Have you ever asked yourself, Why isn’t my marketing working? While ineffective marketing probably isn’t the end of the world as you know it, it may be the end for your company – at least, if nothing changes.

But don’t panic. In fact I’m getting ahead of myself… Let’s start fresh.

What do you mean your marketing isn’t working?

I’m not being facetious, I promise. I’m really trying to understand what you mean. When you say your marketing isn’t working I’m assuming that you don’t mean that your Marketing Emails won’t send or that posting social media broke all of Twitter (ok, maybe a bit facetious now)… I’m assuming that you mean you’re not seeing results. But again, that’s way too big of a picture.

The beauty of marketing is that its results are visible everywhere, from intangible things like name recognition to the tangible effects that we (primarily) online marketers love to analyze: reach, visits, conversions, contacts, customers, repeat customers… The list really does go on. And while I – the number-loving lunatic that I am – adore the different metrics and key performance indicators that I can draw on to measure the success of my marketing, for many others the numbers can be overwhelming. Where should you look? What do they mean? How can you move the needle?

I’m sorry to say that there is no one-size-fits-all solution that magically fixes your marketing. However, once you know what specific piece of the puzzle you’re trying to solve, it becomes much more feasible to narrow down some solutions.

If Your Visits Are Low

For the purpose of not overwhelming you with potential problems and solutions, I’m choosing to focus this blog on one potential problem: Your website traffic isn’t what you want it to be; your site visits are low.

If you’re examining your sales conversion process from start to finish, looking to nail each stage of teh funnel, you’ll often start with your site traffic. And oftentimes, it’s possible that you pour your heart and soul into your website, and… nothing happens. You get a few visits, but with the work that you put into creating or updating your site, it’s a bit pathetic. So what might you have done wrong?

First, ask yourself – does your website offer any value? And by value, I mean content. Unless you’ve created informative, helpful content that lives on your website, there is really nothing that will you get found when a prospective customer goes online and starts Googling for information about the product or service that you sell.

Without anything informational, anything searchworthy, anything valuable, your website is just like every other website; you have no distinguishing feature. You’re just a John Doe. You can’t expect people to come to you, talk to you, or engage with you if they don’t even know you exist. The first challenge is getting found, and the second is creating content that effectively expresses who you are and what you have to offer.

Boost Your Visits Through Content

Your content should demonstrate just that – who you are and what you offer – but it must be done tactfully. It should not scream I am John Doe, I am a personal travel agent, corporate travel agent and location specialist. This direct, salesy approach doesn’t play well with a prospect who isn’t immediately ready to buy.

Instead, you should start off with some original content (relevant to your personas) that answers your prospective customers’ questions and solves their problems. Think The Benefits of Traveling with Your Company, 5 Keys that Make Your Family Vacation Perfect or Las Vegas: Corporate Haven or Personal Oasis? It may seem like these pieces of content – whether they be published on your site as blogs or offered as downloadable articles that are gated behind a landing page – don’t seem like they have anything to do with you.

But I promise – they give you, John Doe of the internet world, an identity. They have the ability to attract people interested in personal travel, corporate travel, and potential destinations to you organically. And to those that happen upon you by chance (because how many of you tried to go to since the start of this blog), they provide legitimacy. You’ve proven you can be helfpul and established yourself as a reliable source of unbiased information.

Boost Your Visits Through Optimization

Maybe you’ve already started creating content and your site is brimming with blogs to view, and all sorts of premium content to download. It’s a site to be proud of; but nobody’s noticed!

How can you ensure the right people will find that content that you’ve worked so hard to create? Your site and its content should utilize SEO (search engine optimization). An easy way to do this is to create content that uses keywords or phrases that are less competitive (meaning fewer companies are trying to rank for them) but enjoy a high volume of searches. Think about it – if every one of your competitors is trying to rank first for “Boise travel agent,” you’re going to have a hard time beating them and you’ll be spinning your wheels and spending a lot of time to create content that ultimately won’t get seen anyway.

On the other hand, if you find those hidden gems – the keywords that people are searching for but not as many companies are trying to rank for – you can quickly rank by creating great content. Of course the keywords still need to be relevant to your business and to your buyers in order to get you measurable business results.

For Jon Doe Travel, you’d probably want your keywords to be travel-planning focused. However, it wouldn’t be sensible to just align your site around ‘travel’ given the high number of searches for this term?

No, actually. Not only will the term ‘travel’ be highly competitive and therefore very difficult to rank for, it is also fairly generic and therefore isn’t likely to deliver high quality leads.

A better approach is to identify relevant long-tail keywords (as they are easier to rank for, and generally have higher chances of conversion) such as “best corporate conference destinations” or “budget family vacation ideas” so long as these are consistent, recurring themes throughout

Boost Your Visits Through Social Media

So, now your site (and its keywords) are optimized, full of content, and you are continuously adding more. But still, visits aren’t growing as you’d like them to be. The question is now: Are you putting yourself out there?

You need to be.

It’s kind of like the old “if a tree falls in the forest, but there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound” adage. If you create great content but don’t proactively promote it, what good does it do? You need to be sharing this content, putting it out there, showing it to the world, instead of waiting around for it to be discovered.

Share your content via social media. Leverage Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, and share your content more than once. Post to your own pages. Contribute in discussions and groups. Share your content like the resource it was created to be and you will find that when you share helpful content, your followers will engage with you. In fact, using social media optimally can actually double your daily page visits. Doing so will allow you, the developing face behind John Doe Travel, to strengthen the identity of your brand that you are working so hard to construct and sell.

Moving Forward

While these three factors are not the only factors that can affect site traffic, adding relevant, original content, optimizing your site (and its content) for search engines, and sharing said content over social media are critical factors to successfully increasing your website visitor traffic.

And though site visits do not translate directly to sales, they are the first steps to success. After all, you’ve got to fill the top of the funnel in order to close deals. So congratulations, John Doe, you are now a digital somebody, and your business now has a searchable, findable, valuable online identity.

But the next question is… What do you do when your visits increase, but they’re not converting into contacts? Stay tuned for the next segment of “What Do You Mean Your Marketing Isn’t Working?” to learn the answer!