Ridge Road is one of the streets that surrounds Lambeau Field. It’s not a booming retail area but there are a few businesses and strip malls along the road. Most days there aren’t many cars in the parking lots of these businesses but on Packers game days, you can’t find a spot. If I looked at that like some digital marketers look at analytics, I would be looking at our parking lot and declaring that day a success. What I failed to realize is that those events had nothing to do with me or my business. People were just looking for a close place to park for the game. There is a good chance they were just parking there and didn’t actually buy anything from me.
My Boost in Referral Traffic
This is a chart of my referral traffic for the month of March. Look at that huge boost on March 17th. I must be doing something right don’t you think? No. Just a new spambot that I have to filter out. Now had this been because an industry website linked to a blog post of mine I may be more interested. What was the context of how it was linked? What did that traffic do once on the site? Was the linking website relative to your niche? Are there other opportunities for the linking website to link to other pieces of your content and vice versa?
Visitors, Likes and Follows
Visitors, likes and follows, in and of themselves mean nothing. They are just points of data. These metrics can also be easily manipulated by spending money. I can increase visitors to my site by using Google AdWords. I can increase fans on my Facebook page by using Facebook Ads. Both of those are guaranteed ways of boosting traffic. You can’t buy engagement.
Using advertising, if done correctly, can be a great way of reaching people unfamiliar with you and are very interested in buying from you. The flip side is that maybe your doing an excellent job of reaching people who aren’t and will never be interested in your business or what your selling. Using my own example again, my site appears quite frequently for ‘ecommerce websites for sale’ according to Google Webmaster tools. I don’t have an ecommerce website to sell nor do I envision I will in the near future. People who perform that search and click on my site will be severely disappointed, and so will I. Their visit was meaningless. Sidenote: If you are one of the people who clicked on my site from that search and made it to this blog post, welcome! Sorry it wasn’t what you were looking for.
There are many reasons someone may visit your website or become a fan of yours on Facebook. I can tell you I often follow companies that are either prospects or competitors and I have no intention of buying from them. My visit or like is utterly worthless. Here is just a quick list of possible visitors
- People who got to your page by mistake
- Internal employees
Those are just seven examples and there could be a ton more. Of those seven, only prospects/customers interests me in a sales and marketing capacity. Some marketers seem to think that if 100 people visit your website that 100 visitors are interested in your product or service. The truth is that maybe only 20 or 10 or 5 were interested in actually buying from you.
Now, I’m not saying an increase in visitors is a bad thing. It may be great thing. It is entirely possible that increases in visits can relate to increases in conversions, which leads to increases in revenue. Hopefully that’s the case but it is our job to find out. If you did have an increase in visitors, where did those visits come from? What pages did they land on? Were there any external factors affecting this change (if you sell snowblowers and there’s a blizzard coming)? Answering these questions will help you understand what you can do again to get the desired result.
Keep Asking Questions
No metric should live by itself as juts a point of data. That’s like trying to enjoy a pineapple without cutting it open. We need to ask why are we seeing a change in data. It is only when we understand why that we can implement a strategy to try to achieve and build on that result.