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Traffic Types Matter: Always Target Conversions

Smart marketers know that not all web traffic is created equal. Though many businesses strive to increase the number of visitors and unique page views their site gets each month, this strategy is shortsighted. If the traffic isn’t a part of your target audience, you won’t convert visitors into customers. Take a closer look at ways to bring in the right kind of traffic to increase conversions.

Identifying Your Target Audience

To increase conversions on your site, you first need to bring in people who are likely to buy your product. In marketing terms, you need to know who your target audience is. To begin, you simply ask who is willing to buy your product. As you think about the needs your products meet, you can piece together a clear idea of who will want to shop with you.

You may find your likely buyers fit into certain demographic groups. For example, your product may strongly appeal to a specific gender, people of a certain age or in a geographic location, luxury product buyers, or devotees of a particular hobby. The more you hone in on your target audience, the better job you can do in marketing to these individuals. If you’re bringing people to your site who don’t care about your product, no amount of on-site marketing will cause them to convert.

Communicating With Your Target Audience

Once you know who your potential customers are, you can research the best channels to reach them. You may decide to use Google AdWords for relevant search terms, buy banner ads on websites they frequent, pay to promote content on Facebook, and optimize your site to increase its rank in search engine results. In other words, you have to take compelling information about your products or services and put it in places where your potential customers are likely to see it.

When you amplify targeted content across channels where your buyers hang out, you increase the relevant traffic to your site. One word of caution: don’t be too cutesy in your ads or promoted posts on social media. Using clever language or provocative imagery gets people to click an ad; you get a high click-through rate (CTR) but a low conversion rate with this tactic. People click your ad and see content that isn’t consistent with what the ad promised. Basically, you want to avoid any ad or promoted content that feels like a bait and switch.

Considering the Buyer Subset of Your Target Audience

There are three reasons people use search engines: They want to get to a particular site, buy a certain product, or know more about something. The person engaged in a transactional search is primed to buy, so you want to optimize your site to bring in the buyers within your target audience. You can tailor your Google AdWords buy, your SEO strategy, and other marketing communications tactics to reach this subset of your target audience.

Determining What Constitutes a Conversion

Once you get the right traffic to your site, decide what you want visitors to do. Do you want them to fill out a form? Join an email list? Take a survey? Choose a conversion that’s meaningful for your sales team. If the sales representatives need new leads, you can drive targeted visitors to your site and ask them fill out a form. If you need to develop a list of email addresses so you can start sending e-blasts, ask visitors to share their email address.

You can incentivize conversion with a special offer. If folks in your target audience are coming to your site, they’ll appreciate getting a special offer, discount, or other perk in exchange for doing what you want them to do.

Engaging in Conversion Rate Optimization

Image via Flickr by cafecredit

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) refers to the percentage of visitors who come to your website and convert (i.e. they do whatever you decide constitutes a conversion). One way to improve your CRO is to do A/B testing. This process involves dividing your email list in half, sending identical emails that link to two different versions of a landing page, and see which version earns the most conversions.

It’s important to make only one thing different between the two landing pages so you can easily identify which factor is improving conversions. If the conversion rates are about the same, do another round of A/B testing where you change another single element on the landing page.

This process of trial and error provides insights into what images, content, and calls to action most resonate with your target audience. You can take the intelligence you glean from this process and apply it across your website to improve your CRO.

Boosting Conversions

When you think about improving your CRO, you should focus on improving the experience for website visitors rather than boosting your numbers. Look at exit data for your site. At what point do people leave? Do you have a high bounce rate? The answers to these questions provide clues about what you may need to change or tweak.

As an example, consider how to address a high exit rate for the page on your website where people fill out a form. There may be something about the form that’s driving people away. Make sure it’s optimized for mobile, isn’t too long, and doesn’t use a burdensome spam filter. Even if you have the right traffic coming to your site, you can be turning away potential customers with a form or process that’s flawed in some way.

Ideally, you should make it as easy as possible for visitors to convert after they arrive on your site. At the same time, you don’t want to annoy them. If your site pops up a form the first time someone visits the site, you may put off people who would otherwise be interested in your product. Annoying marketing ploys prevent potential buyers from moving further down the customer journey.

When you bring in the right kind of traffic and provide content and offers that resonate with visitors, you can increase your conversions. As you try different approaches to reaching your target audience and encouraging them to convert, keep track of your insights. They’ll provide a road map for moving forward with your marketing plan.