Every day your site has people coming to it. It might be dozens, it might be millions – but you have people coming (I hope) and chances are not every single one of those is familiar with you or your brand. But as you look at your site analytics and you see this traffic, the first question you should be asking yourself is this: Why are they coming?
You can dig in further in your analytics, look at referring domains, do keyword analyses, sort through page view data or do anything else your data-driven mind desires, but unless you try to answer this simple question first, the rest of the data can be rather meaningless.
You see, people can come to your site for a variety of reasons and until you determine those reasons you can’t figure out what your conversion strategy should be. If you’re a retailer, how many people are coming to actually purchase something (intent to purchase)? How many are just doing product research? How many clicked through “accidentally” – thinking they were coming for one thing, but found out that what you had wasn’t what they were looking for at all? Or, if you’re in digital content there’s also that (rather annoying) question of how many people were looking for free/pirated product?
These questions are important to know. If 70% of your traffic is coming through just for price comparison and you’re a premium-priced product, those customers are probably less-likely to convert (although a retargeting campaign showcasing product features and why you’re worth the premium price might be a good idea). If 40% are there with intent to purchase, but aren’t converting – then you know you have to dig in deeper with some testing to see what you’re doing wrong.
Tip: The easiest way to determine intent is to just ask. Put up a simple survey and show it to the customers you’re trying to understand.
The point is, knowing what your visitors are coming to your site for is one of the most important things you can do when building out your strategies. If you see low-purchase-intent visitors coming through on a batch of paid search terms, maybe cut back on that spend. But maybe they have high intent, but are still in the research phase … then you can adjust your approach and make sure that you’re doing proper follow-up marketing with them for when they are ready to purchase. Adjust your expectations on that paid search channel and treat it as lead generation vs. looking at specific ROI.
That intent, and then further exploration of what you can do based on that intent, is what’s key to a conversion strategy. Until you know why your visitors are coming, you can’t do much to get them to convert to buyers. Even worse, if everyone you’re driving to your site has no intent to do what you want them to do, you need to rethink your acquisition and strategy itself.