Why Culture Matters in the Workplace Here in HCMC

By: Christian Routin

Important lessons to guarantee success in a foreign culture.

Successful cross cultural environment.

There are many reasons why global companies struggle to succeed in new markets like Vietnam, but one of them rises above the rest. That reason is invisible and intangible, but ever-present and enormously impactful. Unfortunately, most global companies are not even aware of the problem within their workplace. They often repeat the same costly mistakes, failing to get to the root of the problem.

Culture in the Workplace in HCMCImage source: fool.com

To adequately address this problem, we need to consider what the greatest challenges are that businesses face, as well as the most important skills required to confront them. According to Edward T. Hall, an American anthropologist and cross cultural researcher, "The greatest barrier to business success is the one erected by culture." With regards to skill sets, the Harvard Business Review recently concluded that... 

"...the number one most valuable skill for the 21st century manager is the ability to successfully work across cultures...”

Experts agree that the main reason global companies struggle around the world is due to cultural differences, and a lack of cross-cultural skills in leaders and expats.

Eight Key Concepts for Cross-Cultural Success in Vietnam & Abroad

One important lesson culturally-sensitive leaders have learned is that effective leadership traits in their native culture do not guarantee success in a foreign culture. Aside from generic company values, there are eight key concepts to bear in mind when building a successful team of expats and locals.

Culture in the Workplace in HCMCImage source: fool.com

1. First, it is important to consider the CQ (Cross-Cultural Quotient) of expat team members. Most employers are aware of IQ (Intelligence Quotient) and EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient). Other important quotients are Psychological (the ability to anticipate people's thoughts and actions) and Relationship (the ability to build fast, long, and lasting relationships). However, CQ has proven to be a critical metric to success in an international, cross-cultural setting.

2. Second, it is important to consider the criteria with which to hire expats. These criteria will differ from those used in their home countries, including OAI (Overseas Assignment Inventory) which measures qualities like openness, flexibility, adaptability, curiosity, willingness to change and learn, patience, empathy, etc. 

3. Expats must receive cross-cultural training within 2 months of arrival to their new host country. Failure to implement adequate cross-cultural training program will directly and negatively impact expats’ ability to work in a foreign country. There is no way they can operate successfully in a business setting without first understanding the culture in which they do business.

4. Of course, the longer an expat lives in a foreign culture, the more intimately they will understand it and adjust their attitudes and business practices accordingly. At least 2 years is recommended for an adequate understanding of a foreign culture, including a grasp of the local language.

5. Global companies must work diligently and carefully to integrate local leadership into their corporate structure, or else they will come to rely exclusively on expat leaders. In Vietnamese culture, leadership is hierarchical, while Western leadership tends to be more egalitarian. This requires a shift to the "middle", as well as active structural efforts, because most employees will not simply change themselves. For Vietnamese leaders to adapt to global companies, they should learn to compromise on cultural values such as hierarchy, face-saving behaviour, harmony, respect for elders, and family relationships.

Culture in the Workplace in HCMCImage source: dianegottsman.com

6. Having culturally sensitive local Vietnamese upper management directly impacts the cultural sensitivity of local Vietnamese middle management. This is critical to avoid a scenario where the staff is divided between expats and Vietnamese employees who each operate under very different cultural workplace values. This, in turn, reduces productivity, engagement, motivation, and finances.

7. Creating a new, local corporate culture is key to a successful cross-cultural corporate environment. Everyone must adapt their own cultural values because no culture is superior to another--each of them brings different strengths and weaknesses to the table. Success can be found only when all team members shift their cultural positions to meet somewhere in the middle to create a cultural mix.

8. Above all, the top leaders working in the corporate head office must be aware of this reality and be intimately familiar with the cultural subtleties and cross-cultural challenges faced by their global companies. They must give expats S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based) business objectives adapted to the unique challenges of their cultural environment.

Culture in the Workplace in HCMCImage source: lovebelfast.co.uk

Conclusion: What Are the Solutions to These Problems Vietnam Businesses Face?

From these points we can conclude that it is crucial to select expats with the right profile and cross-cultural skills. Expats and executives alike must be systematically trained, mentored, and coached to develop these skills and deepen their knowledge of local culture.

Sending local managers abroad for some time can help broaden their cultural sensitivities as well and help them meet their expat counterparts in the middle. Training, mentorship, and coaching is also important for local employees so that they can better understand the culture of their global company. Perhaps most importantly, expat workers must learn to respect and understand the local working culture, values, and practices.

Culture in the Workplace in HCMCImage source: cascadebusnews.com

“Living in a foreign culture is like playing a game you’ve never played before and for which the rules haven’t been explained very well. The challenge is to enjoy the game without missing too many plays, learning the rules and developing skills as you go along." - Robert Kohls

This "game", the corporate world, and the lives we lead are all subject to fast-paced changes. With this change comes growth, and the most important skill for workers in a cross-cultural environment is to be willing to change and adapt. It is the rate at which global companies adapt that will determine their success further down the road, not only in Vietnam, but in any other foreign culture.

Banner Image source: masters.net

Why the Middle Class is Vietnam’s Future

By: City Pass Guide

It’s no secret that the middle class carries the economic stability of a country more than any other demographic. The recent growth of exactly this group of consumers, who have left the constraints of poverty and have reached a new quality of life, is a very good sign for all businesses in the country. Simply put, the growing middle class is the motor of Vietnam’s rapidly growing economy.

Vietnam GDP

According to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the “Middle and Affluent Class” (MAC) is experiencing a significant increase from 12 million people as of 2014, up to a projected 33 million people three years from now. This will be around a third of the country’s total population, which is forecast to reach 97 million by 2020.

A member of the middle class is defined by a monthly income of VND 15 million or more, which gives them significant purchasing power. Keep in mind, however, that these numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. According to the Singapore-based Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, reliable data is difficult to obtain, since the discrepancy between a worker’s official salary and their unofficial income can be quite significant.

The Implications of Change

The influence of the growing middle class can be seen in many fields already, from restaurant businesses to office buildings and nice apartments; another good sign of increased purchasing power is the high quality of imported goods flowing into the country.

The change is evident everywhere and the Vietnamese are optimistic about their wealth increasing in the future.

According to the BCG, a staggering 92 percent of Vietnamese believe that they live a better life than their parents, and 93 percent believe that their own children will live in better conditions than they do now. This optimism contributes to the stable economic growth Vietnam is experiencing at the moment.

Vietnam middle class

It’s not all good, however. One problem with the rapid development is the lack of consumer goods and distribution channels. While the real estate sector can easily keep up with the trend, shopping for suitable goods is sometimes a pain. The retail environment is simply not ready for the changing consumer behaviour, which creates occasional price and quality problems.

Resourceful business owners like Carey Zesinger of Havang prefer to see this problem as an opportunity to tap into the market.

Technology plays a part in this story as well. Vietnamese are avid internet users – a whopping 43 percent of members of the MAC are using the web on a daily basis; however, just 16 percent shop online. This may be due to a significant lack of trust and the low quality of many available online stores.

On the other hand, many businesses already know how to attract customers: by offering deals and discounts! There are few countries in the world where people are more actively hunting for deals than in Vietnam. Income class does not matter in this case: everybody loves a discount.

Trending to the Future

Of course, economic status doesn’t just affect retail businesses. Middle class families are also tending to invest in proper education for their children, which will in return increase their children’s chances of finding quality, good-paying jobs. This will help them support their own middle class family in the future. Moreover, good education increases awareness of social and health issues, which will in turn lead to responsible consumer behaviour. It’s a good cycle to start.

The demand for healthy food and high-quality, affordable goods and services ultimately drives our economy. Vietnam’s movers and shakers are beginning to realise that producing goods and services in the country will more effectively tap into the increased mass purchasing power. This, in turn, will create more and better jobs. We’re experiencing a period of economic transition in Vietnam, and this is driven in large part by the rising middle class.

When it comes to business, the window of opportunity is wide open. Of course, it comes with obstacles, risks and drawbacks. The competition is huge from both foreign investors and Vietnamese entrepreneurs. But there is rarely an opportunity without risk, so we wish you Chuc mung nam moi! May you dare and grab the rooster by the neck!

How to Obtain a Work Permit in Vietnam

By: Sivaraj Pragasm

What are the qualifications for obtaining a work permit in Vietnam?

If you’re an expat living in Vietnam and want to qualify for a work permit, you have to satisfy the following conditions:

- You’re capable of performing civil acts as prescribed by law;

- Your health is suitable for your job;

- You’re not a criminal or liable to criminal prosecution according to Vietnamese law and your home country’s law;

- Your past employment is approved in writing by a legitimate authority, proving you have three years experience in your chosen field of employment;

- Be a manager, executive officer, expert or technician. If you provide medical examinations, medical treatment or work in educational and vocational training, you must meet the particular conditions for these services as prescribed by Vietnamese law.

work permit

What are the definitions according to the latest Decree 11/2016/ND-CP (Dated 03 February 2016)?

- A “Foreign Expert” is defined as someone recognised as an expert by a foreign organization or with a Bachelor’s degree (or higher) and at least three (03) years of work experience in their field. The proof of this must be presented in writing by a foreign organization.

- A “Foreign Executive, Operation Director/Manager” is defined as a chief or deputy of an organization and Operation Director/Manager is a department head responsible for the department’s operation.

- A “Foreign Technician” is defined as someone who has had technical training or other specialised training for at least one (01) year, and at least three (03) years of work experience in their field.

What paperwork will you need to apply for a work permit in Vietnam?

- A written request for a work permit made by the employer in accordance with the regulations of the Ministry of Labour - Invalids and Social Affairs;

- A health certificate issued in your country or in Vietnam as prescribed by the Ministry of Health (in most of cases, expats obtain a health check certificate in Ho Chi Minh City);

- A written certification that you’re not a criminal or liable to criminal prosecution according to Vietnamese law and the foreign country’s law, made within the previous six months from the day on which the application is submitted. A criminal record from your home country is required, even if you have not lived there for years. If you have lived in Vietnam for more than six months, you will need to apply for a local criminal record as well;

- A written certification that you are a manager, executive officer, expert or technician. Or, a written certification of your qualification, such as: written certification issued by a competent authority of the foreign country if you are an artist in the traditional sense of the word (painting, singing, acting etc); documents proving experience as a foreign football player; a pilot certificate issued by a competent authority to foreign pilots; a licence for airplane maintenance issued by a competent authority if you maintain airplanes;

- A written approval for the employment of foreign workers given by the Department of Labour - Invalids and Social Affairs;

- Three passport colour photos, 4x6cm, taken within the previous 12 months from the day on which the application is submitted;

- A copy of your passport or an equivalent paper, which is still valid;

- An assignment letter (for internal transferees) or labour contract (for local hires);

- Additional documents may be required depending on the form of employment/assignment.

work permit

Where can you go for a health check in Vietnam?

Authorised Hospitals in Saigon:

- Careplus International Clinics (Associate of Singapore Medical Group)
Branch 1: Level 2, Crescent Plaza, 105 Ton Dat Tien street, Phu My Hung, District 7
Branch 2: 107 Tan Hai Street, Ward 13, Tan Binh District ( Next to Etown)

- 115 People’s Hospital at 527 Su Van Hanh, W. 12, D10

- Van Hanh General Hospital at 781/B1-B3-B5 Le Hong Phong (extension), W.12, D10

- Thong Nhat Hospital at 1 Ly Thuong Kiet, W.7, Tan Binh District

- Cho Ray Hospital at 201B Nguyen Chi Thanh, W.12, D5

- SOS International General Clinic under branch of International SOS Vietnam Co., Ltd. at 167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, W.7, D3

- FV Hospital under Far East Medical Vietnam Co., Ltd. at 6 Nguyen Luong Bang, South Saigon (Phu My Hung), D7

- Trung Vuong Hospital at 266 Ly Thuong Kiet, W.14, D10

- Thu Duc District Hospital at 29, Quarter 5, Phu Chau St., Tam Phu W., Thu Duc District

- An Sinh General Hospital at 10 Tran Huy Lieu, W. 12, Phu Nhuan District

Authorised Hospitals in Hanoi:

- Bach Mai Hospital at 78 Giai Phong St., Phuong Mai W., Dong Da District

- Xanh Pon (Saint Paul) General Hospital: 12 Chu Van An, Dien Bien W., Ba Dinh District

- E Hospital at 89 Tran Cung, Nghia Tan W., Cau Giay District

- L’Hôpital Français de Hanoi at 1 Phuong Mai W., Dong Da District

- International SOS General Clinic – OSCAT Vietnam Joint Venture at 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho District

In the event that foreign workers are issued medical certificates by foreign hospitals, such certificates are subject to translation into Vietnamese and consular authentication.

What documents will you need to apply for a criminal record certificate in Vietnam?

- A completed application form (form 03/2013/TT-LLTP – which you can get at the Department of Justice);

- A copy of your passport and a copy of your residential certificate in Vietnam (your landlord should have this). These documents must be legalised and the original copies must also be submitted for comparison;

- In case you ask for a third person to help you to apply for the criminal record certificate, he/she will need a completed application form 04/2013/TT-LLTP; your written proxy, certified by the People’s Committee of communes where you or your proxy are residing (if you are in Vietnam); or by competent authorities of the country where you are residing. The proxy must be legalised. If this third person is one of your parents, spouse or children, the proxy document is not required, but the relationship between you and this person must be proved. Lastly, you will need a copy of his/her passport.

Where and how can you apply for a criminal record certificate in Vietnam?

You take all the above-mentioned documents to the Department of Justice in Ho Chi Minh City at 141-143 Pasteur, D3 or 1B Tran Phu, Van Quan, Ha Dong in Hanoi. There, you can fill out the form 03/TT-LLTP if you haven’t already done so. Once you have completed this, get your ticket and wait with everyone else until you are called to Station No. 1. The clerk will take a look at your documents to see that they are in order. If they are, you will pay a processing fee of VND400,000.

work permit

It will then take from 10-15 working days to process the record and you will be contacted by text or email to pick up your record (if not, simply go back to the Department of Justice after 15 days).

When should you ask for a work permit in Vietnam?

Your employer must apply for a work permit at least 15 days before your potential employment.

What is the length of validity of a work permit in Vietnam?

A work permit is valid for a maximum of three years. Also, if you leave the job for any reason, the work permit will no longer be valid.

What governmental agents do you have to visit for a work permit in Vietnam?

- To apply for a criminal record in Ho Chi Minh City:

Department of Justice in Ho Chi Minh City | 141-143 Pasteur, D3 | +84 28 3829 0230

- To apply for a criminal record in Hanoi:

Department of Justice in Hanoi | 221 Tran Phu, Van Quan, Ha Dong | +84 243 3546 151

- To apply for a work permit in Ho Chi Minh City:

Department of Labour - Invalids and Social Affairs | 159 Pasteur, D3 | +84 28 3829 1302

- To apply for a work permit in Hanoi:

Department of Labour - Invalids and Social Affairs | 75 Nguyen Chi Thanh, Lang Ha, Dong Da | +84 243 8358 868

CBRE Vietnam Honored for Lead Real Estate Consulting in Vietnam


CBRE Vietnam Leads the Market in Real Estate Consulting in Vietnam

On October 24th, 2018, CBRE was ranked as the top real estate consulting company globally for 54 different categories across North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia Pacific at the Euromoney Award - one of the most prestigious awards in the real estate industry.


In Asia Pacific, CBRE received 11 major awards including:

- Vietnam: Agency - Letting/sales
- Vietnam: Research
- Vietnam: Overall
- Australia: Research
- Australia: Overall
- India: Overall
- Japan: Agency - Letting/sales
- Japan: Overall
- Singapore: Agency - Letting/sales
- Singapore: Property Value
- Singapore: Overall

Mr. Steve Swerdlow, Chief Executive Officer of CBRE Asia Pacific stated: “The diversity and reach of our Asia Pacific platform continues to receive consistent recognition from the industry and most importantly, our clients. At the center of this proud achievement remains our people, who continue to deliver the world-class services expected of CBRE in Asia Pacific each and every day.”

This year also marked also a significant milestone for CBRE Vietnam - our 7th consecutive year as the leading real estate consulting company in Vietnam, as named by Euromoney, for three categories:

- Agency – Letting/Sales
- Research
- Overall

Ms. Dang Phuong Hang, Managing Director of CBRE Vietnam, shared: “CBRE is deeply knowledgeable about the Vietnam real estate market, because of our world-class experts. This allows us the ability to provide the most critical and accurate information to our clients, thereby committing our best to fully meet any and all consulting needs".

With 15 years of experience in the Vietnam market and the highest awards in the real estate industry for the past 7 years, CBRE Vietnam is continually developing and always striving to be better than the rest.

CBRE Vietnam is Led by:

Ms. Dang Phuong Hang, Managing Director of CBRE Vietnam Ltd., with more than 23 years of real estate experience;

Ms. Duong Thuy Dung, Senior Director Professional Services, with more 11 years attached to CBRE in collaboration with more than 320 national and international clients;

Ms. Nguyen Hoai An, Branch Director of the Hanoi Office, handles more than 300 customers in the North and Central of Vietnam;

Mr. Richard Colville, Director and National Business Line Leader - Asset Services, has managed more than 86 projects with 2.5+ million square of real estate floors;

Ms. Ho Thi Kim Oanh, Director of Valuation & Advisory Service and National Business Line Leader, with more than 20 years in industry and in collaboration with CBRE, has evaluated more 3000 real estate projects;

Mr. Le Trong Hieu, Director of Office Services National Business Line Leader, is the manager of more than 50 large-scale projects with over 1 million square meters of office and industrial real estate.


With a team of over 700 leading experts in Vietnam, CBRE allows clients to reach their optimal benefits and cash flow with their investments, achieve advance profitability, and reduce risk to the lowest level in a volatile business environment. CBRE serves clients with high-class international standards.

The Euromoney Property Awards is a prestigious award that was initiated in 1992 and takes place annually, aiming to survey the performance of real estate consultants, developers, investment managers, and banks around the world to identify the best in the industry. Industry professionals from more than 75 countries participated in this year’s survey.

For more information on the 2018 Euromoney Real Estate Awards, please go to www.euromoney.com.

About CBRE Group, Inc.

CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2016 revenue). The company has more than 75,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate investors and occupiers through more than 450 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offersa broad range of integrated services, including facilities, transaction and project management; property management; investment management; appraisal and valuation; property leasing; strategic consulting; property sales; mortgage services and development services. Please visit our website at www.cbre.com

Image source: cbrevietnam.com

Building Your Brand in Vietnam

By: City Pass Guide

An effective brand strategy is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small, retail or B2B. Especially here in Vietnam you need strong branding to compete in a tough market. Let us shed some light on what makes the Vietnamese market different from other regions and why it can be a tough nut to crack.

Business in Vietnam

One of the youngest, fastest and most active markets in the world, Vietnam offers political stability and steady expansion. People in Vietnam are about to rise from relative poverty to become strong, well-funded consumers.

To set up a successful branding strategy in Vietnam, it is necessary not only to understand the quirks of an emerging market, but also Vietnamese culture. Let us look at the demographics first.


Like everywhere else, women are drawn towards fashion and promises of beauty, although the independent lady in red is not too popular here yet. Vietnamese women tend to be drawn to cute and feminine designs. Family and children are still a major focus, and with the growing awareness of environmental issues, so are health and safety.


Like everywhere else again, men are attracted to branding that speaks of strength and success. However, the Vietnamese also are drawn quite strongly towards technology. Maybe that’s because there are so many graduates in the banking, business and IT sectors, or because of the central role of technology in an emerging market.


Elderly people are still very traditional and family is even more important to them. Growth, safety and other promises that support the concept of family as a safe haven are most effective for this group of people.


Young people love Western influences, from skateboards and graffiti to shirts with prints in English that sometimes even make sense. But however much they are into Captain America, they still are deeply rooted in Vietnamese culture and for a variety of reasons prefer local brands to cover their daily needs.

What all generations have in common is that family is usually more important than the individual. Together with their amazing optimism, the will always to put the family first is the greatest strength of the Vietnamese people and a big opportunity for brand management.

Family in Vietnam

The Use of Language

The fact that Vietnam uses the Roman alphabet may fool the aspiring brand developer into thinking the choice of their brand name is easier than in China. Not really. The Vietnamese language is monosyllabic and that is how people read a brand name. Long, foreign words look complicated and are often too hard to get one’s head around in order to generate affinity.

The shorter the better. Nestle and its water is a good example. In Vietnam it is branded La Vie, “life” in French. Very easy for Vietnamese speakers to read, comprehend and memorise.

Foreign Brand Name or Vietnamese?

English names work well in Vietnam as long as they sound “nice”. Just take a look at some of the top native brands in the country: Vinamilk, Highlands Coffee, Vietnam Airlines, MBBank, Mobifone, Viettel and so on. Of course, except for the first two, many brands are targeted not solely at local consumers and also have their eyes on international or at least ASEAN expansion.

Successful big brands with pure Vietnamese branding would be Trung Nguyen or Phuc Long, for example. Other brand names are short and “nice”, even if they (seemingly) possess no meaning.

The language in which the brand is named doesn’t matter that much. What matters is that people can grasp the meaning of the word(s) and in case it’s foreign, that it’s easy to follow. Exceptions are brands that are mainly targeted at foreigners or Vietnamese with “foreign” aspirations. Travel agencies for example work much better with international names.


When it comes to colours, the approach in Vietnam is the same as in China. Red is the colour of strength, luck and success. Yellow is gold and means prosperity. Black and white, though the traditional colours of death, are nowadays symbols of minimalism and focus. Blue is clean and green is natural.

Target Categories

In Europe, we can decide to look cheap if we want to draw the customer’s eyes to our low prices. In Vietnam, that doesn’t work at the moment because if you want cheap products you head for the local market and street vendor stalls on Nguyen Trai. No brand is meant to look cheap. Developing a brand in Vietnam means communicating that something has value, no matter what pricing scheme you use.

The relatively new Trung Nguyen Legend concept that pops up on every corner is a good example. The product, though better than street coffee, is not really high-end. But the branding appeals because it communicates high standards.Black and gold, together with the word “Legend” – talk about posh stuff.

Brands that appeal to the increasingly affluent group of customers will communicate quality with a stylish and simplistic design as well as colour palate. The aforementioned black and white are increasingly popular among many brands all over the country, even if it is just to be different from the colourful clutter that makes the ad landscape in Southeast Asia as lovely as it is complicated. Sometimes it’s better to whisper than to shout.

Market Trinity in Vietnam

Vietnam is actually not one market but three. The applicable strategies may differ strongly between the North, the South and the Centre.

The North

Hanoi and the Northern provinces are very traditional and judge a brand or product on the high value it exudes. Status symbols and quality presentation matter more than in the other regions.

The Centre

Even more traditional than the North, people are strongly rooted in the old ways. Hue is the imperial centre of the Nguyen dynasty, after all. You can communicate high value, safety and family orientation, but innovation is not yet a part of people’s daily lives.

The South

Much more open to innovation, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Lat and other urban areas of the Southern provinces drive the country to new heights. Many brands start here and once they are established, begin the arduous journey northwards. Saigon is where you try your new concept and see whether it leads to roaring success or dire loss.

Status Symbols

And here we enter the world of status symbols and their position in an emerging market like Vietnam. One of the first things you notice upon coming to Asia may be the high number of luxury cars. As soon as somebody can afford a Bentley, they will drive one. Of course exceptions define the rule, and some successful business people drive their Mercedes to meetings while they use their good old Honda Wave motorbike to buy groceries.

Communicating value, success and quality is a part of brand development in Vietnam as much as in other emerging Asian economies. Contrary to Europe, where a puritan mentality is ingrained by tradition, in Asia a person is judged by what they show off. If you have wealth to present to the world, you must be successful because people must be buying your product or service. Hence, it must be good.

Credit: Autogespot

Protect Your Brand

One important consideration: if you create your brand in Vietnam, consult a specialised lawyer who can help you register and protect it. Success draws in copycats, and without legal protection it may be hard to stand your ground.

Unlike patents or copyrights, where you generally only need to claim ownership once on the basis of a novel product or service, a trademark must be actively and continually asserted. Vietnam has made progress in these areas, but there is still some way to go.

For more information on this, be sure to read our article on Protecting Your Assets.

The Art of Driving Traffic

By: City Pass Guide

Everybody wants their website to be successful; everybody dreams of seeing huge numbers of visitors reading the blogs, articles and information pages that they have sweated over to get just right. However there is a lot more to driving traffic to your site than simply writing good content and sitting back. In short, don’t be content with your content - work it! So what else can you do to make sure as many people as possible get to see your work?

Source: TechWyse.com

What is the Art of Driving Traffic?

In short the answer here falls into four distinct categories. Work in a structured way so each time you write, you write with a formula in your mind. Be consistent and over time you will see what works for you and what doesn’t. The art of driving traffic comes down to:

  1. Quality of the content.
  2. Search engine optimisation (SEO).
  3. Internal and external links.
  4. Use of social media.

Quality of the Content

The way that Google and other search engines work nowadays is completely different to the way it used to be. In the old days you picked a keyword, stuffed it into your article, posted it and away you went. The truth of the matter is that now Google and indeed your readers are craving good quality content. Nothing gives a site more authority than well-written, thoughtful and pertinent content. If your site is about washing machines there is no point rabbiting on about your new Ferrari.

Source: howtomakemoneyonline.pk

Websites need a constant stream of good quality writing. The length of articles does not matter to a certain degree, though less than 300 words is pretty pointless. It is much better to get a reputation for writing 1,000 word articles that are articulate, interesting and funny. People will simply want to read your stuff if it is engaging.

Search Engine Optimisation

This is a real can of worms to a certain degree. Many people now have different views on how to tackle this thorny subject. There is no doubt that the old approach of stuffing a keyword into an article as many times as you can is old, tired and doesn’t work. Choose a smart, pertinent, long tail keyword and aim to get it into your piece about six or seven times for each 1,000 words. However, don’t just stuff it in anywhere. Be creative and make sure that the article just reads well. The ideal keyword stuffing should not be noticed by the reader.

Source: businesscreatorplus.com

In addition to your primary keyword you can use secondary keywords that pertain to your product. You can have as many of these as you want, and they only need to appear one or two times. So again if you are talking about washing machines you might want “soap powder”, “spin dryer”, “clothing”, etc. This kind of thing builds a rapport with your audience and Google’s algorithms recognise a pattern. Be consistent, try and get your primary keyword into an H2 heading and also make sure one of your photographs contains the keyword in its alt tag.

Internal and External Links

These work in two different ways. Internal links have the advantage of keeping people on your site. If in one article you mention a product or idea that you have discussed before, link to the relevant page on your site. The best way to do this is not to say “click here”, but simply mention the product or idea and use that as the link. So for example you might say, “Over the years it has been proven that these types of machines work better with softer water”. Then, “these types of machines” can link to a previous relevant article on your site.

Source: peacockmedia.com

External links are different. They need to link to sites with more authority than your own. So Google a phrase or item that you wish to use as an external link and see which sites are ranking well. Then simply link to that article. Over time Google will see that you are being constructive and will start to rank you. You also have the added possible bonus that a really big site might just link back. This is the dream scenario. I know of one site that got a link back from The New York Times that massively increased its traffic. The site maintains these numbers to this day.

Use of Social Media

Ok! You’ve written your piece, added the keywords and used internal and external links - what now? Well nobody is ever going to see it if you rest on your laurels at this point. Track down Facebook groups of interest and post the article with a decent clickbait comment. Be positive and creative. Like your own posts and get other members of your staff or friends to do the same. Each time someone likes it, it moves back up the page and has a greater chance of more likes.

Source: jsums.edu

Twitter is a much misunderstood medium, not least of all by me. For the most part people seem to tweet completely, badly written nonsense, but it can really work well on a business level. Each piece that you write can be tweeted about 10 times over a few weeks. Old articles that are still pertinent and not out of date can be rehashed and re-hashtagged. This gets a constant stream of interest on Twitter over a sustained period.

If your product is photogenic, never underestimate the value of a good photo. Use Instagram wisely and often. Build an audience that waits for your images. They say that a photo tells a thousand words, well this has never been more true. You can write the greatest piece of literature known to man, but you will never compete with a fluffy kitten - ever!

Source: gosimplysocial.com

So there you have it. Build a strategy, be consistent, be positive and don’t be afraid to talk yourself up. Once your audience starts to recognise that you have something of interest to say, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all the others will do the rest. Happy posting!