This sounds like I'm getting ready to pitch a new solution to you which is going to drive tonnes of traffic in your direction. In actual fact it's a genuine question that I recommend everyone ask themselves and conduct some internal research before answering.
The thought process behind this is fairly simple; do I need a greater quantity of traffic or do I need those visitor numbers to be more relevant to meet my objectives? Naturally to answer this you need to know what your objectives are, but let's say you sell shoes and your instinct tells you that your traffic is at a good level. Would you rather have 100 people visit your website and 2 of them make a purchase or 10 people visit your website where 5 of them do? Naturally it would depend on the cost per acquisition for the 2 vs the 5 and whether you can scale either model but you get my point and if you know your current cost per sale, you'll at least know if you're getting better or worse in your achievements as time goes by.
So how can you tell if you need more?
Well, lots of online marketing gurus will point out that you should look at your bounce-rate (those who visit one of your pages and leave without viewing any more), the average page views per visit and the average time on-site. All of these metrics are easily available once you've got Google Analytics installed and I agree they are important.
If you feel your traffic levels are high (a decent number of unique users per day for example), I'd spend some time analysing the design of the website and any drop-off points in particular. If you sell shoes for example, how many people actually add something to their online basket and how many of those people drop out at each step of the process prior to paying you money? Also, analyse the sales you are making - how much margin is there in those products as if you're only ever selling the extremely competitive items, it's going to be a challenge to make a good living without significant volume.
I can name the three online transaction websites in the order I discovered them as they are still in my thought process today: ebay, Amazon and Play.com. You'll have your own based on your interests but I use these sites regularly because I trust them and they were introduced to me as being very competitive with good levels of service. I therefore gave them a go based on recommendations I'd received and have certainly referred them on to other contacts. Are they the cheapest out there today? ebay aside, I've have to say 'probably not' but I can't sure as I don't even check. These companies haven't let me down yet and I know it's quick and easy to place orders - so I don't spend time searching around for alternatives as I'm happy.
So my main question to anyone is "why would someone recommend you to their contacts?". Without that point of difference or mark of quality, you're going to struggle to make any significant traction. Is it mainly price related, is it a funky widget which enables you to get up close and personal with the product, is it reviews, is it the ability to chat live to a representative from the company? How do I feel when I land on the website and what do I do from there which makes me enjoy the experience enough to tell someone else?? Lots of people visit websites they think look smart and give them some information but they move on an purchase elsewhere. If I see someone with a smart new jacket, I don't ask "where did you research that?", I simply ask "where did you get that from?". That's the point - be the company who delivers the end product and is spoken of in conversations.
So, that's the challenge we all face and the game changes every day as new technology is developed and our expectations grow. If you're not constantly analysing and evolving, you're going to end up in trouble - just ask most of the high street retailers!
If you'd like a personal consultation on your online presence, get in touch and let's see what we can improve and ramp up your revenue potential...
Chris Lunn, Managing Director
Digity, Marketing Consultancy