Driving traffic is hard. The daily grind of writing, sharing content and sending newsletters takes a huge amount of time and energy for every content marketer.
But traffic is only half of the equation. Success is a combination of two factors: the total number of visitors (traffic) and the percentage of those visitors that take action (conversion rate). Here’s the basic formula for website ROI…
Traffic x Conversion Rate = Success
Since anything times zero is zero, the best marketers know that there’s more to life than visits. The best marketers are generalists and optimize for conversions first. Drive traffic second.
Think about it.
What should you do first: fix the leaks in the bucket? Or add more water? Of course, if the bucket is leaking, you should patch the holes before putting more water in.
The same is true in web marketing. Ask yourself this question: If you could do one of these two things this month, which would it be –
Double your conversion rate by changing your website
Double your traffic using social media and email marketing
Either choice will have the same ROI, right? Not quite. The short term gains are the same, but over the long run, option one (fixing your conversion funnel) will get you better results.
It’s the nature of web traffic sources. Email and social media traffic is short lived. You have to stick with it, working hard to keep activity levels up …or traffic drops. On the other hand, a change to your website is more permanent. Fix the bucket, then add water.
How to get more value from the same visitors
Here are a few ways to optimize for conversions:
1. Make your newsletter signup more compelling
There is a huge difference between good and great signup forms. A change to our email signup form increased subscribers by 1900%. That’s a lot. The key was to make it more visually obvious (prominence), make the value more explicit (promise) and show that others have already signed up (proof).
Make sure your form does these three things and watch your results increase, even while traffic stays flat.
2. Keep your visitors from going to social networks
Yes, social media is good for your marketing, but there’s a time and a place for it. When people come to your website from Facebook, that’s good. But when people leave your website to go to Facebook, that’s usually bad.
Many websites have large, candy-like social media icons at the top of every page. Sometimes, they have icons for social networks that are not important to their business. These colorful buttons pull visitors’ attention away from important parts of the page and toward other websites.
If you have a blue website with a big red Pinterest button in the header, do you really want people to click it, leave and go to Pinterest? Does that help your business? If not, why is the button there?
Be very caution about adding social media icons to your website. Sharing buttons are great, but those icons are an exit door.
3. Offer another action on your thank you page.
There are all kinds of thank you pages on website. Thank you for buying, for subscribing, for registering, etc. On most websites, thank you pages are dead ends, offering nothing to visitors except an opportunity to leave.
When a visitor takes an action on your site, give them a chance to do something else, such as subscribe to a newsletter, follow you on social media or read a high-value article. When a visitor becomes a lead on our website, we give them to chance to subscribe to our newsletter. Each year, hundreds of people do it.
Make sure your thank you page isn’t a missed opportunity.
Making the most of your existing traffic
Simple fixes to a website can have enduring benefits. Before you put another 1000 hours into social media and email marketing – adding water – take a close look at your site and make sure that you’ll get the maximum value from those visits – fixing leaks!