From a recent interview with Chris Brogan on SEJ, and the Meclabs’ 2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Report, the question How to bring quality traffic to your website seems to have a single answer: SEO and Email Marketing. Don’t waste your time with Ads, Social or Referrer networks.
Good Online Marketing: What Metrics Count
Online Marketing is extremely important for any local business that wants to leverage the Internet for business growth. That’s the good thing.
The bad thing is that there are one too many online marketing companies and individuals that approach online marketing in a very simplistic way, with checklists:
- Social Media Marketing Checklist
- Banner/Link Exchange Checklist
- Link Building Checklist
- On-Site SEO checklist,
- PPC/Ads Checklist
Not to say that checklists are bad… but when you sign up for, say, Social Media Marketing, there’s also another checklist to measure success:
- Number of posts on Twitter/Facebook/Linkedin/Pinterest/Etc
- % of Follower Base Growth (new vs old connections)
- Number of retweets/Likes etc.
So business owners end up thinking that this is how you really measure social impact. You count clicks, likes, shares.
There’s a similar problem with SEO. There’s also a checklist for measuring the success of SEO servies:
- number of pages per visit
- number of backlinks
- number of visitors
- time on site
And again you’re lead to believe that it’s all about the numbers!
You’ll get tons of convincing arguments that the way to measure online success is to count visitors. I’m reminded of the 1996 movie Jerry Macguire, where Tom Cruise is a sports promotion agent who tries to pick up his career and tries to convince his client(s) to keep using his services. For service providers, it’s not easy being in this situation, when the business isn’t going good and each client counts.
But, what set of numbers should you be interested in? Continuing the Jerry Macguire parallels, Cuba Gooding Jr makes a very strong reply:
YOU GOTTA SHOW ME THE MONEY JERRY!
SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!
You as a business owner should not be obsessed with traffic stats. You should care less about the count of new followers on Twitter, Facebook Likes, Linkedin connections etc. What you really care is how much money you’ve made thanks to this online marketing effort.
And the ultimate question is what online marketing effort makes the most dollar sense.
SEO, PPC, Social, Email, Refferals: What Really Works?
For small to mid-sized businesses who by default don’t have millions of dollars to play Online Marketing, figuring out what activities will bring the best results is a burning question.
MecLab’s chart of their 2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Survey focuses on the two crucial questions that will help us all figure out what works best:
- Which of the following sources generates the GREATEST VOLUME of traffic coming to your site?
- Which of the following sources generates traffic with the greatest CONVERSION RATES on your site?
The survey was answered by 1915 company owners and marketing managers, and they all placed their votes on the two questions. The chart clearly reveals the success rate and therefore, the importance of the main traffic sources:
- Organic Search (SEO) generated 43% of the overall traffic on the site, and was responsible for 29% of all online conversions
- Email Marketing generated 22% of the web traffic and brought in 25% of conversions
- PPC brought in 14% traffic and 12% conversions
- Social Media brought only 5% visits and 6% conversions
- Referral sites also brought 5% visits and 6% conversions
- Facebook/Linkedin ads brought only 2% visits and only 1% conversions
The stats are interesting, to say the least. It is obvious that the most effective way of bringing in new clients is Organic Search, i.e SEO. The second best is Email Marketing.
If your online marketing budget also covers Social Media, PPC and Referral activities, check your numbers, you may be losing money.
Why SEO is Crucial for Online Success
Dale Carnegie says you should always start with the end in mind. The End of online marketing isn’t getting a bunch of visitors.
The goal of online marketing is attracting the right people, answer their questions, and help them see that your product/service is the best/optimal solution for their needs.
To achieve this goal, your online business reputation should be high, so people won’t have second thoughts about your ability to provide timely and quality service. The best way to achieve this high reputation online is to provide solid and useful content. And as any SEO consultant will say, Content Is King, your best real estate on the net. Getting high quality informative content to your readers will help you establish a solid reputation as the go-to person/website for your line of work, whether that is life coaching, gardening or legal services.
Writing high quality content is not easy, and ranking high for that coveted list of keywords won’t come over night. Those who end up on the first page of Google spent considerable time and effort to build a solid website that is strong enough to outrank many competitors. So logic would dictate that if the business has such a reliable website, the business itself must be reliable. Earn credibility online and you should not have problems getting new clients.
Why Email Marketing is Still So Effective
Chris Brogan (who by the way is one of the pioneers of Social Media Marketing) answered the question of social media effectiveness in a rather unexpected way:
Who will win? Email marketing. No question. Not even joking.
Why is this so? Why the Social Media Guru votes for Email Marketing as a reliable source of high quality traffic?
As Brogan points out, emails are like phone numbers. No matter how telephones change, if I know your number, I can always reach you in a very personal, cordial way. Emails are even more convenient, because if I as a sender have a good reputation in the eyes of my contacts, they will most likely open my emails and read them through, because I wouldn’t send them an email if I didn’t have something important to share with them.
This is why many online marketers (especially those who work on Product Launching) have a mantra “The Power Is In The Emails List“. Have a solid, well-nurtured email list and you won’t have problems getting new clients. But you’ll have to work on it… or have an email marketing consultant that knows his/her stuff.
Keep your List (people) happy by feeding them valuable emails, and they will reward you with loyalty for years to come.
- Don’t get fulled by traffic stats, follower count, Likes, posts etc. Focus on what really matters: ROI.
- Online Marketing is all about Online Reputation Management. Convince people that you are legitimate, reliable and professional in your line of business.
- Get a good SEO copywriter to work with you on an on-going Content Marketing to build solid content that will attract visitors and convert them into clients.
- Develop an ongoing Email Marketing habit and treat your List as royalty.