B2B marketing campaigns are all aiming for one result – to get potential prospects to raise their hand. That could be by interacting on a website, picking up the phone, or generally making their interest known. And once a prospect is in sight and has proven they’re a great fit for the product or service, then it’s over to sales to turn them into a paying customer. Job done.
Historically, a website would have played a very different role in the sales process to what it does now. B2Bs would typically have used their site as a kind of online sales brochure (and indeed some companies still do). But in recent years, following the huge growth in digital and the impact that has had on customer behaviour, websites have really come into their own as a lead generation tool.
Most companies starting out now will have a strong online lead generating strategy in mind and see their website as playing a vital and very active part in its success.
But however you use your website, there’s no point having one if it doesn’t get any visitors, so you need to be working hard to encourage web traffic. So how do you do that effectively?
B2Bs often have a ‘sales is a numbers game’ mentality and will hit the masses to find the few. They won’t be shy of cold calling long lists of unqualified contacts to try and unearth potential leads who may be hiding among them. But this can be very time-consuming and reap little rewards.
The good news is things are changing, and that’s where your website comes in. Tools like Lead Forensics can tell you which companies have visited your website – whether they leave their contact details or not – meaning the days of needing to cold call are long gone. By concentrating your time and effort on only those leads who actually have an interest, you’ll instantly up the quality of your leads and the potential for conversions.
Reaching the right type of people to generate web traffic is going to be key and then, of course, you need to know what to do with all that traffic once you’ve generated it and to have at least one conversion offer in place before you kick off your activity.
How much traffic do you need?
The answer to this question will be different for everyone. It really depends on the amount of leads you want and need to generate. Variables at play may include how much your brand is already known, if you have done any online lead generation before, how good your content is converting, and what you do after those first content conversions.
When you’re just starting out there’s a general benchmark you can use:
5,000 website visitors = 100 leads = 10 customers
These are averages and may or may not be applicable in your individual situation but can be a good place to start until you have your own data to draw on.
If you’re a small boutique agency, generating 10 new customers a month it is not going to work for you if you don’t have the resources to deal with them. In that case, you may be better off aiming for a tenth of those numbers, so you’d want to generate at least 10 good leads a month. However, it may also be that you need to be getting those 100 leads in order to get your 1 customer! You’ll only know for sure once you’ve run your campaigns and worked out your numbers.
If you’re a large software company with a big sales team then you can probably add some zeros on the end. Again, you may find you only need 100 good leads to generate 30 customers, or it could be you need 1000. You’ll get a more accurate figure once you’ve started.
Whatever your end goal may be, a good overall figure to aim to reach is 1,000 new visitors per month (on top of what you currently generate). Depending on your resources and how many tactics you can apply at once, the timeframe in which you achieve that level of traffic will vary. Generally, the more activities you can do, the quicker you’ll get more traffic.
Types of traffic
There are various ways you can generate traffic and the results can be categorized in different ways. A free website analytics tool like Google Analytics will break it down into 4 types: organic search, direct, social and referral. The best result will always be to achieve traffic in each of the four categories.
Another categorization method is to differentiate between ‘pull’ and ‘push’ traffic, which is about getting the product out there versus encouraging customers to proactively seek you out.
Here we take a closer look at what these categorizations mean and how you can generate traffic of each type. This will all be traffic that you can aim to generate using your online assets, such as your website and social profiles. Of course, some campaigns may result in traffic that phones you directly – and that’s great! If it’s a viable approach for you then it’s important to include it in your strategy also.
The analytics approach
This is anything you do that makes search engines offer a link to your content on the first 1-3 pages of an online search (excluding paid ads). Written content works best for this, along with images and videos. It’s what most marketers are aiming to increase.
Top tip: Make sure your content is of high quality, solves users’ problems (or at least tries to) and is SEO optimized.
This is traffic that comes through via a link to your website that is found on another site. There’s, unfortunately, a lot of spam traffic in this category so you’ll need to filter that out to get accurate results.
Top tip: Actively approach partners and contacts to encourage them to link back to your website. A good strategy here is to provide them with helpful content for their own audience, such as a guest blog. For example, if you and your accountant serve the same target market then why not engage in some cooperative activities to create and distribute content.
This is traffic that comes from links to your website that are posted on social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
Top tip: Check regularly which social sites are bringing you the most relevant traffic, i.e. visitors that go on to convert. Then focus more of your energies on that particular social network to increase your footprint there.
This is basically anything else that doesn’t fall into any of the other categories. For example, if you run an offline direct mail campaign and use a QR code that has a tracking URL, then those website visitors will show up here and you will be able to record any ROI from those campaigns.
It will also cover visitors who enter your website address directly into their browser, which will generally be employees and existing customers.
Another group that falls into this category is ‘dark social traffic’. Anytime someone grabs a link to your content and pastes it into an email or a private message. As that traffic cannot correctly be attributed to its source, it will count as direct traffic.
Top tip: Understand and use tracking URLs so you can more accurately see where traffic is coming from, particularly helpful for tracking visits generated from offline marketing materials.
The Pull vs. Push approach
Push is anything you do that pushes your message out into the market in the hope that the right people will see it and react. Coined in another way as ‘taking the product to the customer’.
Pull is anything you do that attracts people in who may be interested in what you have offered via your online presence (website and social profiles in most cases). It is activity that encourages people to actively seek you out.
Both routes use tactics that can be great at driving traffic. The important thing is to understand the best way to reach your own target audience and then to mix up your marketing accordingly.
Examples of push and pull traffic activities are:
- Generic online advertising
- Print media advertising
- Television advertising
- Trade shows attendance
- Direct response/mail campaigns (worth considering since many people have stopped using this tactic it is resulting in higher conversions again!)
- Unsegmented and mostly unsolicited email marketing
- Referral marketing (others actively recommending you)
- Content marketing in all its forms
- Social media marketing
- In-person events
- Targeted advertising campaigns (PPC and social ads, as well as native advertising)
- Targeted email campaigns to segmented groups of recipients who self-selected into your list
The PESO model
Another approach to generating and categorizing web traffic is the PESO model. This framework is basically about combining the four key elements of paid, earned, shared, and owned media, and recognising it takes all four to be successful. Different components of PESO will be more effective for different parts of a buyers’ journey.
Activities you might consider would include:
- Social ads
- Direct mail
- Sales promotions
- Print and TV ads
- Any other form of advertising online or offline
Earned traffic (referred)
- Newspaper editorial (linking back to you, or that shows up in search results)
- Blogger article
- Influencer marketing (joining forces with someone who has already established an audience that includes the people you want to reach)
- Any 3rd party endorsement activity
- This will mostly be social media activities – anything that helps other people share your content to their own audiences
- Email marketing
- Lead nurturing
- On-site marketing (via calls to action that lead on to other content of yours)
We hope we’ve given you some ideas for how to increase traffic to your own website. There are many routes and tactics you can use to reach an audience and encourage them to visit your site. The secret lies in using a mix of activities, both paid and organic, and to monitor where your traffic is coming from to see what’s working most effectively for you. Constantly analyze and improve what you’re doing and you won’t go far wrong.
Bonus tip for Lead Forensics users: make sure your dashboard shows you your most important traffic sources, so you can keep an eye on them. Also create relevant trigger reports for when specific events happen that you’d like to know about immediately, such as people visiting because of a new campaign you’ve started running.
And don’t forget, when it comes to lead generation and which tactics to use, the most effective strategies will always be ones that effectively combine online and offline lead generation. Both tactics have their place within the modern marketing mix, even if you are an online only company.