Why do you have a website?
The most natural answer would be that you want to get business. Especially when most of the business is supposed to come from your website. If your business depends on your website, it is very important that it attracts the right traffic.
What’s “right traffic”?
When clients approach me to improve their search engine traffic, I explain to them that there are five types of people who normally come to their website.
- People who are looking for information but are not interested in doing business with you.
- People who may want to do business with you but not right now.
- People who are on your website by mistake and they would rather be somewhere else.
- People who would like to do business with you but are also in the process of weighing other options (also considering your competition).
- People who have come to your website specifically to do business with you.
There can be scores of other types but including all these types would be out of the scope of this blog post so I’m primarily going to focus on the five types of people listed above because they pretty much sum up the usual traffic that business websites get.
Considering the above list, if you rearrange by importance you need to reach out to the following types of people:
- People who would come to your website specifically to do business with you.
- People who would like to do business with you but are also in the process of weighing other options.
- People who may want to do business with you but not right now.
When you are doing Internet marketing, when you are doing search engine optimization, you want to target these people.
How do you do that?
Since hundreds of thousands of websites are competing with you – trying to reach the audience that you want to reach – you need to be very careful of your Internet marketing strategy because even very small oversights can send you wrong sort of traffic.
YOUR WEBSITE IS YOUR ONLINE PLATFORM
Your website is the ultimate destination for people on the Internet who want to reach out to you. All the useful information that you want to communicate, you are going to put on your website. Hence, your website is just like your brick and mortar office or shop where all your customers are going to come or call, to do business with you, or to understand how you deliver a particular product or service.
REACHING YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE WITH YOUR WEBSITE
Your website in itself is a static entity. Different factors are going to result in sending people to your website. These factors include:
- Search engine traffic
- Direct traffic (people type in your URL)
- Referral traffic from other websites (people find your URL on other websites)
- Referral traffic from social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
- Clicks from PPC campaigns (in case you use AdWords)
- Clicks from your email marketing campaigns
In the proceeding blog posts, I will discuss subtopics listed above in dedicated blog posts, but in this blog post I’m going to throw a cursory glance at how you can use the above-mentioned sources/tactics to get the right traffic to your website.
SEARCH ENGINE TRAFFIC THROUGH SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
There was a time when, if you published lots of content centered around your keywords, you would get decent search engine traffic. How much of this traffic actually converted into business, is altogether a different issue, but website owners would feel good if the keywords they were trying to target got them search engine traffic.
Over the years website owners and businesses have realized that search engine traffic is meaningless unless it generates business for you. Hence, the issue is not generating traffic, the issue is generating targeted traffic that improves your conversion rate.
This is why, search engine optimization has evolved into a specialty. Search engine optimization, or SEO, these days involves getting into the minds of your prospective customers and clients, knowing exactly what they will be searching for if they really want to do business with you, and then optimizing your website for those search terms.
Important takeaway: when you decide to work with a company that promises to improve your search engine rankings, make sure that the company focuses on your conversion rate and not just your keywords.
Direct traffic is when people directly type your URL and come to your website. For that, they need to be aware of your URL. They may find your link on your letterhead, on your business card/visiting card, through your promotions in newspapers, magazines and TV, or through some word-of-mouth referral.
This can be an important source of traffic because if someone cautiously types your link into the browser bar to come to your website, it means a person is taking cautious decision to come to your website. The number of people who directly come to your website may not be a lot compared to search engine traffic or referral traffic, but the conversion rate of such traffic is greater.
REFERRAL TRAFFIC FROM OTHER WEBSITES
You don’t just get links from other websites (other websites publishing your website’s links) to improve your SEO, you also get links to get referral traffic. Such referral traffic is quite common if you have an affiliate program and people send traffic to your website from their website.
REFERRAL TRAFFIC FROM SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITES
This is called “referral” traffic because even Google Analytics categorizes such traffic as referral traffic.
Suppose, you have a very informative blog post on your corporate blog and someone shares the link on his or her Facebook or Twitter timeline. All the people clicking on the link and then coming to your website are referrals from social media. If such a post goes viral (thousands of people share your link on their timelines) you will certainly see a spike in the number of people coming to your website.
Ever since social media became mainstream, social media marketing has evolved into a separate field. Entire businesses are based on social media traffic. I will talk more about this in one of the upcoming blog posts, so stay tuned.
CLICKS FROM PPC CAMPAIGNS
The most common example of PPC campaigns is Google AdWords. These are small squares of “promotional” links that appear when you search for something on Google.
Although you have to pay for every click that you get from Google, it is the fastest way of getting traffic to your website. Whereas SEO may take months to take effect, if you have no problem investing in Google AdWords you can start drawing targeted traffic from Google within a few minutes.
Every major platform these days allows you to run PPC campaigns. If you don’t like Google traffic, you can focus on LinkedIn that is primarily for B2B networking. Facebook has its own PPC program, and so does Twitter. Choose your platform according to the audience you want to attract. A competent social media marketing agency can help you choose the right platform for your business.
CLICKS FROM YOUR EMAIL MARKETING CAMPAIGNS
Email marketing seems to be as old as the Internet, doesn’t it? You must have been getting promotional emails ever since you started using email.
Despite the spam problem, and despite social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter hogging all the attention these days, email marketing still remains the most potent marketing tool on the Internet. This is why 95% of businesses doing Internet marketing also have email marketing as one of their major focus areas.
You will be surprised to know that many businesses have so much confidence in email marketing that they allocate their entire Internet marketing budget to email marketing sometimes.
In terms of attention that different mediums get, there are 2.6 billion email users on the Internet compared to 1.7 billion Facebook users and 313 million Twitter users.
58% people check email first thing in the morning compared to 11% Facebook and 2% Twitter.
66% people make purchases through email marketing campaigns compared to 20% through Facebook marketing and 6% through Twitter marketing.
Average click-through rate (CTR) in emails is 3.7% compared to 0.07% in Facebook and 0.03% in Twitter.
You can see, email marketing still rules the roost. It is one of the best ways of generating targeted traffic to your website.
The basic purpose of this blog post was to throw a cursory glance at all the tactics that you can use to generate targeted traffic to your website. Different businesses may decide to employ different tactics, methodologies and channels, but the primary purpose should be to get targeted traffic that converts, rather than simply focusing on numbers.