To get results from your landing pages, they need to be optimal. And to make your landing page optimal, you need to constantly be refining and improving their performances.
In other words, to make your landing pages and website better, you need traffic. It’s the only way to tell whether your funnels are improving or not.
We wrote the following guide to help you drive traffic to your landing pages (so you can improve them and generate leads, sales or demos):
There are many ways to drive traffic to a website, but only a few channels will scale and drive consistent traffic to your landing pages.
What works today might not work tomorrow, so you’ll consistently want to test new channels. Below are the key strategies you can use to drive traffic to your landing pages today:
Leveraging Existing Platforms
Many of the sites and services we use today got their start by piggybacking on existing platforms. AirBnB used Craigslist, SaaStr used Quora and PayPal used eBay. It allowed them to get their initial traffic, gain visibility and establish credibility.
By being featured or getting backlinks on high-traffic platforms, they were able to seed select links and pages, get feedback and create a consistent flow of visitors.
It can be a lot of work, but as solopreneur Pieter Levels explains in his book Make, a link on Hacker News‘ homepage can drive 50,000 unique visitors, a link on Product Hunt 12,000, and most websites can’t handle Reddit’s homepage traffic (50,000 to 500,000 visitors).
With the right links and content, you can drive tons of traffic to your landing pages. Explore driving traffic from:
- App Stores (iTunes, Android, Slack, Shopify, Chrome Extensions, Salesforce, etc);
- Social Sites (Medium, Flipboard, Reddit, Quora, Craigslist, Zest.is, etc);
- Specialty Sites & Communities (Who are your users? Where do they hang?);
- LinkedIn or Facebook Groups or Slack Communities.
Once you know who will (or might) find value from your specific offering, you can start doing direct reachouts via email, social media or even over the phone.
Direct reachouts are a great way to create initial momentum and get initial consideration from the exact people your offer or product is meant to serve.
Depending on your customer profile, and whether you’re targeting businesses or consumers, you might be able to find prospects on:
- Review Sites (Capterra, GetApp, G2Crowd, SaaS Genius, DiscoverCloud, etc);
- Directories (LinkedIn, AngelList, Crunchbase, BetaList, Product Hunt, Clutch, etc);
- Portfolio Sites (Dribbble, Behance, etc);
- Communities (GrowthHackers, Inbound.org, Quora, Medium, Stack Overflow, etc).
Tools like Clearbit Connect, Email Hunter or ZoomInfo will allow you to find contacts. Platforms like Woodpecker, Outreach or Reply.io will allow you to automate reachouts.
Public Relations (PR)
If there’s something noteworthy about your landing page, or you feel that there’s a story that can be told around your offering, the press and public relations can help you reach a lot of mainstream visitors outside of your niche.
You can do direct reachouts to journalists connecting your story with their areas of expertise.
In tech, the main media outlets are The Next Web, Forbes, Lifehacker, Quartz, Mashable, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, WIRED, Inc. and Tech.co.
Press and PR can make a huge impact. In 2013, Business Insider wanted to feature my presentation 26 Time Management Hacks I wish I’d Known at 20…
Five years later, my personal website still gets traffic from the post every month:
If you have access to a mailing list (yours or a partner’s) and send automated or mass emails, you can use emails to drive traffic to key landing pages.
Although you’re constrained by the volume of emails you send each day/week/month, it can get you really good results.
About a hundred people sign up each week on the Lean B2B website. Each of these signups receive a series of emails (the Lean B2B Mistakes series) containing links to content and pages that I know perform well towards the website’s objective (to sell books).
With 100 signups per week, a 40-50% open rate and 20% of these signups clicking email links, I can expect a certain volume of clicks on key pages. It’s not huge, but it’s consistent.
We’ll cover how to build an email list in a following post. Sign up to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss that post.
Social and Display Ads
If you have a little bit of money, a clear picture of your target customers and a good grasp of your unit economics (Cost per acquisition and Lifetime Value mostly), you can start doing ad tests on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
These platforms will allow you to estimate costs and market size upfront. Depending on your business and unit economics, buying clicks (cost per click or CPC) or buying ad impressions (cost per thousand or CPM) can be good options for you.
Highlights will allow you to find landing pages that convert and that are worth promoting on ad networks, or via search engine marketing (see below).
You can also drive traffic to your landing pages through native advertising networks like Outbrain, Adblade, Adroll, Taboola, Revcontent, etc. These networks will allow you to create ads that look like regular website content on their partner networks.
Search Engine Marketing
If there’s enough search volume for your landing page’s keywords (find out with Google Trends) or related keywords, you can test search engine marketing (SEM).
You can use Google AdWords to reach Google’s search and display networks. Although Google has more than 90% of the search market share, you can get good results targeting less competitive (or more specialized) search engines like Microsoft’s Bing, DuckDuckGo, Baidu (China) or Yandex (Russia).
Interestingly, some of the most popular search engines aren’t even perceived to be search engines: Amazon, Pinterest, YouTube, Taobao (China), etc.
One of the core channels we use at Highlights to drive traffic to our landing pages is content marketing. Chances are, if you’re reading this post, it means it’s at least partially working ?.
By creating high-quality content optimized for social sharing (try it: share this post ?) and findability (search engine optimization or SEO), we ensure that a certain percentage of site visitors reach our key landing pages.
Although content marketing is a bit of a long-game, it compounds over time.
For example, at the time of writing this post, visitors were currently reading our posts Anatomy of a Successful Landing Page: What to Optimize And When and How to Setup Google Analytics for Your SaaS App published respectively 2 and 3 weeks ago.
As our blog gains momentum, we expect that our older posts will drive an increasing number of visitors to our core landing pages.
Content marketing compounds, but for it to work, you have to be patient.
Professional Network (Maybe)
You can also drive traffic to your landing pages by reaching out to your personal or professional networks.
Although it might feel like the easiest thing to do, the problem you’ll quickly run into (before your network runs out) is that acquaintances, friends or family won’t behave the way strangers do.
Their behaviours will blur your metrics and give you a false measure of success. It can give your site a short-term push, but it won’t be sustainable down the road.
Consistent Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Landing Pages
Traffic sources are not born equal. For example, virality on social media will give your landing page a temporary boost, whereas hitting a good search keyword will bring users each and every week.
Although viral or temporary boosts are good, you should aim for consistent traffic.
You need to strike a balance between:
- The time it takes you to get the traffic;
- The potential volume of traffic (Can it scale? Can you repeat it?).
It takes time to find and scale traffic sources for your landing pages. You might have to start scrappy doing things that don’t scale, and change the way you drive traffic to your landing pages as you test new channels.
As HotJar CEO David Darmanin says, early on, you should focus on the channels you know well and can master. It will allow you to rapidly gain momentum.
Using the I.C.E. Score to Drive Traffic to Your Landing Pages
Spend 90% of your time and effort taking the steady, gradual approach, working to establish yourself solidly at one level before trying to move up to the next. But also spend 10% of your time and energy on the long shots. If you succeed, the strategy will pay off handsomely; if you fail, you’ve only lost a small investment of your time. – Scott Edelstein, Author
As you experiment with different ways to drive traffic to your landing pages, you’ll also want to prioritize and track your experiments.
The I.C.E. score is composed of 3 sub scores:
- Impact: How impactful do I expect this test to be?
- Confidence: How sure am I that this test will prove my hypothesis?
- Ease: How easily can I launch this test?
By having multiple people review and rank traffic opportunities, and then combining these scores, it’s possible to arrive at an almost “objective” ranking.
Once prioritized, these opportunities will help keep your team focused on driving traffic to your key web and landing pages. You’ll then be able to turn your growing traffic into sales, signups or demos.