How an entrepreneur from the California Gold Rush era can help us solve the number one problem facing internet marketers today: How to get internet traffic to your website.
Give Away Free Maps
During the gold rush era many prospectors, business people and entrepreneurs of all types made a bee line for the California gold fields. Many of them traveled by boat but the majority of them traveled overland. The majority of those came from the East to St Louis Missouri and then on across the Great Plains to the California boom towns.
It’s hard to imagine the journey facing most of the people who came out west. It was customary for a trip from Virginia to California to take from three to six months. Sort of like the early days of the internet if you used a dial up modem. It makes me shudder just thinking about how long it would take to download even the smallest file back then.
A very enterprising entrepreneur in St Louis got rich by giving away free maps. He knew that potential prospectors and business people headed to the gold fields of California had no idea of where they were going. In order to reach California, they would need maps to get there. He gave away free maps detailing how to reach the California gold fields. People came to his store to get the free maps. Since they were already in his store to get the free maps why not stock up on all those essentials you might need before you embarked on a three-month journey? St Louis was the last place before you reached California that carried everything you might need. Axes, shovels, wagons, mules, oxen, blankets, rifles and food stocks were just some of the items that a prospector would need to survive the journey across the Great Plains.
He succeeded at this strategy because he had billboards all over town advertising the free maps and where people could get them. He even paid young boys to act as town criers. They ran all over town announcing that people could “Get Free Gold Mine Maps at Joe’s”.
Your potential prospects are a lot like those early prospectors and entrepreneurs. They face an incredible journey just to find you, your website or your blog. They have no idea where to find you. Your job is to give away free maps and to announce it all over the internet so that people will know where to find you.
5 Top Ways to Give Away Free Maps
There are a number of very effective strategies for giving away free maps so that people can find their way to you. For the purpose of keeping this article as short as possible I am only including the five most effective methods for giving away free maps.
Natural Search Engine Traffic: The number one way to direct people to your website or blog is to submit your website to the major search engines. Google, Bing, and Yahoo are the three major search engines. You many also want to consider Ask, Duck Duck Go, and Dogpile. After submitting your site to the major search engines, you can focus on the hundreds of smaller search engines that exist. Don’t try to tackle them all at once. If you are doing it manually pick five search engines a week to submit to and spend 15 minutes a week submitting to those five. All of the major search engines send out bots searching for new sites on a frequent basis. Eventually they will find and list you. It speeds up the process if you follow their instructions for manually listing your site.
Article Directories: Every internet marketing guru and guru wannabe is promoting this strategy because it works. Write 1 to 2 articles every week and submit them to an article directory such as ezinearticles.com or articledashboard.com. If you have difficulty writing I highly encourage you to develop that skill or to pay someone to write articles for you. Make sure the articles are high quality content driven originals. Don’t just write one article that you then change in minor ways and keep submitting to multiple directories.
Email/Forum Signatures: One way to generate traffic is to participate in forums and/or send out emails. The trick is to have a signature at the end of your email or forum post that advertises the fact that you give away free maps. Make the message short and direct. It can be as simple as “free map to the gold mine – click here” with a link to your website or blog. The nice thing about it is that if you participate in a forum online and you post several hundred posts that is several hundred small boys all shouting out “Get Free Gold Mine Maps from Joe”.
Gold Nugget: I just stole . . . I mean borrowed this idea from Jim Daniels publisher of the Bizweb Gazette. He recommends that you read blogs related to your gold mine (Niche) and that you leave comments or posts on the blogs with your signature link. These comments will be read by readers of the blog and if you arouse their curiosity they will click on your link.
Blogs: Blogs are a way to keep your prospector up to date if you have a new map to offer or just to share useful and helpful information with him. Think of it as a way to give away interactive maps that tell the prospector about the route as they are traveling it.
Videos: One of the hottest methods for generating traffic on the internet is video. You can create a short, informational video with very little equipment. Some entrepreneurs are highly successful just using their smart phone to record their videos. You create a YouTube channel for your brand and upload the videos to YouTube. There are other video sites but currently YouTube has the largest audience in the world.
E-zine Advertising; One fast, direct way to get the word out that you are giving away free gold mine maps is to advertise in an E-zine. There are literally thousands of E-zines and some of them will even let you advertise for free or for a very low cost. It’s a great way to get your message in front of an audience. It’s best to advertise about things the E-zine subscribers are interested in. If you advertise in an E-zine that is about Organic Gardening you might want to entice them with an E-book about using Lady Bugs and other natural predators to keep their gardens pest free.
Podcasts: Another way to reach your potential goldmine seekers is with podcasts. The podcast is a melding of the blog with audio on demand. You record your podcast and post it where people can download it and listen to it when it is convenient for them. Make sure you use a format that is compatible with Apple and Android phones. With the average commute in the U.S. being approximately 45 minutes it is no wonder this method of giving away free maps is growing in popularity.
Gold Nugget: It’s a marathon… Not a sprint. The key is to work on just one or two things at a time. Set aside 30 minutes each day to do one or two things to promote your website or blog and you will be amazed at the results that happen over time. Persistent effort pays off.