Everyone loves numbers .. don't they? No, I don't think so, but we all have to deal with them every day of our lives. I've blogged numerous times about the "science" of web traffic development and, as you must now know, that part of the puzzle is a numbers game. How many email contacts do you have? How many social connections, open rates, click rates, views, shares, etc.?
However, on the other side of the numbers game is the "art" of the content game. Chances are you won't have an engaged, relevant audience without interesting content wrapped around your compelling value proposition. Furthermore, you'll not successfully develop a large, engaged audience without exciting and relevant content. So, if you'd like to avoid the numbers side of the traffic development puzzle, and focus on the other side of the equation, then read on for all the requirements and challenges underlying content, or you'll never be likely to make the numbers mean anything.
Do you want more web traffic? Increase the frequency of your publications, improve the quality, focus on audience development, and improve audience engagement levels.
However, one underlying requirement necessary to achieve a traffic goal is the quality of content. There's a reason they say "content is king," and it's not just about volume - if the quality is poor, then you will fail to expand your audience or engage with it. Furthermore, quality doesn't just mean well written; it also means relevant and exciting.
In today's internet age, we're inundated with content and cannot digest more than a small fraction of what's being created. If our content is to stand out from the crowd and achieve anything, it has to earn an audience. If poorly written, uninteresting, or irrelevant, do you think it will improve your audience development & engagement? Of course, it won't! The competition for an audience is intense.
So, are you ready to start creating, or are you prepared to return to the numbers game? Perhaps you're already starting to feel uneasy about the numbers being the easy part after all!
We're assuming you already have your modern, responsive, content-rich website up and running, that you have your relevant social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ all set up and optimized, and that you're ready, willing, and able to invest in a commitment to creating and distributing valuable, exciting and relevant content.
You know the content piece will take time, money, and effort, and, to make that investment worthwhile, you need to understand how to develop a relevant and engaged audience. After all, why would you invest in creating content if you won't have a significant audience to share it with?
I keep going on about audience expansion and audience engagement. Many people are jumping into digital strategies, and this whole "bigger-must-be-better" concept seems to impair their judgment. How often have you seen ads on Twitter and Facebook pitching you 10,000 Twitter or Facebook followers for $49 or less? You've doubtless seen them, but you should resist the temptation. This may quickly get you a large audience on paper, but do you think it will engage with your content? The answer is a firm no - of course, it won't. So, buying followers waste time - don't do it!
You have to work to develop a large and engaged audience - only a relevant audience will engage, so, by definition, a disengaged audience has no value. We must determine how to build a relevant audience, knowing it's more likely to engage with our exciting and valuable content.
This is where the local component of a small business's social media marketing strategy can start to pay dividends.
I'm a strong advocate for leveraging technology to improve an overall business and value proposition while simultaneously working to develop genuine face-to-face business relationships in local markets. It's these relationships in local markets that you're going to count on to grow a larger and more engaged audience. For now, forget about trying to create web traffic nationwide.
'Your mission is to develop relevant traffic in your local market which, in turn, leads to successful customer acquisition, e-commerce, and profitable sales growth!
|Business Segment by Density||Per Sq. Mile||Territory Size||Square Miles||# of Firms|
|Maximum U.S. Business Density||80||15 x 15||225||18,000|
|Average U.S. Urban Business Density||25||25 x 25||625||15,625|
|Average U.S. Business Density||7||50 x 50||2,500||17,500|
The first requirement is to define your territory, the size of which will depend on your local demographics in terms of population and business density. The examples shown in the table above are areas such as New York and Los Angeles, where the population density is higher, and business density. The higher the business density, the lower the square miles of the territory you need, and vice-versa.
For this example, we will focus on the average urban density of 25 businesses per square mile. In a territory with a boundary of 25 x 25 miles, or 625 square miles, it should be expected to find nearly 16,000 business enterprises. These are your targets. Of course, they have to be qualified, but in our office products industry, it's typical to be expected that most businesses consume some level of office products and office supplies.
There is no shortage of prospects. Assuming an entry-level prospector can make 20 cold calls per day, five days per week, and 50 weeks per year, it will take over three years to make a single physical call to each business in the territory. You can also try operating the phones, making 100 calls daily, and doing the job five times quicker.
Your objective from these cold calls is realistic. You know you're very unlikely to open any new accounts or get to see or speak with a decision-maker. However, that's not your goal - your objective is to obtain a decision maker's name and contact details along with the website address. This will be what you're going to use to research what the company does and to start the process of qualifying it as a sales prospect.
|Type||# of calls/day||Success Rate||Contacts / Day||Contacts / Year|
Even though, at first sight, it may appear to be less productive, the personal call will be more beneficial in the long term. Remember, you have a website and a value proposition to be proud of. A physical call means leaving a calling card and a tri-fold explaining what you do. This is the first step in building a face-to-face business relationship that will pay dividends over the longer term!
Once you have the website, you can research what the business does and the social media they're active on. You can follow them on their social media accounts - on average, 40% or so of those you follow will follow you back, accomplishing your goal of expanding your audience. You can like and share what they're publishing - they'll love that; we do when someone shares our content!
By liking and sharing content, you're continuing to build a relationship so that when they see your content, it's more likely to get their attention, thereby becoming a potential source of new likes, shares of your content, and subsequent clicks back to your website. You get the picture - it's a virtuous cycle!
Get your story right and leverage your local presence - studies show up to 80% of buyers would prefer to buy locally, assuming the value proposition is at least equivalent to that from a national brand! In building your reputation and presence in your local market, you will successfully develop your local audience and take a significant step toward a successful business transformation.