It’s that sense of dread for a business owner. Your business is going along great. Traffic is good, and sales are high. Then all of a sudden the silence becomes deafening. The phones stop ringing. The number of emails in your inbox drops. You can hear the crickets chirping in the background. What happened?
At first, you and your employees run around the office and sales floor making sure all the phone and computer lines are connected and plugged in. It sounds silly, but check to make sure both your power and internet are on. Where else could the problem be? Surely, all of your customers and potential leads couldn’t all stopped wanting your product or services at the same time.
A bit overdramatic, but it can be how you feel as a business owner when traffic and sales become almost non-existent. If you’ve checked the obvious and your traffic is still on the quiet side, it may be time to call in tech support to take a look at your digital marketing tools. When your leads and calls drop to null, and there is nothing else going on, it may more than likely be problems with your online campaign.
An essential first step when calls and leads have dropped is to check if there are technical issues with any part of your online marketing tools. These issues can vary and include problems with robots.txt files, pay per click (PPC) ads, or missing links or broken hyperlinks within your website or other ad sites. Google support explains that robots.txt are files on your website that tells search engine crawlers (also called web robots, web wanderers, and spiders) which pages or files they can or can’t request from your site.
If a robots.txt file on your website is well-written, it can improve your search engine optimization (SEO). A broken or poorly written file can lead to indexation problems, and a much lower ranking on search engine results pages (SERP). Rewriting robots.txt files should correct any issues that may block web crawlers.
Your PPC ads are another lead generation tool. When your budget runs out so does your PPC ad campaign. If you are consistently running out of money in your PPC budget, it’s time to rework your campaign. Consider setting up warning alerts to let you know when your budget is getting low. This way you can determine whether or not you want to increase your budget for PPCs or not before you have no budget left.
Another technical problem that can affect calls and foot traffic is if a link or links to your local business are missing or not working. This may be on places within your website such as the “contact us” page, or a link on your Google My Business (GMB) page. If you have a GMB ad, make sure your “click to call” button is working properly, and is connected to the correct phone number.
If your online leads have slowed down, the problem may be that the traffic to your website has been significantly reduced by something. Traffic sources can include your PPC ads, social media sites, email marketing programs, referrals, direct traffic, and organic traffic. The web analytics for your website can give you the data about where the traffic to your website has slowed down or stopped.
Direct traffic is users that don’t go through other sites or ads to find your website. Generally, they arrive at your website by typing in your URL in a search engine. Check your URL to make sure it’s working properly and is user-friendly both for traffic and search engines.
Organic traffic is users that find your website through search engines such as Google or Bing by using words and phrase called keywords. The number of organic traffic users that finds your site can be affected by a drop in your website’s ranking on search engine result pages (SERP). To achieve higher SEO rankings your site needs to have content that uses strong keywords and phrase and, most important that is relevant and well-written.
A Broken Website
Another issue to check is if your website itself is broken. This can mean a lot of things, including technical matters or poorly designed web pages. Your website should be an extension of your business in design and function. Visitors to your site should have a clear picture of what your business is, and how they can interact with your business on the site.
When a user lands on your site, they should also be able to see everything on your pages clearly, not a pile of cluttered images and content. If there are too many flashing buttons, images, and videos it could mean user media overload. Content on a website is good, but too much information to read can turn a user away. Make sure your “call to action” buttons have language on them that is clearly stating what the button is for and what will happen if the customer clicks on it.
Look at the functionality of your site, and make sure everything is user-friendly. Does your landing page clearly state who you are and what your visitor will get from your website? Are your pages easy for a user to navigate through? Traffic to your website should be able to find everything they need on your site easily, and with no waiting for pages or images to load.
A CNBC article states that currently approximately 2 billion people only use their smartphones to access the internet. That number is expected to rise to 3.7 billion users by 2025. Having a mobile-friendly website is essential to a strong marketing campaign.
Check the functionality on your website to make sure all aspects are easily accessed and viewable on mobile devices.
If the Problem isn’t Technical, Try Algorithms
An algorithm, or algo for short, is a mathematical instruction that tells a computer how to complete a specific task. Online platforms including search engines and social media sites use algorithms. As internet protocols change, algorithms need to be replaced. As tweaks, updates, and upgrades are made to algorithms, business owners need to know and adapt their online marketing campaigns to them.
Search engines like Google, and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, make changes to their algorithms to improve their platforms to be more user-friendly. Although updates are often done daily, many are so minor most internet users don’t notice any change. Significant changes to algorithm, most notable are the ones done by Google, can significantly affect your SERP rankings. This can decrease traffic to your website, social media accounts, and other online marketing programs. This, in turn, can affect the number of leads and calls to your business.
Keeping track of algorithm updates across internet platforms is essential. As algorithms change, it’s imperative to adapt your website, social media sites, and other online programs to keep them working smoothly and efficiently. This will ensure your online marketing campaign stays strong.
Authority Passing Citations and Links
Another element to check when the percentage of your leads and calls becomes less is your link equity. Also called link juice, link equity is when a backlink to your website comes from a more prestigious or authoritative site. These types of backlinks are considered an authority passing link. This type of connection can improve your SEO ranking and credibility with your customers.
To gain backlinks and citations from reputable sites, the content on your website needs to hold value for other websites. Quality businesses are going to look for companies with the same standards.
For links to be considered authority passing links, they need to be relevant to your website, and located within the main content of the page they are on. The link should be within page content that has a marginal amount of other links. A web crawler is not going to pick up on a backlink if it is one of many on a page. The crawler also can’t be blocked by a robots.txt file. If it’s not picked up, it won’t be a valid link to your site.
Pay Attention When Leads and Calls drop to Null
Keeping track of your online campaign is an essential part of your online marketing program. Not staying alert to data can lead to a drop in traffic to your business. This means no new leads and no phone calls. If traffic does come to a halt, investigating the reason why is a must.
The first step is to decide if it’s a technical or non-technical issue with your online marketing program. Second is to find what the exact source of the problem is. Once the issue is detected, the next step is fixing it promptly. You need to get your business up and running again as quickly as possible to limit any collateral damage.
By carefully tracking the data of your online marketing campaigns you can see where there may be an issue before it becomes a significant problem. This can prevent your business from having times when your leads and calls drop to null.