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Traffic Generation For B2B Companies

October 25, 2013

Simon Fryer
Simon is CandidSky's Search Director, with strong roots in organic SEO and analytics, and a disturbing passion for spreadsheets.

In our first article on Digital Marketing for B2B companies  Tom explained that many businesses who relied on conventional promotion techniques were struggling to generate enough leads. We explained our approach to digital marketing, centred around the end-to-end process; from the design and development of your site to generating online traffic, converting your visitors, keeping your customers and analysing the whole process.

Some businesses (particularly in the legal and financial sectors) have gone about business by purchasing leads from marketing and customer acquisition businesses who would offer them at a premium price. This approach can work but there is always a danger that the leads may be unqualified or of questionable quality. There’s also the possibility that you’re paying much more for a lead than you would if you were to develop your own marketing strategies, or hire the expertise of a digital agency to work on your behalf. We’ve seen our clients’ cost per lead decrease by up to 80% by switching from a lead generation company to investing in their own marketing.

In this blog we’re going to be looking at ‘Traffic Generation’. As the title would indicate the objective of this stage is to drive visitors from other sources through to your point of conversion, typically a website.

Quality over quantity

Traffic generation isn’t as simple as sending as many people as possible to your site. Every visitor comes with a cost whether that’s your investment in inbound marketing, advertising spend, our man-hours to complete outreach. Therefore the relevance of your traffic is absolutely key.

‘More traffic and more customers’ isn’t always the best way to improve revenue and generate a return on investment. Identifying your most valuable audience is vital to running a targeted marketing campaign, as one of these visitors may be worth ten others put together.

What are the options for traffic generation?

By now you have probably heard of ‘inbound’ or ‘earned’ marketing, and it’s counterpart ‘outbound’ or ‘paid’ marketing. If you haven’t I would recommend you read Tom’s explanation of inbound and outbound. 

First of all lets look at how new visitors could arrive at your website.

  1. Direct visits – they heard of you elsewhere.
  2. Social media referrals – they found you on a social media platform and clicked through to your website.
  3. Organic website referrals – they followed a natural link from another website to yours.
  4. Paid website referrals – they clicked on a display advert, affiliate link, or Google Adsense or Remarketing advert on another website.
  5. Organic search engine traffic – they carried out a search, and you were the organic result they chose.
  6. Paid search traffic – they clicked on one of your paid search ads, either in the form of a textual advert or Product Listing Ad.
  7. Email traffic – they received an email from your business, were interested in the offer, and clicked through to find out more.

Bear in mind that not all of these sources are equal. Their value to your business will depend on your market and audience. In addition to this, some sources might drive high levels of traffic but low conversions, and vice versa. That said, there are some clear front runners, as this recent article on customer acquisition explains. This study identified that, whilst there are many sources that drive traffic, search marketing (paid & organic search) and email marketing were the overall drivers of online transactions and customer acquisition. One thing they share in common is that they scale very well.

For these reasons, SEO, Paid search, and email marketing are the cornerstone of our digital marketing campaigns, and each of them takes a different approach to traffic generation.

Organic SEO

SEO marketing is a long term strategy. It takes research, planning, very high levels of expertise, and above all, time. If you want leads immediately and you’re willing to pay for them, then SEO – and inbound marketing – are probably not the right choice for you. However if you’re planning ahead and are willing to wait to reap the fruits of your labor SEO can provide one of the highest returns on investment in comparison to other online marketing strategies.

Search results are also highly relevant. When someone searches for “buy blue widgets” or “PPI claim” it’s highly likely that they are going to complete a transaction or become a lead if the offer is right.

In addition to this the tactics for improving your organic search results are highly holistic, involving the planning and delivery of your content marketing, and distribution of your communications through social media. As such it provides a number of collateral benefits, and is becoming an all-encompassing strategy which extends far beyond the search engine results page (SERP).

Paid search marketing

Paid search is perfect for businesses who are in the habit of buying leads. The only difference is that you’ll probably get them much cheaper than you would when purchasing them from another company; you’re only paying for advertising, not someone else’s overheads. It’s also perfect for testing the opportunities in search, using a limited budget to test keywords and landing pages.You can then use this information to improve your paid campaign and help plan your long term SEO strategy. For a more in depth explanation you can read my previous post on SEO and PPC. The executive summary: use both!

Email marketing

Email is the most direct of all the traffic generation techniques. There are several types of email marketing which I believe fall in to the ‘Conversion’ and ‘Customer Retention’ categories, such as lead nurturing campaigns and newsletters. We’re talking about new visitors here, so we’re talking about outbound mailshots. They have received bad press over the years because, to be honest, it’s usually done very poorly because of the low cost vs large reach. Well planned outbound email can be highly effective but you need some enticing sales copy, a solid value proposition, a highly targeted contact list, and a measurable conversion. Neglecting any of these aspects will undermine your campaign.

What did I miss?

Many marketers might ask why I haven’t mentioned content marketing or social media as key methods for traffic generation, after all, they’re all the rage at the moment. My response would be that they are highly dependent on the type of service on offer, that for many businesses the time and effort to get them working and pulling in visitors will outweigh the returns.

For a B2B business I view content and social media marketing as part of your conversion and customer retention stages above all else. We’ll be going in to more detail on these stages in future articles.

Remember, generating website traffic is just the first stage of your marketing process. A successful campaign needs to account for every step.

Do you have any questions about generating traffic for your site? Leave a comment and we will get back to you.

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