffic, guest blogging on their website can help drive top-notch referral traffic to your page.
It's best to maintain a regular guest posting schedule, especially once you have numbers in-hand, and can see which guest blog generates the most traffic.
Guest posting is the gold standard for building brand authority, and it also helps your SEO. Keep the following guidelines in mind when writing a guest blog:
Choose an engaging topic.
- Write about customer pain points so people find a reason to visit your website. You need to deliver value.
- Include a short bio for yourself and your business in every guest blog.
- Include links to your website, but don’t overdo it. Link stuffing is unsightly.
- Choose websites with a sizable readership and traffic. They shouldn’t be competitors and should be related to your niche.
- Don’t sound too promotional. You could slip in a link or two without directly marketing your brand.
Guest blogging is time consuming and it takes a good while before someone accepts you to blog for them. Nevertheless, it’s one of the proven ways to drive referral traffic with sustained effort and persistence.
Your online whiteboard of ideas for referral marketing should have Pinterest somewhere at the top. Pinterest is all the rage, and latest studies show that it's better at driving referral traffic than Twitter.
While I've discussed social networking and its benefits, Pinterest stands out from them as a social bookmarking site. It’s a social media platform but not a social network. People go to Pinterest to find ideas and recommendations, but not to share them.
Pinterest could be a major player in your referral marketing strategy. Learn from those who are owning it on Pinterest, and start pinning your content and infographics.
Affiliates and influencers can promote your content on their Pinterest boards as well. Make sure your images are high quality and are optimized for Pinterest.
5. Online Directories
Online directories list businesses and their contact information and web links, just like the yellow pages of yesteryear. Adding your name and website to these online directories is an easy way to get referral traffic.
You don’t have to appear in every directory – just find those relevant to your niche and with a substantial amount of traffic.
Usually, those that land in the top results for a Google search related to your product or service are your best bet. You can’t use SEO to beat their search engine ranking. You can, however, list your website on these directories and divert valuable traffic to your website.
6. Commenting on Blogs
If done correctly, commenting on blogs can be a great way to increase referral traffic. There’s an art to pitching your website in the comments and using that to get your website noticed. If you are commenting on someone else’s blog, you want to add value to their blog post.
Don’t spam the blog with your links – your followers’ tolerance may vary. Try to leave a meaningful comment that adds to the conversation instead of a one-liner to promote your website.
Also, limit the number of blogs you comment on. Find those you can organically engage with and use them to garner referral traffic.
7. Publishing Infographics
Visuals connect faster to the human brain than text. What is a virtual meeting compared to an email? An Instagram post compared to a written blog?
Visual content grabs attention faster and caters to the short attention spans of today's consumers. Infographics are a neat way to turn complicated data into simple graphs and charts. Create your own infographics to attract attention and also referral traffic.
It takes time to create a great infographic piece, but when you share it across the internet or it is embedded by others in their blogs, it can be a wonderful way to drive referral traffic.
8. Email Marketing
Email newsletters have stood the test time and remain the most effective way to drive traffic to your website. Email marketing must be consistent to work, so at least send out an email newsletter once a week.
All your outgoing emails can be considered an opportunity to promote your website. Add a link to your latest blog to your email signature.
Easy Affiliate also helps you with flawless integration with Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, and ConvertKit to keep your affiliates in the know. That way you’re not pulling your hair out running multiple email marketing campaigns.
Make Referral Marketing Work For You
Use an objectives and key results (OKR) framework to track the progress of your referral marketing strategies. You don’t have to implement all eight of the above tactics, but find the ones that work best for your brand and concentrate on them.
OKR uses data and ambition for goal-setting, and you can analyze, track, and evaluate the success of your referral marketing campaigns on a quarterly basis.
Getting referral traffic takes time, but if you’re patient and follow the advice above, you should come out on top. Persistence is key – don’t expect overnight results.
Whether a guest blog, social media post, or infographic, make sure the content you create is of the highest quality. Consumers are more discerning than ever, and high-quality content will always win in the end.