Gaining Insights Into Your Web Traffic

website traffic sourcesWhere do most of your customers come from?

If you're like most companies, you're starting to see more business coming through the internet and web buyers are becoming a larger part of your revenue stream. Whether you're selling services (design, consulting, coaching) or products (equipment, plants), internet-based marketing and sales should be a part of how you do business.

But how do you best market to this audience?

Not all buyers who come to you through the internet are created equal. They'll generally fall into one of two categories:

  • Group A - Those who already know about you and your business, and deliberately seek you out online (for example, by typing in your URL or searching on your company name)
  • Group B - Those who have no idea who you are and just happen to find you while searching for a product or service that you sell

As you can imagine, these two groups of buyers are going to act very differently.

Group A is likely to be brand loyal and good repeat buyers (provided you don't do anything to disappoint them).

Group B is opportunistic - they'll buy from you again only if the price is right (and if they remember your name).

So, how do you know which buyers are which? Or how to best market to them?

Look at Google Analytics!

Finding Gold in the Data

Visitors to your website are going to get there through one of three methods:

  • Direct Traffic - meaning that they reached your website by typing in your URL
  • Referring Sites - these visitors clicked on a link that directs them to your website (this can be another website, social media, or emails)
  • Search Engines - they searched for a keyword or phrase that's associated with your website/page

Not all of these methods are going to yield one-time buyers, let alone repeat buyers. You'll need to do a little digging to figure out where your best prospects are and how to reach them.

Gold: Direct Traffic

Those reaching your site directly are already familiar with you and may already be customers. With that familiarity comes a degree of trust that makes them more likely to buy from you.

How many of your visitors fall into this category? If it's a significant percentage, then you're doing something right with your marketing - you're clearly reaching the right people in a way that's encouraging them to visit your website.

But if very few visitors are coming through direct traffic, then you have some work to do. Focus on things like -

  • increasing your social media presence (for example, building a company Facebook page),
  • sending mailers to potential customers, clearly mentioning your company name and URL during presentations (and in hand-outs), or
  • placing ads encouraging people to visit your site for a special offer.

Whatever you do, you should consider stepping up efforts to increase the number of visitors who come directly to your website.

Silver: Referring Sites

Take a close look at your analytics data to see which sites are referring the most traffic.

Is it something immediately relevant, like your own Facebook or LinkedIn page or a business partner? Or is it a little more removed, like an industry association or networking group?

Referring sites that are part of your immediate business 'circle of influence' will likely generate more buyers; the trust factor comes into play here again as these visitors will already have some level of familiarity with you and your products/services.

It’s worth leveraging your relationships with closely-related referring sites to encourage them to more prominently feature links to your website. Determine which closely-related referring sites aren’t sending much traffic your way and focus on building your relationship with those site owners.

Bronze: Search Engines

Whether or not these visitors are good prospects depends on what they were searching for. If it's a generic keyword (for example, "flowers for sale"), then they're probably not likely to be a repeat visitor (or buyer).

If it's a little closer to your business (for example, "water-wise flowering plants for sale in Tucson"), then the odds start to increase that the person will buy, or at least visit your site again.

You'll probably find that most of your search engine visitors fall into one of these two categories.

But there's another group of website visitors that come to you through search engines, and they're much more likely to buy. These are the individuals who searched specifically for your company name. They probably know you already, but just didn't know your website URL.

To determine which keywords people are using to find your website, click on “Traffic Sources.” In the Overview section, you’ll see some of the keywords associated with Search Traffic.

Google no longer reports on most of the keywords used in searches, but what's there can still give you a good idea of what people are looking for. Look at the full report to see how many are looking for you directly (and don’t forget to look at misspellings of your company or product name – with so many people searching on mobile devices, it’s common to get some very strange spellings!).

So, now that you know where your traffic’s coming from, what changes are you going to make to your marketing strategy?

[activecampaign form=1]


  1. Morris May on March 9, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Hello Monica
    It does not necessarily do any harm in asking a user where they have come from on your contact form(dont make it compulsory). In the old days, before the net, I would always ask a customer how they had come to hear of whichever business I was working for at the time. It can also help, when responding to a contact from a website, blog etc.
    As ever, great advice. Perhaps also measuring whether people are finding you on a mobile or pc will become increasingly important. Sites optimised for mobile will be crucial IMO

Leave a Comment