Understand Your Website Traffic Sources
Your website is your primary business hub online from where you deploy and execute your digital marketing strategy. And the goal of your website is to attract relevant and qualified quality traffic that has high potential to convert into customers on your website and in your physical store for local businesses. Understanding the source of the different types of your website traffic is one of the keys to your digital marketing success.
If you are planning to build a website for your business, one of the first things that you must do as a part of your planning is to define your traffic audience. Then you will conduct a research to determine their needs, behaviors, habits, problems, habits, and all other attributes that influence their abilities to engage with your business and consume your products and / or services. If you already have a website, you can still conduct such a research. In fact, this is an ongoing process for every business.
In this digital age, it is not enough to provide a good product or service. Understanding concepts such customer journey is key to your success. The Internet has given today’s consumers more power to drive their journey through the process of buying. In this article, I am not simply writing about knowing where the traffic that reaches your website comes from, but also their behaviors before they engage on the traffic journey to your website.
In my previous article entitled The Importance of Direct And Organic Search Traffic I briefly described the different types of traffic sources that you can expect your expect visitors to your website to come from. I also stressed that organic traffic is really key to your business growth. If no traffic comes to your website, then nothing really happens on your website.
Traffic is the lifeline for your online business. It is said that where there is traffic there is hope. Without traffic, your website is useless. Every visitor to your website represents an opportunity for your business goal to be achieved. You may have several website goals you want to achieve with every visit to your website, besides buying. These may include subscribing to your email list, engaging with your content in the form of blog comments, sharing your blog article, submitting inquiries, providing suggestions, etc. In addition to the opportunity to convert the visitor into a buyer, traffic also means that the visitor has interacted with your brand. This increases your brand awareness and offers an opportunity for you to strengthen your brand relationship with him or her, even if no sale takes place.
But it is not enough to get traffic to come to your website, even if you have a million visitors a day. You must have a mechanism in place for tracking those traffic sources and also interpreting the traffic data and extracting the meaning or insights out of this data. Identifying, tracking, gathering, collecting and analyzing your traffic sources data must be a fundamental part of your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Strategy. At OnMax Host Digital, we provide our clients with a dashboard that provide real life reports on the performance of their websites.
Tracking, measuring, and understanding your traffic data must be a fundamental part of your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Strategy, even if you are a startup business. A data driven approach is key to making it in this highly competitive digital environment. This is even more vital for small businesses that have very thin margins for errors.
SET CLEAR BUSINESS AND TRAFFIC GOALS PER TRAFFIC SOURCE
Many startups and small business owners come to me for a website. Unfortunately many do not understand the true value of a website as an asset. Your website is your primary asset in this digital age. You must begin to look at it as an asset that is key to your business success. You must include it in your overall business strategy and planning. At OnMax Host Digital, we bring your business goals, your brand, and your customers’ needs together on your website. When these three converge and align properly, then you have laid the ground for your business success.
The OnMax Host Digital Team comes with many years of C-Level Corporate Finance and Strategic Business Leadership experience. This enables us to work with our clients and help them bring these three elements together. As you can see, your website is no longer just about having a page with some text and images online. Let me suggest to you some of the goals that you need to set as you are planning your digital journey. This is not an exhaustive list. Just something to get you thinking:
- Define your target market. Who is your customer? Understand their habits, behaviors, values, interests.
- Break your audience into segments based on certain well defined criteria.
- Your business goals should include growth goals. You must therefore also set clear goals for your traffic or audience, per traffic source and audience segment.
- Develop a website content strategy that targets each of these segments and can be delivered on multiple platforms and channels at any time. You must deliver relevant content to each of the segments at the right time, on the right channel, and in the right format. If your segment habits indicates that they spend some time on mobile devices carrying out certain activities during certain hours of the day, then spends time on the desktop doing some other things, before sitting in front of a TV (many people are still browsing their smart phones while watching TV), or they play games, etc. Then you will be able to deliver content that meet them cross-channel to keep your brand in front of their eyes.
- Anticipate your target audience’s customer journey cross-platform and cross-channel. Then devise a strategy to facilitate this journey by delivering the right type of experience at every touch point. Help them during this journey. Understand that it is now frequent for a customer to start the journey on one platform and then to complete the purchase on another platform.
Your ultimate objective is to facilitate their journey to your ultimate goals. Your goals may include: signing up to your Email List, purchasing a product or service, engaging with your content, for instance, reading your post and then leaving a comment, watching a video, downloading a piece of content such as a PDF document, etc. When your goals are clear, and you understand your customers’ needs, you can map a strategy that brings your brand into the mix to facilitate their decision to take your desired action on your website.
UNDERSTANDING TRAFFIC SOURCES
Understand traffic sources is a part of your digital marketing strategy. There are many tools available online that you can use to collect and analyze data in order to gain such understanding. Google Analytics is a powerful free tool that is increasingly very helpful and also complex. It can therefore be quite intimidating for many small business owners. I will write another article to explain how you can take advantage of this powerful resource. In this article, I just want to show you the importance of having a data driven strategy for your business.
What you can measure, you can manage. (Peter Drucker)
I have mentioned this before. Successful brands know the importance of using data measurement to raise the bar on customer experience. They know the secrets to proactively anticipating the customer journey and delivering an unforgettable customer experience at every touch point. When you have a deep understanding of your traffic sources, you will be able to deploy a strategy for collecting data and then turning this data into insights that will in turn be the basis for your business decisions.
TRAFFIC SOURCE DATA MEASUREMENT
When you have a good understanding of your traffic sources, you can now have a measurement strategy that can including elements such as:
- Defining what data to collect based on your goals
- Defining how you will collect the data
- Define how you will analyze the data
- Have the right benchmarks to compare your data to
- Analyze performance gaps
- Back to strategy
- Implement improvements
- And back to data collection, analysis, etc.
No matter what the size of your business is, you must have a strategy in place and best practices for turning data into insights. Don’t forget to also research your competitors to know where they get traffic from. Your goal is to dominate your niche, isn’t it?
There are many tools available to help you. Some of the are free, such as Google Analytics. Others are paid resources, such as Kissmetrics. You may also want to work with an expert to help you so that you can continue to focus on your day-to-day business tasks. If that is the case, please contact our SEO Experts and we will be very happy to help you.
USING GOOGLE ANALYTICS TO STUDY YOUR TRAFFIC SOURCES
Like I said earlier, Google Analytics is a powerful free tool that can help you collect your website data and then present it to you in pre-defined reports. The reports produced by Google Analytics (GA) generally provide you with raw data. You may apply some customization by filtering some unwanted data, such as spam traffic (bots) or eliminating your own internal staff traffic. You can learn a lot from the GA reports.
Google Analytics collects data from your website through a tracking code that is placed on the web pages that you want to track. So, GA will track data generated by things like the number of visitors who came to your web page, how long they stayed, the country and city in which they visited your web page, the type of device they used, the type of browser they viewed your web page on, your visitors’ age and gender, whether they drilled deep into your website after landing on the first page or whether they left without visiting any other page. Other things that the GA Tracking Code tracks includes visitors’ activities activities such as clicking a button, playing a video, completing a purchase, filling out a form, etc.
I am not going deep into details today. I will describe the process in details in a subsequent article, so make sure that you subscribe to the blog and comment below (choose the option to be notified of future articles). But, just like I said earlier, there are a number of sources that Google Analytics is not capable of capturing. I described this briefly in my previous article (The Importance of Direct And Organic Search Traffic), visitors to you website may come from sources that are not directly connected to the Internet. Google Analytics will group those visitors into one group, such as “Direct Traffic.” Such traffic may have come from your Television Ad, word of mouth, radio ad, a business card you gave to someone, etc.
In order to have a complete picture of your traffic sources, you will need to get data from those other external sources. You may get a survey on your website or in your store where your visitors tell you how they heard about your business. It is well known that the organic search traffic reported in Google Analytics is generally believed to be under-reported. When users search Google while logged into their Google Accounts (gmail, etc.), Google will not show you any data related to their activities due to privacy concerns.
USE CORRECT TRAFFIC SOURCE ATTRIBUTION MODEL
Attribution model is the process of attributing your traffic to the right source. Since customers rarely have a single touch point with your business, it is unfair to conclude that the last touch point should be credited 100% with the purchase decision. Research shows that some customers may have as many as hundreds of touch points with your business before reaching the purchase decision. These touches may also take place across various devices, apps, platforms, channels, etc. In order to guide your digital marketing strategy, you must be able to apply the proper attribution to those various channels because your strategic investment in those channels depend on this.
Data may come from a multitude of sources. But it experts that produce correct insights that provide the right intelligence needed to thrive in a highly competitive business environment. Again, I can not stress this more, you need to have in place the right best practices and strategies for turning data info insights. And this applies to startups as well.
It is therefore very important for you to combine your data from other sources other than those reported by Google Analytics. Use other analytics tools available in order to get the full picture of your marketing performance. That is why we generally use the term “Web Analytics”. Web Analytics are the heart. But insights bring the soul. You must be able to combine all your data available and then extract the insights.
You may have the right data, but due to wrong attribution model, draw wrong insights which will lead to wrong decisions that can cost you business a lot of money or a loss of business opportunities. You need to apply correct attribution modeling in order to generate correct business intelligence.
EMBRACING THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION EARLY
This is the only option. If you are a startup, this is the time to start developing the right habit. Understanding your traffic sources when you only have a handful of customers is much easier. It gives you an opportunity to practice and lay down the foundation for growth. Make this a part of improving your company’s customer experience. Successful brands are making improving their business customer’s experience a top priority in 2019 and beyond. The other priority is increasing brand loyalty. Remember that people buy from brands they trust. I was speaking with one of my clients and she told me that many of her clients insist on a discounted price. I pointed out to her that those same customers are carrying expensive Apple phones and brand name purses. They are willing to pay close to a thousand dollars for an iPhone but they want to force you to let them pay almost nothing for a fifty dollar item that you sell. I encourage her to commit to building her brand. Make it a priority.
You must embrace creativity, innovation, and technollogy. Business leadership in 2019 and beyond requires business leaders to bring a whole-talent brain – that’s the ability to function both on the right side and the left side of the brain in order to bring data and creativity together. This is what will set apart successful businesses from the others. And this applies to startups. This will enable you to focus on customer experience, and focus on creating and delivering the right and relevant content faster to the right customer, through the right channel, and at the right time.
This can only be achieved if you develop the capabilities to pull data from multiple sources and generate the right insights to produce a unified customer view. I know all this language may scare small business owners, but let me give you the news: large businesses are equally intimidated. If you are a startup, you have the advantage of not having to deal with breaking down the old culture to introduce this new approach. This is costly. It is disruptive. If all you have is five clients, you can implement this faster than those large companies. And in this increasingly competitive environment, startups and small businesses do not have a choice. Your very survival is at stake.
This is why I am writing these articles in a direct language to help small businesses understand some of these concepts that may sound very complex. My goal is to help you be able to implement some of these things yourself. And if and when you will need expert help, let us know. We have a team of Branding Experts ready to take you by the hand and create a strategy and also partner with you to implement it and help you grow.
I started this article discussing the need to understand the sources of your traffic in order to develop the right business strategy and effectively compete and dominate your niche. I have connected the need to understand your traffic sources to what is increasingly becoming two of the top priorities of marketing leaders in 2019 and in the future – customer experience and brand loyalty. Success in these two priorities starts with understanding your target audience and traffic sources. In order to accomplish that, you must be able to bring both sides of your brains – full train talent – to combine data and creativity. While delivering the best customer experience has emerged as one of the top two priorities, it is not yet very clear how this would be achieved considering that customers are increasingly more demanding. Customers are in control. With instant access to information on their hands through mobile devices, number of customers’ touch points with your business on multiple platforms has increased (in the hundreds in some cases). They are demanding contextualized interactions and seamless experiences across channels. They want access to your content at any time and any where they are.
Businesses can no longer seek to differentiate themselves from their competitors on the basis of products or services. The ability to deliver the best customer experience 24/7 across multiple platforms and across multiple channels is the key to gaining and preserving brand loyalty. Startups and small businesses have this opportunity as you are dealing with a limited number of customers and you can interact with them directly. Your biggest challenge is understanding how to implement an effective digital strategy to achieve these goals. You must not wait until you have grown bigger. Larger companies have to deal with multiple challenges including culture barriers within their companies, and how to bridge silos of data and unified diverse goals from different departments while also dealing with the need for data privacy.
If you need any assistance implementing The Digital Revolution, whether you are a small business or a large one, contact OnMax Host Digital Experts and we will be very happy to help you. Meanwhile, if you have enjoyed this article, please consider sharing a comment below. We welcome your questions, comments, ideas. We are all learning and need ideas to better grasp some of these new trends.