What do we want traffic for? Are all traffic sources for SaaS companies the same?
Traffic is the path to growth. Traffic leads to leads, leads to sales and sales leads to growth.
If traffic doesn’t lead to leads it’s practically useless. You don’t need the traffic to have traffic, you need traffic for something.
The traffic that comes to your website has to serve to make a sale. It is better to have ten sales with a traffic of 10 people per month than to have just one sale with a traffic of one million. There is no point in having a billion visits from people under the age of eight if your site is about business law.
So the traffic is useless?
Quite the opposite. Traffic is a “pre-opportunity” to sell. A pre-lead. The more traffic you have, the more possibilities you have to transform a visit into a lead. One thing is clear: if you have zero visitors, you have zero leads and, therefore, zero sales. The traffic needs to come from your target audience and, once you’ve got it right, the more the better.
The sources of traffic for SaaS companies are the same as for any other website, of course: just because we have a special kind of web page we are not going to have a type of visitor that does not exist in other markets. But the data we are going to handle is specific for SaaS.
Traffic sources can be:
-Links and referrals
The first three are passive traffic sources and the last three are active traffic sources.
Direct traffic is the most important source of traffic for SaaS companies. The most common direct traffic is when the visitor types the URL into their browser. But that’s not all. It is also the direct traffic when the visitor has your page in bookmarks or in the web browser history and goes to your page from there. It’s the most important because it’s the most abundant and it’s the one that doesn’t come from anywhere, the one that starts browsing on your own page.
It is the most important because the people who already know your page usually enter this way and, as you probably already know, it is much cheaper to keep a customer than to make a new one. It is also the most numerous traffic for a SaaS company. Direct traffic is the traffic that comes from repeat customers, from people who have already used your product or who have entered your site before and have attracted enough attention to return.
Direct traffic is the largest and most important source of traffic, but it’s the only one you can’t act on directly. To get more direct traffic you need to work on other sources.
Organic traffic is the traffic that comes from search engines and is the second source of traffic visits for SaaS companies. On average, US SaaS companies receive 30% of their traffic from search engines. Almost all this traffic comes from Google, so, although Bing is not exactly a failed search engine, in Spain it is hardly known and we are not going to consider it here.
This traffic is scalable, in other words, it grows if you dedicate more resources to it. It is the easiest modifiable traffic and this is good and bad at the same time: it is easy to make it grow and it is easy too for your competence.
A good article, a message that becomes viral or a piece of interesting content can generate traffic for months. And all the marketers of any SaaS company (and any other company) will tell you that the best strategy they have followed, the most effective, is to improve their SEO. It’s cheap, it’s effective and any employee can do their bit.
That’s true: SEO is many things, but not fast at all. SEO is a source of traffic for long-term SaaS companies. Is the slowest of all sources of traffic for SaaS companies. If you need immediate results SEO is not such a good idea. But the sooner you invest in SEO the sooner you will notice results.
Links and referrals
This is is the traffic that comes through links from other sites. This is one of the most difficult to get, because, apart from directories and this kind of pages, if you share the link of your SaaS anywhere it can be seen as an attempt to self-promotion and, therefore, spam. Avoiding this depends mainly on the relevance of your content, and on what is important to the people who read it and how appropriate the link is.
The ideal approach is not sharing links yourself, but to get others to share them. And that depends on two factors: the first is again the relevance of your content. The second is the notoriety of your page: the more known it is, the easier is for people to trust your content and share it and click on it.
The great advantage of inbound links is that, even if they don’t attract a lot of traffic, they contribute to SEO, so being linked also improves organic traffic.
And where can link your SaaS? Well, it depends on what your SaaS does. Thematic forums, Reddit, etc. are great sources of traffic where you can find people interested in your product and where you can find contacts from your environment. But you always need to consider common sense and education: linking your SaaS where no one has asked you and where no one can be interested will result, as we warned above, in you being seen as a spammer rather than an interesting option.
We have seen main sources of traffic for SaaS companies that are more or less passive. In part two we will see the other three traffic sources: email, social networks and advertising that require much more participation by the owners of the SaaS, so they are traffic sources for active SaaS companies.
You can learn more about traffic for SaaS in Nementio blog. Main source: Mike Sonders