There are billions of people on the internet. That means millions of people searching for your particular business or industry. You would assume that out of those millions, there would be thousands going to your website, and out of those, you would expect a dozen interested parties... right? Wrong.
Fantasy vs Reality
There is a huge gap between expectations and realities of online lead generation.
Unrealistic expectations are rampant and are due to a number of reasons:
- There is a perception that simply having a website published online by itself (without taking additional steps) will result in traffic;
- There is a huge amount of false traffic that registers as legitimate visitors (software that disguises itself as real visitors to perform unethical tasks such as content scraping, email harvesting, spamming blog comments and spamming contact forms);
- Tools that provide visitor statistics generally can not identify the false traffic mentioned above and can give highly misleading numbers;
- There is also a perception that marketing your website in the digital realm is a simple or low-expense activity. This stems from the "everything is free" culture rampant on the World Wide Web. The real deal is that digital marketing can easily be more expensive than traditional marketing channels.
So, how many genuine visitors does your website really get?
The harsh reality is that if you have 2-3 genuine visitors per day (i.e. any legitimate traffic at all), you are already doing quite well.
It will also be quite difficult to get the real number of genuine visitors, unless you have IT expertise, the skills to do analysis and the right tools. As an example, See Fig. 1 for a screenshot that shows fake visitors disguised as real traffic. While the particular sample includes overseas traffic, and as such can be discarded based on that parameter alone, not everyone goes that far into detail with visitor analysis.
Dominating the Digital Space
To get a constant stream of genuine visitors to your website, you will need to formulate and execute a proper digital marketing strategy.
Steps to take to drive legitimate traffic to your website can involve:
- Improving Organic Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) - this is a fairly involved process that can include registering and setting up alternate keyword-rich domain names, creating extra landing pages, optimising your content or tags, as well as many other steps;
- Using a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) strategy - this involves paying for clicks. This approach can be very expensive in competitive industries, as you are effectively bidding for visitors against your competitors;
- Marketing your website off-line - an under-rated strategy. If your website is designed to be used as a portal (e.g. an online shop) with good retention, it may be a good move to drive traffic by using traditional marketing channels.
- Social Media - In some circumstances, marketing your website through social media can be an effective strategy in the B2C market. Please note that it is necessary for your website to be a portal, shopping cart or some kind of transactional tool, as mentioned in the point above, for this strategy to work.
The right approach varies case-by-case. Some lucky businesses in niche industries require very little effort to generate leads online, while others in mainstream, competitive and saturated industries (e.g. real estate, mortgage broking, printing…) require herculean effort and may be better to refocus their marketing to off-line channels altogether. A campaign that involves paying for clicks is a lot easier to set up and can be executed virtually by anyone (to an extent), while it is quite difficult to build a high quality website from scratch with good Organic SEO. This may be a case where the right specialist with experience makes all the difference.
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