As my previous post showed, there are a ton of website marketing plan components to consider. So, let’s cut to the chase—which ones work?

Although Red Rocket has a lot of anecdotal evidence of what’s working in companies’ website marketing plans that we work with, we found a recent study by Engine Ready to give a bit more “hard evidence.” The study identified and measured four traffic sources that cover all ways someone could show up on your website:

  • Organic listings (e.g. the left-hand results in Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.)
  • Paid listings (e.g. the right-hand listings in Google, Facebook, etc.)
  • Direct access and bookmarks (when you type in a web address or click on a bookmark)
  • Other referrer (all visits from other web sites, emails and banners)

For your website marketing plan, here’s how the results came out.

Source Traffic Conversion Spending Average Value

Per Visit

Direct Access 40% 7.40% $95 $7.03
Other Referral 28% 6.60% $109 $7.19
Paid Listings 20% 2.00% $117 $2.38
Organic Listings 12% 1.30% $107 $1.35
Overall 100% 3.60% $104 $3.70

Website Marketing Plan Translation

Traffic

Most people get to their e-commerce site by simply typing the address in their browser. This means your website marketing plan should be sure to have an easy to use and remember website address at the least. With the autocomplete feature that most browsers use in the address bar, direct access is probably becoming even more common. (As you find a site through search or some other method, your browser remembers the address. Then, the next time you want to go to the site you just start typing what you remember in the address bar and it completes it for you).

The first time you find your way to a site, you’re probably not using direct access, though, so keep that in mind before putting all your budget into website address awareness on the radio, tv, or print. Also keep in mind that you want as much traffic as possible for your website marketing plan, so get links on other sites and continue to have some paid search listings.

Conversion

The best conversion rates come from people who type your name in the address bar. This makes sense because it means they already know what they want, and have probably already been to your site before and know you can fill their need. Perhaps surprisingly though, is that paid listings get only about 1/4 the conversions as direct access. That means you’re paying for clicks that are averaging 2% conversions. The take-away here is to get people to come back to your site after their first contact. Also, make sure your margins are high enough on your sales to cover a 2% conversion rate on your paid search ads.

Average Value Per Visit

I like this number—it is a true “get down to brass tacks” number for a website marketing plan. It gives the sales revenue divided by the number of visits. In other words, it tells you how much you’re making per visit to your website. Again, we see how critical it is to have your website be easy to remember for direct access, and to have your website be linkd to from other websites. It also speaks to the fact that return visitors are going to spend more and purchase more often than first timers, so get folks to come back.

Spending

Not too big of a difference by source here. The good news is that paid search listings have a bit higher average. But we would hope this would be the case because you have to cover the cost of the ad in your website marketing plan.

The study was based on 20.8 million visits and 108 million page views to 26 e-commerce sites from July 1, 2008, through June 30, 2009.

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