With digital marketing, there is certainly no shortage of hype about all the different tactics to drive traffic to your website. There’s SEO, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn, YouTube, email marketing…
Sorry, my hand cramped up trying to type up all the options. :)
My point is, there’s a lot to evaluate and determine what’s best for your business. One of the most common complaints I hear from business owners is that they are simply overwhelmed. Understandably, they don’t know where to focus their time and resources to maximize their marketing budget. And unfortunately, that often leads to inaction.
The 4 Pillars
To create a successful digital marketing plan, you need to be strong in the following 4 areas:
- Website Traffic: Getting prospects to your website
- Website Conversion: Converting website visitors into paying customers
- Customer Value: Increasing the lifetime value of your customers
- Tracking: Tracking your marketing channels so you know what’s working and what needs to be improved
You might want to write those down on a notepad. I call these the 4 Pillars of digital marketing success because they establish the foundation for your marketing. If you’re weak in any one of those areas, then you’ll struggle to create profitable marketing campaigns. There’s no way around it, you need to focus on all 4.
In this article, I’m going to address the first Pillar, website traffic. More specifically, how to determine your best traffic opportunities.
And there are 2 questions you need to answer…
Question #1. Dude, Where’s My Prospect?
The first question is where are your ideal prospects hanging out online? Are they searching in Google and Bing? Are they watching videos on YouTube? Do they spend a lot of time on Facebook or are they more active on LinkedIn? Are they reading articles on news sites?
Put yourself in your ideal prospect’s shoes. What would you do if you were in need of your particular product or service?
This is important because not every source of traffic is a good opportunity for your business. For example, I worked with a medical device company that sold a product that most people do not know exists. Since few people know it exists, very few people go to Google to search for it. Logically, that means search engine optimization (SEO) and search advertising are not good options for that business. They are simply not going to drive any sales.
It’s obvious once you ask this first question, but that’s not often where we start. I catch myself doing this all the time. I listen to the media and get caught up in all the hype about a certain tactic and instantly believe it’s where I need to be focused. Fight that urge! Always ask first where your ideal prospects are, and make sure the tactic will, in fact, reach them.
Here’s the other question you need to answer…
Question #2. Are You Offering Catnip or Cat Food?
Have you ever seen a cat go crazy after just a few licks of catnip? It’s hilarious. Reminds me of scenes from Dazed and Confused. :)
What’s most interesting about catnip is that it only affects cats. If you have both dogs and cats and you open up a container of catnip, then your cats will come scurrying from all corners of your house. Your dogs may look up curiously, but then they’ll go right back to whatever they were doing.
In other words, catnip is the absolute perfect bait if all you want to do is attract nearby cats. If you compare that to cat food, then you clearly see the difference. When you open up a can of cat food, then any hungry animals nearby (cats, dogs, and even rodents) will come to check it out.
What does this have to do with marketing? A lot actually. When you’re considering a source of website traffic, then you need to ask this question: how can you create a bait like catnip that only attracts your ideal customer, rather than cat food that could attract a flurry of unqualified prospects?
For example, I recently talked to a business owner that caters to parents of children about to go to college. Her prospects are going to Google searching for information so search advertising makes sense. However, there’s a big problem. There is no guarantee the person searching is the parent — so a lot of the ad budget could be wasted on children clicking on the ads.
Does that mean search ads are a bad idea?
Not necessarily. Sure, advertising a general “cat food” type ad that would attract both parents and children would be a mistake. But you could also create a “catnip” ad that speaks directly to parents (and even repels children) so that you do not waste money on irrelevant clicks.
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