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What are your marketing priorities for 2013?

I read a piece the other day where the author suggested that the best way to increase sales enquiries is to increase your website traffic. Although he had the right idea, increased website traffic is the result of efforts to increase sales enquiries. It’s the step between the promotional initiative and the enquiry. He may as well have said that the best way to increase sales enquiries is to get more people to request brochures. Increased website traffic, more brochure requests, busier exhibition stands – and indeed improved enquiry figures – are all results, not methods.

What the author meant was that initiatives to increase website traffic are the most cost-effective way to generate more sales enquiries, and I’m sure most of you will agree with that. If you ran a press advertisement which said “telephone us”, another identical one which just said “write to us” and a third which said “visit our website”, the last one would usually be the one which produced the most eventual enquiries. If you ran the same exercise with an online advertisement, the last one would almost always win. Getting people to your website is the sensible priority for any business marketing department.

So, what’s the best way to increase your website traffic? It is, of course to improve your exposure in Google. This can be done controllably (by buying first-page positions with an AdWords campaign), or more speculatively, by trying to improve your ‘natural search’ rankings. There are arguments for both methods. But if your marketing priorities for 2013 don’t start with improving your exposure in Google, I do hope you’ve got some really good data to back up why those priorities lie elsewhere.

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