The problem is that digital marketing and the site itself are often thought of and managed as principally two independent activities, each with their own metrics. Often digital marketing is measured by the amount of traffic it drives, while we judge a website on its ability to ‘convert’ that traffic. But in reality, the two are closely interlinked. Any digital marketing campaign will need to drive the right kind of people, otherwise it will adversely impact the site’s ability to encourage them to act. It is therefore essential that we measure a digital marketing campaign on more than quantity. The quality of traffic it drives must be given careful consideration too.
Not all traffic is quality traffic
What kind of website visitor can be called quality traffic? Well, it is crucial not just to track the number of users who hit the website, but also what they do on the site. How many of the users from a campaign go on to take action? Tracking when a user clicks on an ad, through to their decision to act on your site, enables you to measure which campaigns or channels are more effective, relative to one another. For example, is traffic from Twitter more likely to convert than those arriving from Instagram? Is that Facebook ad campaign you ran more likely to encourage action than the sponsored post you bought?
Being able to answer these kinds of questions not only allows you to focus your limited resources on the most successful channels, but also lets you monitor the profitability of campaigns, if you know the value of a user acting on your website. Having this kind of information at your fingertips allows you to be much more strategic in your marketing. You can stop wasting money and effort on channels that ultimately drag your overall conversion rate down.
Drop underperforming channels
Imagine for a moment that you had three channels for driving traffic to your site: pay-per-click, social, and email.
The conversion rate on pay-per-click was running at 5 percent, while social was at 25 percent and email at 30 percent. That would make your site’s overall conversion rate 20 percent. However, if you dropped pay-per-click, the site’s conversion rate would immediately increase to 27 percent.
Instead, you could take the money you were spending on pay-per-click and explore other channels such as sponsored posts, or double down on email and social. What is also interesting to note is that an underperforming channel can depress your site’s overall conversion rate, and that this rate is not solely down to the web designer. In other words, your site is only one part of the entire sales funnel.
Of course, another alternative would be to optimize pay-per-click landing pages to help the channel perform better. But that wouldn’t help if the wrong kinds of people were clicking on the pay-per-click ads. So, how do we target the right type of people?
Target the right audience
Let’s say you are selling web design services and decided to advertise via Google pay-per-click. You advertise on relevant keywords, but see an incredibly low conversion rate when people hit your site. Is that the site’s fault or could it be the campaign?
Well, your site could be at fault, but the price could also be a significant issue. When people look for web design services, they have very different price expectations. A small business owner might only be looking to spend a few hundred, while a large corporation might be expecting to pay hundreds of thousands. If you don’t mention price in the ad, you could be attracting a lot of small business owners who are just not the right audience if your charges are targeting enterprise. Yes, adding a price would reduce the number of click-throughs, but it would increase conversion. Also, because fewer people are clicking the ad, this would lower your advertising spend. Together those two factors would effectively improve your cost per conversion.
But even the right audience may not act if they are not at the right point in the purchasing process.
Pick the right moment
I once worked on a website for a company who sold project management software. Their marketing department decided it would be a good idea to ask users to register their details before they could view a demo of the product. They considered this an excellent lead generation tool, and sure enough, they saw a massive spike in the contact details they collected. But when the sales team followed up on these leads the conversion rate was abysmally low. That was because people were not ready to make a purchase. They wanted to view the demo so they could compare various options, but they were still a long way from buying.
We must carefully consider the user’s journey if we are going to maximize the effectiveness of our websites and marketing campaigns. Whether you are asking people to act on your website at the wrong moment or attempting to drive people to the site too early in their purchasing journey, they will not respond.
The right time will depend on your website and where it sits in the sales funnel. Some sites guide users all the way through the purchasing process, while others cover only a part. Knowing where your site fits into the user journey is crucial for understanding at what point your marketing needs to reach out to people.
A three-pronged strategy
Hopefully, you can now see that what at face value appears to be an underperforming website could just as easily be an underperforming marketing strategy.
If that is the case, you need to adopt a three-pronged strategy as I have outlined in this post. You need to:
Identify and remove failing channels
Carefully consider who you want to target and tailor your marketing accordingly
Know where your site sits in the user journey, so you drive people to the site at the right time
None of this is rocket science, but too often it doesn’t happen because marketers and site designers fail to work closely together. It is time to change that.
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