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Your website traffic is up. Your marketing department is gushing over reports showing an increase in visitors, page views, and even happy to share reports on activity that generated the traffic increase.

As a business leader, you understand that your website is one of your most important assets in your revenue-generating arsenal. And, you’ve bought into the notion that building website traffic is key to building a pipeline for your sales funnel. Everything is great, right?

So, with all this great news, why aren’t your sales numbers reflecting the increase in website traffic?

Here’s why measuring website traffic as a

key performance indicator

isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Conceptually speaking, building website traffic is good. But many business leaders and marketers have a hard time making the connection between website visits and profitable revenue. While website traffic can be a great KPI for future success, this metric is meaningless unless you are driving the right kind of traffic that converts to profitable sales.

Don’t confuse activity with outcome

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘don’t confuse activity with outcomes.’ Website traffic is the measurement of an activity that may not be leading to sales. It is a fluffy, vanity metric that makes us all feel good about reaching a target. But what if is the wrong target?

Website activity that isn’t helping you accomplish your goals—i.e. increasing revenue, is wasted time and money. Kind of like a hamster on a wheel, he’s generating lots of activity but isn’t getting anywhere.

All traffic is not equal

Remember the ‘most likely to succeed’ award in high school? Well, that applies to marketing and website visits as well. All your activities should be focused on targeting your ideal customer – those most likely to purchase, most likely to retain, and those most likely to refer other customers.

These are the visits you should be attracting, engaging, and tracking. ‘Most likely to succeed’ equates to qualified visitors who are most likely to convert to profitable revenue.

What you should be focused on to

drive revenue from your website.

Target your ideal customer

To drive qualified website traffic, you must have a good picture of your ideal customer. Although this seems like an easy enough concept, it requires laying the groundwork by first getting to know your ideal customer. Creating customer personas is the best place to start when tackling this critical step, but is often skipped.

By creating profiles of your best customers, you will gain a much deeper understanding of their purchase behaviors and motivations, not just who they are– but why they do what they do.

Bottom line, building and effectively using customer personas help reduce costs by eliminating unnecessary marketing activities and increasing higher MROI (marketing ROI) activities.

By understanding your ideal customer, you can strategically focus your marketing activities on attracting the right customer, nurturing them through the purchasing process, and building a relationship that turns them into advocates and referrers for your product or service.

Build in Conversions

Finding and attracting the right target customer is just the first step in driving profitable revenue from your website. The next step is delivering an online experience that helps nurture and guide them through the purchasing process.

Remember those customer personas we mentioned earlier? They come in very handy in this step. By understanding your ideal customer, you can nurture your prospects through the online experience and move them closer to purchase. Depending on where they are in the purchasing journey, some prospects may be in the information-gathering mode, while others may be comparing services and getting ready to make the decision.

By building in conversion points that are specific to your ideal customer – and their buying journey, you can deliver an experience that meets their needs. Focus on conversion points from intentional activities that drive to your end goal.

Some sample conversion points include:

  • Subscribe to a blog or e-newsletter
  • Create a profile
  • Download an eBook
  • Watch a video
  • Click to chat
  • Download a trial
  • Make a purchase

Creating conversion points specific to your ideal customers and their purchasing journey provides metrics that are much more meaningful than website traffic alone.

There are many dashboards available to help track website conversion points. But using your Google Analytics Admin console is an easy way to start by using the goals feature. Inside your admin console, click goals under view. Then click new goal, and create a goal using the wizard.

Plan, Measure, Repeat

Knowing exactly what to measure depends on your ultimate goals.  No matter what your goals, a strategic plan is imperative. Start by identifying activities that lead to goal achievement. Then determine which metrics are best to measure the performance of these activities. Visible dashboards with the right metrics help focus resources on activities that move the needle.

More metrics that indicate profitable revenue:

Customer Lifetime Value (LTV or CLTV).  This metric highlights the value of customer segments over the life of the customer. Understanding CLTV helps business leaders prioritize marketing activities based on expected return.

Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC).  Knowing the value of a customer is a great beginning, but understanding the cost to acquire that customer helps provide a complete picture of the total value. It doesn’t matter how much the customer is worth if the cost to acquire them is greater than the value.

Customer Retention. A key element in calculating CLTV, retention is also a critical factor when developing ideal customer personas. Customers who stay longer are typically frequent purchasers and more loyal. Additionally, these loyal customers and more likely to become referrers of your product or service.

Obviously, retention is directly tied to customer satisfaction. This is why nurturing your prospects through the online experience is so important. The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a great way to measure customer satisfaction and can be a good indicator of retention.

Customers with higher lifetime value, lower acquisition costs, and longer retention are critical when developing your ideal customer personas. These are your ‘most likely to succeed’ customers that help drive down costs and increase profitable revenue.


Knowing who to attract and what to measure equals success

In the big picture, website traffic only matters if it is the right visitor- those most likely to succeed. True success comes from your website’s ability to attract qualified prospects, move them through the purchasing process, and convert them into loyal customers.

“In life, as in football, you won’t go far unless you know where the goalposts are” —ArnoldH. Glasgow

For more information on metrics that really matter, download this free eBook
“7 Critical Marketing Metrics
CEOs Should Measure.”
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  • Focus on high-payoff activities
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Debra Barcuch

Debra Barcuch is a Texas native and lives in Frisco, Texas. As President and founder of DB Marcom, Debra is crazy passionate about helping businesses knock out the competition through innovative marketing and partnership building. Often starting sentences with ‘what if?’, she is an avid life-long learner and seeker of super-hero results. Debra received her MBA from Southern Methodist University and has built a reputation for driving results in corporate, non-profit, and agency environments. When not working on client projects, Debra loves spending time with her two girls, tennis court shenanigans, and other thrill-seeking activities.