Many of our clients approach Gigantic because they want to improve the performance of their websites, and by performance they mean generating more sales or leads from digital channels.   

There is a widespread belief among Portuguese SMEs that all it takes is a few posts on social networks or some paid-media (google, facebook, ?) and sales start appearing the next day. 

The reality is quite different and many companies come to us frustrated because they made a new website or hired a social media agency and did not get results minimally satisfactory. 


At Gigantic we start the vast majority of our performance work by studying and analyzing our client's market, asking two essential questions:

- Traffic: how do companies in this market get traffic to their website or e-commerce?

- Conversion: what are the conversion principles of this market? in other words, when a customer wants to purchase a certain product or service in this market, what factors do they value most?

There are many other factors that contribute to increased sales, but companies that are at an entry-level should first and foremost be concerned with traffic and conversion. 

In the next lines I will try to give you our perspective on these two vectors, giving you some tools so that you too can first analyze, and then intervene in your digital channels, starting to get results. 

Traffic

Traffic is the beginning of everything. Without traffic we have no chance of converting. To sell we need people visiting our website/shop which seems obvious and basic, in reality most companies have no idea where their traffic comes from, what are the sources? What are the themes? What are the most visited pages?

That is why it is essential to know our traffic, but also the traffic of our competitors. How does the competition generate their traffic? What is the volume of traffic? What are the themes? What are the keywords? 

Going deeper into the subject, it is important to say that contrary to what most people think, traffic does not come only from social networks. In fact, very little comes from social networks.

It is important to know that there are 5 different sources of traffic:

  • direct traffic - users type your website address into their browser, or bookmark your page and press the button. Direct traffic is mainly a consequence of your brand awareness and importance;

  • organic traffic - traffic which comes from searches made on search engines such as google or bing. Importantly, organic traffic represents 53% of all visits made to websites;

  • paid traffic - coming from advertising done in any medium, be it Google, Facebook, Instagram or even traditional media such as the online versions of Público or RTP;

  • referrals  - links from other websites to ours, whether newspaper articles or blogs that contain our link or our company's presence in industry directories. 

  • social networks - someone who read one of our posts and clicked on a link to our site. 

Because it is the most important, and one of those we can influence the most by working digital channels, I will focus on organic traffic. It is important to know everything about our organic traffic and, above all, how competitors and referrals in our market generate organic traffic. 

First step: Getting to know

The first step is to begin by making a thorough study of keywords

Keywords are the words by which people search for us, our company, or our products in search engines. 

It's surprising, but most marketers or business owners have no idea what they are and how much search volume and therefore monthly traffic they can generate. 

At Gigantic we use Semrush to do this research, but there are some tools like Similarweb that are free, although they may not present data for sites with low traffic volume. 

Knowing your keywords is the first step to generating organic traffic. 

Important note: if you want to do a quick test, google terms from your market, but without ever mentioning your company name. If I am the marketing director of a bank and want to see where I am ranked, for example for car loans, I should do a search: ?car loans? and not ?car loans bank y?

Step Two: Match

The second step is to adapt the structure of the website and its content to the essential keywords of the area. 

This process is fundamental, because if there is no match between the content of our site and the way people search, our site will never rank in google.

If we take as an example a law firm that has several areas of practice including labour law, how should it designate its area of practice? labour law? employment law? 

What if we have a clothing brand, should we choose t-shirt, the correct form of the word, or tshirt? Which word has the highest search volume? Which competitors are ranked in one and another word? 

When doing a keywords study we should include not only generic keywords, but also more specific keywords for that market segment, since it is in these that, ideally, we want to position ourselves. 

This phase is crucial because it will allow us to define the entire organizational structure of the website. The goal is not only to generate maximum traffic, but also to create a structure that makes sense for the business, so we should match our results with the company's business vision. 

Third Step: Work on the Content

After defining the positioning of the brand's keywords, namely the main keywords in which the brand wants to appear/ranking, there are several aspects that have to be worked around them. 

The first of these is content. Content really is king in digital. Contrary to what common sense and the entire communication background tells us, in digital, the more original content the better.

The vast majority of pages that rank in the top 3 in google rankings for any keyword have more than a thousand words. 


Google uses this signal along with several others to read the quality of pages, from the average time users spend on the page, to the bounce rate, whether or not they leave the site on the page, the speed of loading the page, among many others. 

Step Four: Introduce the content structure into the schedule

(If you don't have time to go into it in depth you can skip this part, and skip ahead to the conversion).

Other of the most important issues that have to be worked out when returning content to digital, is the structure of the content and the implementation of that structure in the programming of the site.

There are several rules that help search engines understand what are the themes of the site? What are the areas? What are the titles, sub-titles, what is a certain content about? 

For this to happen we have to work on the content of each page and introduce in the code of the site information regarding: 

  • Headings;
  • Slugs;
  • Snippets;
  • Metatags;

The slugs are tools that work as indexes; they allow users and search engines to position themselves within website pages. In this case, the slug of this page is: traffic-and-conversion. This information says that we have positioned ourselves on the Gigantic website, in the Blog section, in the article on ?The 2 most important factors to sell online: traffic and conversion!? 

As for the headingsAlthough they perform a similar function, they differ in the sense that they define a hierarchy within the website and each page (they distinguish between topics and subtopics). 

The snippets snippets are a small fraction of text that in a few seconds tell the user what the page is about and the theme of the page, without the user having to click on it. This way, it is imperative that the snippets are clear and attractive, and we should also work the keywords for which each page is positioned, in the respective snippet. 

The metatags are indicators in the text (HTML) that inform search engines about the theme of the pages. They can be worked on at various levels, namely in titles, snippets and images. 

Conversion

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The 2 most important factors to sell online: traffic and conversion! 3

If in the previous points we saw how to generate traffic and this is indeed essential to be able to sell, in this chapter we will focus on the conversion factors, which turn visitors into buyers of our product or service. 

This is perhaps one of the most challenging parts of digital, to the extent that, while there are some factors common to all areas, there are specificities of each market, particularly in terms of how each audience values and weighs each of these factors.

Conversion is where the digital world intersects with the real world, and how people perceive our brand. 

Trying to exemplify what I'm writing, if I'm buying a ladies bag in a high price segment, I'll care about the design and quality of the bag, but I'll mostly value the brand. 

Although the world is changing, fashion and all the clothes we wear have not stopped being a projection of our personality and our lifestyle.

In this sense, between two bags of similar appearance and price, if one is Louis Vuitton and the other has a brand that nobody knows, the probability of someone choosing the second is practically nil. 

However, and still within the fashion sector, if I am buying undifferentiated basics, the quality of the fabric, the fit and the price will be much more relevant than the brand. 

This is why it's often not enough to work on digital channels and campaigns. The brand has to exist and have a relevant positioning for its audience in the real world, and that's why we often recommend our clients to look for branding agencies like Born (www.born.pt) or even public relations.  

One such example is our current client, the delivery brand, or rather food & pleasure, the Please formerly known as No Menu. 

please food and pleasure
The 2 most important factors to sell online: traffic and conversion! 4

Please, still No Menu, approached us over a year ago to run digital campaigns to increase customers and downloads of their app. 

After an initial analysis we quickly realized that the conversion factors necessary to increase sales were not in place. 

Why would anyone having Uber Eats and Glovo installed on their phone go install the No Menu app, which did exactly the same thing, albeit based on an inferior technology platform. 

In fact, and doing justice to the work of the No Menu team, their service and offer have always been quite differentiated compared to Uber Eats and Glovos, which are essentially technological platforms. 

The thing is, the No Menu brand was positioned in exactly the same sector as these giants, the delivery market, and there it would be impossible to compete against unlimited budgets.  

For this reason, we have advised No Menu to talk to Bornto review its brand and above all its positioning, and then once the process is complete, we would agree to work on its digital communication. 

The truth is that the rebranding process and the roll out of the image took almost a year, and the company pressed by the results actually asked us to make a digital campaign still with the brand No Menu. 

As we expected the results confirmed our initial analysis and we were not able to obtain a significant number of new customers. 

We all cheered for the launch of the new brand and the success of the new positioning. We were also left with a chill in our stomachs. Would the change be enough for us to win new customers?

At the time of writing, and only three weeks into the launch of the new brand, preliminary results are glowing. 

In the first two weeks of the launch and digital campaign, Please increased its customer numbers by 10% in each of the campaign weeks. The rebranding and positioning seems to be proving a success and we hope to be able to present the case study in a few months. 

However, not all sectors are as tough and competitive as this, and many brands and businesses, can, provided they do a good job of identifying their conversion factors, generate more business through digital channels. 

I promise in an upcoming article to write about the conversion factors that are common to most businesses. 

Until then good holidays and that they return with renewed energy for a year end that will be very challenging.

by: Tânia Portugal and João Felix

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