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Build Traffic or Optimize for Conversions? A Chicken or Egg Debate

Build Traffic or Optimize for Conversions? A Chicken or Egg Debate

Wondering whether you should be prioritizing building traffic or optimizing for conversions? Here’s the case for each.

I currently have a client trying to decide what to prioritize: building traffic to his website or optimizing current content for lead conversions. It’s a chicken-and-egg-style debate. If you don’t increase traffic, who will be on your site to convert? But, if you don’t optimize for conversion, what good is traffic to your website?

As with any chicken-or-egg question, there is neither a simple nor a definitive answer. What you should prioritize at any given time is highly individual, and dependent on factors unique to your business. Consider the case for prioritizing each, while evaluating and bearing in mind where your business is in building its online presence.

The egg: the case for prioritizing traffic

Maybe you’re confident the egg came first—after all, in some ways, it’s the obvious answer. Without traffic to your website, there’s not much point in optimizing for conversion, since there won’t be any leads to convert in the first place. According to AudienceBloom founder and CEO Jayson DeMers, there are three main points to the case for prioritizing traffic:

1)      Brand recognition

Conversions aren’t the only thing of value that comes from a traffic-heavy website. “Every visitor who makes it to your site will have the chance to see your brand, read your content, and become more familiar with your company,” says DeMers, writing for Forbes. Building traffic to your website lets you reap these benefits, which will naturally drive up your conversions over time.

2)      Long-term strategies

Because effective traffic-building strategies pay off exponentially the longer they’re in place, it makes sense to put them first. Giving your SEO and content marketing efforts time to build momentum ensures that you’ll reap the maximum benefits.

3)      Optimizing for value

The best way to determine if your conversion strategy is working and how to improve it is to collect and analyze data. A high traffic volume gives you a testing ground. “Without a steady stream of visitors to test,” says DeMers, “you’ll be flying blind.”

The chicken: the case for prioritizing conversions

Maybe you’re one of those people who wonders where the egg comes from in the first place. While it’s true that without traffic, conversions are unlikely, it’s equally true that a website that isn’t optimized for conversions is not to your best advantage. DeMers again sums up the three main arguments for prioritizing conversion optimization:

1)      Low investment, high yield

One of the best things about conversion optimization is that, while it does require ongoing efforts, your initial process is relatively cheap and easy. Check out our guide for creating effective landing pages, for example, and you’ll discover that optimizing for conversions doesn’t have to break the bank.

2)      Traffic optimization

This is where quality is more valuable than quantity. “Focusing on conversions first instantly makes every visitor to your website more valuable,” says DeMers. Even if your traffic volume isn’t massive, if your conversion rate is higher, you’re ahead at the end of the day.

3)      Reinvestment potential

If your business has limited funds to invest in website optimization, prioritize conversions. “Assuming your conversion strategy is successful early on,” writes DeMers, “the extra revenue you’ll generate from all your new traffic will give you more money you can use to invest further — in the realms of both traffic and conversion.”

The scramble: why you should balance your efforts

Whether you chose to place a heavier emphasis on traffic or conversions, you ultimately want balance in your efforts. “If you fully invest in either side without investing at least slightly in the other, you aren’t going to see… Click To Tweet

Whether you chose to place a heavier emphasis on traffic or conversions, you ultimately want balance in your efforts. “If you fully invest in either side without investing at least slightly in the other, you aren’t going to see meaningful results,” points out DeMers.

So far, science hasn’t been able to settle the chicken-or-egg question. In the same way, we can’t tell you whether it makes sense for you to put a higher priority on traffic or conversion optimization. But thinking through the case for each should help you decide what makes sense for your business. Just remember not to put all your eggs in one basket.

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How One B2B Company Grew Organic Traffic by 120% in 5 Months

How One B2B Company Grew Organic Traffic by 120% in 5 Months

B2B software company Text Request took 4 steps to grow organic traffic, a key component of any content marketing strategy.

We content marketers are always keeping an eye on organic traffic. It’s an indicator of success (though by no means the only one). Basically it lets you know how many of your website’s visitors found you by using a search engine. If you’re consistently publishing quality content that has value to your prospective customers, you should see a steady rise in organic traffic to your website.

But many B2B companies struggle with generating organic traffic to their websites. In fact, 61% of companies list generating traffic as their biggest marketing challenge in the 2017 State of Inbound Report. Over half (55%) list growing traffic to their website as a top priority in the next 12 months.

So how did Text Request, a B2B texting software company, grow organic traffic by 120% in 5 months? Marketing Director Kenneth Burke outlines the four simple steps the team took to drive this growth.

4 steps to growing organic traffic

1. Start with simple changes.

Text Request started with very basic steps to begin driving more traffic to its website. These changes included technical updates to their website, increased site speed, and a new content strategy. The updates to their website made the site more appealing to viewers, and the increased site speed led to a lower bounce rate. Of course, a documented content strategy should be a priority for any company hoping to grow its digital footprint.

2. Create 10x content.

The term ‘10x content’ was coined by Moz founder Rand Fishkin. Essentially, you create content that is ten times better than that which appears in the top search results for that subject. Sounds overwhelming. But think about it in terms of three specific audiences:

  • Me: If you wouldn’t consider the content you’re creating valuable, then it most likely won’t add value for others.
  • Targets: In order to add value and answer questions and/or inform prospects on a topic, understand what your target audience is lacking and fill that need.
  • Competitors: By creating content that is better than the competition, you validate yourself as an industry leader.

3. Revamp existing content.

Content published months or even years ago doesn’t have to fade out. Updating older content gives these posts a renewed value. This is an important part of our content strategy here at Fronetics.

As part of his mission to increase organic traffic, Burke dug through older content to find posts he could revamp, updating as many as 60 posts in 5 months. That may seem like a lot. But, oftentimes, updating older content is easier than starting from scratch — especially if the topics are still relevant and just need updated statistics and research. By revising outdated material, Burke is “confident that they made a huge impact on our organic search traffic.”

4. Strive for backlinks.

Backlinks are incoming links to pages on your website from other websites. If the websites linking to your content are of high quality, search engines will start to consider your website more valuable — otherwise, why would these quality sites link to you? Thus, backlinks are an important component of a search engine optimization strategy.

Understanding their importance in driving organic traffic, Burke worked to improve the amount of backlinks to Text Request’s website. “From December to May, we grew our total number of backlinks by about 60%, which, in addition to driving referral traffic, boosted our standing with search engines.”

Most of the backlinks came from three specific places: HARO, guest posts, and earned links. Most important to earning backlinks was the research Text Request published in its content, which other companies found valuable — valuable enough to cite and link to in their content. These links were validation that the 10x content strategy was paying off for Text Request.

Results

With these four simple steps, Text Request saw a 120% growth in organic traffic to its website. The company more than doubled traffic in five months. More traffic = increased brand awareness = more prospective customers and leads = more sales.

While Burke was able to get pretty dramatic results very quickly, it’s important to note that improvements to your website’s search engine optimization do, most often, take some time to unfold. But, over time, results of your work will continue to amplify

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Video: Focus on Conversions or Building Traffic First?

Video: Focus on Conversions or Building Traffic First?

What’s more important: prioritizing conversions or building traffic? The simple answer is both. Here’s why you need to balance your efforts for the best results.

The argument for building traffic or optimizing for conversions has no end. Like we stated in our earlier post, it’s a chicken-and-egg style debate. If you don’t optimize for conversions, what is the point of directing traffic to your site? On the flip side, if you don’t build traffic, who is visiting (and converting) on your site?

The problem is countless variables affect which of these goals you prioritize and when. Determining what you should be investing more energy into is dependent on your business, your strategy, and your target audience. Make sure you’re considering all factors when determining what makes the most sense for your brand and its online presence.

Why focus on conversions?

There are three main arguments for prioritizing conversion optimization:

  1. Low investment, high yield: The return on investment is significant, especially given the low cost of entry and easy process.
  2. Traffic optimization: while you may not increase traffic, by focusing on conversions you can increase the value of visitors to your website.
  3. Reinvestment potential: conversions will help generate funds to reinvest in your marketing effort.

All of these arguments focus on quality over quantity. By prioritizing conversions, every visitor becomes more valuable. Even with lower numbers of visitors to your website, if your conversion rates are high, you still realize a substantial return on your investment. The low cost of conversion optimization also makes it easy to implement without breaking the bank. We’ve even done some of the work for you, giving you tips when creating your landing pages.

Why focus on building traffic?

If you aren’t getting visitors to your website, there’s no point in worrying about conversions, right? But that’s not the only reason building traffic should be a priority. A few benefits of focusing on traffic include:

  1. Brand recognition: visitors will become familiar with your brand and content
  2. Momentum: concentrating on traffic is a long-term strategy and committing to the long-term gives your marketing efforts time to build momentum.
  3. Optimizing for value: there are a lot of metrics affiliated with building traffic, this allows you to collect and analyze data to see how you’re doing and to constantly improve.

By increasing traffic to your website and familiarizing new audiences with your brand, you have more opportunities to generate leads and those leads can turn into sales.

Why balance is the answer

The most important thing to remember is that your content marketing strategy is a work in progress that is continually being tweaked. You’ll need to spend time and money prioritizing both building traffic and optimizing for conversions. Click To Tweet

The most important thing to remember is that your content marketing strategy is a work in progress that is continually being tweaked. You’ll need to spend time and money prioritizing both building traffic and optimizing for conversions. Here’s Jennifer Hart Yim, Director of Strategy at Fronetics, to explain why we think you need to focus on both to maximize your efforts.

Video: Focus on Conversions or Building Traffic First?

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How Long Will It Take for My Blog to Generate Leads?

How Long Will It Take for My Blog to Generate Leads?

Time can be a blog’s best friend when it comes to gaining leads, but there are a few things you can do to accelerate lead-generation efforts.

Patience is a virtue, but it’s a particularly difficult one to mind when you’re trying to get your business off the ground.

Whether you are just starting out, are trying to turn things around, or are just looking to inject a little energy into things after some slow growth, your company has probably made an investment in your marketing efforts. Now comes the tough part, if you’re on the marketing team: The bosses are going to want to see results in the form of leads and sales.

Fair enough. Blogging is one of the best ways to boost your lead-generation efforts. The trouble is, however, that is normally takes some for those benefits to come to fruition.

I’m not going to say it’s a marathon…

But blogging is certainly not a sprint. Your posts need time to start drawing traffic — and then, from traffic comes leads. So the transitive property tells us that lead generation takes time. Here’s why.

As with many things, blog posts become more credible with age. That is to say, search engines value things that older content has had more time to accumulate, like social shares and referrals from other web pages. The more relevant a blog post proves itself to be to readers over time, the higher it will rank in search engine results.

On the other hand, new blogs without much content don’t have much to tell search engines. Search engines don’t trust them yet — and search engines’ algorithms are designed to avoid leading searchers down a stray path. So posts from new or young blogs are less likely to appear within the first page(s) of search results, which is key to sourcing organic traffic.

So what’s a marketer who is charged with generating leads to do?

Set realistic expectations

Be realistic about how quickly your blog will start generating leads when you first set your content strategy. Consider things like the length of your sales cycle. You can’t expect a reader to hasten down the sales funnel any faster than a normal prospect. And remember that the reader probably won’t catch your post on the first day it’s published. (More on that later.) So, if your sales cycle is 90 days, you might see a lead 90 days after you start publishing. But, in reality, it will probably take a little longer.

Instead of relying entirely on leads to define success, you should spend the first months focusing on the metrics that are precursors to lead generation. Increased web traffic and greater social reach and engagement, for example, are solid proof that the needle is moving in the early days of a new content marketing program. Set goals for these metrics, and communicate with leadership that they are all indicators that your content strategy is working, and that leads should follow in time.

But how can I get my blog to generate leads faster?

If you want to accelerate lead generation, it’s going to take a greater investment. But if you’re willing to commit more time and resources to speed things along, here are two things you can do.

1. Publish more frequently.

Search engines value posting frequency because it shows that your blog is a consistent source of content. The question is, how much can your organization publish without experiencing a decline in quality and relevancy? Those are other factors influencing search engine rankings, not to mention readership, leads, and conversions.

But “more frequently” doesn’t have to mean going from 0 to 60. Even publishing once more per week can make a dramatic impact. This story, for example, shows how publishing one more post per week helped a client’s web traffic increase by 23%, sales leads double, and a prospect convert to a customer — and that was just in just one month.

A HubSpot study showed a tipping point around 400 total blog posts — blogs with 401+ total posts generated twice as much traffic as those that had published 301-400 posts. And more specifically, B2B companies with 401+ total blog posts generated nearly 3X as many leads as those with 0-200 posts. The faster you can reach that 400 mark, the quicker your results.

2. Don’t neglect your old content

It’s important to keep in mind that the majority of your web traffic (aka potential leads) will first encounter your older content. Looking at Fronetics’ most-viewed posts last month, for example, 80% were published at least six months prior. In fact, 50% were more than a year old.

What does that mean? For one, you should keep tending to your already published content, particularly those posts that prove to be a consistent source of traffic. Update information; add links to new related posts or other relevant resources; and seek opportunities to insert or update calls-to-action to current offers and campaigns. Making sure those older, consistently popular posts continue to serve and engage your readers will increase your chances of conversion.

Secondly, it’s crucial that you look beyond how the posts you published recently performed. Something that doesn’t get a lot of views in the first week may be a huge traffic source and lead converter in a little time. Many content management systems, like HubSpot, can generate attribution reports, which tell you which web pages users most often visit before converting to a lead. Compare these pages with your high-traffic pages that don’t make the list to see how you can create more opportunities for lead conversion on the pages earning the most traffic.

Most importantly, if you invest the time and resources to run a blog, you owe it to yourself to see it through to success. Just because you don’t generate hundreds of leads in the first few months doesn’t mean you won’t eventually. It’s just going to take some time.

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Generate Leads Faster with Your Blog: Two Tips for the Supply Chain

Generate Leads Faster with Your Blog: Two Tips for the Supply Chain

Use these two strategies to help your blog generate leads faster.

Creating quality content for your blog that educates and engages consumers takes significant investment and resources. But, unfortunately, blog posts usually don’t deliver the immediate ROI that many companies are looking for.

A blog is an excellent lead-generation tool. But, as I’ve written about before, it takes time to generate leads and sales.

Like a fine wine, blog posts become more valuable with age.

Older content — likely, with more shares, likes, and referrals from other webpages — hold more credibility with search engines. The more credible the blog post, the higher it will rank in search engine results. What does this mean for you? The more time your blog has to circulate the internet, the more opportunity people have to read it, the higher it will appear in search queries. It’s that simple.

But your boss wants to see results in the form of leads and sales now. How can you bridge the gap between giving your blog the time it needs to become credible and boosting your lead-generating efforts for this sales cycle?

If you want to accelerate lead generation, it’s going to take a greater investment. But if you’re willing to commit more time and resources, here are two things you can do to see results sooner than later.

Two things you can do now to get leads faster

1. Publish more frequently.

Search engines value posting frequency because it shows that your blog is a consistent source of content. The question is, how much can your organization publish without experiencing a decline in quality and relevancy? Those are other factors influencing search engine rankings, not to mention readership, leads, and conversions.

But “more frequently” doesn’t have to mean going from 0 to 60. Even publishing once more per week can make a dramatic impact. This story, for example, shows how publishing one more post per week helped a client’s web traffic increase by 23%, sales leads double, and a prospect convert to a customer — and that was just in just one month.

A HubSpot study showed a tipping point around 400 total blog posts — blogs with 401+ total posts generated twice as much traffic as those that had published 301-400 posts. And more specifically, B2B companies with 401+ total blog posts generated nearly 3X as many leads as those with 0-200 posts. The faster you can reach that 400 mark, the quicker your results.

2. Don’t neglect your old content.

It’s important to keep in mind that the majority of your web traffic (aka potential leads) will first encounter your older content. Looking at Fronetics’ most-viewed posts last month, for example, 80% were published at least six months prior. In fact, 50% were more than a year old.

What does that mean? For one, you should keep tending to your already published content, particularly those posts that prove to be a consistent source of traffic. Update information; add links to new related posts or other relevant resources; and seek opportunities to insert or update calls-to-action to current offers and campaigns. Making sure those older, consistently popular posts continue to serve and engage your readers will increase your chances of conversion.

Secondly, it’s crucial that you look beyond how the posts you published recently perform. Something that doesn’t get a lot of views in the first week may be a huge traffic source and lead converter in a little time. Many content management systems, like HubSpot, can generate attribution reports, which tell you which web pages users most often visit before converting to a lead. Compare these pages with your high-traffic pages that don’t make the list to see how you can create more opportunities for lead conversion on the pages earning the most traffic.

If you invest the time and resources to run a blog, you owe it to yourself to see it through to success. Doing these two small things can get you there faster.

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