For small and medium business owners, targeting buyer motivated traffic is crucial to business success, at least until your business is ready for more brand targeted strategies.

So what is buyer motivated traffic?

There are different levels or phases of buyer motivation that we need to understand, which also need to be prioritised according to your business goals.


Phase 1:

Traffic currently shopping to buy your product or service right now. They know what they want and are ready to make a decision.

Phase 2:

Traffic currently researching to buy your product or service at some point in the near or distant future. This could be a few days, weeks or months depending on your industry.

Phase 3:

People who are the correct target audience and are not currently shopping, or researching to buy your product or service but may do in the future.

Phase 4:

People currently researching information about your product, service or industry with no motivation to purchase your product. Usually for a report or general research.


Obviously the three acceptable targeting methods are one, two and three, however of all the business websites in which we perform a traffic audit, over 70% of traffic comes from phase number four, people who are researching information with no motivation to purchase your product. This is very alarming when you also consider a large portion of this traffic in some cases is paid advertising traffic sources.

Which targeting method should you prioritise your advertising spend on?

This is always an intelligent place to start for the simple reason that your return on investment is more immediate in covering your advertising costs. The strategy also depends on how well it is set up and optimised. Many paid search accounts like Google and Yahoo accounts that we audit each day are still targeting audiences in phase 4, due to a lack of understanding about keyword psychology, account structuring and optimization techniques. Advertising channels for targeting Phase 1 traffic, in order of efficiency:

• Google AdWords & SEOanalytics
• Yahoo (recently split from Bing)
• Bing
• Adlux
• Online business directories
• Gumtree
• Ebay
• Amazon
• Yellow Pages

This is important in securing longer term traffic opportunities from often a much larger audience who are researching to buy in the near future. However the strategies required to do this are more sophisticated, requiring multiple techniques to ensure traffic looking to purchase at some point in the future will actually remember or be reminded of your brand when they’re ready to buy. These strategies include:

• Site Remarketing ( no lead details required )
• Search Remarketing ( no lead details required )
• Email Marketing
• Text Message Marketing
• Scripted Follow Up Calls

Advertising channels for targeting phase two traffic are the same as phase one however different keyword and placement techniques are used to also include audiences in the research and comparison phase of the decision buying cycle.

Phase three targeting is an opportunity that should be ideally allocated budget once you have saturated all available traffic from Phase 1 and 2, who represent a higher immediate return on investment form of advertising. This is often a large debate between traditionalist media and marketing professionals who believe higher reach and frequency advertising strategies are more effective while also building brand recognition.

While I agree with high reach, high frequency strategies for brand recognition I also know that most small and medium business owners cannot afford the type budgets required to do this. Even if you have million dollar media budgets, it still makes logical sense to saturate your budget first on traffic that is highly motivated and ready to buy now or in the near future before allocating to high reach, high frequency brand tactics. Also keep in mind your brand may not need to become a household name to everyone in a geographic region, you only may want to build your brand recognition to a highly targeted audience, and this is where phase three targeting is highly effective.

Through intelligent targeting techniques you can still build your brand while ensuring the audience is likely to be interested at some point in the future, even if they are not shopping or researching right now. An example of this might be a Driving School who is targeting a certain age and peer group who have other interests that are identifiable and easy to target. They may not be shopping or researching now but soon enough they will need to take driving lessons.


The next question then becomes, who is my target audience?

• What else are they likely interested in?
• What lifestyles do they lead?
• How do they consume information at different times of the day?
• Where are they likely to be and when? ( time of day – devices )
• What age, gender and consumer behavior are they likely to have?
• What other products and services are they likely to buy?
• What is their decision buying process? ( days, weeks, months, how often do they search before buying, (conversion path)

Advertising channels for targeting Phase 3 traffic, in order of efficiency:

• Google AdWords, Yahoo and Bing – Push marketing methods
• Google Display Network
• Premium display networks (ideal for brand association only)
• Facebook advertising
• Linkedin advertising
• Social Media networking and content strategies.
• Trading exit traffic with other relevant but non-competitive websites in similar industries.
• Promotional offers on purchase thank you pages of other websites in similar industries.
• Data mining with direct mail and fax marketing techniques with special offers
• Telemarketing qualified databases with special offers
• Blog influencer networks and reach out strategies
• EDM targeting
• Free to Air and Subscription TV (less targeting options, highest reach and brand effectiveness.)
• Radio (less targeting options)
• Magazine and trade journals. (low ROI)

How to avoid the wrong target audience

In many cases, targeting motivated buyers or the correct target audience is just as much about techniques to avoid unmotivated traffic. Often through effective targeting methods it is still impossible to have 100% accuracy; however with the use of negative keywords and audience filters we can increase the quality of our targeting techniques significantly. In many cases this has resulted in a 100% to 200% increase in ROI for paid search and online display advertising.