How to Convert Website Traffic into Increased Sales and Loyal Customers
(3 Steps for Small business Marketers)
So, you’ve boosted your website traffic. Now what?
Congratulations! You have crossed the first hurdle of any decent digital marketer, you have started to generate traffic from your skillfully crafted, search-engine optimized landing pages. But how are you going to keep those visitors engaged and turn that high traffic into high-quality sales?
I recently faced your dilemma.
Last year my marketing team came up with a plan to increase traffic to our company’s website. We developed a process that auto-generated thousands of high-ranking landing pages that helped us go from 30,000 unique visits a month to well over 200,000. Suddenly, we were on the digital map. Our sales team was thrilled with our heightened visibility and we were basking in their praise and gratitude.
But a few months in, we realized these stellar traffic stats were not always translating into more sales. And our investors began asking how this traffic could be leveraged to lift the company’s bottom line.
We realized we had to recognize, re-connect and engage our most qualified leads and customers to move the needle on sales.
As a small team, we decided to invest in three main areas to accomplish this:
Step 1: Identify Revenue-Driving Website/Blog Content. Then Write About it.
Easy to say but, as marketers know, much, much harder to do.
At the time, we were lucky enough to have a marketing automation system that let us identify the search patterns and content engagement of our highest marketing-initiated sales. Alas, like most marketers, we were not lucky enough to have a multi-touch attribution model in place, so the work was a bit labor-intensive. We looked at the page view activity on our site for any new sale that came in. We looked at the key blog content new customers were consuming and took note.
In addition to sifting through individual behaviors, we would combine that information with high-converting search patterns in Google Analytics and make educated guesses on the most engaging topics to write about.
We discovered a simple, stunning truth: just because a blog post is producing leads does not mean it is boosting sales. Back-track the leads that convert to sales: what first drew them to your site?
Don’t have a marketing automation system implemented? Here are 3 FREE ways to find out what your customers want to read on your site:
1. Surveys – conduct a brief content survey of your customers.
2. Sales – talk to the folks who talk to your customers every day. They know the hot topics your customers care about, just ask.
3. Phone calls – it never hurts to pick up the phone. Don’t try to sell anything – ask questions and listen. Customers want to be heard.
Once you have your most engaging (to convertible leads) content down, implementing or revamping your push digital marketing tactics is much easier.
Step 2: Layer Your High-Value Content into Your Automated Email Nurture Streams
Move folks further down the marketing and sales funnel by incorporating your worthwhile content in your email campaigns.
We deployed our email streams and campaigns in 3 distinct phases:
1. Awareness – Reach out to contacts/emails in our database with no forms submissions or identified web activity.
2. Engagement – Follow up with contacts who filled out a whitepaper or free trial form.
3. Retention – Continue to engage customers and leverage upsell opportunities.
First Phase: Raise awareness. Start nurture streams with emails offering engaging content that motivates recipients to “Read More” of a blog or “FREE Download” a whitepaper. We used content that scored well with leads who converted to sales. It’s important to note that anyone who did not engage with this email stream was promptly removed from our email lists … Don’t beat a dead horse, people!
Second Phase: Engage.We followed up with contacts who interacted with our phase 1 offers (we scored levels of interaction). Once again, we offered high value content – but we also offered more personal interaction with invitations to engage in online chat, or a free trial, or an online demo. What is notable about this stream is that our emails linked each recipient to a unique inquiry form, so we could track the campaign through to the sale — and we could start attributing REAL dollars to our content and high web traffic.
Third Phase: Retain. Our retention campaigns keep the conversation going with our customers even – make that especially — post-sale. We want our customers to continue to view us as thought leaders. We alert them to blogs, reports, and other content based on their interests (and take the opportunity to share information about our other products). It’s necessary with emailing, or any marketing effort, to make sure you’re not just talking about yourself, but approaching them at the level of their interests and concerns. Tell relevant stories with a payoff – market trends, tips, new approaches to perennial problems. There’s nothing worse than constantly being upsold by a business you’re already paying (except when offered seasoned sour cream at a restaurant, we all know that’s a must-do). The bonus in sending quality content to your customers is that you can keep the feedback loop open and stay on top of what your target market is looking for. Win-win.
Step 3: Push Your Content to Key Thought-Leaders and Influencers on Social Media
Find out who your customers and top prospects follow on social media. Start tagging and commenting with them and ask them to reciprocate.
Once we stopped spraying and praying on our social media sites and actually did our research homework, we saw a customer engagement surge. Along the way, we built strong relationships with thought-leaders in our industry we could count on to boost our posts. The key is to pay attention to what those folks are discussing on social media channels and contribute on-topic content. We also partnered with targeted trade media journalists on cross-promotions.
Increasing our engagement with our customers and prospects on social media gave us a new, free outlet to drive content consumption and nurture our traffic into sales.
We evolved beyond measuring our digital marketing effectiveness solely by site traffic, click-thru rates and time spent on the website. The most important yardstick for our success became sales and, especially, long-lasting customer relationships that are the basis for sustained enterprise value for our business.
As digital marketing matures, marketers are getting savvier about translating digital performance metrics into results that contribute to business objectives. Business managers and entrepreneurs can and should expect digital marketers to take accountability for what happens after the click – all the way through to increasing sales and meeting the company’s long-term growth goals.