Remember when we called the internet an “Information Superhighway?” Let’s roll with that analogy for insights into how you could do better getting traffic to your site.

When you have a store along any highway, it’s smart to know how much traffic rolls by. You also want at least a count of competitors. Netcraft estimates there are 1,132,268,801 websites along the information superhighway; the average person visits less than 96 of them a month.

Not Great Odds

But, hey, you can beat those odds with PPC Ads, right? The idea behind PPC is that when people search on what you sell, you can get ‘em off the highway and onto your website for a few dollars a click.

What you need to understand is that PPC is NOT advertising at all. It is, therefore, not a great choice as a primary source of traffic for your website.

PPC Is Your Brand’s Frenemy

PPC is to advertising what those blue services signs are just before a freeway exit; I want gas, there’s a list of them. Which gets picked? Most people either pick a store at random, or based on distance from the exit, or they go with a preferred brand they feel best about.

It’s the same with PPC. People get their search results, and either pick the first result, the result that looks the best to them at that moment, or a brand they recognize and trust.

So if PPC doesn’t really count as advertising, then what should you use instead?

The Beaver Knows

Remember that highway analogy?  As it turns out the answer to attracting more website traffic can be found at Buc-ee’s, a group of Texas convenience stores.

Arch “Beaver” Alpin started Buc-ee’s with a hot check in 1982. Today, his 37 stores are must-see stops along Gulf Coast highways. Forget for a moment that their stores are Texas big and immaculately clean with, according to Cintas, the best (and cleanest) rest rooms in America. Where traffic is concerned, the feature you’ll like best about Buc-ees is their advertising.

Beat Them To The Search

The National Association of Convenience Stores counts a total of 15,607 locations along Texas roadways (the most of any state, of course). That means Buc-ee’s has a 37-in-15,607 chance of you visiting one of their stores.

But instead of relying on those blue off-ramp signs to get people into their stores, Buc-ees uses billboards. Lots of billboards, dotting roadways for miles in every direction. Buc-ee’s billboards announce the stores exit location and create not just awareness, but curiosity and familiarity.

Without those billboards, a driver might think Buc-ee’s was just another roadside store. Because of the boards, they know there’s something special about Buc-ee’s.  Something worth seeing. The real magic of Buc-ee’s billboards is found in their messages.

  • “The Eyes of Buc-ee’s Are Upon You”
  • “Clean Restrooms, We Guarantee It”
  • “Ice, Beer, Jerky: The 3 Food Groups”
  • “It’s A Beaver!”
  • “Restrooms So Clean, We Leave Mints on the Urinals”
  • “The Top Two Reasons to Stop at Buc-ee’s: #1 and #2”
  • “A Bigger Kolache I Never Sausage a Thing”
  • “Don’t worry, P happy”
  • “Worth the Wait”
  • “Don’t pass our gas!”

They’re simple. They’re focused. They’re consistent. And they earn that first visit by hitting you where it counts, appealing to your inevitable bodily need to stop… In 125 miles, 50 miles, 10 miles, next exit. After all, when you gotta go, you gotta go. Because most exits have a number of places to go, Buc-ee’s decided not to leave choice up to chance.

Instead just choosing from that blue exit (search result) sign, those billboards cause drivers to select the exit with a Buc-ee’s, having already decided ahead of time where to go.

Billboard Yourself

So how do you make Buc-ee’s strategy work for your website?

You need to advertise ahead of your customers’ need, the same way Buc-ee’s advertises hundreds of miles ahead of the exit. For you that could mean integrating your site into radio or TV ads, print or direct mail. Advance exposure gives you the advantage.

Do you want your prospective customers typing your business category and location into Google, then choosing from search results? Or, do you want them entering your business name into Google, having already made up their mind who they want to do business with?

Get Ahead, Stay Ahead

Advertising ahead of customer’s need helps get more of your Web traffic coming from a brand-based search rather than a category-based search. You become a sought-out destination rather than a randomly selected stop. The fact is, a website without advertising is like a Buc-ee’s without billboards.

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