You check your site’s traffic data. You’re getting tons of new visitors each day. But your conversion rates are stagnant. What gives?
Unfortunately, even though your site’s traffic volume may be skyrocketing that doesn’t mean the visitors you’re attracting are targeted, high quality prospects.
Your inclination has likely been to get as many people coming to your website as possible—arriving in packs and droves by the thousands and more—and that would seem to make sense. But “quality over quantity” is a motto that’s applicable to many areas of your business—from partnerships, to products, to the word count of your copy—and it also applies to your traffic.
Having tons of traffic flood your site each day may seem like a good thing, but the reality is that loads of people simply arriving at your site doesn’t make any one of those visitors any more likely to purchase your product or signup for your offer.
Consequently, you need to re-frame the way you think about your traffic—shifting your focus from quantity to quality. “Treating your site like a marketing funnel is what helps make people buy your product,” says digital consultant John Boitnott, because traffic is “more than a numbers game.”
John Boitnott: “Let’s say it is quantity that is important to you. Tens of thousands of people visiting your website. This seems great, right? You might be thinking, ‘This is a lot of people who may turn into customers.’
It doesn’t work that way. The operative word here is ‘may.’ The reason is that, of these thousands of visitors, many may have accidentally come to your website, and this traffic may never have really intended to land on your page, so they click-out and leave immediately. Others may just be looking for information, and aren’t sure that what you are offering is really what they want. Because they were only browsing, these individuals leave as well. The point is, you can have thousands of people load your website, but how many are buying?”
As an ecommerce professional, you don’t want just window-shoppers; you want people who are hungry and eager to purchase or signup for what you have to offer. Therefore, you need to concentrate on acquiring targeted, high quality leads for your business, even if means receiving a fraction of the amount of visitors to your site. More targeted, high quality traffic equates to more revenue while expending fewer resources.
How To Drive More Targeted, High Quality Traffic To Your Site
According to Steve Olenski, a marketing expert and Forbes contributor, “Every effort to drive quality website traffic starts with understanding how visitors find your site.”
Are people mostly finding you via organic search, paid search, direct traffic, referrals, or some other means? How often do visitors find you using social media channels?
All traffic sources were not created equal, and a conversion pathway that may work well for one business may perform poorly for another. Your aim is to discover the traffic sources that provide you with the highest conversion rates and increases in revenue and to then optimize those sources in order to reduce the amount of money you spend on each conversion.
To accomplish this goal, “Start by taking an audit of how people currently find your website,” says Olenski.
Discover Your Top Traffic Sources And The Value They Provide
Google Analytics is one of the quickest and easiest methods for discovering traffic data. First, set up your web tracking code. Next, go to your Google Analytics dashboard and select “Acquisition” and then “Overview.”
This will reveal a pie chart displaying the percentage of traffic that each source is producing to your site, under which you’ll find information about how effectual each source is at driving targeted, quality traffic to your site.
Steve Olenski: “Some of the data you’ll see includes:
- Sessions. Learn how many visits each traffic source drove, including how many of those sessions came from new users.
- Behavior. Statistics like bounce rate, pages per session, and average session duration will show you how much visitors from different traffic sources engage with your site.
- Conversions. If you’ve set up goals within Google Analytics, the conversions column will show whether visitors from different traffic sources completed your conversion goals. You might get many more sessions from organic search, but your campaigns might get much higher conversion rates.
After you’ve uncovered the effectiveness of each traffic source, analyze how much these conversions have cost you.
- Assign a value to each goal. Consider all of your goals, from email subscriptions to actual sales.
- Add up how much you pay for each traffic source within a set time period. Include elements like agency fees, payroll, and content creation in addition to the cost of paid campaigns.
- Calculate cost per conversion. What you spend on each traffic source, divided by how much each source delivers in terms of goal value, determines your cost per conversion.”
How Visitors Find Your Site
Organic search is traffic that results from people typing queries into search engines and having your site appear as one of the listings based on relevant search terms. Organic search traffic requires strong on- and off-page SEO.
Paid search, on the other hand, is traffic that occurs from clicking on what basically amounts to advertisements, or listings that website owners have paid to have displayed for certain keywords, thanks to paid search campaigns, such as Google AdWords.
Social traffic refers to visitors who find your site via social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter.
Referral traffic occurs when people arrive at your site through channels other than search engines. These channels can include guest blog posts or other websites that are linking to your site.
The other traffic source category consists of “custom campaigns you’ve tracked using utm_source code. For example, you might have used utm_source code to track an email newsletter campaign, Twitter Card campaign, or other methods for driving quality website traffic.”
Optimizing Your Traffic Sources
The key here is balance. You absolutely want to optimize the traffic sources that provide you with the most high quality traffic, but at the same time you don’t want to rely too heavily on any single source. For example, if the majority of your traffic results from organic search, then a single search engine penalty could lead to a significant drop in revenue.
Therefore, you should establish a balance among traffic sources in order to achieve a “comfortable traffic flow from multiple channels.” If, however, you find a traffic source that isn’t converting well, you shouldn’t continue pouring time and money into it just for the sake of being well-rounded.
So what can you do to get the most out of traffic sources?
Cultivate Brand Recognition
When you cultivate brand recognition (the goal is to become a household name), you can increase the amount of direct traffic you get to your site. Visitors won’t need to find you through keywords as much anymore. With your brand already imprinted on their minds, prospects can simply type in your URL and be taken to at your site. Direct traffic visitors are highly targeted and therefore more valuable because they are seeking your site out specifically.
Cultivating brand recognition isn’t easy to do, however, and it definitely takes time. Brands like Chapstick, Kleenex and BandAid have become so widely recognizable and ingrained in consumers that they have actually replaced their products’ generic term, but that type of high-level brand recognition certainly didn’t happen overnight.
So how can you increase brand recognition for your business?
1. Leverage your existing customers and mailing list
Just because someone purchased from you once that doesn’t mean you’ve turned them into a life-long brand loyalist. Stay in touch with your customers by sending them coupons, information, and special offers you think they’d like based on their previous interactions and continuously remind them of who you are and what your brand stands for.
2. Create infographics
People love visuals: “90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text,” reports Amanda Sibley of Hubspot. Therefore, infographics are a great way to attract and retain your visitors’ attention.
Infographics should be used in conjunction with a larger marketing strategy, however, and they should be promoted consistently. “And, if you can follow-up with even more engaging content (ideally in different formats) on your site, you’ll achieve higher user retention rates,” says online marketing guru John Rampton.
3. Provide both freemiums and freebies
Megan Marrs: “Many awesome online products allow users to choose from a free version, which includes a watermark or credit line, or the option to upgrade to the paid version, which allows users to remove the mark or replace it with their own logo.
While many users will opt for the free version, they’ll also be promoting your brand to others users. Some of those new users who see your product will go with the paid version! Providing a freemium product means getting yourself in front of more eyeballs, building your brand and bringing in paying customers.”
Additionally, you can host contests and raffles, giving away merchandise that includes your brand name and logo as prizes. You can also give away branded merchandise, such as pens, T-shirts, and koozies, in person at local events.
4. Establish local partnerships
Especially if you have a local-oriented business, establishing local partnerships can be a fantastic way to create brand awareness. Donate to charities, sponsor local sports teams, or run a booth at a local festival. The more ways you can broadcast your brand around town, the better.
5. Develop a brand personality and background story
In conjunction with your brand name and logo, you should also develop a unique brand identity along with a compelling story that details why you are in business and seeks to resonate with your audience. Sharing your story allows your audience to see you as more than just a brand name, thus enabling your audience to connect with your business on a deeper level.
You can also try infusing humor with your brand identity (if it’s appropriate for your industry), as being a little outrageous can leave a memorable impression. A few brands that are currently doing this well include Old Spice, the Dollar Shave Club, and Poo~pourri.
6. Keep your brand in front of your market
There is a variety of means for you to cultivate greater brand awareness, and the bottom line of each method is that you need to consistently get your brand in front of your audience.
Sharon Michaels: “I believe in the saying ‘out of sight and out of mind.’ Here’s a fact of Internet business life: If you are not consistently reminding your target market that you are actively doing business, they will forget about you and go elsewhere.”
So don’t let that happen.
Increase Organic Search Results
To do this, you need to improve your page ranking results, which involves implementing a solid SEO strategy. And while search engines may continuously adjust their algorithms, there are still core practices you can follow to improve your organic search results.
1. Identify target keywords
This is SEO 101 and an aspect that you absolutely need to get right. Jonathan Long, Founder & CEO of Market Domination Media, weighs in.
Jonathan Long: “Many businesses make the mistake of basing their keywords on just the search volume. This often leads to attempting to rank for keywords that are very difficult and costly to move up, or even keywords that aren’t ‘buyer’ keywords and just send useless traffic to the website.
It is important to target keywords that your target consumer is likely to search for while looking for the product or service that you offer. For example, if you are an accounting firm located in Miami you would not want to target a general keyword such as ‘accounting firm.’ Not only is it a very difficult keyword, but also you will be attracting visitors from all over the globe. Instead, you would want to target a more precise keyword such as ‘accounting firm in Miami’ or ‘Miami accounting firm.'”
To easily identify which keywords are driving the most organic search traffic to your site, use the Google Search Console, formerly known as Webmaster tools.
Once you’re inside the Search Console, go to “Search Traffic” and then to “Search Analytics.”
From here you’ll discover the number of clicks and impressions each keyword is generating to your site as well as each keyword’s average position and CTR.
2. Use keywords in your content, page titles, meta descriptions, alt tags, and URLs
Content is king when it comes to improving your page rank, and next in line to the throne is your page title. Meta descriptions, alt tags, and URLs also matter, though, and should contain targeted keywords as well.
As a rule of thumb for your content, try to use your important keywords within the first fifty words and to then repeat those keywords 1-2 more times throughout the body of shorter posts and 3-5 more times in longer pieces.
And when it comes to page titles, you should once again try to put important keywords near the beginning and ideally, you want to keep character counts to seventy or fewer.
3. Create Cornerstone Pages
Blair Symes of DialogTech: “If you have 10 pages relating to the same set of keywords, Google will have a hard time determining which page is relevant. Instead, consider merging your content into a single cornerstone page. With one authoritative cornerstone page on a specific topic, there is no SEO confusion, and you should rank higher.”
Cornerstone pages are beneficial for a number of reasons: They work great in link-building campaigns; they are shareable, and they help get you more subscribers. To learn more about how to create cornerstone content, check out Brian Clark’s article on Copyblogger.com.
Test Different Paid Campaigns
You have multiple paid traffic advertising networks at your disposal, but here are the top four:
1. Facebook Ads
Pros: large community database with the capacity to target specific demographics, locations, and user interests
Cons: frequent ad fatigue and low click-through rates
2. AOL Sponsored Listings (advertising.com)
Pros: affordable clicks, high quality website inventory, and the ability to control which sites your ads appear on
Cons: lower CTRs and conversion rates since you are targeting specific websites as opposed to keywords
3. Yahoo! Bing Network
Pros: lower costs-per-click and top-notch customer service
Cons: lower traffic volumes and it’s more difficult to scale and grow your campaigns
4. Google AdWords
Pros: it’s the most popular network, providing high volumes of traffic and the ability to quickly reach top ad positions
Cons: higher costs-per-click and it’s more challenging to master
Tyler Ellison, Advertising Manager at Conversion Fanatics: “A note on bidding for traffic: The best top tier websites that sell advertising get a lot of competition on bids for their traffic but there’s still plenty to go around. If you don’t bid high enough to get into those top tier websites where the quality of traffic is found, your ads will appear on a second or third tier website where the traffic may cost less but the quality is far inferior.
So a bid of $0.60 to appear on a high quality website will normally covert so much higher than a bid on a second tier at $0.30 or a third tier at $0.15 that your profitability at the higher CPC is actually higher. It would be normal that $600 spent at $0.60 CPCs would generate 1,000 high quality clicks.
Supposing $50/sale and converting as low as just 1.5% (15 sales) would generate revenue of $750—a $150 profit. Spending that same $600 on $0.30 clicks from a second tier website for 2,000 lower quality clicks would likely put conversion rates down to 0.5%, which is only 10 sales, $500 revenue, and a $100 loss. The third tier tends to go down even more. [A] $600 ad spend on $0.15 clicks for 4,000 visitors [would] likely convert at around 0.25% [and] would also generate 10 sales, $500 revenue, and a $100 loss.
What this ultimately means is that the goal isn’t to get your CPCs reduced necessarily but to get your conversion rates on top tier traffic, up high enough that you can afford to outbid competitors for more of the top tier traffic.”
Focus On Social Engagement
Social media has evolved into a major source of traffic. Plus, the following stats speak volumes about the significant impact that social media traffic can have on your conversion rates:
Mike Ewing of Inbound Commerce reports that “consumers are 71% more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals.” And in a survey conducted by Market Force of more than 12,000 consumers in the U.S. and U.K., “78% of respondents said the posts by companies they follow on social media impact their purchases.”
So what can you do to enhance your interactions and get more out of your social media traffic?
1. Reach a broader audience using hashtags
According to Jawad Khan, “There’s 21% more engagement on Tweets with 1 to 2 hashtags.” And with Facebook, “Using 1-2 hashtags per post can get you an average of 593 interactions per post.” The optimal hashtag count for Twitter and Facebook is 1-2 whereas with Instagram it’s 11 or more. Google+ also uses hashtags but they are automatically added to your posts based on their content.
2. Include photos to increase engagement
Neil Patel reports that “engagement is 200% higher for tweets with image links” and Facebook posts with images receive 39% more interaction. Make sure you have share buttons on your website that also include the image-based social networks Pinterest and Instagram.
3. Follow the Rule of Thirds
Don’t let your social media interactions come across as self-serving. Instead, diversify your content by maintaining the following balance: “1/3 of your content is promoting yourself and your business, 1/3 of your content is engaging and builds relationships with your audience, and 1/3 of your content is amplification of outside resources and information.”
Get More Referrals
Here are three top strategies for getting more high quality referral traffic:
1. Publish guest posts on industry blogs
2. Leverage news outlets by writing press releases
3. Leave relevant comments on other people’s blogs
“Generating leads or even driving traffic is never a problem. I could get you 10,000 people to your site rather quickly but what good would it be if they didn’t want what you have to offer? Quality traffic [has been] the starting point for just about every successful campaign or company I have worked with in 13 years,” says Justin Christianson, President of Conversion Fanatics.
And when it comes to driving targeted, high quality traffic to your site, there is no shortage of strategies. To recap, you can improve your results by cultivating brand recognition, improving your on- and 0ff-page SEO, experimenting with a variety of paid campaign options, fostering relationships and heightened levels of engagement on social media, and pursuing referral traffic by disseminating your content to external sources. Be proactive. And by implementing a comprehensive approach, you can win a “higher quantity of quality traffic.”
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