How much time do you spend on marketing designed solely to drive website traffic? Implementing a strong SEO strategy, running PPC campaigns, building landing pages and keeping up with social media can be overwhelming and take up precious hours you could be using to grow your business in other ways. On top of these tasks, you also have to monitor customer data to see if your efforts are paying off.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have the very same customers you’ve worked so hard to acquire do some of the marketing for you? Advertising has become a two-way street, and today’s consumers are more than happy to interact with and speak up about their favorite brands. Your customers expect an engaging experience, and there are several ways you can make use of this collaborative mindset to get more website traffic.Affiliate Marketing
Instead of running new ad campaigns yourself every season, consider recruiting customers to act as affiliates. You can set up a program through your own site or on a platform such as LinkShare.Customers sign up and are given a trackable link or selection of link types to share on their websites, in blog posts, through emails or on social media. Each time someone makes a purchase or signs up for your services using these links, the affiliate receives a small commission. These programs allow you to harness the marketing power of a diverse customer base and reach a much wider audience than is possible through your own campaigns.

On-site Reviews
Sixty-four percent of customers seek out reviews during the buying process, and most feel more comfortable making purchases after reading opinions from their peers. Featuring reviews on your site, especially next to products, not only increases conversions but also encourages new customers to leave reviews of their own. This ongoing cycle creates more content for search engine robots to crawl and can help bump your site up in search results for greater visibility.

Sharing these reviews on social media creates a positive conversation around your brand. When you highlight customers’ reactions to your products or services, you create a sense of community and trust and show you’re committed to providing the quality your audience has come to expect from businesses in your industry.

There’s no better way to create buzz around your brand and bring people to your site than running a contest. Choose a deadline, come up with a prize and ask for entries accompanied by a custom hashtag. Prompt customers to post photos and videos featuring your products in relevant ways, such as:

• Wearing your most popular clothing to an event
• Using your fitness tracker during a workout
• Cooking with a specialty ingredient you produce

Use the deadline to create a sense of urgency, and feature winning entries on your site or social media once prizes have been awarded.

Leverage User-Generated Content
Entries collected during contests can be used to create continued interest in your brand and bring more traffic to your site. Make sure you specify in the rules of the contest how this user-generated content (UGC) may be distributed in future advertising campaigns, and make the most of what your customers provide.

Post UGC on your company’s social media feeds, or feature it on the appropriate product pages on your website. With 93 percent of consumers reporting they find UGC helpful in their purchasing decisions, highlighting customer content not only drives traffic but also has the potential to significantly increase conversions.

Create a Brand Advocate Community
All forms of customer marketing build awareness for your brand. Chances are you already have a loyal customer base willing to talk about your products and services to their audiences. Get in touch with these potential brand advocates to establish meaningful relationships. Consider creating a loyalty program to bring these and other repeat customers back to your site. Consumers enjoy earning bonuses from brands they love, and the enthusiasm these programs generate creates more visibility for your brand.

Influential content creators in your industry may also be willing to review your products if you send free samples. Identify the strongest voices, and send personalized messages with your offers. Even a few reviews from well-respected sources can translate into a great deal more traffic for your site.

Staying active and engaged in the community surrounding your brand helps ensure these tactics will work. As long as you continue to deliver the quality and experience your customers want, they’ll keep giving back in the form of reviews, word-of-mouth advertising and other user-driven marketing.

These contributions increase awareness and generate trust, creating long-term positive effects for your company. The marketing your customers do today will continue to drive traffic to your site, making this a cost-effective way to invest in business growth.