Why Clicks and Visits Can’t Guarantee a Profitable Marketing Campaign
In the digital marketing world, there are a handful of central goals that campaign organizers aim for, the most important of which is usually traffic. You pay extra money for advertising that gets seen by more people, so you get more traffic to your landing page. You optimize your site for search engines so you rank higher and get more traffic to your website. Even content, social media, and other forms of organic inbound marketing typically revolve around getting more traffic to your site (along with some secondary goals, like increasing brand reputation and visibility).
At the end of a long campaign, you might compare traffic results to get a feel for what was successful and what wasn’t—12,000 visits compared to 8,000 visits in the last measurement period is certainly impressive, and if a piece generates 1,000 visits compared to 600 visits from a contemporary, it can be considered a success. But too many modern marketers are becoming fixated on these traffic numbers. They’re impressive, significant, and valuable, yes, but they alone can’t guarantee a profitable marketing campaign.
The Traffic-Conversion Relationship
The “missing piece” when it comes to evaluating site traffic as a measure of return is the number of conversions you receive. Conversions are defined differently for different businesses, but no matter how you define yours, it’s a measurable form of engagement of a user with a brand that results in some measurable gain. It might be the purchase of a product or a signup to an important form—whatever it is, it’s a sign that a particular visitor is of consequential value to your brand, and not just a tire-kicker or a passerby.
This isn’t to say that traffic isn’t important, or even that conversions are more important than traffic. Instead, know there is a delicate relationship between the two. If you have a high conversion rate but little traffic, you won’t be in a much better position than if you have lots of traffic, but almost no conversions. You’ll have to analyze and understand both sides of the coin to properly direct and improve your campaign, and try to keep each in balance with the other.
Why Profitability Is Your Main Concern
To some, marketing is a necessary budget item like a utility bill—you pay a certain amount of money each month, and continue to receive necessary services. Of course it would be nice to gain better, more effective services, but profitability isn’t the main concern.
This is an ineffectual conclusion. In fact, profitability should be your main concern in any content or inbound marketing campaign. Instead of thinking of your marketing budget as a utility bill, think of it as an investment. You have X amount of capital to invest in the smartest, most efficient way possible, and it’s your responsibility to make sure that money is invested wisely. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you invest in a marketing campaign as long as it is profitable; low-budget campaigns can be a boon for a business, and high-budget campaigns can be a disaster. It’s all in how profitable your campaigns end up being.
Ways to Improve Conversions on Your Site
If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably got a good traffic generation strategy already. I’m going to assume you have a steady or impressive traffic flow to your site, but you’re worried about what your visitors are doing from there. Obviously, there’s a value in people coming to your site, getting a good impression of your brand, and leaving—this increases the likelihood of future purchases—but it’s much harder to tie to an objective metric like conversions.
So to guarantee some level of measurable value for your traffic, the best thing to do is optimize your site for conversions. Here are some of the best ways to do it:
- Have multiple callouts for conversion onsite. Use banners, pop-ups, and footer-based windows to call users to action on most, if not all, of your pages. Just don’t annoy or frustrate users by making these obnoxious or having them block out the content they came to read. There’s a fine line here, so run some user tests to make sure you don’t cross it.
- Use interlinking to direct users to call-to-action pages. Link your internal site pages to other internal site pages (as long as they’re relevant) to keep users onsite longer and maximize chances for conversion.
- Increase trust with testimonials and value propositions. A review page, testimonial from a real customer, or a handful of unique value statements can increase consumer trust. Without that critical trust, customers won’t be comfortable buying from you.
- Make it easier to convert. Reduce the number of steps a person needs to take to complete the process. Users will jump ship if a form is too long or if there are too many clicks involved.
- Use clear, compelling copy to attract customers. Work on your headline to be as concise, clear, and compelling as possible. It will probably take several rounds of editing before you get it right.
- Use bold, visually attractive designs to lure users’ eyes. A sharp contrasting color combined with an arrow or another visual cue can work wonders in guiding your users.
Don’t think you’re done optimizing just because you’ve touched on every bullet point I’ve listed above. Proper conversion optimization is a constant, ongoing process. You’ll need to watch closely to see how your user behavior changes, and make tweaks that gradually increase your conversion rates. With consistent—or even better, growing—levels of traffic, your conversion rates should almost guarantee a profitable investment in marketing (unless you’re spending money on items that aren’t actively contributing to your bottom line).
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