If you don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish, how can you know whether you’ve been successful or not?
Exactly. You can’t.
This applies to digital marketing in the same way as to real-life goals. You can’t possibly know if your efforts were effective or successful if you don’t know what you want to achieve.
That’s why it’s important to understand – and learn – the different goals your marketing efforts can have.
Now, you might be thinking: “we already spoke about goals in the very first section”. And it’s true that we have – but we did leave out one important detail. We didn’t talk about online-specific goals, and how they’re tracked.
So in this chapter, we’re going to take an in-depth look at setting and tracking goals online; maximizing the ROI on your marketing budget; using the data you get back to improve your results consistently.
And before we do all of that, it’s imperative you understand one key word: conversion.
What Are Conversions and Conversion Rate
In digital marketing, a conversion is a successful instance of getting a user to do what you want. Depending on your business and current marketing campaign, a successful conversion might mean…
- Acquiring a new customer.
- Getting a new e-mail subscriber.
- Getting a Facebook like.
- Getting a call from a prospective customer.
Conversions are important. They measure whether your marketing is effective and is getting people to do what you want or not.
A poor conversion rate increases the cost of acquiring new leads, website visits and, ultimately, customers. Investing into a marketing campaign with poor conversion rate can take a great product and turn it into a losing business.
However with a high conversion rate your costs to acquire new customers drops dramatically and with the right strategy, your marketing can even pay for itself. And we will discuss how to do just that in the next chapters.
Needless to say, it’s extremely important that your conversion metrics align with the overall goals of your business and where you are going. If you’re converting users to take an action that doesn’t contribute to your success, there’s no point in it; it’s a waste of resources.
So right now, let’s look at 4 hypothetical businesses, and see how their conversion goals contribute towards their greater business goals.
Keith’s Boulangerie (Growth)
Keith is a New-York based baker. His shop is right off 47th and 5th – very central – but he’s been having difficulty attracting customers. He wants to grow his business, even if this doesn’t lead to an increase in sales in the short run.
To achieve this goal, Keith launches a “coffee delivery” promotion on his Facebook page. He gives people the ability to order coffee through the page – and get it delivered for free. The conversion goal for the campaign is orders made through Facebook.
Sanaya’s Skirts (Sales)
Sanaya sells and rents wedding dresses in her business. She’s happy with her profit margins, sales and customer base – but urgently needs cash to pay for this month’s rent, which has just gone up unexpectedly.
To achieve her goal, Sanaya launches a “pay cash, get 20% off” promotion using Google’s ad platform. Her conversion goal is to get more cash orders this month.
Bob’s Big Blog (Traction)
Bob runs a blog where he shares the large objects he finds on his world travels. His product is a “big guidebook” – and he’s getting a fair share of sales from it. The problem is that many people come to the blog, check out the book’s sales page, and leave the website.
What Bob wants to do is improve traction with users and get them to re-visit his site after seeing it once. To do this, he creates a customized ad campaign that shows ads on Facebook to people who’ve visited his website in the past, in addition he set up remarketing with Google that shows his ads on other websites these people visit.
Bob’s conversion goal is to get returning website visitors with this campaign.
Petey’s Corner Bodega (Profits)
Petey runs a Chicago bodega, and he manages to break even with his in-store sales. However, he doesn’t take much home in profit after paying his fixed costs – and would like to change that.
Petey decides to improve his profits by creating a simple website for his goods, and driving traffic there. His conversion goal, of course, is to generate online sales with the end goal of higher profits.
As you can see, conversion goals don’t need to be fancy. They need to be realistic and align with where you want to take your business; no more, no less.
If you can attain your conversion goals at a profit – great. That means you’re doing well. Scale your operations upwards for more profit, or refine them for higher margins.
If you fail to reach your conversion goals time and time again, you might consider changing your tactics and review what you’re doing – or even consider testing a new market, offer, message, or a sales channel.
Your Website Is Your Conversion Machine
“Build it, and they will come” worked for Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams – but it’s not an effective marketing strategy. Conversions don’t just happen; you need to make them happen.
The best way to do this is with a conversion-oriented website that guides users from their first visit and into buying from you – repeatedly, if possible.
In fact, a perfect business website is a pure conversion machine that does nothing but sell. Auxiliary functions reduce conversions – and until you get the experience and expertise to manage a complex website, you can forget about them.
Now, I’m not saying your website needs to be a 1-page sales letter. There are many ways to sell – and some of them, like blog posts and videos, are indirect and subtle.
In section 5, I’ll take you through the exact pages and steps you need to create a conversion machine in the form of your website in as little as 2 hours. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to make immediate sales by simply driving traffic to your page with online marketing.
Before that can happen, though, it’s absolutely imperative that you understand traffic – because the wrong website visitors will rob your sales, customers and even leads, no matter how conversion-optimized your website is.
Read on to find out why.
Traffic: the Alpha and Omega of Your Marketing Campaign
The internet can seem vast, complex and even a little intimidating – but when it comes to doing business, it’s exactly like the real world.
Your website – or conversion machine – is where you make sales. It’s the equivalent of a store. Online visitors are exactly like real-life visitors, except you don’t necessarily meet them in person. Sales are still sales.
Perhaps the only difference is that building a store in the real world guarantees that you’ll get some interested visitors. This is not the case with traffic, which measures the amount of website visits you get – and which you’ll need to attract yourself.
Broadly speaking, here are the 5 main traffic sources you’ll be using – and how valuable each of them tends to be:
Word of Mouth
Word of mouth is telling other people that you have a website, giving them its address, and then waiting for visitors. If you’ve got a massive real-life following, or a massive tribe on Facebook and Twitter, this may be all the promotion you need.
A lot of the time, though, word of mouth fails – because the people we know in our personal lives are not the people we want buying from us. Our friends may want to help, and we may want to tell them all about what we’re doing… But in the end, it’s rare for WoM to deliver results.
Value: Low-Medium, depending on how many prospective customers you can reach!
When we say traffic is “targeted”, it means that we get a visit from a customer who’s interested in our product; has a problem we can solve; is actively interested in learning more or making a purchase.
Certainly, targeted traffic is the best kind – because it can easily be converted into an instant sale and, potentially, a new lifelong customer. The downside is that targeted traffic is difficult to acquire, it is more expensive and highly competitive.
(Good thing that reading this guide all the way through will show you how to get targeted traffic effectively!)
Value: Very High
In a perfect world, everyone would have 100% targeted traffic all the time – but the fact is, some traffic will always be untargeted. It’s just a fact of life. Fortunately, untargeted visitors can still be converted effectively most of the time!
For starters, some of them will buy your product. Others will become leads and leave you their number or e-mail. A small segment may not want to buy your product, especially if it’s expensive – but can be persuaded to buy someone else’s product via your website, making you money.
Unlike targeted traffic, untargeted traffic is plentiful online. There’s nothing wrong with it, because people often find products they didn’t know they wanted and buy them – which can still be profitable for you.
PPC (pay per click) advertising is perhaps the simplest way to drive traffic. What you do is configure who you want to target – and how much you’re ready to pay per click or for an ad view.
This kind of advertising is often targeted – but can also be untargeted, because many of the people clicking through have no immediate intention to buy.
The upside is that PPC advertising is simple and easy to quantify. For example – if you’re spending $30 on Google Ads each day, and getting 70 visitors, of whom 10 become leads, it’s easy to calculate whether PPC is profitable for you or not.
There are many ways to get free traffic online. Some of them will get you junk traffic from robots and South East Asian professional website visitors, neither of whom will ever buy a thing from you.
However, a lot of traffic you can gain by using specific marketing techniques can be identical quality to paid traffic, in that it comes from interested individuals; it results in conversions; it is scalable and effective.
Best of all, there’s a million and one ways to get free traffic if you’re willing to put up the “sweat equity” and get to work.
Ways to Get Free Traffic To Your Website
There are many reasons to use free traffic. You may be cash-strapped and prefer to save money on your marketing budget – but most of the time, you’ll simply be supplementing paid traffic with free website visitors.
Fortunately, there’s literally dozens of ways to get traffic without paying a cent. Here’s my personal top 6, in order of preference.
- Guest Blogging
The first free way to drive traffic is by writing articles (or making videos) for someone else’s blog. If the blog you’re writing for is in your niche, the visitors you get are likely to be targeted and already interested in the topic or your product, making this the #1 choice for free traffic.
- Influencer Partnership
Find influencers (celebrities, famous bloggers, professionals) who can promote your products in a related space or industry.
- Public Relations
Connecting with P.R. websites, journalists and blogs can help you get your message out there for free. The better your product and offering, the better you’ll do – but it’s not unheard of for P.R. to work better than paid traffic.
- Search Engine Optimization
SEO leverages search engine results to increase your site’s visibility and get you free traffic. If you decide to use SEO, though, do it well or not at all – Google’s top 3 search results get 69%+ of all its traffic, so doing bad SEO is basically a waste of time.
- Social Media
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest are amongst the best sources for free traffic. People can use these platforms to share your content instantly, giving you premium, targeted traffic without costing you a penny.
- Videos and Your Own Blog
Creating your own visual and text content will get people to check for what you’re doing at any given time – and put them in front of your offer again and again.
HubSpot found that businesses that make content perform up to 64% better than those that don’t – so while this entry is last, it’s definitely should not the least on your list of marketing tactics!
Putting it All Together With Consistency
You just learned a lot about traffic – but remember that at the end of the day, traffic numbers don’t buy from you. Real people do.
For this reason, you should always be locked into what your customers want. Real people are the driving force behind your business; never forget that.
The other thing you should never forget is consistency.
There’s so much happening online, that sometimes it feels tempting to try multiple things at once. That’s fine – so long as you coordinate all your efforts, and make sure your marketing is consistent across all channels.
At the end of the day, everything you do is a part of your conversion machine – and should bring people back to your Point of Sales, i.e. your website.
If you release marketing messages that don’t match, directly undermine each other, or distract people from your website, your conversions will drop – and take customers and profits with them.
That’s why you should always have consistent branding, messages, story and even style of graphics and video across different media channels.
Don’t take my word for it, though.
A study of 27,000 American consumers by consulting giants McKinsey & Co found that a consistent customer experience improves customer satisfaction, builds trust and boosts loyalty – so always remember to put your marketing efforts together with consistency in mind.