It’s easy to blame budget restrictions or a lack of creativity when someone shoots down your next big idea. But maybe the real problem is that while the idea itself may be amazing, it doesn’t bring your company any close to achieving a bigger goal.
And if that’s the case, it’s going to get shot down faster than you can send an automated email.
The truth is, if you want to get your marketing budget approved, you need to lead with goals, not tactics.
In this post, the first of a three-part series about goal-based marketing strategies, we’ll talk about how to achieve one of the biggest initial goals most marketing teams have—improving website traffic.
We all know website traffic isn’t the end goal, but it’s one of the most important vehicles to get you there. Just about every aspect of your digital marketing strategy starts with your website. When your website generates a steady flow of traffic, it’s like having a whole team of salespeople working for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Without website traffic, you can’t entice anyone to learn more about what you do and ultimately convince them to become a customer. You have nothing but a huge kink in your sales pipeline.
Generating quality website traffic is a constant challenge. In fact, in HubSpot’s latest State of Inbound Marketing report, 61 percent of marketers listed it as their top challenge.
You already know increasing website traffic is a challenge, but how do you make it a priority?
The SMART goals framework is a good place to start. SMART goal-based marketing strategies are:
For instance, a SMART marketing goal for your company might look something like this:
Our marketing team will increase website traffic by 30 percent over the next year using blogs, search engine optimization and Facebook advertising.
It’s clear who is responsible, how you’ll measure success and what the time frame will be. But how do you know a 30 percent increase is realistic? After all, no one wants to set themselves up to fail. Here are a few ways to keep your expectations in check:
Once you’ve set your goals, there are several marketing strategies that will help you increase website traffic. Here are three that will likely have the greatest impact:
1. Implement a Strong SEO Strategy
You don’t just want more website traffic; you want more traffic from potential customers who are searching for a solution you can offer. The best indication of that is your organic traffic—traffic driven by search.
Considering 70-80 percent of searchers only focus on organic results, according to MarTech, organic traffic is the best opportunity you have to grow your website traffic. A strong SEO strategy starts by understanding what your buyers are most likely to search for. You probably already have a good idea of what that is, but the data might surprise you. For instance, let’s say you sell accounting software. Plenty of people search for that—more than 12,000 a month, according to SEMrush—so naturally, you want to rank on the first page of Google for that term.
Here’s the problem: So do hundreds of other companies.
It’s a highly competitive search term, so how in the world are you going to stand out? You need to develop an SEO strategy around your differentiators and cast a wider net. Is your accounting software primarily for small businesses, or large enterprises? Is it cloud-based? Is it compliant with the new FASB lease accounting requirements?
Once you’ve identified more specific keywords that have a high volume but relatively low competition, you can optimize your webpages for them and build a content marketing strategy around them. You can share your content across your social networks and take advantage of guest blogging opportunities. You can use it in your email marketing and so much more.
We believe in practicing what we preach, so the Kuno team overhauled our own SEO strategy in the past year. We started by creating pillar pages—a strategy HubSpot recommends to organize main topics for which you want to be found in search. We used these pages to shape our approach to writing new blog posts and updating older ones. And it worked!
After a year, here’s what we experienced:
The approach has been so successful for us that we’re now confidently recommending it to our clients.
If your website is a car, a good SEO strategy is the engine.
Your website pages, landing pages and blog posts are the fuel—you have to keep feeding the machine with great content, or it won’t drive anyone to visit your site. With an engine and fuel, your car will get you from Point A to Point B, but it will only go so fast. It has its limits. What’s the difference between an A-to-B car and a high-performance sports car? Horsepower.
Investing in paid advertising is like upgrading to a 600-HP engine and adding a turbocharger. It will amplify all your efforts and generate web traffic much faster than organic traffic alone, especially for people who are ready to buy. In fact, PPC traffic converts 50 percent higher than organic traffic, and companies make an average of $2 in revenue for every dollar they spend on AdWords, according to Clever Clicks.
Paid advertising isn’t only about PPC ads, of course. As Facebook organic reach continues to plummet and other social media shifts to a model that’s increasingly “pay to play,” it’s even more important to put money behind your social media strategy.
Native advertising, or paying for your content to appear on other high-traffic websites like CNN, is another great way to improve website traffic. Consider what happened when we tried native advertising for one of our niche manufacturing clients.
We spent $2,000 per month to promote blog posts through a native advertising platform over a four-month period. The results speak for themselves:
The company had been blogging for five years, but no single blog post had ever received more than 1,000 views. By promoting just a few posts with native advertising, traffic to the company’s blog exploded. But it wasn’t just about the traffic. The data showed about 6 percent of people who visited the blog went on to explore other areas of the company’s website. This is significant considering the average conversion rate of online shoppers across all industries is less than 3 percent.
Video has become the preferred medium for many buyers looking for solutions. Almost half of us watch an hour or more of videos on Facebook and YouTube each week. It not only gets our attention; it actually gets us to buy.
In a survey by Animoto, 64 percent of consumers said watching a marketing video on Facebook influenced a purchasing decision for them in the past month.
Video marketing can also have a dramatic impact on your search engine ranking. Online video maker Moovly found websites with embedded videos are 53 times more likely to show up on Page 1 of Google search results. This has a compounding effect, ensuring you consistently drive traffic to your website for key search terms month over month, year after year.
Video marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. Something as simple as a 5-second video can have a huge impact. By creating a short, simple video to promote preschool enrollment for one of our clients, we saw a big difference:
Regardless of the industry, it’s clear videos are more widely shared and clicked on compared to static content. If you’re not using video marketing, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to increase website traffic, brand awareness and sales.
You’ve seen the impact these marketing strategies can have on your website traffic, and you’re already starting to think about how you can apply them. Now it’s time to build them into your budget.
You probably already have a budget for a lot of these activities, so you may just need to reallocate some of your spending. For instance, maybe you already have an in-house writer who handles your company’s blog and social media. She has a basic understanding of SEO, but she’s not looking at search data to shape the editorial calendar. You saw a spike in organic traffic a few years ago when you launched the blog, but now it seems to have reached a plateau. To make up for the slow growth there, you’ve been investing a lot more in Google Ads. The ads help with visibility, but they’re not getting the conversions you want. You also want to create some professional looking videos, but the extent of your staff’s experience is using their iPhones to capture their dogs’ new tricks.
You could hire an SEO expert, an advertising manager and an in-house videographer and hope you generate enough revenue to make up for their salaries. Or you could work with a marketing agency that has expertise in all three areas. An agency can quickly evaluate what’s working and what isn’t so you can shift gears more easily—for instance, redirecting some of your PPC spending to improve SEO and organic traffic.
They can also recommend goal-based marketing strategies that have worked for other companies similar to yours. If you take the time to define your goals and develop a plan to meet them, you won’t have to dread your next budget meeting.
Now that you have some ideas for improving website traffic, check out our upcoming blog posts where we’ll cover two other goal-based marketing strategies: how to improve conversions, and how to boost sales.