For many business owners, marketing directors, and sales executives, there’s a common thread of disenchantment when it comes to overall marketing efforts – specifically, as it relates to how one attempts to convert online traffic. This woe is most often associated with the concern that online traffic does not convert to sales , or is at least a step towards that. Often times, this leaves you with a feeling of being stuck, and in general contemplating, “what’s next?” If online traffic is not leading to more sales, what do you do?
Take a Step Back
It’s good to get a sort of reality check on your expectations at times. This will prevent lots of frustration and actually give you a good starting point for ways to properly address the problem you’re facing. Particularly when it comes to your website’s lack of ability to translate into sales. There are two buckets our proposed problem can fall into: general lead generation and eCommerce. For today, we’ll focus on lead generation.
For both of these buckets, a huge weighing factor will be how you’re actually addressing your customer’s needs once they land on your website. You see, all too often businesses are overly concerned with making their logo bigger, their slogan front and center (good if applicable in some cases), or down right shoving some useless bit of dribble in the visitor’s face that was conjured in a marketing meeting, assuming it was a great idea because Executive Jimmy (fictitious person) said it was.
A bit dramatic on that last one, but you see the point here? Too often businesses create and message their website towards what they think customers will like, instead of basing their forward-facing messaging off of actual data and delivering something of value.
General Lead Generation
Every web site should have goals. This will likely be related to traffic, engagement (pages per visit, bounce rate, etc.), and most importantly, conversion. What a conversion looks like for each company might vary slightly, but for the most part it will require some basic information in exchange for an offer that appeals to the problem your visitor is attempting to define and find a solution to. That’s it! Plain and simple. So the question would be less, “what do I do if my site is not converting to traffic into sales?” and more so “how am I helping my visitors once they land on my site?” If it’s vomiting up all of your services on the home page, you’re likely in a different parking lot altogether.
Unfortunately, far too many sites are represented as the usual “used-car-salesman” cliche, where it’s the hard sell, maybe accompanied by some slick marketing speak. But let’s be honest with ourselves for a second here. As a consumer, when have you ever felt comfortable with that approach? The answer is likely “never”.
Evaluating Traffic Sources
Consider and evaluate all of your traffic sources. How you’re speaking to each different audience or source may vary depending on what type of offer/material you’re marketing. This includes both in the language of your marketing and the messaging once a visitor lands on your website.
Here are some of the most common sources of traffic, followed by where they should likely be landing on:
- LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, G+: Blog Post, Content Offer (landing page)
- Adwords, Other PPC: Landing page for Content Offer
- Organic Search: Home Page, Blog Post, Inner Page
- Email Campaign: Content Offer (usually), Blog Post
There are other potential sources, but these are the primary ones. A good question to ask now would be, “how do I address each audience’s needs?”
Just about every day, you have the potential for three types of people to visit your site:
Do you talk to each one the same way? Of course you don’t! But the website as a static piece of content, a “digital brochure,” if you will, is what most companies treat it as. There is such a thing as websites which change depending on the visitor’s stage in your lifecycle, but that’s a topic for a whole nother blog post.
So in asking why your online traffic is not converting to sales, there’s a bigger picture issue likely going on here that has to do with your messaging that needs to be evaluated.
For landing pages, Crazy Egg has an excellent blog post discussing some essentials as to what makes a successful one.
There’s also the issue of mobile traffic, which I covered more extensively on my blog post about the coming mobile revolution.