Experiments and Results: Targeted vs. Untargeted TrafficMost webmasters are always looking for new and inventive ways to drive traffic to their website. There are many proven methods of getting the traffic to a website, but if that new increase in traffic does not convert into sales, then is it still worth the effort that you put into getting that traffic?
I had a discussion recently with a colleague about generating traffic from outside of our target market. As a result of our discussion, we decided that we certainly could utilize various markets to get a huge boost in traffic, but since this traffic would likely not result in any conversions, that there was really no point in spending the time and effort on going after that traffic.
In a previous "experiment" on one of my websites, I started using the social networking tactic to generate traffic. I bookmarked a page of my site and submitted to many of the standard sites like, www.digg.com, www.reddit.com, www.furl.net, www.spurl.net, etc.
By doing this, I was able to get a huge increase in traffic to the site for a couple of days. The problem is, that I did not get one single conversion from this new traffic. I used a catchy headline and a good description of the article that I submitted to the social networking sites, good enough to get people to come visit the page anyway. But with the lack of getting a single conversion, it really did not seem worthwhile to me to do again in the future.
Now I know that some of you might be thinking, "Well, his sales pitch must be terrible" or that "His website is poorly designed." If this were the case, I would have no problem admitting to this, but when I compare the untargeted traffic that I received from the social book marking sites to the targeted traffic that I see from organic searches I can see a big difference in conversion rates. The targeted traffic that comes from organic searches generally results in a 5-8% conversion rate. The untargeted traffic resulted in a 0% conversion rate.
How To Talk To Prospects Who Are In Your Target Market
The above results lead me to believe that a much better use of my time would be to focus more on the targeted market and to stop wasting time on the untargeted visitors. There are many techniques that can be used to find prospects in your target market. Many of these techniques are old news to experienced webmasters.
Some of these methods include contextual marketing through programs such as AdWords, posting on relevant forums, improving your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for the organic traffic, and submitting articles to article repositories. You can also buy paid advertising in newsletters that cater to the people who are most likely to buy your products or services. These are just a handful of the methods that a Webmaster could utilize to get in touch with his or her target market.
Each of the above listed methods has their pros and cons.
Time commitment and ongoing financial commitments are two of the cons that are mentioned on a regular basis.
The pros given with all five typically represent tightly targeted traffic, suitably primed for conversion to paying customers.
The Dick Cheney Analogy
The Dick Cheney analogy has often been used to talk about this subject. Should you use the Rifle Approach or the Shotgun Approach?
The Rifle Approach lets you pinpoint your target and to hit it with great accuracy and frequency. The Shotgun Approach is sending a number or projectiles into a flock of birds and hoping you hit something. Dick Cheney proved that the shotgun sometimes hits its mark. (tongue-in-cheek people, tongue-in-cheek.)
For example, if you are selling health related products, then a media buy in WebMD would make good sense. People browsing WebMD are already interested in health and therefore are more likely to buy your health related products. People who are browsing on Myspace are not motivated to think about their own health at the time they see your ad, so your chances of success with Myspace ads are greatly diminished.
So, if you are going to expend time and money to attract visitors to your website, shouldn't you take care to primarily target people who are most likely to buy what you are selling?
Playing The Odds To Our Favor
Sure, a shotgun approach can sometimes hit its mark; we know that. But, if your cost for advertising or time expense is exactly the same, why aim for 1-2% when you know you can hit 5-8% doing something else?
We still mix-and-match our advertising approach. We aim most of our projectiles at the 5-8% conversion targets. We still aim a few projectiles at the 1-2% conversion prospects, because it allows us to reach people that we may not be able to reach otherwise. But, any method that we use that consistently turns 0% is taken off of our plate forever.