Traffic Generation

"Traffic" photo by Johnny Ainsworth

Constantly I get asked, “So… what exactly do you do, Hubert?” Touche, friend / random person who thinks he or she knows me / Mom, touche. The answer to this question is simple, though: I help companies attract and convert more customers.

The customer-converting work will be called conversion (rate) optimization, or CRO. Basically, CRO picks up where traffic generation ends. Traffic generation gets a person through the door. Conversion optimization gets more people to buy something.

Ideally, I strive to focus on conversion optimization, yet I understand more companies need help with traffic generation, which is the focus of this page.

The issue with traffic, if it is not obvious yet, is it does not have to lead to sales. While most small-to-medium-sized businesses should not risk non-lead-generating traffic, sometimes brand awareness can be better than new sales. Not often of course. But within the right strategic framework, you may want high traffic for the sake of making sure people know you exist.

My regular mission in developing traffic generation strategies, though, is to produce quality traffic, which eventually will churn out business leads. In order to do that, I have to know who is the ideal target when strategizing your traffic generation plan.

With End-Goal in Mind, You Plan Traffic

Developing traffic generation strategies requires an understanding of your customer acquisition goal. A keen understanding of who your customer is and what makes him or her tick is necessary to knowing where to be.

If your prospect is more likely to find you while in the market for your product or service, it makes sense to focus on organic search traffic. If your ideal customer is more likely to discover you through word-of-mouth, consider earned traffic like public relations campaigns.

Knowing your customer is at the core of both traffic generation and conversion optimization. The more you know, the more relevant your messaging can be. The more relevant you are, the more likely you are going to convert a person into a customer. At SORSAW, traffic generation is the alpha to conversion optimization’s omega.

Three Methods of Traffic Generation

Google Analytics Report of Web Traffic Generated by a SORSAW Client

There are only two places traffic can be derived: online and offline. With online, you are using the web to get a person to go to a website or even a brick-and-mortar location. With offline, you are using traditional means, like a flyer or a billboard, to get a person to visit a website or physical location.

The decision whether to go with offline means of generating traffic versus online usually comes down to a few considerations. One of them would be cost. Billboards and radio spots are quite pricey compared to banner ads and Facebook contests. Another important consideration is audience. If your ideal customer is older, it is likely they are not a heavy Internet user. Therefore, it would not make much sense to focus your efforts online.

At SORSAW, online is my bread-and-butter. Sure, I can help you with offline campaigns, but know it is my education in online marketing that is driving my decisions. I’m digressing though.

Both online and offline, there are three ways to generate traffic. You can pay for it. You can earn it. Or you can attract it organically. Any traffic generation strategy will use at least one of these three options. Through SORSAW, I specialize in paid and earned traffic. The process for both requires me to know best practices for organic traffic as well. Enough about me, let’s take some time to review what each method is.

Paid Traffic

Paid traffic refers to visits gathered through purchase. In the business world, paid media is normally called advertising. Advertising or paid traffic can be produced using print, electronic, or digital means. As you get more experienced with paid traffic, you can consider product placement as another opportunity.

The basic understanding with paid traffic is that it tends to be finite. The person selling the advertising opportunity knows the amount of views your advertisement will get, which you agree is worth the money.

With paid traffic, you can confidently believe your ad will be seen by a certain number of people. It is then smart to make sure your ad will be seen by your ideal prospects as well. That is the rub though. With paid traffic, you are paying for the opportunity to advertise to an audience who may not want to hear from you.

In many cases, you really only need a certain amount of leads. Paid traffic helps you consider “there were X amount of impressions and I got Y visits to my store”. From this equation, you can establish if the ad purchase was profitable or not.

SORSAW specializes in pay-per-click advertising.

Earned Traffic

Earned traffic refers to visits gathered through people telling other people about you or your business. With earned traffic, often we are trying to get our story told in the news. That is the focus of public relations.

Earned traffic can be powerful. When influential people or media channels share your story to their viewers or listeners, your story has exponential potential to spread.

Earned traffic can be free. If you have the right story, people will take it and share with others. You do not need to hire a professional if you are capable of effectively sharing your story on your own.

A strategic person will make a point to get their story covered by an influential source who has a readership or listenship or viewership which responds to advice. Again, like paid traffic, word-of-mouth means nothing if it does not help your business in some way.

SORSAW specializes in social media marketing.

Organic Traffic

Organic traffic refers to views gathered through just being available. People usually find businesses organically by searching for them. This can be done through an online search engine or a phone book.

Like earned, organic traffic can be free. It just requires some advanced preparation. And like both paid and earned traffic, if you pick the wrong position, you will get lackluster results. For instance, if you pick the wrong keyword, then you may get few relevant leads.

There is also the chance of serendipitous discovery. A person can discover a business by driving by it. When it comes to attracting organic traffic, location is the name of the game. You have to position yourself in the best place to get the most traffic. Fortunately, it is not just possible with a brick-and-mortar location. Websites jockey for position on search engines every day. People refer to this as search engine optimization. The goal is to get your website in the number one search engine result position.

SORSAW knows search engine optimization well.

Traffic is Generated by People

The most fascinating part of traffic generation is it is driven by humans. As no two people are alike, no two traffic generation strategies should be exactly the same either. That is why knowing your customer is so critical to the work that I do.

Interested in discussing this subject more in-person? Contact me. I cannot wait to chat!

Photo credit:
“Traffic” by Johnny Ainsworth

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