E-commerce best practices used to be fairly straightforward. Search engine results relating to website traffic services produce thousands of SERPs, many of which guarantee higher conversion rates. Can these promises produce satisfactory and long-term results in the face of an international pandemic?
Elias St. Elmo Lewis’ AIDA model – developed in 1898 – lists four core concepts that are of as much relevance today as they were over a century ago. However, since its development, the world of commerce has changed beyond recognition. Knowing how to integrate these foundations within the fresh environment of peri- and post-COVID e-commerce is essential.
AIDA – Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action – is part of every e-commerce course, often packaged under different terminology or merged into and sold as new models. The reason why these basic principles remain current is simple – they are based upon our basic human instincts of see, want, get.
“…what a man doesn’t know doesn’t hurt him, but in business what a man doesn’t know does hurt.”
E. St. Elmo Lewis
While driving traffic to websites used to focus on the attention phase of the AIDA model, higher levels of customer sophistication, vast online competition, the wide expanse of multimedia channels, and integration of complete marketing funnels have broadened the horizon of generating website traffic. Every AIDA phase offers businesses multiple opportunities to expand both leads and client bases.
There is no single right way of doing this – some companies have great success with concentrating on the highest possible generic traffic, others on high conversion rates from specific target groups. And just as there are various correct methods of adding to your client list, there are many incorrect, futile, and expensive ways, too.
Approximately 40% of global web traffic is artificially generated. This will not come as a surprise for those in the know but for new business owners taking on multiple roles such as website design and marketing, this may be unwelcome news. Or perhaps welcome news – by entrusting your traffic to a bot, you can focus on other tasks.
While bots may save time and manpower, they certainly do not replace them.
Two main types of bots encourage traffic during the attention phase of the AIDA model:
- Search Engine crawlers (spiders)
- Aggregator bots
Crawlers are complex pieces of software; they index a broad range of data and help your website to rank in SERPs. Even so, crawl rates must be controlled with specific rules applied to your site’s robots.txt file.
Aggregator or feedbots (feedfetcher bots) are of particular use when driving traffic in multiple AIDA phases. These bots keep users and/or subscribers and/or customers updated as regards events and news. Again, regulation of bot activity is necessary to avoid unsubscribes and blocks. Without human insight into the mind of your target, generic bots can make costly mistakes.
One needs only look at the range of Pinterest results on a Google search results page to understand the huge difference bot-driven traffic can make. What a success!
However, when uncontrolled, bot-generated results can be overwhelming – not only for a given website but also for the potential customer.
The popularity of the search term ‘remove Pinterest from google search’ gives a good indication of how even good bots can produce less than desirable effects. Negative associations with a website name is the equivalent of commercial suicide. Simply trusting a bot to do the best job is very naïve.
Good bot or good crawler activity provides around 20% of website traffic; the same percentage is the result of malicious bot – bad bot – activity.
Perhaps the days of the malicious bot are numbered – search engines are becoming increasingly adept at recognizing genuine human web traffic as opposed to their artificial imposters. Malicious bots are big business, earning millions in fake clicks and advertising views. Such activity rarely leads to conversions, may lower search engine rankings, and can negatively affect the smooth, user-friendly experience your website has been designed to provide.
While you can increase website traffic by up to 20% through careful regulation of spiders, feedfetchers, and social network bots, this hard work may be for nothing in the presence of malicious bot activity.
Sixty percent of your website traffic is human. This is the target group Elias Lewis developed AIDA for. What he was not able to predict was the post-millennial consumer – a savvy, verbal individual with high expectations and a packed smörgåsbord of competitively-priced products to choose from. An environment where everyone’s word of mouth is part of a global, not local, voice.
“Consumers are transforming faster than we are, and if we don’t catch up, we’re in trouble.” Ian Schafer (Deep Focus)
Grabbing a human being’s attention using multimedia channels is no easy task, especially for smaller businesses with limited marketing budgets. One clever, visual idea on social networks can create a murmur of excitement that quickly fades and dies. A one-off clever idea is rarely enough.
Keeping momentum during any marketing campaign is expensive. Small to medium businesses unable to compete with the epic advertising budgets of global names most commonly depend upon the quality of their product, customer service, and positive reviews. These are the principles of AIDA-based customer care.
They are also decidedly human-based concepts.
Elias St. Elmo Lewis wrote about what has become common practice today – sales from the perspective of the customer.
Few new businesses have time to build up a healthy client base; now even less than before. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a surge of bankruptcies, particularly in physical retail facilities. Furloughs and closures have significantly reduced personal spending capacity. The only flicker of light in terms of website traffic is that more and more people are turning to online sources of information and material goods.
The world sits in limbo, knowing little about what will happen in the coming weeks, months, perhaps even years. Until it does, the safest place to be is online.
And in this situation, direct and organic human traffic needs to take precedence over bot-generated website traffic. Purchasing genuine website traffic form sites like maxVisits is, therefore, a very worthwhile step.
Do you believe in your product? Are you thinking of business longevity? If so, the simple answer to this question is “Yes”.
This means you should consider earning website traffic from reputable services like Search Engine Optimization experts that do not sell bot traffic and do abide by voluntary ethical standards.
Purchasing website traffic from a reputable service is neither unethical nor a short-term solution. Large numbers of genuine visits from real people may begin as a ripple but can generate a wave when what your website offers is interesting and competitive. In short, buying genuine website traffic will increase your conversion rate.
Buying traffic is the online equivalent of giving out free tickets for a movie premiere. Some people will like what they see and pass on the word, others will walk out halfway through, and others only come because it’s a free day out. Whatever the result, a small proportion will react favorably. And the larger the number of free tickets, the greater the chance of a positive reaction.
If free tickets are only offered to people who have already given positive feedback to a similar movie, chances are that more of them will enjoy the experience. They will spread the word and might even pay to go and see it again. The number of free ticket holders may be less than in the previous scenario, but the conversion rate will be higher.
Generic website traffic services sometimes use the simplest algorithms and unethical ploys to generate views that they can then redirect to their clients’ websites. Such traffic is often bot-generated. You may have heard this type of website traffic referred to as website arbitrage – any visit or click counts, no matter whether real or artificial.
Conversion rates are a shot in the dark with website arbitrage; services often implement unethical tactics such as content scraping from high-ranking sites or publishing false information. It is thanks to arbitrage sites that buying traffic is sometimes viewed as an undesirable strategy by serious business owners. This lack of trust in traffic generation is further encouraged by search engines on the look-out for this type of activity; its use can damage website ranking.
Quality traffic counts. As with complete marketing campaigns, the correct targets create the highest conversion rates. This means a web traffic service should be searching for new sources daily; these sources should only provide human visitors.
A reputable web traffic service maintains its high-traffic domains. These target broad groups of users in various countries. Quality service does not generate traffic via bots, pop-ups or pop-unders, auto surf, illegal content, or paid to click sites. From human visitors, those most likely to provide conversions in your sector are directed to your website.
Other traffic generators direct larger numbers of unspecified visitors to your site, although you will nearly always be given the option to specify your target. The same principles of no bots, pop-ups or pop-unders, auto surf, illegal content, and PTC hits apply.
Both service types offer you an opportunity to use either strategy to generate website traffic – the highest possible number of visitors or a smaller number of potential target customers. As already mentioned, both strategies are effective.
No reputable web traffic generating service will promise conversions; however, they can and should guarantee non-artificial visits, as well as offer third-party tracking to prove the effects of their services.
Positive advertising is always good but, as we have seen with the Pinterest example, excessive advertising doesn’t mean your business is running smoothly. As with all aspects of marketing, continuous tweaking and analysis help us to see the effects of each strategy. This naturally applies to our use of website traffic generation – it should not be left to the management of a bot.
Amid a global health crisis, the online business has a greater audience than ever before. Generating more web traffic as part of Lewis’ Attention phase makes use of a nineteenth-century concept that concentrates on human needs and expectations. While products and environments have changed, humans still operate using the same basic instincts.
Giving as many people as possible the opportunity to look at your product without alienating them plays a significant role in the conversion of see into want. This can be partially achieved by sending huge numbers of visitors to your webpage of choice that is simply not possible using purely organic means.
It is then up to your content, customer services, and product to turn want into get.