One of the biggest challenges we face as marketers is attracting the right traffic to our website. There is a common misconception among marketers, especially when starting out with a new system or methodology, that all traffic is good traffic. But that isn’t the case.
Traffic can be an indicator that you are starting to see some results, but it's more important to look at additional metrics like visitor-to-lead conversion rates and lead-to-customer conversion rates. When it comes to traffic, quality is more important than quantity.
If you can confidently say that the majority of traffic you are driving to your website is converting into leads and then converting into customers, then that's fantastic. But in most cases, digging into your data will reveal that traffic isn't generating the results you thought it was.
So, what is the trick to generating website visitors that actually convert?
Step 1: Identify Your Ideal Conversion Path
Before building out any plans or strategies for your website, it’s important to first understand how you want site visitors to engage with your site.
If you are following the inbound methodology, the purpose of your site is provide value to your visitors which ideally leads to them converting into customers.
This is what that path may look like:
- Someone has a problem
- They search for answers online
- Your website comes up in search results
- They click on the link to the blog you wrote on that topic and read through it
- They click on the CTA on the bottom of the article leading to a premium content offer and convert on the form
- They become a contact in your system and are now enrolled in a nurture program or sales process (depending on their level of readiness)
- They become your customer
Step 2: Develop Your Buyer Personas
Your buyer personas will serve as your guiding light in everything you do. Buyer personas are a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer.
In order to get visitors to come to your site and eventually become customers, you must first understand who those people are and what their habits and needs are. Your personas will guide your content creation and ensure you are creating relevant and accurate content that truly adds value for prospects as they move through the funnel.
When you're identifying your personas, there are a few questions you should be asking yourself:
- What is their job role or title?
- Are they your champion?
- How do they define professional success?
- What are their biggest challenges?
- What key messages will resonate with them?
- What are their online watering holes and preferred social media channels?
- How do they prefer to communicate (phone, email, etc.)?
- What pain points and challenges do they face in their day-to-day job?
Step 3: Develop a Persona-Driven Keyword Strategy
Once you have clearly defined buyer personas, you will be able to begin to brainstorm the content ideas and keywords that will resonate with them. You've already outlined what their pain points and challenges are, so what phrases would they type into a search bar to find the solutions? These are going to be part of your keyword strategy.
When we advise our clients on choosing keywords, there are three main criteria we suggest using:
- What is the monthly search volume? We like to see at least 50.
- What is the difficulty/competition? We like to see anything under .6.
- Is it a long-tail keyword? We have found more success targeting long-tail searches than short-tail. Long-tail refers to a phrase rather than just a single word. For example, "How to start a business blog" would be long-tail and "blog" would be the short-tail version.
Once you've pulled together a list of keywords, you can start mapping out your content strategy. Assign keywords to your blog posts, content offers, campaigns, web pages, etc.
Step 4: Start Blogging
Now that you know who you are targeting and what keywords you're going to use so they can find you, it's time to implement your strategy and develop content. Blogging is a great way to drive qualified traffic to your website.
Here are some stats to prove it:
- B2B Marketers who have blogs get 67% more leads than those who don’t.
- Marketers who prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to achieve a positive ROI on their efforts.
- Blogs have been rated as the fifth most trusted source for accurate online information.
Blogging is a proven marketing strategy that drives business results. Each time you write a new blog post, you're adding additional content to your site, and one more page is getting indexed by search engines.
Google uses when a site was last updated to inform search rankings. Additionally, each blog post provides another opportunity for you to get found in search. And since your keywords are aligned to your personas, the traffic you're attracting should be the people you want. But, it isn’t going to happen right away. Consistency is key when it comes to blogging
You will want to decide on how often you can commit to blogging and stick to that schedule. Blogging is not going to yield instant results, it takes time for your content to rank, but when it does, it will be worth it.
Step 5: Get Active on Social Media
Promoting your content on social media is another great way to drive traffic to your website. Social media is a place where sharing is encouraged. Through social media promotion your content may have a wider reach.
But we also know that for someone just getting started with social media, it can feel like an overwhelming and daunting task. If you aren't currently active on social media, we recommend that you first ask yourself questions like:
- Where do your customers spend their time?
- What platforms are they most active on?
- Where do they share and engage content with their networks most often?
- Where is the largest audience for your industry?
By asking yourself these questions, you can start to get a feel for which channels your industry is actually active on. You don’t want to spend a ton of time on Twitter if none of your prospects or other thought leaders are on Twitter. You won’t see any engagement or ROI from that.
Once you know where you want to put your focus in terms of channel, develop an social media editorial calendar to help you stick to a schedule. There are a ton of tools out there that can help you schedule your social media posts ahead of time, but you will still need to spend time each day getting on and engaging with others.
A lot of people focus too heavily on posting and promoting their own content when they first get active on social media. While promoting yourself is important, social media is the place to interact with and share others’ content as well. You can share your own blog posts with added thoughts and questions to engage the audience. You can also share industry news with your followers and comment on other people’s posts.
If you can connect with prospects on social media, you can have that conversation right there and skip ahead in the buying process.
Step 6: Paid Advertising
When you are creating content that you know will serve your prospects well, organic traffic is a great way to generate leads. But ranking organically for those super competitive keywords can take time.
Paid advertising can help amplify your inbound content, helping you gain traction in search results and domain authority. This can be done through the form of paid search, paid social and display campaigns.
Your paid advertising efforts need to be purposeful and measurable. Be sure you are going after the right keywords for your content and your buyer personas.
Like we said before, you want to focus on bringing in qualified traffic that will convert, not traffic that comes to your site and leaves right away because they weren’t the right fit.
Now that you have attracted visitors to your site, your work isn’t done. Getting a visitor to view one article probably won’t lead straight to a conversion. That’s not to say that it can’t happen, but most of the time it is going to take more than one great article to turn traffic into customers.
After creating content to attract people to your site, you should develop nurture strategies to give leads more relevant content in their inbox once they have converted. You can give them the option to subscribe to receive your content regularly whether that is monthly or weekly.
Another important piece of the process is to make sure you are revisiting the existing content on your site for updates. This is good for both Google and your buyers’ experience.
This post was originally published November 25, 2013.