I raised a query in another question about Facebook ads and someone suggested to focus elsewhere on acquiring customers and use Facebook to engage and maintain relationships.
So that got me wondering what other methods people found to be the BEST for driving customers to their online store/service/information site and how quickly they saw a response. When I say the best they don't necessarily have to be the cheapest but definitely which methods give bang for buck. I guess a good way to get a nice even response would be to ask the following questions:
What have you seen as the best methods for driving traffic to your site?
How quickly did you see a response?
Was it expensive?
Would you say it delivered bang for buck?
If you'd done anything different, what would that be?
It'll be interesting to see what people say.
Blogging can be great for traffic and lead generation. It shows that you have demonstrated expertise in your domain, which helps build trust among your prospects. It also helps your company website rank more highly in search engines, since they love fresh content.
But most importantly, blog posts tend to get shared far more often than static pages, which means you'll start getting inbound links to your website from all over the web, especially on social media.
But best of all, it's totally free!
Just make sure you have an effective, relevant call-to-action somewhere in each and every post. That way you're moving your blog readers further down your sales funnel.
I'm afraid you're making a classic internet marketing mistake (don't worry the vast majority of businesses make the same mistake). You're expecting that there is someone out there that can answer that question for you, based on their experience with their own business, or their experience as an online marketer.
No one should base online marketing strategy on what worked for someone else (or didn't). Every business is different (even in the same sector), websites are different, USP's, prices, the way you deal with enquiries, all may be different. So NEVER base decisions on what works for others, there is no guarantee that your results will be the same.
You can look at the experiences of others and the advice of professionals in online marketing and use that to narrow down which you might try first and there are other factors that will determine in which order you trial different options. But it all boils down to trial, measurement and analysis to find what works and what doesn't for your business.
It also depends on what you're selling. If you are selling something people already search for then anything that successfully get you in front of the appropriate search results at an acceptable cost, is a good starting point. If you've invented something new that people are not searching for then SEM may not be the best starting poing and a more pro-active strategy such as display advertising may yield better results.
StumbleUpon is pretty good - five cents per visit. To make it effective, put some special offer for StumbleUpon visitor and use the StumbleUpon logo. The visitors can be highly targeted by geographic location and demographic, and you can buy as much or as little as you want.
Build a great product that sells itself.
edit More specifically, the method I used was a few youtube videos marketing directly to a need in the market that I targeted. Very specifically, I built a program to address a problem with a need for repetitive and/or quick mouse clicks for the game RuneScape, and then made a few youtube videos showcasing basic features. I get ~1200 visits a month with ~35% of people downloading the program (it's free).
Youtube is hugely popular among RS players, so the combination of speaking to their need through a medium that they enjoy made for a hit. The lesson to take home is that you should build a product that your customers know they want, then go where your customers like to be and tell them about it directly.
I use the following as a starting template--
As John Caples said, "the key to success (maximum sales per dollar) lies in perpetual testing of all the variables."