01/20/2015 05:33 EST | Updated 03/22/2015 05:59 EDT

Why Leads Are More Important for Your Online Business Than Website Traffic

Do you really need a million visits to your website each month? Not a chance. Follow these three simple steps to get more leads today.


Do you really need a million visits to your website each month? Not a chance. Follow these three simple steps to get more leads today:

1 - Assess your website and digital

Website visits are only meaningful in relation to the amount of leads and business opportunities they generate. What would make you happier? More leads and less traffic or more traffic and less leads?

Take an honest look at your website and other digital marketing activities. Is it painfully obvious to visitors what you want them to do? Think of your online presence as a store at the mall. Stores put their best deals and most important information in the window or at the front of the store so people come in. Is your digital marketing screaming your special offers or meaningful information to customers loudly enough?

2 - Make an offer

List out the three things you want every visitor to your site and digital marketing platforms to do. This could be to buy something, sign-up for a newsletter, fill out a form or leave a review. You should think of your website as an e-commerce engine even if you don't sell anything online. For example, a real-estate agent can offer people a free e-book of the best areas in town for investment properties in exchange for an email address. Or, a car dealership can offer a free Starbucks gift card if you reserve a test drive online for one of their new vehicles. Assign an imaginary dollar amount to how much a lead is worth to you and then you can budget your offer accordingly.

Then, work with your digital marketing partner like crazy to determine what offer, method and approach works best. You'll probably need to rearrange some things in your digital properties and websites to get this exactly right.

3 - Promote your offer

Now that you know what you want visitors to do lets go get some traffic! Thankfully the Internet is full of traffic and there are lots of small companies (sarcasm intended) like Google, Facebook, Yelp, LinkedIn and Twitter practically falling over themselves trying to sell it to you. Work with your digital marketing partner about choosing the best company to buy traffic from (here is a good playbook on what traffic to buy and when).

You can specify the exact type of traffic you want to target and you can be incredibly granular as well. These companies allow you to target any type of Internet user you can imagine -- from people looking for Indian food in San Jose this evening (Yelp) to marketing executives at Fortune 500 companies (LinkedIn). Buy traffic to ensure that your target market sees your offer. To sweeten the pot you'll only pay when a user clicks the offer. When they click the offer they will get sent to your new and improved lead-generating machine of a website or landing page (see step 2).

Alternatively, you can always buy traffic and exposure from industry-specific digital platforms in your industry. If you know an expert organization or individual in your industry has a great social media following then you can approach them about a guest blog post or paid endorsement to their network of followers. Just send them a message or email and see what they say.

4 - Evaluate

Chances are this won't work on the first try. Most businesses need to try two or three different iterations of the advertising and the offer before they start seeing results. However, on the first try you can at least sleep well knowing that your target demographic is definitely seeing your offer (impressions) and some have clicked to learn more...albeit a small fraction. If those clickers haven't done one of the three things you want them to do then they just might not be biting yet. Continue tweaking the offer and the pitch until you see some results.

Leads are the lifeblood of any business. Your website shouldn't just be a brochure of your products and services. Entice website visitors with a great offer to convert window-shoppers into paying-customers.

Save traffic complaints for rush hour.