Set baselines for your content marketing traffic using the Traffic Source Ladder guideline

One of the main objectives of a content marketing strategy is to drive qualified traffic to your website. However, not all traffic is the same. What differentiates web traffic depends how you create content, how much it costs you to create, how you promote the content, and how much you paid to promote it.

It is easy to open up a web metric tool like Google Analytics and find out what channels traffic came in through, but that should only be your starting point. I consider those channels to be the baseline for your content marketing goals. Traffic that meets your baseline goals should help create strategies for driving incremental traffic beyond that baseline.

Below is a chart I use to think about, and measure, web traffic. I call it the Traffic Source Ladder. You essentially look at the chart from bottom-to-top. I will walk through how I use this chart below.

Baseline Traffic

Baseline traffic is the web traffic that you should just get as the result of creating great content. When you start a content creation cycle (like a year, quarter, month, etc.), you should set some metric goals for how your content is going to generate traffic. The green shaded area of the chart above outlines five channels your content should get traffic from, and an example of the percent of total traffic from those sources. Starting at the bottom…

Social (10%)

The content you create should be promoted on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and/or any other networks where your targeted persona hangs out. Out of all the traffic your content generates, roughly 10% should come from these social sites.

Email (5%)

If you haven’t started building your email list, start today. If you have an email list in place, make sending emails out to that list on a consistent basis a priority. Traffic from this channel should be about 5% of your total.

Direct (30%)

As your content gets better and better over time and it gets delivered on a schedule, more traffic will come directly to your site from saved links and bookmarks. This should make up 30% of your total traffic.

Referral (15%)

Referral traffic comes from external sites that link to your content, contributors who are part of your Influencer Marketing program, etc. This traffic should make up about 15% of your total traffic.

Organic Search (40%)

If you have been creating quality content for a longer period of time, you could probably look at your web metrics today and see that organic is generating the majority of your traffic. There have been times I have seen as much as 55-60% of my total traffic coming from organic. I think a safe goal to shoot for is 40% of your total traffic should come from the organic search channel.

So that wraps up your baseline traffic sources. Your focus should first be to set and reach goals in the baseline channels first. When you achieve that, then I recommend moving to further content promotion to get what I call “Bonus Traffic”.

Bonus Traffic

Bonus traffic is the incremental traffic you can get from select content that is proving to outperform the baseline. Starting from the bottom of the chart for Bonus Traffic…

SEM and Paid Media (Up to 5-15% More)

If a piece of content is exceeding baseline traffic expectations, you might want to put some fuel on the fire by dropping some money behind it for further reach. That is where setting up some Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or other paid media like Facebook Ads or YouTube pre-roll ads might be something to consider. If you do execute this tactic, try and shoot for a 5-15% increase in your baseline traffic.

Recirculation Promotion (Up to 25% More)

Next you might want to look for other content creators or platforms where your content might be able to reach a new audience. You might have other sites the content can be cross-promoted on, or you can reach out to 3rd party sites who might be willing to work out a deal. A good goal for this channel tactic is a 25% increase over your baseline traffic.

Homepage Promotion (Up to 25% More)

Website homepages are valuable pieces of real estate. That is because most homepages still get the majority of traffic over any other page on a website, and not all content gets featured on the homepage. However, if you have a piece of content that is picking up some steam, you might want to make the pitch for clearing some homepage real estate for an image, copy, and call-to-action to drive up to 25% more traffic to it.

Grab my FREE Influencer Marketing Agreement template to kick-start building your Influencer Program

Influencer marketing programs continue to grow in 2019. The average earned media value per $1 spent on influencer marketing yielded a $5.20 return in 2018. The influencer market is expected to top $6.5 billion in 2019.

Influencer marketing programs continue to grow in 2019. The average earned media value per $1 spent on influencer marketing yielded a $5.20 return in 2018. The influencer market is expected to top $6.5 billion in 2019.

Influencer marketing has had its fair share of ups and downs over the last several years.  When companies were looking for voices other than their own to sell their products, and social platforms were really taking off and exploding with celebrity influencers with substantial followings, influencer marketing was born and really hit its stride.  Then some brands realized that follower counts (and in some cases engagement metrics) were inflated or flat out fake, so companies started pulling back a bit. Now the world of micro-influencers (non-celebrities with less than a million followers and good engagement rates) continues to pick up steam since brands can have better control over reaching very targeted demographics at a lower cost.  Plus, there is less of a risk to brand reputation in the micro-influencer game.

There are many steps to building a successful influencer program, and sometimes it can be overwhelming to find a good starting point.  I have built a few templates to help brands get started with setting up influencer marketing programs, and I wanted to share one of those on this post.

The Influencer Marketing Agreement

Once you have identified the influencer(s) you want to work with, you have to make sure that expectations are well laid out.  You need a simple, yet thorough agreement that can be easily understood by the potential influencer (especially since a lot of them may not be familiar with contracts and working with brands).  Therefore, I have created a simple template that allows you to fill in some blanks that match your company and the influencer programs requirements you have, as a way to get you started in setting up your influencer marketing program toolkit.  After you download and complete filling in the influencer agreement template, all you have to do is run it by your legal department for a final thumbs up and then you should be good to go.

(Clicking this image above takes you to my opt-in page where you can select to receive the Influencer Marketing Agreement template)

(Clicking this image above takes you to my opt-in page where you can select to receive the Influencer Marketing Agreement template)

What is in the Influencer Marketing Agreement template

The Influencer Marketing Agreement template is divided into several different parts.  Here is what you will see once you download and start filling it in.

The first five pages are pretty general contract terms.  Things like the influencer’s name and date of the agreement, followed by standard terms of a contract.  These sections only require you to fill in names where needed, but otherwise the copy is pretty standard and universal.  These sections include:

  • Services

  • Compensation

  • Intellectual Property Rights

  • Trademark License

  • Representations and Warranties

  • Indemnification

  • Releases

  • Relationship of Parties

  • Confidential Information

  • Conflict of Interest

  • Terms and Termination

Page six is for signatures and contact information for the influencer.

Pages 7-8 consist of “Exhibit A” which outlines all of the content requirements the influencer is agreeing to create and distribute.  This section is where you will put the most work in as you have to clearly define every piece of content you expect to be created and all the required platforms/services.

Pages 9-10 consists of “Exhibit B” which covers off on the finer details of how the influencer needs to treat rules under the Federal Trade Commission’s Guide Concerning Endorsements and Testimonials.  This includes sections on:

  • Disclosure of Connection to Client

  • Clear and Prominent Disclosure

  • Honest and Truthful Opinions

  • Factual Statements that are Truthful and Verifiable

  • Respect to Intellectual Property Rights

  • Compliance with Policies and Laws

  • Brand Alterations and Guidelines

  • Inappropriate Content

  • Respect to Confidentiality

Again, this section will require very little modification as it is fairly standard and universal.

The final page of the template is “Exhibit C” which is a form the influencer can use to submit final work details back to your company.  You may or may not choose to use this page depending on if you have a different template or system to capture this information from the influencer.

Remember to run your completed template past your Legal department or company lawyer

I am not an attorney, and I don’t play one on the internet, so I strongly recommend you download and complete the template and then make sure your legal department or counsel review it for changes specific to your business.  I simply just wanted to give you a resource to get you started, especially if your legal team didn’t know where to begin with setting this up.

Grab your copy of the Influencer Marketing Agreement Template

I am offering up the Influencer Marketing Agreement template completely FREE.  I would just appreciate you taking a moment to subscribe to my email newsletter list. I only require a few pieces of information before I send you the template, but it is totally worth it because it helps me understand what helps you the most as I plan future content, products, and services.

Simply click on the image below and you will be taken to my opt-in page where you can select to receive the Influencer Marketing Agreement template (which is available in Google Docs and Microsoft Word versions). And as always, I would appreciate feedback on this template or any thing else related to your experience visiting my website.

Where You Should Place Your Call-to-Action in Video Content

Back in early 2018, I was looking to do some video content related to my Google G Suite service offerings.  Since I had not done much video in the past, I went into learning and experiment mode for a couple of months.  I had several goals I wanted to achieve from my video marketing test, including learning best practices around video titles, thumbnail testing, and keyword placement.  I also used a service called TubeBuddy, which was a tremendous help to me for properly optimizing my videos. By the time my experiment was complete, I had posted 10 videos during the months of April and May.

Besides learning about how to produce and publish videos, I had metric goals I was striving to achieve as well.  I was interested in measuring subscribers, watch time, views, and most importantly, clicks back to my website. I consider my website the hub of all my online activities, so making sure I had all the proper calls-to-action (CTA) setup in my videos was an important element.

In almost all my videos, I did setup annotations, end cards, and links in the video description box, all in order to get clicks back to my website.  For the most part, all my CTAs were at either the beginning of my video (during my introduction) or at the very end via an end card. That strategy worked okay, as I did get some traffic to my site, but I think there might be a new way to approach CTAs in video content.

When looking at my video analytics in YouTube Creator Studio, I noticed that on almost all of my videos, audience retention fell dramatically leading up to the last few minutes of each of my videos, meaning most of my viewers never even saw or heard my CTA to visit my website.  So then I examined each video to try and find a common point in all my videos where my retention was highest, and the result was my highest retention point was in the middle third of my videos. Since most of my videos were on average about 10 minutes long, the highest retention level was between the 3:00 and 6:00 minute time markers.

Knowing this, as I begin my next video project soon, I am going to intentionally move all my CTAs to the middle of my videos to see if that results in more traffic to my site.  I will definitely report back my findings here on the blog.

It feels natural to end your video with your CTA, as opposed to in the middle of your content.  However, when you have your greatest momentum and strong viewer attention is perhaps when you should strike with your most impactful CTA!

Upcoming Speaking Event: Homes for Heroes Success Camp 2019 Nashville


On April 4, 2019, I will be speaking at the Homes for Heroes 2019 Success Camp in Nashville, Tennessee. I will be presenting to an audience of real estate agents and mortgage lenders about building a marketing journey that will connect to heroes in their communities and grow their business in 2019.

This event is closed to the public and is exclusively for the real estate agents and mortgage lenders who are part of the Homes for Heroes program. If you are a real estate agent or mortgage lender who is interested in creating a strong point of differentiation in your market and give back to the heroes of your community, I encourage you to check out the Homes for Heroes program. Get signed up now and then register for the 2019 Success Camp in Nashville! I hope to see you there!