When I work with clients to improve their online marketing efforts, the topic of “driving traffic” is generally the first thing that comes up. The conversation usually goes something like:
Client: “We want to drive more traffic to our website because we want to have more business.”
Me: “Both are reasonable goals. But tell me, how is driving more traffic to your web site going to make that happen?”
Don’t get me wrong — I agree that driving traffic is the key to online sales and marketing success. The challenge that most marketers face, however, is that driving traffic alone does not guarantee that success.
Let’s say that you open a new store on the main street of your town. At the very same time a competitor opens a store on the other side of the street. In an effort to make a big splash, you spend a lot of money on marketing and drive traffic into your store. It works. People are showing up, wandering around your new store — and then wandering back out without spending a penny. Meanwhile, your competitor doesn’t have nearly the same level of traffic that you do but she is making money from almost everybody who enters her store.
So, which business is doing a better job — yours or her’s?
At the end of the day, driving traffic alone is not a success metric — it’s what happens after the traffic arrives that matters. In most cases, a key performance indicator (KPI) is the real objective behind anything we do in business. For a retail store, an obvious KPI would be the amount of money made from sales.
If we think of our websites and other web properties as buildings that we wish to drive traffic into, we also need to think about the value of that traffic. What is it that these people are looking for? Are these serious prospects or tire-kickers? How well do they understand what we bring to the marketplace? Where are they in the purchase funnel? What part of the website should they visit to gain a better understanding of the values and benefits we offer?
In the early days of web marketing one of the most common errors that marketers made was to try to drive all the traffic to their websites through the “front door.” This was often a home page or a general jumping-off point. The problem with this approach is that it unrealistically presumes that everybody who visits the website has exactly the same needs and desires and an equal understanding of how that company might meet them.
It’s highly likely that the prospects that you’re trying to reach represent a spectrum of needs. The bottom line is that your audience isn’t “one size fits all” and your web presence shouldn’t be either.
This means that by creating unique and separate landing pages for your web traffic site you can address specific prospect needs and better meet the concerns and desires of the different groups within your target audience. Here is where you explain what your business does, and more importantly, what it can do for them.
Each one of these landing pages becomes a new doorway into your business. Instead of just pushing traffic in through the front door, you create the opportunity to educate and qualify all of your traffic along the way. By creating separate conversations with each part of your target audience you can better meet those needs, and over time, move them from being prospects to becoming customers.
Spider Graham, Contributing Writer