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Once your organization is off the ground and your website is getting traffic you’ll start to hear about all the digital marketing options you should pursue: SEO, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Local Search, Display Ads, Email Marketing…the list goes on and on. Today we’re going to have a quick look at the top three traffic channels you should start with, and why the others are a little further down the list.

Start with SEO

Yes, SEO can be complicated and there are lots of tasks that fall under the SEO category, but taking a look at your site through the eyes of the Google algorithm and fixing issues that are holding you back will lay a strong foundation for the future. There are lots of articles about getting started with SEO, but some basic keyword research and help from an SEO research tool like Moz, SEMRush or ahrefs will allow you to clear SEO errors and optimize each page with an appropriate keyword. Yes, there is more to SEO than just those tasks, but getting your site above the ‘we’ve-never-thought-about-SEO’ point is step one.

Most organizations that want exceptional SEO hire a professional, but you can at least understand the state of your current site and rankings by using a research tool and taking some basic steps.

Email Marketing

It’s tempting to think that email marketing is no longer relevant or it’s not for your company, but if you sell something online, you should start gathering email addresses. Even if you only have one promotion a year, sending an email (or a short series of emails) can make a huge difference. Think of it this way: if you’re not email marketing, you’re waiting for users to come back on their own, which is a passive way to run an online business. You can refer to our article about getting started with email marketing, so we don’t have to review all the basics here.

Google Ads

Many website owners run Google Ads like a print advertising experiment. They choose a round number (ex: $1,000) and buy that much traffic, then pause to evaluate. What they don’t know is there is a way to project the outcome of your experiment ahead of time.

Your SEO research tool will allow you to do keyword research. As you narrow down the list of keywords that are right for your experiment, you can then run them through Google’s forecasting tool. You need to log in to see the forecast, but (despite the prompts from Google) you don’t have to launch an ad to see the forecast. Just head through the Campaign, Ad Group and ad creation process, then pause the campaign you’ve just created. Once you’re logged in, head to:

Tools > Planning > Keyword Planner

Then choose ‘Get Search Volume and Forecast’ and follow the prompts.

Google’s forecasting tool will show you how much traffic is available in your targeted area, and assuming a 1% conversion rate (which is the average across all sites), you’ll be able to see what you might get in return. If the math tells you there isn’t profit in this traffic stream, you can get a second opinion or move on to your next marketing tactic.

Local, Display, Social

As touched on earlier, there are lots of marketing tactics that go beyond the ‘first three’, but they aren’t right for every site. Take a look at SEO, Email and Google Ads first, then decide if you should move on to another set of tactics that are relevant to your business. For example:

If you expect users to visit a storefront, success on Google Maps is really important.

If you have a loyal following and you’re announcing a sale, Display ads could help with that.

If your offerings are fun and easily understood and shared, Social Media could be a hit.

There is a lot more to all the marketing tactics on this list, but the goal today was to help you prioritize and avoid decision paralysis. If you have questions about digital marketing or need help getting started, get in touch! We’re ready to help.