|Tracking & Attracting Word-of-Mouth Traffic|
|Written by Joy Brazelle - Serengeti Communications|
| Thursday, 16 April 2009 |
Word-of-mouth traffic can be some of the best, most qualified visitors to your site. But, how do you actually know if you are getting traffic from word of mouth? Pay-per-click and search engine optimization efforts are easy to track with Web analytics because you can segment out traffic based on the specific referrers or entry pages. You have to be a bit more creative to find the word-of-mouth traffic.
1. Check out your direct traffic (AKA no referrer).
These visitors either knew your URL and typed it directly into the browser, or they had your Web site bookmarked. As your brand becomes part of more and more conversations, the number of visitors who will know your URL will naturally increase.
2. Check out your branded keyword traffic.
This is the same concept as the direct traffic. Only for those visitors who cannot remember your URL, the most likely place they’ll look for you is on one of the top search engines. Word-of-mouth conversations about your brand will result in more traffic from the search engines by visitors searching on terms related to your brand.
3. Check out the blogs.
Using free tools such as http://blogsearch.google.com/, you can enter specific dates to see if the number of postings about your brand is increasing month to month. You can set up a Google Alert to periodically receive this information.
4. Check out the blogs + other conversations.
As many companies understand just how crucial it is to know what people are saying about their brand, paid tools like Trackur (http://www.trackur.com/) are becoming very popular. You can proactively see the conversations about your brand (and your competition) just by logging in.
5. Ask your customers.
This is perhaps the most obvious and the most overlooked way to find out if people are talking about you. Talk to your customers. You may be pleasantly surprised to learn what your customers are actually saying about your brand. Encouraging and rewarding feedback is a great way to grow loyal customers who will be happy to say positive things about your brand to their friends.
Once you benchmark the data for your word-of-mouth traffic you can begin to improve on it, and attract even more traffic by word of mouth.
1. Make it easy to spread the word.
On every email you send, landing page you create, or any other online marketing campaign add a ‘Send to Friend’ link. Make sure you test the link to make sure that it does not break and it is easy to use. Also make sure that it is obvious that the user was successful. There is nothing worse than ruining someone’s experience with your brand by lack of testing or confusing functionality.
2. Make it worthwhile to spread the word.
Reward your loyal customers and visitors. It is likely that a small percent of your customers will become true brand evangelists. These are your BEST and most important customers and you need to keep them happy. It is well worth the effort to go out of your way to make sure that these customers are appreciated and know it.
3. Use contests to grow word-of-mouth traffic and your email database.
This is such a simple and great way to increase the volume and quality of word-of-mouth traffic, but it is often ignored. Create an email contest for your opted-in list that explains the contest. In the email, add a form so recipients can forward the email to their friends (e.g. five or ten) by simply entering the email address and first name into the form. It will involve some simple database programming, and some validation that the email addresses received are valid and qualified. But it is a simple way to encourage your loyal customers to spread the word, and grow your email marketing database at the same time.
There is a fourth way to encourage word of mouth traffic. Be remarkable. OK - so that is not easy, not by any means. But it is great when companies really go the extra mile to be remarkable.
About the Author
Joy Brazelle is vice president and director of analytics for Serengeti Communications. She has made analytics her priority over the years, helping clients build and grow their online presence. Joy has been a member of the Web Analytics Association since its launch in May 2006. She stays plugged into the current world of analytics by participating in Facebook groups from "Web Analytics World" to "ClickTracks Addicts."