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  • Mike Johnston

You Don’t Understand Why Digital Marketers Are Eating Your Lunch


How to Convert Online Traffic Into Sales

Snap! An advertising executive breaks a pencil in two after poring over the latest agency P&L report. It was ten years ago when digital marketers were mere upstarts cutting into traditional agency profits; a passing fad, flavor of the month, something to be mocked as trivial advertising. Fast-forward to today and that same executive is ready to smash his tablet against the wall, because longtime clients are moving budgets to digital marketing. The following are a few quick and dirty tips to understand what most digital marketers already know about advertising.

Digital marketers know simple stuff like this. People go to your website to solve a problem. You need to be the solution. In other words, if your website traffic isn’t converting, then likely it’s because you’re attracting people who don’t care about the problem, or you haven’t stated a clear advantage to your solution. It’s the traffic, the message, or both.

First, match your message to the right audience. To do that, you’ll need to know a little bit more than demographics. You need to understand the audience. That’s pretty basic stuff for anyone in advertising.

  • People who have already bought the product are a great way for you to learn about your ideal customer. Learn more about them and their pain points through online surveys like Facebook, AdWords, Survey Monkey and Survata.

  • Buying a copycat list of customers that resembles the customer list is also a great way to learn more about your ideal customer.

  • There are also panel research surveys, focus groups, and even the old-fashioned idea of picking up the phone and calling people who have bought the product.

  • Lastly, Amazon is a great resource. Read the reviews of people who have bought the product, reviews left on competitors' storefronts and even reviews in the product category. Read the top book reviews for the category.

  • Keyword research tools will be filled with phrases that will give you insights.

After you’ve researched the wants and needs of your audience, you’ll need to create messages that speak specifically to their frustrations and aspirations. Identify the benefits in your product or service that solve the issues they say are important to them. Your message should demonstrate that you understand their situation and have a solution for their pain points or passions.

Effective digital marketers understand that you target specific audiences with specific messages. Get super-granular. For example, target men who live in Seattle, graduated from the University of Washington and are over 40 years old. Write a headline that speaks specifically to their individual experience. Example, “Why Do U-Dub Grads Get Deeper Discounts on Car Insurance?” The conversions will be higher with a niche approach than with a broad approach, but you’ll need to target many different niches to develop an effective reach.

Segment the traffic coming to the site to find out what is delivering the best ROI. Below are different ways to segment those audiences:

  • Tag your campaigns with UTM codes

  • Track which pages the customer visited

  • Review referral traffic numbers

Next, test a broader audience with a broader message. Continue to test until you’ve reached the broadest audience that delivers a positive ROI. This still might be dozens of unique messages.

If you end up doing a broad campaign, then your landing page needs to segment your audiences into unique funnels. Example, a medical landing page that features the categories: Health Spa, Botox, Liposuction, and Tattoo Removal. The traffic coming to the site will have a more relevant experience and you’ll have a higher conversion rate if they move from a general landing page to a specific page.

Now you have done enough to start split testing any other details, so you know that everything is working together to its fullest potential. But here are a couple more things to keep in mind.

When calculating your ROI, understand the lifetime value of the customer. It might cost $2 to attract the initial lead, but if they're worth $30 a year, don’t be afraid to spend a lot more for a lead. If your competition is afraid to spend $3 for a lead, then you’re going to crush them because you understand that you could spend $10 a lead and not break a sweat.

If you have a lower price point, the buying cycle should be short. If they don’t buy right away, you should let them go. If you have a higher price point, the customer journey will be longer. So don’t worry if they don’t buy right away. Retarget them and do this.

Have a great relationship with your potential customers. Do this by adding value to their lives with great content that informs, entertains, and delights them. Great content sells better than even the best offers. Some people think the money is in the customer list. Actually. The money is in the relationships that you have with the people on the list.

Digital marketing all comes down to matching the right audience with the right message. Optimize. Rinse. Repeat.

Want to know more about digital marketing? Read, "How Digital Marketing Changed Advertising Forever."

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