We’re here today to talk to you about understanding web traffic, the conversions that are happening on your website currently, how to properly and accurately track that web traffic and really looking at what is the value, the real value of our customers, not a onetime purchase, but a lifetime value.
Sure. I think the first part is to really have a clear understanding of the foundation. And before you dig into the foundation and the framework of a digital marketing strategy, I think it’s important to understand how it actually works. When you break down all of your individual pieces, they all need to be able to fit back together. And so often, things get overlooked or not really understood, or I see clients that jump into whatever because it looks shiny or they heard that it might be the next cool thing, but there is a very basic formula that works in almost every single case.
So the revenue is the end product, but how do you get there? You need the website traffic, you need that traffic to take an action and you need that action to take a value. Let’s say you take that website traffic of 1000 visitors in a month, you figure half a percent will take an action that you want that will turn into a customer. That customer now has a value. And when you combine those three elements, that value needs to be worth at least as much as the revenue generated.
I find that a lot of clients go into a, “digital marketing plan” without actually having a plan. The strategy is the core element that will dictate the outcome of any social media, or paid search or website effort. Going into something blind, I find often it leads to wasted money spent both in time and opportunity cost. It leads to frustration. And overall, it just leads to a lot of confusion, no clear direction and when you take a step back and the results aren’t really laid out, you have a little bit here, a little bit there, it just doesn’t really make for a good experience.
Look, not long ago we talked, we did a podcast called Why Marketing Plans Fail, and we elucidated all of these points. We said, “Hey, these are the things that usually are the issues.” And it’s exactly what you just hit upon right now.
Look, I don’t want to turn this into a, you should hire us and here is why conversation. It’s not the point. But at the end of the day, Mike, there is an importance to say who your team is, is extremely important. The people that you work with, the people that you are entrusting your marketing dollars and the success, the potential success of your business to is a really important decision. It’s not one that should be taken lightly.
And the issue that I have seen is that there are so, there is little barrier to entry. There is no licensing. There is no nothing. It’s a very low barrier to entry and that’s a concern of mine with the ability for anybody to call themselves a web developer, or anybody to say that they’re a digital marketing guy or a paid search management person. What are your thoughts on this?
I agree, I agree. I think that there is a few elements we can take just the website part of things and just evaluate what they need to look for as far as when you go into say, I want a website, where do you start with that? People start with the content. They start with the design. They start with the outcome. There is not really a clear element.
When you don’t have that roadmap defined, you outline what you need and what the end result should be. And then you can reverse your way back to the start, how people are going to get traffic or where that traffic is going to come from. It’s not really factored in when initially planning to have a website.
Sure. And the point I’m trying to make earlier is, it must be considered and entrusted to the right place. Look, I’ve said this before, this is a common statement of mine when discussing AdWords with any potential customer. I say, “Hey, AdWords is a fantastic tool.” Mike, your way of saying it is, “Well it maybe didn’t work for you.” Right? Yeah, I’ve heard you say that before. I love it.
But my way of saying it is a little bit different. I say, “AdWords is a beautiful thing. It’s also a license to throw money out of the car as you’re driving down the freeway if you don’t do it correctly.” We’ve talked about these points before, showing ads in cities that you don’t do business in. Stupid things that are just very common to me. I just saw it today. I forgot for what reason it was. But I’m looking at what it is a local service provider, I think from North Carolina, showing ads in Las Vegas. Just think about the insanity of that for a moment.
Sure. I mean at the end of the day though, the purpose of the website is to drive business and drive revenue, transactions, exposure, well, whatever the purpose is.
Now, most businesses have a website with the goal to attract more business. Whether you’re a plumber, or you’re a lawyer, or you sell something, you’re looking to make a sale. And so often the actual conversions are not actually factored into what’s going to actually count for a conversion.
Let’s say you’re an accounting firm. Sure, you want someone to go to your website, pick up the phone, call you so you can do the accounting for their business, you can file taxes, well, whatever the service may be. However, when a customer comes to that website and they fill out a form to be a part of that newsletter or browse the About Us page, there is a value. And even though those are what I like to call micro-conversions, those need to be factored in and there should be a value.
At the end of the day, you’re either optimizing for the sale, if it’s a onetime purchase, or you’re optimizing for the lifetime value. Getting someone into your funnel and these micro-conversions have big value for many businesses.
All right. So Mike, let’s talk about web traffic. At its core, we obviously need a certain level of traffic to be directed to our website in order to potentially have an opportunity to create a conversion, so let’s talk about web traffic.
Obviously, the first pillar to any sort of digital strategy is going to be your web traffic. If you don’t have any traffic to the site, it doesn’t matter how good it is, how, what features you have, you’re not going to be successful with digital marketing.
Maybe you have outside channels, whatever the case may be, you need the traffic.
If nobody is coming to the website, nothing is going to happen.
Correct. Clients need to think of website traffic like fuel for our car. You need it to go somewhere. Traffic alone is not going to get you anywhere. Just like having a full tank of gas, if you don’t have a destination in mind, you’re just going to drive around and burn the fuel.
Mike, oftentimes I’ll have a conversation with a client when they want to build a website. I’ve said this before, “What are we doing with this website that we’re building?” It’s one thing to spend time, effort, resources to create something, but we need to direct relevant traffic to it in order to achieve some goal.
Sure. Now, you can drive this traffic through an email list. You can drive it through Google Ads, you can drive it through a Facebook page, or a group or Instagram ads. There is many ways to drive traffic. But driving traffic to a website, it’s only good if it’s relevant traffic.
Just because you get 1000 visitors or 2000 visitors in a week, a month, well, whatever, it’s only good if those are people that are potentially your customers.
Sure, sure. Or, we’re going to turn into another billboard business where you’re factoring in the millions of people seeing the thing for no reason. Correct?
And once you have traffic, that’s just assuming that it’s the right type of traffic, all the traffic in the world does nothing unless you can actually convert those leads, those customers, that traffic into sales and that sale doesn’t necessarily have to be a tangible dollar amount.
So all the traffic in the world does nothing for your business if you’re unable to convert that traffic into sales, or customers, or quote unquote, “micro-conversion.” Now, a micro-conversion can be anything from an email signup to someone spending X amount of time on your About Us page, or scrolling down. That micro-conversion is, ultimately, there is a value on it and that value gets applied in small ways towards the goal of being able to turn that prospect into an actual customer.
Let’s say someone goes to a insurance adviser’s website. They’re browsing around. They sign up for a newsletter. That’s the first step in that insurance advisor being able to have the opportunity to turn them into a customer.
And just because someone went to the website, it doesn’t mean that they’re going to be a customer, obviously, if only that was the case. But getting them to sign up to the newsletter is the first step because then you can offer content, you can engage with them, you can send them reminders, you can send other content relevant to what they’re looking at.
Mike, you’re advocating that although there isn’t a, let’s say, transaction of money, there is a value applied to whatever that micro-conversion that you’re talking about is.
I like it.
Let’s take something more tangible for like a eCommerce site. Let’s say a website gets 1000 visitors a month. And out of those 1000 visitors, let’s say, five of them turned into sales. That is half a percent for our conversion rate. Now, what happens if you’re able to turn that half a percent into 1%? What does that do for most people’s business?
Exactly, with the same traffic that they’re already getting. And that can happen through multiple micro-conversions and multiple touch points that the customer is inadvertently taking on this customer journey. For most businesses, they’ll be able to double their sales without any sort of increase investment, if you will, and they’re turning it in from content that they already have from advertising, SEO, social media, well, whatever it is.
We have a potential of significantly increasing our impact or our bottom line from the traffic that we already have to the website. That’s a very exciting potential. And that comes down to making optimizations to your content, and to your layout and your structure of what you have going on to direct a customer or potential customer better. Correct?
Correct. So you take these micro-conversions, you take these actual conversions, whether it’s a newsletter signup, or a phone call, or a form submission, well, whatever it is, and so often proper tracking isn’t in place. They’re driving blind.
Meaning to say, that Google Analytics is not properly set up on the site, correct, Tag Manager, et cetera?
Correct. It would be like trying to drive a car without having a speedometer or a fuel gauge. They’ll never really know how far or how fast they’re actually going, or how much longer it is to the conversions when just because you have a website and you can collect newsletter signups, or you can get phone calls, or form submissions. If you don’t have the proper tracking in place, you don’t know where that traffic is coming from. You don’t know what happens after. How long is that customer spending on your website?
If someone is spending 10 minutes of their time on a website, it certainly makes it for a much more engaged customer. So the tool that will function as your business analytics dashboard for your website and your digital marketing efforts is Google Analytics. It’s put on with a very simple script. That script will load on every page and it provides information about where a user came from, the pages that they’ve clicked on, how long they’ve stayed on a site, what city they’re coming from, what demographic they’re a part of, what the user typed in your site search.
All of this is data that is gold for us in order to determine what somebody is doing, and what are trends that are happening on the site. And we can glean from it opportunities and changes to the website that can further improve our optimization or our conversions.
So Google Analytics allows you to get a very clear understanding of who your customer is and how they’re interacting on your site. It’ll merge that big black box, that X factor in your entire digital strategy. Now, for the businesses that have print or radio or TV commercials, that’s fine and potentially you can track some of that activity. But from a digital landscape perspective, the Google Analytics is going to incorporate all of the website traffic, all of the traffic from their email, anything from their ads, and it’s going to put it in one commonplace.
What often gets overlooked is the value that they can actually extract from that to apply to their businesses. If a website has a conversion rate of half a percent, meaning half of 1% of people that come to that website take an actual action, whether it’s a phone call, or a form submission, or a newsletter signup or whatever it is, what that means is for the average customer…
Let’s take an example where, a pool service. Let’s say that pool service charges $100 a month to clean someone’s pool. And if their website converts at half a percent, that means on average one visitor to their website would be worth 50 cents. Now that’s a tangible metric that they can look to optimize for.
At a certain point, if they’re putting money into any form of advertising, if they’re not able to acquire one customer out of 1000 people, they’re going to end up losing money. Now, that’s not factoring in that a pool service has a longer lifetime value. Hypothetically, let’s say it was for a single purchase, the principles are the same.
Now, what happens if they’re able to convert at a higher rate and turn that half a percent into 1%? What would that do for that same amount of traffic? It would instantly decrease the actual cost of customer acquisition.
Essentially, we’re doing more with the traffic that we currently have, allowing the bottom line to grow, allowing them to spend more money on advertising in order to generate more traffic to the website. This is all seems like a natural flow and the right way of things.
Correct. And being able to have that full understanding of where the customer is coming from will allow businesses to understand what channels are effective, what channels are not effective. And if you already have the traffic, you don’t need more traffic, you just need to improve and convert at a higher rate the customers that are coming.
Again, pool service business, if you’re getting a thousand people to your website in a month and people are not clicking on your Services page or they’re not clicking on your About Us page, then you can take that data and do something actionable about it. We can find ways to position the services or about the company on the homepage, or maybe a different page, or ads in different links. But without having this data, again, you’re driving blind. You don’t know where to put the focus on. You don’t know if you need to have more images. Maybe you need more testimonials. You don’t know because you don’t know where someone is going.
If you find that people always go to your Testimonial page, fine. You have that data that you can then optimize to see that people who go to my Testimonial page, then pick up a phone and call me. All that’s tracked through Google Analytics.
Exactly as you said, it’s like driving a car without the speedometer, without the fuel gauge, we have no idea, no direction, no nothing. And again, it comes back to a previous conversation we’ve had about the importance of the website. Are we looking at it from a design perspective and what the owner likes of what they’re looking at, or is it important to optimize for conversions? I think the answer is quite simple. We get to the point where we are continuously improving the as is, improving, improving, improving. I think that’s what it’s all about.
Absolutely. And think about it like a car engine, there is many moving parts. Now, the parts individually don’t necessarily have a big impact. But when you put everything together, now you have a finished product that works well.
Sure. There are so many moving parts. There are so many pieces of the puzzle. When one is out of line, it needs to be realigned in order to ensure that the thing is working as correctly as possible. There is so many pieces of the puzzle. People will always say, you know how it is, Mike, we’ll start a conversation with a potential client that is interested in AdWords management and they’re going to say, “Well, what kind of returns can I expect?” We’ll say, “Look, we don’t know. How could we possibly know? It would be foolish for us to say, you’re going to get X amount from this ad spend without actually beginning the work and looking at the historical data and ensuring that we’re continuously optimizing it.” Do you agree?
Absolutely, and you used a very good analogy of the puzzle. The customer’s digital strategy needs to be thought of as a puzzle, many parts, you put them all together, they work well. But when you’re starting to put together a puzzle, it doesn’t matter which piece you pick up, you just got to start with one piece and then you’ll find the rest of the puzzle.
So today’s takeaway is, it’s about understanding the traffic that currently exists on your site, looking at what the conversions currently are, optimizing for an increase in percentage of conversions overall, which has a really great impact on your bottom line, understanding the real value of your customers and being able to track properly to understand who is what and what is who.
Yeah, I think you summed it up real well. The strategy, the customer’s framework for their digital marketing efforts all need to sort of come together and fit together to be able to create a successful plan that you can execute on that you can have measurable results on.
I really enjoyed the chat and so until next time.
Until next time.
We’ll talk soon.