Today one out of every three advertising dollars will be spent online. Before you spend a single dollar though, you should first set up analytics, improve your conversion rate, and only then start spending on channels with high buying intent. While we can't tell you the strategies, channels, and exact tactics you should deploy without further consultation, we've learned over the years that these first steps are always the same.
The first step is measuring success so you know where customers came from and where potential customers dropped out of the funnel. You should be using Google Analytics, the most widely used analytics service on the Internet. Best of all it's free for all but the largest websites. Use it to track traffic, compare results, and objectively predict outcomes.
The next step is improving your website's conversion rate. For every 100 people who visit your site, how many people take action? In other words, how many people do what you want them to do, whether that's purchasing, filling out a contact form, making a booking, etc. These actions are called conversions and improving this percentage is called conversion rate optimization. The conversion rate of most sites is a low single digit percent. Do you know your conversion rate? By understanding drop-offs in your conversion funnel and using statistical methods to measure the impact of changes, you can make your site a more efficient sales machine.
Once all actions on your website are measurable and you have a steady conversion rate, start spending on online advertising to scale up your results. An efficient website combined with online advertising is like adding fuel to a fire. Spend your ad dollars on channels with the highest intent first.
As seen in the chart above, direct traffic results in the most purchases. If a visitor types in your URL or clicks on a bookmark in their browser, that traffic arrives at your site direct. In other words, it's people who know you already and have brand affinity. The best way to reach people who know you already and bring them back to your site is with remarketing. Remarketing allows you to reach people who previously visited your site with ads that follow them on other sites they visit later. You've probably seen remarketing ads after you've visited a hotel website without booking and an ad for that hotel shows up everywhere afterward. It's annoying if you do it wrong, but it's typically the best performing ad channel in your arsenal.
The problem with remarketing though is it's dependant on how many people visit your site in the first place, so it's not scalable. To really grow net new visitors to your site, you'll need to tap into where people spend their time online. More than anywhere else, this means getting visibility on Google and Facebook.
While everything so far could be safely applied to any website, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy from here on out. How every website approaches driving traffic is different. How every website improves itself based on learning from analytics insights is different. Contact us to discuss crafting and executing a digital marketing strategy for you.