Are you looking for visitors to buy directly off the site? Perhaps you’re trying to entice a potential customer to contact you through the site? Or are you trying to get potential customers to simply leave their contact details with you so that you can follow up with them over time?
In a previous post we talked about the benefits of having a clear purpose for your website. If your website doesn’t have a clear purpose, there’s a good chance you’re squandering your best online asset.
So – is your website fulfilling its purpose? Let’s say for example that the purpose is to get a potential customer to leave their details with you. This requires you knowing how many visitors you’re getting each day, each week, each month. It also requires you knowing how many of those visitors are “unique”. If you visit a website daily this month you’ll have visited it 31 times –but you’ll only count as one “unique” visitor. Do you have this information? It’s needed for you to be able to measure your website’s conversion rate, i.e., the percentage of unique visitors who take the desired action.
To give examples of conversion rates:
- 100 out of 1000 unique visitors leave their contact information – a conversion rate of 10%.
- 50 unique visitors contact you through the site – a conversion rate of 5%.
- 10 unique visitors actually buy directly off the site – a conversion rate of 1%.
You can and should work on improving your conversion rate. At BITS we do that – not just designing customer websites but also working with our clients to better understand their business so that we can help them to better sell their products/services online.
However, there’s an additional strategy to increase your traffic to get more eyeballs on your website. The 2 most common methods of increasing traffic are SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and PPC (Pay Per Click) – and increasing traffic through SEO & PPC is another core service offered by BITS. Go here if you want definitions of either.
Now of course people can do their own SEO & PPC work. However, let’s look at some of the challenges that presents:
Firstly, there’s a learning curve required to become familiar enough with SEO & PPC to be effective in their use. And the steepness of the learning curve depends on the IT skills within your organisation and your pre-existing familiarity with boosting traffic. This learning curve has a time cost associated with it – and other work does not get done during that time – work that might be in your core areas of expertise – work that might be a better use of your time.
Secondly, if you go through the learning curve, how many organisations benefit? Just one. Just yours. You don’t get to recoup the investment cost from your own clients.
Thirdly, neither SEO nor PPC are standing still. You get to the top of the learning mountain and then there’s another mountain to climb.
Let’s look at an SEO example: Google algorithm changes in 2011 and 2013 mean that you are increasingly unlikely to be able to determine what search keywords someone used to find your website. You have zero influence over those Google changes; for example, the 2013 change may have been a response to the NSA surveillance programme revealed by Edward Snowden. Such geopolitical factors are way out of your sphere of control. You will typically have zero knowledge of such changes too – until you see your traffic fall off. What you can though control is the quality of the content on your website. At BITS we will work with you to carry out a SWOT analysis on your website – paying particular attention to the content. We look at what you are trying to sell and also at how your competitors are performing so that we can focus on getting you more online traffic and conversions.
And a PPC example: The main show in town used to be Google adwords. But over the past number of years a host of other PPC mechanisms have emerged. There are other search engines competing directly with Google, e.g., Bing. And there are new mechanisms available now too – you can implement PPC campaigns on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. The list goes on and will only get longer.
Is your time optimally spent staying on top of this shifting and increasingly complex landscape? Will you even be able to track the moving goalposts?
Fourthly, have you sufficient knowledge of what works and doesn’t work in terms of increasing traffic? Granted, you can refine your own efforts to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. But the database formed by your own experience is small. SEO & PPC specialists have competitive and industry knowledge that they can bring to bear on your campaigns. You do not. And then there’s also the question of quality traffic. There’s no point in attracting vegetarians to a website that just sells sausages! With PPC there’s no point in attracting lots of traffic to your website if your offers are not consistent with the keywords that you’re using. With SEO there’s no point in attracting lots of traffic to your website if your content and offers are not consistent with the keywords that people use to find your website.
Fifthly, having gone through the learning curve, have you the time to setup and manage your SEO and PPC campaigns? For example, google adwords setup and management requires:
- Keyword research
- Setting up campaigns
- Setting up ad groups
- Setting bids
- Choosing landing pages – or indeed creating them if they don’t exist – a common mistake is for landing pages to not be properly aligned with ads.
- Monitoring impressions, click-throughs, spend
- Split testing
- Improving quality scores
- Using negative keywords to save money (by preventing irrelevant searches)
The list goes on…
There’s a bright side though. It is possible – and many businesses have succeeded at this – to get to a point where your marketing spend on SEO & PPC is profitable. That’s when your marketing is an investment rather than a cost. When you get to that point you can pump even more money into your campaigns – knowing that you’re getting a positive return on investment. The only limit to what you spend then should be when you’ve reached the natural traffic limit.
And it’s not like print advertising where you’re not sure what works and what doesn’t work. The beauty of digital marketing is that it’s all testable. The numbers are always there for you to look at.
So give serious consideration to investing in SEO & PPC to increase traffic – whether it’s your own organisation or an outside specialist provider like BITS who’s going to do the actual work. Contact us if you’d like our help in teasing out what your approach should be. We’ll be happy to advise!