We’ve heard it 1,000 times: Paid traffic doesn’t work.
Google Ads is a waste of money.
Facebook ads are a rip-off.
Do you harbor any personal resentments against digital advertising platforms? Have you found the ROI from paid traffic sources tends to run on the negative side?
You’re not alone. Many of our clients have felt that way before too.
But there’s a solution.
In this article, we’ll show you how to hack paid traffic, multiply your results exponentially, and begin making sure paid traffic to your website does exactly what it’s supposed to do: increase conversions.
The Problem with Paid Traffic
At The Good, we often speak with ecommerce managers who want more traffic. Many believe increasing the number of visitors will lead to more sales and more profit… and that’s typically true.
If your conversion rate is such that you earn [X] number of dollars for every 1,000 visitors to your website, then doubling the number of visitors will boost earnings to 2X.
It’s simple math, and math is always correct.
In the rush to get traffic, though, many otherwise sharp digital markers miss an important point. Consider this: if each of those 1,000 visitors contributes an average $20 in sales and your paid traffic campaign costs $30 per visitor, you’re on the wrong end of the stick.
In that case, the more traffic you get, the more money you lose.
And that’s when the weeping and howling begins: “Google charges too much for clicks. Facebook draws you in, then raises the price beyond belief. Paid traffic doesn’t work!”
On and on the story goes.
The ecommerce manager will often try one paid platform after another, trying to find the one that will get results… but that happy day seldom arrives.
The problem is that there’s more to paid traffic than just getting traffic.
The Two Sides to Paid Traffic
There are two distinct considerations in any paid traffic strategy. We’ve found that many digital marketing managers focus on the first, but neglect the second.
That’s a sure path to financial stress.
You not only need to GET the traffic, but you have to make sure that traffic CONVERTS at a healthy rate.You not only need to GET traffic but make sure that traffic CONVERTS at a healthy rate Click To Tweet
A site that converts 1,000 visitors at 10 percent ends up with 100 sales. Drop the conversion rate to 1 percent, though, and that same site now needs 10,000 visitors to get 100 sales.
If on average, you need to invest one dollar to get one visitor, then you’ll spend $1,000 on traffic versus $10,000 on traffic – for the same number of sales.
Both sides of the paid traffic equation need to be optimized.
On the “get side” of traffic, you want to be sure you’re targeting the right prospects with the right offer and that the amount you need to pay to get each visitor isn’t more than the value you can expect to gain from each visitor (whether immediately or over the customer lifetime value).
On the “convert side” of traffic, you have to make sure the people you’ve paid to click a link and visit your landing page find sufficient reason to become paying customers. Your sales conversion rate is the number of sales, divided by the number of visitors, multiplied by 100.
Another important formula to know is cost-per-acquisition. It varies inversely with your conversion rate. Double your rate of conversion and you cut your cost per acquisition in half.Double your rate of conversion and you cut your cost per acquisition in half. Click To Tweet
No matter how much traffic you generate and how much you pay to get it, your business can’t survive without an adequate conversion rate.
You don’t need visitors. You need customers.
Paid Traffic: Here’s What to Do First
We advise our clients not to invest in additional paid traffic UNTIL their ecommerce site is optimized for conversions.
To do otherwise is like trying to carry water in a leaky bucket. You won’t get back home with much left for the family.
Ecommerce site optimization is the master key to exponential gains on your paid traffic investment.
We won’t go into the particulars here since we’ve covered ecommerce website optimization quite well in other articles, but these are the general points you’ll necessarily want to consider:
- Does the ad or offer you’re using to draw traffic to your site speak to your best audience? Remember: you’re not looking for traffic, you’re looking for customers.
- Does the landing page you’re directing traffic to deliver on the promise you’ve made in your ad or offer? Congruency between the ad and where the person goes after clicking on the link in the ad is especially important.
- Does the journey the prospect begins by clicking on the ad or offer guide the visitor smoothly along the path from prospect to customer? Get rid of friction. Build trust and confidence each step of the way. Make the visitor glad to have found your site.
- Do you have a system in place to track results, and do you have a strategy for continuous testing to get better results? Always be testing.
Online shoppers are a suspicious lot. Their antennae are finely-tuned to that famous station WIFM (“What’s in it for me?”). They’ve been burned too many times to put up with shenanigans. It’s absolutely essential that you respect their time and money.
Don’t play games. Don’t try to trick visitors into clicking. Speak to the right audience and deliver the right goods or services to that audience.
Traffic isn’t your aim.
You need to build your customer base and get more sales.
- Winning Big in 2017 – 3 Critical Trends in Conversion Optimization
- Conversion Rate Optimization Essentials: The Master Guide
- How to Lower Your Customer Acquisition Cost and Grow ROI
Two Case Studies: Paid Traffic and Ecommerce Website Optimization
Easton Baseball is the world’s leading supplier of baseball-related gear. When Easton enlisted help from The Good, the company was realizing a reasonable return (450 percent) on its paid traffic investment. Many companies would settle for that, but Easton management wanted to do better.
We used the data from a conversion audit to evaluate the situation. Using that data, along with consumer feedback and user testing, we conducted a website optimization procedure to provide a better user experience and cut back on friction points along the conversion journey.
Consequently, the conversion rate from digital marketing spend doubled, mobile revenue increased by 659 percent, and the work paid for itself within six months of the optimization.
Read more about the Easton Baseball project here: Double Your ROI.
Let’s consider another example.
Diane James Home sells faux flower arrangements. Their products are homemade in the USA and are often said to look more genuine than the real thing.
After a Stuck Score™ analysis gave them a good look at potential bottlenecks in the customer journey, the company hired The Good to help grow sales.
After several months of working with Diane James Home to optimize the website and convert more of the organic traffic, we referred them to a trusted partner who helps drive traffic.
Consequently, Diane James Home began breaking one previous sales record after another.
The ROI boost quickly produced a 50 percent increase in revenue.
Find out more about the Diane James Home project here: Increase Your Conversion Rate.
Conversion Optimization Can Provide Exponential ROI Growth
More traffic means more return on investment ONLY when the cost of getting that traffic is less than the revenue produced by it – whether now or in the future.
You can quickly compute your potential ROI from conversion rate optimization by making taking advantage of this simple online calculator: ROI Calculator.
Our ecommerce website optimization clients typically see increases in both sales conversion rate and average order value.
For instance, if your current conversion rate is 2 percent, your average monthly traffic is 100k, and your average order value is $150, then monthly online revenue is $300k.
Let’s say we work together to push conversions up by three percent and boost average order value by $50. Plugging those numbers into the calculator, your monthly revenue is now at one million dollars.
That’s the magic of optimization. Modest increases yield impressive results.
By streamlining both sides of the paid traffic equation, you can justify the spend and leverage that traffic to do what it’s supposed to do: bring in additional sales.
About the Author
David Hoos is the former Director of Marketing at The Good, conversion rate experts who deliver more revenues, customers, and leads. David and the team at The Good have made a practice of advising brands on how to see online revenue double through their conversion rate optimization services.