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Friday, July 23, 2010

Why website traffic guarantees aren't valid...

Today I was asked again how much traffic I guarantee with my services. There is no way anyone can guarantee that you will get x amount of traffic to your website. If someone tells you otherwise, they are not being honest and here's why:

  1. No one can control the search engine result pages produced in organic search. So when you type in a search for "widget" there is no one who can perfectly represent what will be displayed in what order.

    That being said, if you can't predict what will show and how it will be shown in a consistent manner there is no way you can tell someone how much traffic they will get.
  2. You can, of course, pay to have your ad displayed in the sponsored listings (usually along the top / left of search engine result pages) but again, the search engines themselves determine which paid listings are most relevant and will show in the better positions for the key phrases you selected. You can get close to predicting the position and estimated traffic but it's still not perfect.
    Also, the placement of paid ads is closely tied to the amount you are willing to spend so unless you have unlimited resources, there will always be another company vying for the same spot with their dollars.

  3. People who use the internet (and everyone else for that matter) have "free will." There is nothing you can do to compel x number of people to click an ad, no matter what you do. So how can anyone tell you how many people will click through to your website if you can't control the people doing the clicking?
When you take into consideration all of the above, how is it possible to make a guarantee?

Any guarantee should be related to specific outcomes instead. For example: an improvement in sales, time on site, page views, contact form completions etc. These are things that are within your realm of control and the qualified individuals who work with your online marketing campaign should, with ample information up front, give you reasonable expectations on these types of goals.

So don't be star struck by huge guarantees! If you are shopping for a new online marketing vendor, take the time set your specific goals for the site and then discuss those goals with people you are considering to run your marketing program.

Have more questions along these lines? Need help? Contact me!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Where to spend the dollars?

Recently there was a question posted on LinkedIn:

If you were spending $10,000 on PPC and getting back $12,000 of turnover (making $2,000 profit), and spending $1,000 on SEO and social media and making $3,000 of turnover from google natural search, FB/Tw etc, where would you concentrate your efforts next?

My Answer:

I don't think it's possible, as far as the web has advanced, to focus all your marketing efforts in one basket. Today it's important to use a strategic balance of SEO, PPC and Social Media.

SEO is always going to be important because organic conversions always cost less than just about anything else you might do to bring in more business.  With the emphasis on quality content, it's easier to target the right prospects with the right key terms.

While there is plenty of evidence that organic searches produce higher conversions than PPC but the PPC model puts your name up there for more impressions / exposure.   You might pay for each click but the number of impressions your business will get between clicks is a vital part of any brand promotion strategy.

The social segment is necessary to create the "buzz" so people will refer your offering to others - because 78% of people make buying decisions based on what they are told by others.  Using the big 5: Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Google+, you can be fairly certain you'll hit your target in one, if not several places.  Again this goes to branding and catching the person when they are ready to make a purchase decision.

So I would say to create a strategic campaign based on the proportion return you have been getting from each channel so far and test to find out which balance of your current strategy and new channels will give you the highest return overall.  

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