Increasing Online Traffic

With the economy picking up in the US and parts of Europe, SMB growth is expected to show strong growth. Particularly the need for SMB website owners to establish a solid online strategy becomes strategic to their success. For consumers, the reliance on online search has never been so important and as such online marketing can provide a low risk and low cost alternative with high returns for small business.

Exai, a leading Small Business website builder geared towards helping companies move online successfully and quickly with a minimal learning curve believes that it's generic SEO strategy can go along way  in helping SMB's succeed online.

The most important goal for any SMB website is to convert online visitors into a sale or a lead. The most important  focus of your online marketing efforts should therefore be to acquire qualified traffic and as much of it as possible.

Why is traffic so important to your online business? What are some of the best ways to source it and finally how can you calculate a return on investment?

1. The Basis of Online Marketing Is a Website's Traffic and Its Conversion

Website conversion measures the rate at which website visitors complete a certain desire outcome, for example -- submit an enquiry or buy a product. However to have a real effect on your bottom line you need to understand that traffic and conversion rates go hand in hand. You can't convert anything without traffic, and without conversion your traffic is useless.

2. Where Does Traffic Come From and Which is the Best?

Here is a breakdown of the four main types of traffic: 

Paid Traffic -- Ad Words, Facebook, Remarketing 

Paid traffic offers businesses access to some of the best positioning on the internet and is geared towards being highly relevant for audiences. Paid traffic includes Google Adwords, Social ads and various remarketing providers. With some paid campaigns the cost per click (CPC) can be quite high, so it's worth calculating the ROI to assess if it is a viable option for your business. 

Organic Search Results and SEO 

The goal of SEO is to improve the organic positioning and ranking of a websites listing on the search engine results page. With any SEO campaign there is an initial investment of time and money to get results. But if done effectively, organic traffic and SEO is often a more rewarding and effective solution in the long term. Rather than competing directly with PPC, SEO can be used in conjunction with PPC so that gaining a presence in both the natural and paid sectors will often double the effectiveness of your online marketing campaign. 

Referral (Content Marketing) 

Even though content marketing is often used to improve organic SEO rankings, if done effectively this content can be an abundant source of links and referral traffic. A blog is a great place to start with content marketing. By providing high value content you're likely to be referenced by others or even have the opportunity to guest blog and also build up your link profile. 

Social Media 

Social media as a source of traffic is means having a social media presence that encourages a community to visit your website. Unlike search engines, social media allows you to build relationships within a targeted network of users, resulting often in more qualified traffic. One of the great things about social media is that the bigger your audience gets, the bigger your audience can get. For example if your social media marketing efforts for the month generate a 10% increase to your audience and your audience is 1000, that's an increase of another 100 viewers, but if your audience was 100,000 that's an increase of 10,000 viewers for the same effort. 

3. Qualified Traffic vs. Random Masses

It's vital that you attract qualified traffic using an online marketing strategy that is aligned with your consumer's intent. This goes back to the importance of working on organic SEO growth.   

4. Traffic Results in Conversions

 Successful online marketing strategies are centred on one simple proposition - to acquire qualified traffic and then convert this into sales. Therefore, it's important that once traffic is acquired that it also converts; otherwise your return on investment will be non-existent.

5. Strike a Balance and Calculate Your ROI From There.

The fine balance that conversion rate optimisation and traffic have on the success of an online marketing campaign is irrefutable. 

Once you understand how acquisition and conversion work on your website and how to project their effect on your ROI, you'll be able to assess the channels used to acquire traffic in a much more effective way. 

The key to generating large amounts of quality traffic that converts is to focus on relevancy, and diversifying the channels used. Multichannel marketing is used to describe leveraging multiple sources in one overall strategy to complement each other. By focusing on attracting qualified traffic initially, you can then gear multiple channels to reach a larger quantity of customers - setting yourself up for a steady increase in sales for the long term.