As marketers, we’re bombarded with advice and proposals for acquiring more website traffic.
A quick skim through a marketer’s LinkedIn feed is likely to include everything from the latest tips for ranking highly in Google, to how to increase PPC click rates, to email open rate advice.
More traffic from any of these sources can be invaluable to marketers. And there are plenty of qualified agencies and consultants who can improve performance in these channels.
But it is interesting that so many marketers are so focused specifically on traffic acquisition. Recent research shows that for every dollar spent on trying to convert traffic, $92 is spent trying to acquire it.
So that begs the question. Why are we always so focused on traffic?
Traffic vs Conversions
It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that more traffic equals more conversions. Many marketers seem to have this idea that if they keep flooding traffic through the gates, eventually, they will convert into leads or sales.
But since our websites are our digital shop fronts, let’s think about a shop…
Imagine you’ve just opened a brand new retail store. You’ve got your products set out nicely, the atmosphere of your store is very trendy and appealing. You’re also in a prime location that gets a lot of footfall, and people are coming into the store regularly.
The only problem is they aren’t buying as much as you need them to.
You’ve got a hiring choice. Do you…
- Hire a sign-spinner or leafletter to try and drive even more people into your store?
- Hire a sales assistant in the store to help and engage customers, thus increasing the chance of them buying something?
For most people, the answer is obvious. You’d turn your attention to trying to get the most out of each potential customer who you’d already brought into the store.
Unfortunately when it comes to websites, marketers often fall into the trap of buying digital sign spinners or leafletters. Simply focusing on driving as much digital footfall as possible, hoping the website will convert in roughly the same way it always has.
Unfortunately, expecting your site visitors to do the heavy lifting and figure out the buying journey for themselves often doesn’t cut it. They cut bored, or frustrated, or simply enticed by a better experience they’ve had on a competitor site. So it’s no surprise that the average conversion rate for most websites is just 2%.
This means that ultimately, around 98% of your site traffic is leaving your website without doing what you actually need them to do.
This is particularly costly for marketers when we are paying to acquire traffic, say through PPC or referral links. But it can affect any source of traffic you have put a lot of effort into acquiring. One of the most common areas we see this is from Organic Search engine traffic.
A lack of SEO Conversions
There are many URLs that rank highly in Google for popular searches, but simply do not generate conversions from all the traffic they bring in. We recently had a Leadoo customer – a luxury holiday provider – experiencing exactly this. They had a blog ranking highly for ‘New York flights to the Caribbean’.
Clearly a highly desirable and competitive search term. But despite bringing in tens of thousands of organic sessions, and having several ‘buy your holiday now’ CTAs on the page, they had not captured a single sale from all that organic traffic.
That’s because most of the traffic was still in the research – or ‘holiday inspo’ – phase. Showing them hard CTAs wasn’t going to make them buy an expensive holiday.
So we embedded one of our Visual Bots on the page, which put the emphasis back on the user to ‘build’ their perfect holiday.
This gamified experience led to a major increase in on-page interaction, and crucially, many more users reaching potential conversion points. They had planned their perfect holiday, and could see trust signals that the company could provide this, all while never having left the blog they landed on from Google.
The end result? Tens of thousands of pounds of booked revenue within weeks of our conversion tool going live. From a blog that had not previously converted, despite high traffic.
We consistently see this at Leadoo. Marketers put lots of time and resources – often successfully – into traffic acquisition. But they aren’t able to convert all that new traffic into leads or sales.
Lead Generation – the ultimate goal of marketing
And that’s worrying because the ultimate goal of marketing should never be how much traffic you can drive. Whilst traffic can be a means to an end, marketing’s role is to understand customers and help drive positive commercial outcomes from them.
And that’s why, we’re seeing a big shift towards marketers focusing on conversions rather than traffic. Not just to measure performance, but to justify activity internally.
79% of marketers openly admit that their main priority is to generate qualified leads. But that’s difficult to square with the average website converting at just 2%.
With 98% of traffic walking away on average, surely there’s more potential in decreasing that massive number by investing in conversion optimization?
Rather than constantly focusing on the unpredictable and often expensive challenge that is traffic acquisition?
Maybe it’s time to start making the most from the traffic we’ve already got!