It seems illogical at first. By decreasing your web traffic, you can increase lead generation conversion rates. Better said, how narrowing your audience to those most likely to convert signals to the rest of the Internet that what you have to offer may not be what they want.
Sounds counterintuitive, right? But it isn’t.
Think of it this way. If you owned a store, which situation would you rather find yourself? Catering to 1,000 visitors a month, 100 of whom make a purchase. Or welcoming 10,000 through your door to ring up only 50.
Today most marketers still cast a wide net, hoping to nab the big catch in a school of digital guppies, when they could work a little harder to narrow their focus and bait their hook with just the right lure. Doing so eliminates the white noise of generic web traffic and turns visitors into quality traffic.
Want to know more? Read on.
Get to Know Your Audience: Create Buyer Personas
If you have tooled around creating content based on a spreadsheet of SEO keywords and what you think your customers want to know about you, you are already behind. If you want to successfully market to the people most likely to engage your service or buy your product, you need to get to know them first.
Creating buyer personas will help you accomplish this task, as well as give you a solid foundation on which to build engaging content. Ultimately, you want to build the type of content your prospects will happily exchange their contact information for.
A standard buyer persona looks a lot like a bio, and in many ways, it is. Those elements - a name, like Alan Hinkle, and a photo - are meant to help you identify with your prospect on a human level. Some marketers will name their personas based on their buying attitudes, like Skeptical Steve or Curious Cathy, to emphasize their preferences.
Deeper elements include demographic data, daily business or operational challenges, and purchasing behaviors. Buyer personas also include key indicators to help sales people quickly identify the persona of the prospect with whom they are engaging. They may even include standard messaging to use when speaking with a prospect or creating content and other marketing materials for them.
Collecting the data to build buyer personas is a two-step process. Both steps require extensive research and analysis.
1. Interview Internal Stakeholders
Take time to speak with co-workers who interact with prospects and customers on a daily basis. This includes sales, marketing, customer service and tech support. Ask them to share what they believe to be your customers’ goals, behaviors and pain points. Find out why customers are looking for your service, what problems they are trying to solve, what convinces them to make a buying decision and what questions they have after making the purchase.
2. Interview Customers
Reach out to your customers to find out what they are really thinking. What are their challenges? What keeps them up at night? Why are they really searching for the kind of service or solution you offer? Take it a step further and learn about their buying habits as individuals and how they view the buying habits of their organization. Find out who the true decision makers are. What is their title? How much experience do they have? How long does it take the company to make a purchase?
Once you’ve collected all this information, analyze it and build your buying personas from it. You should wind up with a good snapshot of who your prospects and customers are, what questions they are asking, and why they are hoping to engage with you.
Give Them What They Want
How do you go from knowing what your customers want, to giving them what they need? One of the best ways to do that is to provide informational, educational and entertaining content that specifically answers the questions your prospects are asking.
Many companies focus content on the services they provide or the benefits of their product. They try to cover every topic and every keyword under the sun hoping to drive traffic to their site. Worse, they tell prospects they have a problem rather than helping them solve the problem they already know they have.
Very often, this tactic works. The problem is that the web traffic the tactic attracts does not include buyers. It includes everybody. Those folks are not going to give you their information and download your eBook, simply because you are not relevant to them. You are left with a ton of traffic and no conversion.
So stop chasing all that traffic and focus instead on the visitors who matter: your buyers. Turn to your buyer personas and see what pain points they are dealing with. Take all the questions they have and turn them into answers. Then build content - eBooks, articles, blog posts, infographics - that solve your prospects’ problems.
Let’s say, for example, you sell treadmills. Rather than tell site visitors how great your treadmills are, tell them how treadmills are as good as running outside. Blog as an expert. Build a graphic that charts the treadmill’s advantages over running outdoors. Once you have convinced them you are an expert, encourage visitors to fill out a form and download your free Ultimate Treadmill Workout eBook for even more in-depth information. Now you’ve got a lead.
Show Up Where They Are Looking
It’s not enough to simply build a great website and wait for quality traffic to arrive. The Internet continues expanding and people continue to find new ways to interact with one another through it. Once you know your buyers and build content that solves their problems, you have to get that content in front of their eyes.
Do so by finding out where your buyers congregate. This is a step you should take when creating your buyer personas. Ask your customers if there are social media platforms they regularly use or blogs they typically visit. Discover their digital watering holes and then make sure you - and your content - is right there next to them.
Joining the conversation and strategically placing messaging and content outside your website will help you both build a following and deliver quality traffic to your site. In other words, prospects who engage with your content away from your website are more likely to visit your site, convert and buy.
Measure the Results
You’ve put together your buyer personas, built engaging content that solves a problem, and promoted it where your prospects and customers gather. Now the rubber meets the road. Are you attracting quality traffic to your content? Is that traffic generating leads?
The best way to know is to measure content engagement. There are a few ways to do this, and specific metrics you should analyze.
1. Referral Traffic
Instead of focusing on whether your traffic is increasing month to month, analyze where your traffic is coming from. Dig into your referral traffic and see if visitors are arriving through the social channels where you are promoting content. Sharing links on Facebook and Twitter? Make sure people are clicking those links and coming to your site.
You can also gather information. If you see unfamiliar links in your referral traffic, visit those sites. It could be that a blogger, member of the media or fellow industry expert is using your content as a resource and linking back to your site. That’s good to know. Now you can connect with that blogger, reporter or expert and become a source. On the other hand, you can feed them more content that they will share, help you reach the right audience and build quality traffic.
2. Social Channel Sharing
Make sure to review the analytics provided by the social channels you use. Are readers sharing your content? Are they hitting the like button? If so, that is a good signal that your content is engaging and informative.
3. Time on Page and Content Downloads
Much of the content you provide visitors should be free. Which is to say, visitors shouldn’t have to fill out a form to access most of your content. To analyze whether you are achieving your content goal in lieu of a form fill, review the amount of time visitors spend on the page. Does that match the length of time a person would need to consume the content? Why or why not?
If you provide free content in the form of PDFs or other downloadable or measurable media, like video playback, track that engagement as well. The web traffic you want - visitors who will eventually turn into a lead - will spend time with the content.
4. Form Fill Conversion
Compare how many visitors are filling out a form, whether it’s to gain access to content or contact the company, to the number of people visiting the site. Your conversion rate should be somewhere around 2 percent to 5 percent, though 10 percent is possible. In other words, if you have 1,000 visitors a month, you should gather 20 to 50 leads per month from that traffic.
Finally, take the information you learned when measuring your content and decide where you need to make adjustments to increase both quality traffic and lead generation. Maybe the description on a landing page does a poor job describing the eBook you are offering. Change it up. Write a new headline or cut the text down. Maybe use a new image. Adjust the offering until you get the engagement you are looking for.
Follow this strategy and you might see a dip in traffic to your site. You will instead discover an increase in quality traffic. That quality traffic is what converts into leads and, eventually, customers.
Matt is the co-founder and COO of BKA Content. He’s passionate about writing quality content, watching NBA basketball, going backpacking and taking midday naps.