One of the biggest blinders that hold people back in online marketing is the focus on traffic numbers alone.
Now obviously, websites need visitors. The more visitors a website gets (or so we’re told) the more profitable it will be. What many marketers soon find out, however, is that traffic numbers are not always related to sales numbers.
Visitors are great. Your website needs to get people visiting it and engaging with the information you present. It also needs to convert these visitors into paying customers.
But how do you do that?
Two Different Objectives
Part of the problem comes from the fact that sales and traffic generation have two different goals. Traffic generation (generally) focuses on getting the greatest number of people on a website as possible. Sales, however, focuses on your specific target customer.
You can’t simply put a million people in front of your sales page and expect to rake in the cash. It just doesn’t work that way.
The difference here is that one focuses on capturing anyone while the other focuses on a specific person. Sales certainly doesn’t work if visitors aren’t targeted, so your advertising efforts absolutely must be.
Traffic generation is great for creating a long list of leads, qualified as best you can tell. This group of people may contain a few buyers but you’ll need to weed out the mass of people who will never buy something from you. This can be done through the material posted on your website.
Each article, video, or audio file you post should be targeted to the specific market you’re trying to sell to. When visitors come across an article on weight loss, for example, only those people interested in losing weight will read it. That would be a great place to promote a weight loss product.
A Leaky Funnel
The trick to combining traffic and sales is to weed out the people who aren’t customers and sell to those who will spend money. This is done with what we call a “Sales Funnel”. Picture the shape of a funnel. It’s larger at one end than the other.
A sales funnel works by directing all of your traffic into the sales process. With each progressive step, the audience gets smaller and smaller in number. Eventually, you’re left with only those people who will be interested in your product. These are the people to whom you present your sales copy, products, and other offers.
Building a Funnel
The basic blueprint for a sales funnel is pretty simple. You start with a general audience and then begin to shave it down until you’re left with a small group of people who are more likely to spend money. In some cases this can be less than 10% of your overall traffic numbers.
You can tell who they are by their behavior—which they usually take after you ask them to do something and see how they respond.
A truly powerful sales funnel can make or break a product. They take a lot of tweaking, testing, and continued improvement. And, it can be so difficult to build an effective sales funnel that many companies will spend tens of thousands hiring someone to do it for them, and several times more buying traffic to test it.