One of the top questions we receive from prospective clients when they reach out to us is, “can you help us increase our website traffic?”  You’d think, based on what we do, that this would be a logical request and one which we’d happily answer, “Sure we can!”  Strangely, there are many times when this question is asked and our response is, “that’s not really what you need.”

Although traffic is an extremely important piece to the puzzle, it’s critical to make sure that when you open the “spigot”, that you’ve got a solid platform to send them to that delivers an awesome user experience and makes it easy for your visitor to accomplish what they arrived there to accomplish.

Let’s assume, for the purpose of this post, that you’ve already addressed the middle of the funnel and the bottom of the funnel and you are ready to tackle the top of the funnel and tap into a steady flow of visitors to your website.  If you haven’t, you may want to bookmark this post and come back once you have.  Remember:  It’s not about the quantity of traffic you get to your site, it’s about the quality.  If you want to drive more quality traffic that converts, follow these four steps.

Step One | Know Your Buyers

This seems like an easy one huh?  Well, unfortunately there are far too many companies who have a difficult time seeing the “forest through the trees,” and struggle to define exactly who their “buyers” are, and what’s important to them.  Sure, they can give you a high level description of their target audience that includes demographic data and a few other distinguishing characteristics, but they typically lump all their buyers into one large bucket and act accordingly.

The beauty of the digital space is your ability to reach out and communicate directly to the specific “buyer personas” you’re looking to reach, at the exact moment they are looking to “buy.”

To do this effectively you need to get good at answering the following questions:

  • What is your buyer persona’s personal background?  (demographics, education, career path)
  • Describe the type of company your person works for? (industry, size of company, revenue)
  • What is your persona’s role within the company? (job role, title, reporting relationships, how is success measured, typical day, skills required, knowledge/tools required)
  • What are the biggest challenges your persona faces?
  • What goals is your persona responsible for accomplishing?
  • How does your persona hang out online? (publications, blogs, associations, social networks)
  • What are your persona’s shopping preferences? (preference to interact with vendors, do they research vendors online …how, where)
  • Describe a recent purchase of a persona.

The better you know your buyers, and use this intelligence to create a desirable user experience, the more successful you’ll be at attracting them to your website and converting them once they are there.

Step Two | Understand Relevant Keywords

When you’ve taken the time to thoroughly understand your buyers, it’s important to speak to them in the same language they use, and about the benefits they’ll receive by doing business with you.  Don’t fall into the trap of using a bunch of acronyms or bragging about what an awesome company you have and all the features you offer.  The bottom line is:  your “buyers” don’t care about you, they care about how you can improve their quality of life.  Tell them in a language they can understand, don’t confuse them with a bunch of gobbledy gook!

The following are a few tools you can utilize to conduct your keyword research so you can have a solid understanding of what words your “buyers” are using to find the solutions you offer, as well as how frequently those terms are being searched for.

Although you may receive different data depending on the tool you’re using, don’t let this cloud your trust in the accuracy.  The blending of the data from different sources will help provide you with a more complete story and understanding of the search activity of your personas.

Step Three | Blogging

This is the tactic which receives the largest amount of pushback and the lowest level of adoption.  The reason for this pushback is typically due to the amount of time and resources required to execute, or the belief that it takes a journalist to create the type of content required to be successful.

Adopt this belief at the peril of your success. It’s important to note that over 80% of all B2C buying decisions, and over 90% of all B2B buying decisions start with search engines.  If you aren’t consistently creating valuable, keyword focused content that serves your personas, you won’t be included in the buying decision.

You don’t have to be a journalist.  You simply have to create content which delivers value to your persona.  This value will help build credibility for you and your company and show your “buyer” that you care about more than just their checkbook.  It’ll also significantly increase the size of your digital footprint as well as the likelihood that you’ll be found at the right time!

Step Four | Social Publishing

If you build it … they won’t come (unless they know you and that your content exists).  Once you’ve gone through the steps to get to know your buyers, you’ve identified the keywords they use and you’ve leveraged those words to create compelling content, you’ll want to share that content (and other relevant content) on social channels your personas “hang out” on.   

Your objective should be to help and not sell. If you can keep that in mind, and consistently position yourself as a source of knowledge and support for your personas, they’ll remember when it’s most important.  When they’re ready to buy!

Put these four steps together and you’ve got yourself the beginnings of a solid inbound marketing strategy that can get you more leads, more sales, and more sleep! Check out the latest 2015 State of Inbound Report below to learn more about the impact inbound marketing can have on your organization.