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This just in. One Audience Development strategy doesn't fit all.

Henry Ford used to say “People can have the Model T in any color – so long as it’s black”. This ‘one size fits all’ approach is pretty much how most websites treat their traffic. And just like automobiles moved from black to “many colors available” options, it’s time that marketers implement targeted approaches for the various sources of website visits.

Traffic Identification
First you need to know where your traffic is coming from. You will be able to get a good sense of this from either your Google Analytics, or other web stats package that your site uses. If you don’t know how to read what’s there and you are using Google Analytics, you will find a good number of YouTube Videos and Google University resources to help you decipher it.

Below are some sources that you are likely to identify as traffic drivers for your own site. You’ll want to drilldown as far as you are able to, so that you can refine your marketing messages appropriately.  In this case, social media is the primary driver -- but is it Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn? Something else? -- that is the leading source for driving visitors to your site. You are likely to see that the make-up of your traffic may vary by day. For example, the day your weekly enewsletter goes out will likely result in a good deal of your website traffic being driven there by clicks from your enewsletter. Focus on patterns over time when developing your initial strategy.

Traffic Segmentation

Once you have identified your traffic sources, build out audience development programs that make sense for that specific group of visitors – don’t just ask for the order.

Here are some engagement ideas for you to consider. In all cases, we recommend starting with a pop-up or slide-in so you can get a sense of how they perform. They are easier to implement and will cause less havoc with the overall architecture of your site. As much as possible, provide a unique tracking code for each source and offer so you can read how well each performs.

  • Organic Search – these visitors found you while looking for an answer to a specific question. Generally, these people will have a high bounce rate – meaning they will look at the content they came for and move on. Let them know how your newsletter / product offer emails can answer these types of questions or provide solutions in the future. If you have specific perennial pages, stories, or products that garner a lot of traffic, consider providing a .pdf “Guide To” type of content. It may be easier for someone to make the decision to request a specific piece of content than it will be to getting to receive regularly published email content.
  • Social Media channels – they are likely to have a relationship with you or at least know who you are and what you are about. Present this group with special offers earmarked to these groups. “For our (social network name) friends”.
  • Direct Traffic - these people are likely to be your most loyal and heaviest users of your sites. They may be ideal for surveys, product extensions, early renewal offers, donation requests, etc…

The more you can identify the needs and attributes of your site visitors, the greater the chance that you will be able to engage them and turn them into customers and supporters.