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Traffic Matters?

by Larry Bailin

Summary : Being born and raised in New Jersey, there is one fundamental truth I understand all too well: There is no such thing as good "traffic".

Being born and raised in New Jersey, there is one fundamental truth I understand all too well: There is no such thing as good "traffic". Traffic is synonymous with slow downs, accidents and missed opportunities. When did those incidents become good things?

You may have been led to believe that traffic on your website is a good thing. Unfortunately, in most cases, nothing could be further from the truth. Be very wary of the slew of firms coming out of the woodwork promising you increased "traffic" to your website. When you take it down to the bare essentials, you don't want traffic to your website - you want customers. Quantity without quality creates no opportunity.

Perhaps you've been inundated with offers from the many firms that offer more traffic at bargain prices. You figure why not give it a try? Before you do, consider this question: if you could rent a billboard at a tenth of the standard price, would you? You're probably thinking, "sure I would." But when it came time to sign the contract, wouldn't you first want to know where the billboard is going to be located?? Now imagine you were told that it would be placed at the end of a road that no one travels, or perhaps on a heavily trafficked road where the travelers are not your target customers and would never be interested in your offerings? You would probably not be so fast to sign that contract! You see how the excitement of the "bargain" fades as the reality of your deal materializes? No matter how attractive the price of the bargain billboard appears, you now realize its poor placement poses no potential to gain customers, and isn't that why we market our businesses in the first place?

I once posted an Internet Marketing article on my website that appeared in the Wall Street Journal detailing the woes of a leather clothing company. This particular company was banned from Google for using unethical tactics to achieve placement in search engines. (yes, it happens, and yes, the search engines are very savvy in that regard!) The article happened to mention the types of leather garments sold by this online retailer. Lo-and-behold, the next thing I know, people typing "leather mini skirt" into Google are showing up on my website, and more specifically, the page within my website where the article was posted. Boy did my traffic increase in a hurry! It seems there are a lot of people out there searching for leather mini skirts. My site tracked an additional 3000+ visitors a week. In a matter of weeks I measured my site traffic to be over 12,000 additional visitors for the month, directly attributable to those searching for leather mini skirts. How much revenue for my company did that equate to? None! All that additional traffic didn't add up to one additional inquiry for the type of services I provide. Had I decided to go into the leather mini skirt business, however, I must assume I would have done quite well.

The point is, even though I was able to measure a significant increase in traffic without marketability, I was not able to convert one of these 12,000 "visitors" into a customer - I just did not have what they were looking for. You may be thinking, 'so what - no harm done and you got some extra site visitors.' Not true. Think about it this way: what if I started getting calls and e-mails by the thousands about leather mini skirts? What if the additional traffic slowed my site down or caused it to crash due to the additional drain on server resources? The possibility would exist for me to have lost a great customer because they could not access my site. In a case like this, traffic could have indeed cost me dearly. The additional calls and e-mails also take time to answer which is a drain of valuable internal resources.

Acquiring and retaining customers on the Internet is a complex process requiring a thorough understanding of sales process, marketing, user behavior and technology. In order to get a return on your marketing dollars, you cannot just purchase traffic and hope someone that needs your services just happens to land on your website. When you buy "Traffic," you make an investment that has little to no chance of creating income.

I think that the term "traffic," as it relates to the Internet, will soon go the way of the Edsel and outdated buzzwords and processes like "Internet Superhighway" and "Stickiness." Take it from a Jersey guy - don't get caught in traffic either online or off; the only thing it does is slow you down and keep you from getting to where you want to go.

Sourced By: MarketingFind.com