Smarter Website Traffic for Better ROI
Your need more website traffic. That’s what you’ll be told by pretty much any online marketer, along with assurances that they know how to achieve this. But is it really as simple as that?
SEO — the Good and the Problematic
Optimising your site drives traffic to it, and no online business can survive without traffic. SEO experts will emphasise their skill at increasing traffic to your site or your individual pages. They’ll explain you have to use SEO effectively, so that you rank well on Google and get seen more. How you need to develop outreach strategies and bring in different audiences.
They’re not wrong, of course, but traffic volume alone isn’t the whole story. Think of a traditional bricks and mortar shop. A beautifully arranged display of your merchandise or some kind of gimmick might lure people inside, but if all they do is stare and then leave, you may have wasted you time and money. Nothing matters unless they stop and buy something, either on that visit or a later one.
Attracting traffic to your website comes with exactly the same catch. You need to understand your website traffic.
Where Is the Money?
There are many ways to make money online. Besides the obvious approach of directly selling your products or services, options range from monetising your blog to playing games for money, not to mention online marketing.
In the case of online marketing, you’ll earn money whenever anyone clicks on an ad on your website, taking them to the target location. It’s not always quite as simple as that. There may be an extra action the advertiser wants visitors to perform, such as buying something or leaving contact information. They may pay you more for these actions, or not pay you at all without them.
Whether you’re making money out of hosting ads or from selling your own products or services, simply getting visitors to your website doesn’t achieve anything. You need visitors who’ll click the right button — in other words, you need to convert them.
Conversion, Conversion, Conversion
It would seem common sense that having a thousand visitors to your site is better than having a hundred. And it could be — provided that you can convert enough of them.
However, if only 1% of those thousand become customers, then all that activity will just have netted you ten new customers. On the other hand, if the hundred visitors are targeted carefully enough that 20% of them become customers, you’ll be getting twice the number of customers from a tenth of the footfall.
That isn’t to say traffic volume is irrelevant, of course. The higher the volume, the greater the opportunity for conversion. It does illustrate, though, that the quality of the traffic is ultimately more important than the quantity.
It’s easy to get carried away by the excitement of winning new audience and forgetting that, as in almost all sectors of business, it’s the reliable regulars who are your bread and butter. While there’s likely to be a certain amount of loss, and new people are essential to replace that, you must have a retention strategy.
You need to build loyalty to your brand. Ultimately, you’re going to achieve this by giving visitors what they want, not by making quick money with some trick or other.
Brand loyalty goes beyond just returning customers, however. If you’ve given them what they wanted, they’re likely to become advocates for your brand, either through personal recommendations or by promoting you on social media. In other words, you’ll be effectively getting advertising free of charge.
This requires more than just being good at what you do, though. You need to engage your audience with a strong online presence, especially in social media, and actively seek their feedback. It’s also important to build your email list, though obviously it’s vital to do so ethically and legally within the requirements of GDPR.
Why Use Analytics?
Unless you have an infinite marketing budget, it’s not very helpful simply to throw everything you have at your campaign and hope some of it will bring results. You need to ensure you get the best possible ROI for the cost and effort you put into it.
This is where analytics is essential. Establishing things like who your visitors are, where they’ve come from and what they do when they arrive on your site can provide a framework for establishing what kind of campaign is likely to work best.
You can learn to use basic analytics and assessment of the various metrics fairly simply by using Google Analytics. This is a free tool (though you can buy a more sophisticated version) designed to be user-friendly that allows you to measure the traffic to your site.
Advanced Analytics and Testing
Basic analytics can give you a good deal of information, but methods are available that will allow you to model your marketing far more accurately. For these, you can buy a third-party analytics package, or else hire a marketing agency to do the work for you.
One of the most valuable techniques is to use split or A/B testing. Here, you change variables in your campaign, such as landing pages, designs, layouts, descriptions, ads and copies, and analyse what effect each change has on your results. It’s important not to change too many variables at a time (such as changing both the colour scheme and layout) otherwise you’ll have no way of knowing which of them is having the effect.
You can also get feedback from your audience. This can range from on-site surveys to analysing mentions on social media — and even following up unsubscribes can tell you a great deal.
Website Traffic Isn’t Everything
Increasing your volume of website traffic is certainly important, but only if it goes hand in hand with conversion, brand building and customer satisfaction and retention. You have to know how your traffic works, not just how much there is, in order to maximise your ROI.
To have the best website that is Google and user friendly, read our post on how not to have a useless website.
If you want to know more about how to target smarter website traffic, feel free to get in touch with us.