Learning Hub | Content Marketing
Turn Your Web Traffic into Foot Traffic
September 28, 2015 | Jon Teodoro
For social media personalities, it’s a numerical ego boost; and for online journalists, it’s measurable exposure; but for walk-in businesses, serious web traffic can mean new customers, increased foot traffic, and revenue. Before companies plan for large reception areas with outdated magazines and a poorly maintained aquarium, however, they need the right kind of web traffic to convert it into new customers. To better illustrate this important distinction, we’ve come up with a fictional example.
“But everyone loves our pizza!”
Mario and Luigi’s Pizzeria is located in New Jersey, minutes away from New York City. They are looking into a way to boost their online presence and draw in new customers since a new trend in commuter traffic has forced their regulars to eat local New York City pizza rather than driving through gridlock while hungry.
Before, they had an easy commute home and had enough time to grab the duo’s favorite “Goomba Special” mushroom pizza. Here’s a list of what we generally recommend for businesses looking to retain customers, gain new customers, and maintain a sustainable brand.
Creating a user-friendly website
Pizza doesn’t begin to cover the endless market of business products that are a good fit for web marketing. But in order to establish credibility, companies need to acknowledge a general rule of thumb: Customers in recent years are beginning to favor websites that they can view on mobile devices and navigate with ease. For that we recommend is responsive web design. It produces websites that are tailored to every screen resolution from smartphones and tablets to desktop screens for easy viewing.
If you can’t create a business website of your own, be prepared to throw down some change. The composition of the website itself serves as a platform for the following important digital and offline marketing tactics. Ignoring the website in and of itself will be an unwise choice.
For Mario and Luigi, using warm childhood memories about video games and channeling them into menu designs, pizzeria wallpaper, storefront awnings, logos, general fonts, and advertising messages gives their business a definite personality; a brand that everyone can remember, value, and trust because it feeds off of what its customers want, enjoy, and come to know.
BEWARE, however. Do not be tricked by thinking that a good looking website and brand will get you the right web traffic. If Mario and Luigi write blogs about their favorite video games, it won’t get foot traffic, but rather, web traffic with people who might be more interested in video games than pizza. However, if they recognize that there is in fact an overlap of both pizza and video game audiences, feeding off of that can definitely draw foot traffic.
Search engine optimization
“I want to make the first page of Google rankings” is the new business catchphrase. However, as delicious as the Goomba Special might be, the endless abundance of pizza joints in the greater New York and New Jersey area might just rival the amount of food stalls in Beijing and Hong Kong put together. And especially if Mario and Luigi don’t SEO their site properly, search engines will penalize its rank – significantly.
Trying to nab a front page ranking in competitive markets is often times close to impossible, but that is only for general search engine keywords. There’s an alternative strategy that targets drawn out long-tail keywords that are slightly off the radar but nonetheless searched for often enough. Even smaller businesses can take advantage of these. Centering content and SEO practices around these particular keywords is an intelligent strategy. Localizing your SEO so that search results from local markets are favored over somebody in Nebraska or California is also important.
Done correctly, people looking for pizza online or querying “best mushroom pizza around New York” will pull up Mario and Luigi’s pizzeria as one of the first results. In theory, this should draw some foot traffic or dispatch a delivery person to a door.
Beyond SEO, user-submitted online reviews based on the inherent quality of customer service and products themselves are also a major factor in how search engines determine a business website’s credibility and subsequent ranking.
Registering Google, Yellow Pages, and other search engine listings
It’s no longer your Daddy’s phonebook. Yellow Page listings not only contain business phone numbers and addresses – GPS location maps, verified online reviews, picture galleries, accepted credit cards, menus, social media links, and more await the discerning customer.
And for the customer on the fly, Google integrates its Google Maps app into listings to drive them to business’ front doors on top of everything that Yellow Pages offers to boot. Neglecting these services is unwise, to say the least.
Content/social media marketing
Providing great informative content for customers so that they may spend on the company the best fits their needs (yours, right?) and forging a visible, digital path to your business via SEO practices will craft a solid platform. It should not only please search engines, but also the choosy customer.
Enter the customer’s mind: What goes into every pizza? What are the highlights of the recipe and who came up with it? Where are all the ingredients from and how do they reach the pizzeria? Are the ingredients fresh or frozen? How long is the average wait for a pizza?
Answering those important questions and leveraging them through your website and social media will draw both pizza aficionados and famished, impressionable customers through the pizzeria doors.
Because everyone loves witty company messages as well as video montages of pizza utencils working up fresh, greasy slices of cheese-drenched pie. But when these are presented on the social media channels surrounded by the right information under one banner, Mario and Luigi have an even better brand on their hands.
Paid online ads
Paid advertising continues to be a pillar of online business. For companies looking to break into the market and generate momentum, paid ads are a viable way to build up a business due to their ease of deployment and flexibility. Google AdWords and Bing Ads are the top dogs in that department with models centering around payment “per click” and monetized search engine keywords.
Everything we just mentioned can be monitored, scrutinized, and optimized with insights from analytics. Would Mario and Luigi rather have web traffic from China or the East Coast? Well, it isn’t exactly possible to draw in foot traffic from new customers from China, so obviously the East Coast is the better choice. Let’s say the duo finds out that they have more visitors from China (for reasons unknown) to their site. The best way for them to find this out is through analytics platforms like Google Analytics.
If they can’t figure out why they aren’t generating more business even after creating a website, Mario and Luigi can look at their analytics dashboard, analyze blog traffic trends such as average time spent reading a page, and determine a smarter strategy through those insights. Without that added statistical perspective, they are operating blind without even knowing if their website is returning on the investments they put into it.
The old school ways of in-person recommendations, walking/driving by a store, or perusing a phone book are still around. But with the abundance of information available to potential buyers, businesses need to adapt in ways that are outside of the box of conventional marketing and advertising.
Whether companies want to sell branded pizza, cars, or even ideas, it all comes down to creating web traffic, discovering a target market, catering to that target market, and executing a sales and marketing campaign. Above all however, keeping vigilant eyes on if the campaign is profitable in the digital realm and bringing in foot traffic needs to be a priority. It will not only give a crucial level of awareness for a company’s business strategy; it will also ultimately get the product in front of the right people for them to decide on.