The 4 Pillars of Measurable Marketing
I am often asked... "How do I get traffic to my website?"
The challenge when answering this question is that for most businesses with an online presence, getting more people to a website is only part of the problem (in fact in my experience, getting more people to a particular website is the 'last' thing you should be doing.)
For a website to be successfully it isn't enough to simply get visitors (or more visitors) but to focus also on what happens to those visitors once they get there. That is to get them 'to and through' the website.
Most people tend to overlook this point, focusing on getting any and every user they can to visit their website and in doing so paying little attention to what happens to them once they get there.
For me this is the real world equivalent to spending large sums of money to drive an audience to a retail outlet... for the visitor to then be greeted by poor customer service, a confusing offer, too many/too few products on offer, inappropriate fit out etc...
I would call this the 'shotgun' approach to marketing basically firing off as many marketing bullets as you can in the blind hope that you will 'hit' some potential customers, and better still, maybe even convert a few to sales.
This approach doesn't work offline and is even less effective online where a user leaving your site to go to a competitors is only a mouse click away.
Some time ago I created a 4 part marketing methodology which provides an easy way to measure the performance of any marketing system (in this case a website) and affect its performance.
For a website it goes like this...
1. Are enough potential customers being exposed to your business?
Here you need look at everything from self maintainable generation of traffic (URL Forwarding, Search Engine Optimisation, Doorway Pages/Mini Sites, Link Exchange Programs etc...) to external programs (Search Engine Marketing, Banner Advertising, Website Sponsorships etc...).
Additionally, given the way Search Engines 'index' page content, work needs to be done on 'visible' copy before the website goes live. This would include restructuring main area copy towards the terms that potential customers/visitors may use to find the website (or the various goods/services you are trying to sell.)
2. Is your businesses 'core offer' being seen by enough of your target customers?
Work here includes modification of website navigation, page size (speed), copy and design to maximise the number of people that will see your businesses core offer(s).
Analysis of your website statistics will determine where potential customers are going within the website. This data can be used to determine what pages require improving and what pages could be left alone (or in some cases deleted altogether.)
Fundamentally, this section involves doing what you can to get more people to see what it is you built your website for in the first place.
This could be anything from trying to drive more people to sign up for a newsletter through to viewing a range of products/services that your business offers.
3. Are you getting enough potential customers engaged in the sales process? Do you have enough enquiries?
This is one of the more critical areas for review.
Here you are trying to get more website users to move from 'just browsing' to being actively engaged with your business. That is to call your 1800 number, fill in an enquiry form or view the various products/services you have on offer.
This could include things like modifying the 'product' (or service) copy for Search Engines, re-designing e-commerce forms to be easier (and quicker) to fill in, improving the forms 'call to action', better placement of contact information etc...
Installing external functionality to move people to or engage people in your offer is also an option.
Some time back I discovered a brilliant platform that does just that called LivePerson (or the opensource version, PHPLive) which can both push potential customers to the 'offer' and more importantly, prompt people to engage in the quoting/buying process as soon as they enter your website.
4. Are you converting as many leads as your business is capable of?
Improvement in this area will cover everything from ensuring that the quality of leads (in the case of a sales driven website) getting to the sales people is high through to making sure that each and every lead is promptly addressed, given to the relevant sales person and most importantly, entered into the system for follow up.
Once again, technologies like LivePerson and PHPLive will help close more sales.
Analysis of your websites stats would help determine which type of customer generated more sales and therefore allow you to modify various marketing programs, website copy/design etc... as appropriate.
Importantly for this section, you need also review 'non website factors that contribute to helping or harming the sales/conversion process.
I once provided some advice for a very large business in the 'moving' sector that was getting a strong volume of leads but not converting as many of these as they would have liked.
The problem boiled down to 1 fundamental issue... poor management of the leads coming from the website.
Here leads were often getting lost (they were printed out by reception and handed on paper to the sales staff) and in the main were not being addressed in a quick enough fashion (what worked for the offline business wasn't working online where quicker, more nimble competitors were responding in 'web time'.)
3 things I suggested ended up contributing to an approx. 500% increase in sales for this business.
- All leads from the website were automatically submitted to a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
- All leads from the website were to be responded to within 24 hours of them being received.
- Casual staff were employed to work weekends such that leads received on a Saturday (where almost 50% of leads come from in the moving space) were addressed shortly after they were submitted.
The above 4 area's are constantly repeated as you gather data from your websites statistics, SEO, SEM, customer feedback, marketing performance and competitor analysis... 'Feedback Loops'.
Importantly by improving each of these 4 marketing touch points, even incrementally, you should see a profound improvement in volume of leads/enquiries from your website marketing efforts... and hopefully therefore in actual sales, membership subscriptions or service contracts (or whatever you would define as a 'conversion' from your website.)
Posted by Lindy Waldeck on 10/04 at 09:08 PM