When I think of attracting visitors to a website, I think of constructing as many pathways as possible into the site. The paths become the portal that transforms an unknown prospect to a recognized and all-important “site visitor”— someone who CHOSE to come to my site. Examples of pathways could be natural search, email, a blog, tweets, paid search, video, online ads, plus all of the many offline channels such as TV, radio, outdoor, print, direct mail and non-traditional.
Which pathway drives the most traffic?
Do you know how to attract more visitors through each pathway?
In a recent study from Forrester titled, “How Consumers Find Websites in 2010 – Trends to Consider for Your 2011 Strategy,” Shar VanBoskirk analyzes current trends for the ways in which internet users come to websites and how you can incorporate those trends into your marketing strategy to improve your ROI.
Not surprisingly, the survey of over 4,000 internet users reports that natural search results are the “most commonly used resource to navigate websites.” Sixty-one percent of adults say they still find websites using natural search results.
Second to natural search is referral. Word of mouth is so effective that 1 out of every 3 consumers surveyed say they visit websites their friends and family tell them about via email.
There has been an increasing decline in online advertising — a mere 3% of surveyed adults say they visit websites from paid advertisements.
Plus, the effectiveness of paid search advertising has dropped by 10% since only two years ago. It is now the least popular pathway to your site!
Social media has risen in popularity (especially with young consumers). Sixteen percent of adult internet users find websites through social media profiles and links.
In contrast, web users age 55 and up are significantly less interested in social media. They are far more likely to rely on referrals from friends and family. They also are influenced by print media and interested in content. (Consider the potential power of combining these channels.)
With discouraging statistics on the declining effectiveness of paid search and purchased online media, what can you do to get more for your marketing dollar?
1.) Keep creating more pathways: multiple marketing touch points can be necessary to drive a single visit to a website. Here is an interesting insight from VanBoskirk's report: 20% of users who viewed a paid advertisement online chose to search for that website’s organic results before visiting the website.
These organic results add validity to your site; users trust them more than they trust your paid advertisement. However, your ad may be what draws their initial attention.
2.) Think beyond your website visitors, all the way to conversion. Driving site traffic is important, but arriving at your site may not yield the desired conversion. “For example, 38% of consumers say online ads are a good way to find out about new products, and one in five say they have visited a store after seeing an online ad.”
It is important not to consider the web channel exclusively from all other forms of media. Without thorough cross channel analysis, you will never get the full picture of what your customers and prospects are doing, and how to attract more visitors and more conversions.
* Web Conversion Statistics - FireClick