However you slice it – in store, on phone, or online, most businesses say that want more leads, and to convert more leads into contacts. You can break down marketing strategy by audience type, audience source, or audience mentality. Google (Analytics) names the three strategic components Audience, Acquisition, and Behavior. We’re going to select one strategic focus – traffic sources (acquisition), and break it down even further. By zooming in with just one focus, to start with, we can lay out an initial marketing strategy for getting more leads and converting them.
Build a Strategy Around Google’s 4 Sources of Digital Traffic
Whether it translates into foot traffic, phone traffic, or some other contact method of conversion, like e-mail, there are four sources of acquisition. In Google’s traffic sources, it breaks down into:
- Search: People looking for a concept, topic, idea, direction, advice, insight, information, or straight up business in Google.
- Social: When someone reads a content snippet or article in your LinkedIn or Twitter, for example, and follows the link back to you.
- Referral: A link to one of your pages appears in a quality source on the web, such as an article about your business, and someone follows that link.
- Direct: You or someone who knows you tells someone else about your business, and they type your URL directly into their browser.
4 Traffic Sources Give us 4 Marketing Strategies
You can segment your strategy by audience, acquisition, or behavior, but you can only focus on one at a time. Let’s focus on the acquisition:
- Search: The best things you can do for search and google traffic are a) put out lots and lots of content consistently and b) make your site fast and responsive. If you want to rank well, increase the output of your blog to at least a couple of original posts per week, make your site beautiful and functional on any screen size, and get it on the fastest host that will serve it up consistently. You’ll need some focus on content strategy for the blog, and design strategy for the look/feel, but those are details.
- Social: There hasn’t been an empowering excuse for neglecting social in a decade, now. The crowd has voted and the audience has won. You say you want a bigger share of the audience, so social immediately come to mind. Don’t talk numbers if you don’t mean it; search is largely dead – it’s discovery – social discovery – that’s driving the gravy train. Don’t look at the raw digits – look at the fact that search is glutted and clogged with competition, and social is wide open in many cases. So where is any individual business (not the aggregate, but you) most likely to get a spike in leads?
- Referral: Most SEO companies are now playing catch up to convert to content marketing, social media, and PR. That’s because the search engine optimization gimmickry is dead. You need links, true, but you get punished for link farms (paid directories and spammy link strategies). What’s open is authenticity and, if you haven’t invested in it, you should try it on, because PR thrives on it. PR doesn’t just drive big brands, it drives all brands. Social media hasn’t just made realness the hottest commodity, it has made it easier than ever for any size company to write and get written about – to get press. There is press of all levels, from bloggers to the Huffington Post, and you can get a slice of it. Focus on public relations this year – ask MadPipe how.
- Direct: It’s a beautiful turn of irony that, as digital becomes entirely integrated into our lives, it hasn’t just created a digital demand but also a direct, human one. It’s not backlash that’s driving the resurgence of networking groups, event marketing, and in-person marketing – it’s the end of the cold war between online and off. If you’re not working on your speaking engagements and workshops this year, and you aren’t a member of a BNI-like networking group, make a change. Your direct traffic shouldn’t be just family and friends, and you can’t expect to be a household word, so everyone knows your URL, if you’re not kissing babies. Get out of your office and go where people are.
Break Down Marketing Strategy into To-Do Items
If you have a strategy for lead acquisition, you need tactics to implement it – but even tactics can sound too theoretical. “If it’s not actionable, it’s not useful” – Asher’s 438th Maxim. Create an action plan by turning your marketing tactics into to-do’s. For example:
- Speed it Up: Get the website onto fast hosting. If you have a WordPress site, MadPipe suggests Flywheel, LightningBase, or SiteGround and gives high marks to Kinsta, Pagely, Synthesis, and Pressable. The speed is less the host than the hosting *type* and what their data centers can handle. MediaTemple or RackSpace are very stable, but choose their high end Managed WordPress Hosting or VPS. Don’t, run shared hosting on anyone’s servers if you’re gearing for high traffic. It’s OK for a soft launch if you plan to upgrade once the site is live. If it’s a money thing, and you’re technically inclined, you can manage your own server on Linode or DigitalOcean, or get Cloudways to manage it for you. If you’re neither technical, nor have money, go with grid-based shared hosting, but upgrade as soon as you can.
- Become Device Agnostic: Redesign home page to be responsive (adjusts to any browser size, screen size, device size).
- Amp Up Content: Increase your content output on your site to at least eight posts per month (work with a content strategist like MadPipe, get blogging training or a blogging book from us, or hire a copywriting firm to ghost blog). When you don’t have new, fresh shareable content, it’s like someone switched off your company in relation to search and social, both.
- Map a Strategy: Create and implement a social media strategy. If you’re doing the blogging or visual work, we have something to go on already. Anyone can have an effective social media game plan. Generating consistent content is all about being a thought leader. If you don’t yet see yourself as a thought leader, get a coach. The rest is about audience growth, and that too can be learned.
- Schedule Basic PR: Set a real and genuine schedule to read and respond to HARO requests (sign up for HARO on their site). HARO will include everything from garbage anonymous blogs to serious bloggers to serious media players. You’ll learn the ropes or you can get coaching to get there faster. Expect to be ignored a lot. Expect, like everything else in marketing, consistency and persistence to achieve your goals.
- Invest in Advanced PR: Don’t stop there on you PR. Get yourself written about. If you’ve had a content strategist and copy writer address your core identity as a business, get a PR potentate to help refine that message for public consumption and get it written about. PR = referral traffic.
- Grab a Microphone: Get in front of a microphone once per month – start arranging gigs right now. Create a page letting people know you’re available, then actively reach out to organizations that put on events. If you’re not comfortable in front of a microphone, get a speaking coach like Taren Starry, who rocks. In the past, you could ask for traffic without asking people to love your business. Now, to give you traffic, people insist on loving something – and no one will, if you don’t communicate your vision and passion in effective ways.
- Fill a Referral Seat: Join a BNI networking group – it’s not networking, it’s referral marketing that generates Direct Traffic. If there are no open seats in your area, start one. You can play contact sports by yourself and get creamed, or you can play with a team of badasses who are in it to help every team member win. Many of us who have gone it alone as solopreneurs and independent professionals forget that teams have clout. Somewhere, there’s a room full of people wanting to refer business to someone in your field.
Web Traffic is Meaningless: Conversion is King
There’s nothing here that’s secret sauce – these are all recognizable ingredients. MadPipe isn’t telling you something every marketing strategist doesn’t already know. The juicy goodness is in the arrangement of the parts, seasoned with candor. Before you invite the guests to dinner, though – you’d better set a table that makes them feel welcome. Besides what we’ve said about Search, just two things are needed to be ready for high traffic – killer copy and kickass photography.
- Get your website copy in order, so the traffic you create is converted by what you serve them. Your copy needs to be more than adequate, more than ‘good’; it needs to grab your visitor by the throat and keep them riveted to the screen, whether they’re mobile or at a desk. The biggest mistake you can make is starting with ‘but my business is boring’; if you even think it, they’ll think it too. Find someone who can help you rebuild your vision and passion for doing what you love. Then write it that way, so we all feel it when we land on your page.
- Give us vivid, REAL photography. None of that sh*tty corporate garbage (yes, I swore for this one) that sterilizes the page of any humanity or makes your company look like pod people. Take a look at Google Analytics – the website photography. If you can’t be real with us, like Google’s people are real, we’re not going to convert from leads to hitting your contact button. Don’t get your wedding photographer – get a marketing photographer. If you’re in NYC, ask MadPipe for referrals.
Much of what MadPipe says in these internet marketing strategy guides and blog posts comes from what we say to clients. As a marketing director, I help clients clarify business goals into marketing strategy, plan the execution with actionable particulars, and optimize the results. Effective marketing is tailored to the industry, audience, and value offered by the business. When you find something like this useful, and want help applying it, ask the person who wrote it. I’m Daniel DiGriz, and I can be your digital strategist – your ace in the hole – so give me a shout ASAP.