Friday, 16 December 2011

Social Media ~ Attract, Convert, Measure ~ PART ONE

I attended a webinar this week about social media. The webinar was put on by Tyler Garns. If you are on TWITTER you can follow Tyler at @tylergarns

The information he pumps out is extremely valuable to anyone owning a small business and wanting to grow their revenue through maximizing online.

I am going to split this blog out into three parts because of the vast amount of information I have to give. This posting will focus on what influences website traffic to your website, the “Attract” portion of these BLOG entries.

What influences website visitors?
The primary influencer to a small business’s website still is “familiarity with your brand”. Generally this accounts for 38% of your monthly traffic. This is people that know you or your company name and will search for your name on a search engine query. Or they will come directly to your website by entering in your URL. I suggest that you go to your analytics tool and look at the referral traffic to your site, find out where the traffic is coming from, and add up the searches with your name or company name to the direct traffic to your specific URL.

This will show you how familiar people are with your name or brand, and how that translates to a percentage of your overall traffic

The second most influential for website traffic is promotional emails. In my experience I know this to be true. If you are doing email blasts or newsletters, and you are doing it right with deep linking you will see the benefits. If this is something you are doing in your mix of marketing, the statistics say that this will generate approximately 19% of your website traffic.

Where that traffic from your newsletter lands is entirely up to you. I like to drive people right to specific pages on my website. Why? Because I know what pages I have higher conversation ratios of taking browsers to paying clients.

The following marketing initiatives seem to bunch up and represent the second tier of marketing influencers to your website.
Search Engine Results accounts for 8%
TV, Newspaper, Radio and Magazine account for another 8%
Word of mouth recommendations yet again accounts for 8%
Traditional internet advertising accounts for 7% of your traffic generation.
To be honest I do not know many photographers that advertise on TV, Radio, newspaper or magazine; and frankly there are very few that even do traditional internet advertising.

I would suggest that us, as photographers spread the 15% that these advertising mediums traditionally account for and distribute that over our newsletters, social media, SEO and SEM tactics. What we do, do as photographers is influence our search engine results and if we are paying attention to our reputation, we can influence positive word of mouth.

Search engine results being on average 8% of a small business web traffic is low to me. While I just let it go on the webinar because there were many types of small businesses in attendance, I disagree with this stat for a photographer. If you are trying to grow your business, and you have a website you will be focusing significant amount of your time on keywords and meta tags on your website to ensure higher ranking in search results. I know I do, and I pay as much attention to this as I can, both on my blog and on my website that showcases all my photos. Search engine results, and subsequent click thru to my website accounts for just over 10% of my website traffic… and growing.

I am sure if I purchased keywords this would grow, but I decided to focus on SEO versus SEM, I am saving the money and I only invest my time. And yes, time is money, but when faced between watching TV or doing SEO on my site, doing the SEO usually wins over a mind numbing episode of Grey’s Anatomy… Now, the Big Bang Theory is another story. Not much gets in the way of me and my thirty minutes with Sheldon, Leonard, Penny, Raj and Howard.

The last grouping of influencers seems to fit together nicely as well. It will prompt those of you that do not participate in social media to question whether it’s worth the effort, but for those of us that participate in social media already have the answer, and that answer is yes, absolutely.

The statistics show that for small businesses the following seems to generate smaller percentages of traffic.
Interaction on Social Networks accounts for 5% of the traffic
Blogs and discussion boards account for 3% of the traffic
Shopping comparison sites and product review sites account for 4% of the traffic.

Personally, as a photographer that participates in social marketing, I can say firsthand that social marketing is the largest influencer of traffic to my website. BUT… a word of caution. You are either doing social media or you are not. There is no half way here. Commit yourself to it and you will drive traffic.

Social media is a huge topic unto itself so I am not going to go into all the details here. Social media can consist of using websites such as… Facebook, Google+, Farmville, Flickr, 500px, youtube, Gowalla, Instagram, twitter and many, MANY others.

The trends that do seem to be taking hold that you might want to look at are, “Urbanspoon”, a geo based application that will find places to eat, be entertained etc, Google and Facebook places to list your businesses on to be found. Other trends that are on the rise are Foursquare, Gowalla and Groupon. But one that I would suggest you get involved in is YELP… get engage here and see the rewards for traffic generation, and subsequent conversation because the traffic are qualified prospects.

The next posting will be about converting traffic from browsers and tire kickers to actual clients… that will come out next Friday at 6pm EST.

In the meantime, if you want more information please contact me below.

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Until next time, happy shooting!

Kev