Imagine carrying an empty bucket all the way across town to a well, filling the bucket and then walking home. But, when you get back, all the water’s gone…you put all of that effort into filling your bucket, only for it to leak.

Some clients come to Magneti and say that they want help increasing their customer base. But, before they can fill their bucket and funnel more traffic to their organization, they need to ensure they are converting their current traffic. Are they ready for more traffic, or is their bucket leaking?

The Leaky Bucket

Each of our clients have a “business bucket” that represents their organization. Digital marketers can help fill that bucket by turning on the hose – increasing brand awareness and web traffic, which will lead to an increase in leads, customers and overall revenue. But, unfortunately the vast majority of businesses and nonprofits have holes in their business bucket and they fail to convert an effective ratio of current prospects into leads.

Leaky Bucket

At the beginning of a client relationship, if digital marketers immediately turn on the hose to funnel traffic to the organization, they risk wasting water, resources and money, because the bucket can’t hold what it already has. One of the many roles of marketing is to help patch the bucket and convert the traffic you’re already earning. Focus first on keeping the customers you have and the relationships that already exist.

Is there a time to turn on the lead and traffic hose? Of course! But not until the bucket is patched. Here are a handful of ways that you can diagnose a leaky bucket, along with some tips to help plug the holes.

Get Out of the Way

Organizations often create barriers that inhibit a prospect’s ability to engage with them. Make it easy for customers to buy from you.

Here’s an example: Company A is large international nonprofit that encourages individuals to become members. They make a big push (turn on the hose) to get people to sign up. But, the only way to sign up is to: 1) download and print a form, 2) fill it out by hand and 3) fax it back to the organization. There were a lot of interested people not signing up because of this dated system. They turned the hose on into a leaky bucket.

Make it easy for people to engage with you, and they will.

Who Are You, Anyway?

Digital marketing activities don’t build momentum over time without establishing a thoughtful brand, vision and messaging. Getting someone’s email address is worthless if you aren’t aiming to build a long-term relationship with them. We commonly see unclear brands with unclear value propositions, misaligned products and non-persona-centric messaging.

You might successfully drive people to your site, but, once they arrive, they’re greeted with messaging that doesn’t resonate with them. When we work to build healthy brands, we aim to serve the needs of our target personas. Understand that your product isn’t for everyone, and work hard to earn the respect and attention of your audience.

There’s ROI in CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization)

Lots of websites lack a clear conversion strategy. Similar to “getting out of the way,” how can we make sure visitors who are interested have an easy path to move forward?

There’s a book called Don’t Make Me Think that outlines a great approach to web design. It explains that most web users LIKE to be shown what we want them to do. They like to be shepherded along towards something productive. Aimless wandering and ambiguity can burn out your audience quickly.

To help illustrate this point, Magneti built a simple digital marketing calculator. Common result: MOST initial ROI will come from increasing your conversion rate, NOT increasing the amount of traffic you’re currently getting. Fix that leaky bucket, and your marketing spend will stretch much further.

You Gotta Give It Away

Always provide value. Teams that win tend to be obsessed with sharing their knowledge, helping provide value whenever they can regardless of whether that prospect converts.

A healthy, non-leaky website is chalk-full of helpful information. The latest from your industry, “thought leadership” content, unique strategies and tips, news and events – all interesting, helpful information to a visitor.

Are you afraid of giving away your knowledge? Search engines have opened most of those locked doors, making nearly everything available through a few quick key strokes. You might as well be the one who gets found when someone is looking! 

Luckily, diagnosing your leaky bucket often gives you the immediate fix — no big strategy needed. Ask your customers what frustrates them. Use heat map tools like Crazy Egg and free tools like Google Analytics to discover patterns of behavior – patterns that can inform where you should focus your energy. Don’t worry about driving new web traffic just yet; let’s build a website that converts the traffic you’re already getting.