Finding new ways to boost website traffic is an ongoing task for many companies. High traffic can generate plenty of leads to fill out your sales pipeline, after all. But in the wake of COVID-19, many brands are finding that their website traffic has taken a nosedive. If you’re looking to get yourself back on track, here are some tips to increase web traffic and get people re-engaged with your brand.
When it comes to 2020 marketing trends, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything that hasn’t been affected by COVID in one way or another. And that includes your company’s web traffic.
Web traffic is in a weird place right now. With most of the country reopening, businesses are once again faced with a situation that requires a lot of agility. When the pandemic first exploded, companies across industries had to pivot their strategies and services to accommodate our temporary “new normal.” And now that things are reopening, businesses have to pivot to yet another “new normal.”
It’s a lot to keep track of, especially when it comes to digital spaces. The first step to navigating this ever-evolving landscape is acknowledging that, for better and worse, it’s going to be a while before things are back to the normal we’re used to.
How Can You Boost Website Traffic?
We’re going to be dealing with COVID (and its aftermath) for quite some time. Not only has the pandemic changed the way we interact with the physical world, but it’s also affected how people search for products and services online.
“Because search reflects human behavior,” Search Engine Journal says, “COVID-19 is affecting each industry differently. For example, just as people are forming lines outside grocery stores, ecommerce sites that sell those same essentials are likely experiencing a huge surge in traffic.”
As our country continues to reopen, it’s time to start reopening your marketing efforts as well. Here are some of the strategies you can (and should) implement to improve web traffic in the aftermath of COVID.
1) Address the Way COVID has Affected You
People are spending a lot of time looking at the newest statistics and news about COVID; it’s a topic nobody can avoid, so don’t try to. Just look at the dramatic increase in web traffic that news and media sites have seen in the past few months:
Instead of pretending that everything is normal, be as upfront and transparent with your audience as possible. Write content that talks about how you (and/or your industry) continue to respond to the virus, where you’re going next, and how your product or service can still meet your audience’s needs.
If you sell products made in a factory, write about the precautions you’re taking to ensure your employees' safety. If you’re a SaaS company, pinpoint the ways your service can help alleviate some of the unique pain points COVID has created in the lives of your consumers. Inbound marketing is all about providing prospects with the right content at the right time, and right now, that involves talking about COVID.
People will remember how you respond to the pandemic, too. If you ignore the virus completely, people will notice. But if you look for ways to help others, like other brands are doing, you can feel confident that you’re helping others deal with the pandemic and improving your brand image.
2) Focus on Building Relationships, Not Revenue
If you want to boost website traffic, position your brand as helpers and advisors. Don’t prioritize a sales pitch; instead, answer the questions your audience has (even the ones they haven’t asked yet) and direct leads to the kind of resources that can help solve their problems.
You want your brand to be a trustworthy one. So, before you launch any piece of content, make sure it’s coming from a place of help. “Buyers are seeking out and interacting with businesses more today than a month ago,” HubSpot says. “This is at least partially due to the fact that stay-at-home orders and business closures have moved many transactions online out of necessity, but it shows that for now, buyers are still looking to engage.”
Use your social media presence to engage with your audience. Write blog posts that share insights your target audience will find helpful. Instruct your sales team to prioritize problem-solving over closing deals. Or, as HubSpot recommends, have sales or service reps “call clients to check in on how they're doing rather than upselling them. In some cases, showing empathy could even involve choosing not to pursue a lead that might be struggling at this time.”
The more trustworthy and helpful your brand is, the more people will come to you when they have a problem. And when people organically come to you, you’ll boost website traffic and build lasting relationships with the kind of people you want to do business with.
3) Double Down on Social Media
When you make content for your website (especially content that addresses COVID), make sure you’re actively sharing it on your social media channels.
Statista reports that “over 40% of people on a worldwide level are spending more time on social media during the COVID crisis than they were before.” You want to share your content wherever people are spending their time. If 40% of people across the globe are spending more time on social media than ever, that’s where you’re going to want to share your content.
Let your audience know that you’re still active. Engage with them, encourage questions (and then answer them), and show them how you’re reacting to the aftermath of the pandemic. Anything you can do to get positive attention to your brand is worth doing. “Stay active with community management,” HubSpot says. “People love when brands like and reply to them — it'll humanize your business, and keep people coming back for more content.”
The more impressions your content gets, the higher the chances that someone will click through to your site, boosting website traffic. And when you boost website traffic, you’re also providing a boost to lead generation and conversions.
4) Look at the Metrics
Even if you adopt all of the greatest strategies for boosting website traffic, they’re not going to have the kind of impact you want if you’re not tracking the results. Metrics give you a clear illustration of what’s working, what’s not working, and the factors that affect the end result. Without them, you might as well be paddling into the ocean on a rowboat without a compass.
If you really want to boost website traffic after COVID, you’re going to need to be flexible, try out a few different strategies, and then look at the metrics for each strategy (or combination of strategies) you try. Ask questions like:
- Where are people dropping off when they look at your homepage?
- Are there areas that could use improvement to keep people browsing or reading?
- What sections attract the most attention?
- Do you have a particular piece of content that regularly gets a lot of impressions? What can you do to replicate that success?
Pair metrics with the insight you have on your buyer personas (adjusted for the way COVID has changed things, of course) and use it to direct the way you interpret the metrics you gather.
According to a survey Databox conducted in 2019, the most important website metric to marketers is the average time a visitor spends on a particular page. However, as the graph below illustrates, it’s far from the only important metric to measure.
Don’t focus all your attention on a single metric (or KPI, for that matter). Instead, measure and assess as many metrics as you can.
Look at your metrics in context, too. Seeing a rise in traffic is great; nobody is going to be upset by that statistic. But if you want to see that rise become a standard, then you have to look into what led to the increase.
Databox says it like this: “Understanding where significant traffic changes are coming from can help you identify the efficacy of different marketing channels and campaigns.” When you know why something changed, you may be able to replicate the success and keep the upward trend going.
This is going to be especially important in the wake of COVID. You’re going to need to adapt to the new and changing ways your audience interacts with your brand, and tracking metrics and defining what works (and why it works) will help you learn what your audience wants, putting you in an ideal position to provide it.
When it comes to strategies to boost web traffic, the most important thing to do, ultimately, is to pay attention. All of the strategies we listed above, and the countless ones we didn’t, won’t get you very far if you’re not listening to the needs of your audience and accommodating your strategies accordingly. The more helpful your brand is during this tumultuous period, the more web traffic you’re destined to get. And the more web traffic you get, the more successful your brand is likely to be in the near and distant future.