Online Traffic and Marketing: How to Make it Work for Your Small Business

If you’re reading this, I assume you’re interested in online marketing and traffic generation for your small business. Maybe you run a solo studio or just work by yourself. Maybe you’ve got a small team and are looking for ways to grow your business. No matter what stage you’re at, you’ve probably been asking yourself, “How can I make this work for me?”

Here’s some advice on how to make online traffic and marketing work for your brand.

Step One: Determine What You Really Want

As we’ve established, you’re most likely reading this article because you want to make online marketing work for your business. That means you’re looking to grow your web presence, build an audience, and get more people to your site when they search for your products or services. Congratulations!

But if you want to make the most of your online marketing efforts, you need to be really clear about what you want from them. As a business owner, you know that you can’t always measure results in terms of sales or leads. That’s why you need to set a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) goal.

What does that mean in practice? Let’s say your goal is to increase web traffic by 10% in the next six months. That’s a pretty big goal! To set a goal this big, you need to be really clear about how you’re going to measure your success. Are you going to track the number of leads generated? The number of sales? Comments on your blog post? The metrics will depend on your industry and, of course, the channel you use to promote your website.

For instance, if you run a clothing store and use social media to promote your brand, you might choose to track interactions with your content in terms of likes, shares, or clicks. If you’re running a real estate business, you might decide to count the number of visitors to your website, calls to your phone number, or social media followers as your metric.

Step Two: Create a Roadmap

Once you’ve determined what you want, you can begin to create a roadmap to help you get there. Remember, everything you do to promote your business online should have a goal in mind. Without a clear goal, you’re likely to lose your way in the digital wilderness. That’s why it’s so important to set SMART goals.

In the example above, we’ve established that you want to increase your web traffic by 10% in the next six months. Let’s suppose that you’ve decided to use social media to generate this traffic. Your SMART goal, then, would be to grow your Instagram following by 10% in the next six months. Your roadmap to get there would look something like this:

  • Create content that is valuable and relevant to your target audience
  • Connect with potential customers via social media
  • Monitor and analyze social media performance
  • Scale and improve your social media strategy as needed
  • Measure and track your results
  • Repeat!

As you can see, this is a fairly comprehensive list. It covers everything from setting your goal to creating a plan to reach it. You don’t need to be overly-complex about this stuff. Just make sure that you cover all the necessary steps to get from point A to point B. As above, you’re looking for measurable results. So, create a plan and measure your progress along the way.

Step Three: Identify the Key Performance Indicators

Now that you’ve got a goal in mind, you can move onto the next step and begin to set key performance indicators (KPIs). It’s important to note here that your KPIs won’t necessarily be numbers-like figures. They will be benchmarks that you can use to track your progress and determine whether or not you’ve made the right kind of progress. For instance, you can use the number of subscribers to your mailing list as a KPI for your email marketing efforts.

In the above example, the goal is to increase web traffic by 10% in the next six months. To determine the KPIs that will let you track your progress toward this goal, you can use the following formula:

  • (Clicks – Clicks on link to your website × Clicks on link to non-related sites × Clicks on link to unrelated sites from your website)/ (Total Clicks)
    • The first term in the formula is the percentage of click-throughs to your website from the total number of clicks.
    • The second term is the percentage of clicks that are not linked to your site but are still “hits” (i.e., page views).
    • The third term is the percentage of clicks that are not linked to your site but are bounces (i.e., people who only view the page once and then leave).

    The above formula can get a little complex, but there’s a lot of value in it. First off, it gives you a clear picture of how many people are engaged with your content, whether they’re clicking on a link or viewing the content on a page. Second, it will show you the types of clicks you’re getting — are most people clicking on products or services that are relevant to them? Are there certain products that are more “clickable” than others? These are all questions that the numbers will answer for you.

    Step Four: Determining Relevant Metrics

    So, you’ve got a goal in mind and a few key performance indicators (KPIs). Now you need to figure out which ones are relevant to your situation. For instance, if you’re running a real estate business and your goal is to get more visitors to your site, price-based and traffic-based metrics might not be the best fit for you. More and more realtors are moving away from simply selling houses and are instead specializing in specific areas of the country — areas rich in prospective buyers.

    To tap into this lucrative market, you might want to track the following metrics:

    • The number of searches performed for your area (using Google, Bing, or other search engines)
    • The number of visitors to your site (using websites like Alexa to track traffic)
    • The number of times your website or blog is mentioned on social media (using platforms like Twitter or Instagram to track mentions)
    • The number of times your website or blog is “liked” on social media (using platforms like Facebook or Twitter to track likes)
    • The number of phone calls made to your business (using call tracking software like HubSpot’s Pipedrive)
    • The number of email newsletter sign-ups (using a tool like Mailchimp)
    • The number of times your website’s content is shared on social media (using platforms like Twitter or Instagram to track shares)

    Once you’ve got a few relevant metrics in mind, it’s a good idea to set up a dashboard to track these numbers over time. Something tells me that this will make you more committed to tracking your marketing efforts and holding yourself accountable for results.

    Step Five: Create a Long-Term Strategy

    So, you’ve got key performance indicators (KPIs) in place and you’ve determined that these are relevant to your situation. But now you need to create a long-term strategy to go beyond simply tracking metrics and seeing growth spurts. You need to sit down and think about the BIGGER picture. What is your business striving to become?

    If you’re looking to increase your web traffic and marketing budget for the year, what will your strategy be? Do you want to focus on SEO or paid advertising? Are you looking to build a brand for the long term? All these questions and more should factor into your decision-making process when creating your long-term strategy.

    The above steps should have prepared you to answer these questions. But even if they didn’t, you should have all the necessary tools to create a solid foundation for your marketing efforts. With your business goals and objectives in mind, you can begin to develop your strategy. The numbers should work in tandem with the theory to create a balanced picture. If you want to make this strategy work for you, don’t hesitate to reach out! I’m happy to help.