A guest post by Tej Kohli of Grafix Softech.
Want to know what keeps me up some nights? Clients who believe that having a killer website is all they can do to market their product or service online. In our experience, a shocking amount of executives don’t understand how they can improve their marketing efforts through simple and affordable measurement and analysis.
Whether speaking with a bootstrap start-up executive or an Inc. 500 CMO, I am routinely surprised (and a little nervous) that so many folks close their toolbox once their websites go live. They don’t seem to understand that the days of “if you build a great website, they will come” are long behind us.
We’ve been helping executives market their businesses online since the mid-nineties. But 2012 is the year when any company—large or small—can get on board. So, the focus isn’t “if” but “when.”
1. Leverage your geographic data
That spike in web traffic from Miami or London isn’t just an anomaly; it’s a vital piece of data regarding your business in general and your marketing efforts in particular. Every geographic detail reveals a larger reality regarding who is buying and what is motivating that person. Compiling the right geographic data enables you to analyze important details, such as pockets of interest, economic status, average age, and ethnic diversity.
2. Capture names and addresses
I’ve taken heat from various corners of the industry for saying that, but I cannot discount the value of collecting and processing the name and address of your visitors.
We all work hard to get visitors to our pages, so it’s disappointing when visitors leave the site after barely two clicks. The disappointment is intensified if you paid for the traffic by using PPC advertising. Nonetheless, every visitor has value. Some make a purchase immediately, and some are willing to provide valuable data—their name and email address. A list of qualified, opted-in visitors is an integral part of your marketing effort and allows you re-market these visitors down the road. Just be sure to adhere to CAN-SPAM guidelines.
3. Don’t discount your basic audience data
Over a decade ago, everyone had a counter on their website to keep track of the site’s hits. Today, the counter is gone, and the data is deeper, but most folks still aren’t sure what to do with all of the numbers.
Take the time to understand your numbers and assess the success and weaknesses in your site or campaign. No matter whether the news is good or bad, you need this information if you care about the performance on your campaign and the details regarding who is visiting your site, and what he or she is doing there.
4. Identify your frequent visitors and fawn over them
The best customer is a repeat customer. Anyone who visits your site and makes a purchase regularly is far more valuable than a casual, “one-off” customer who shopped on price alone, placed an order, and was never heard from again. (Most of our clients complain that it’s hard to build customer loyalty, especially in industries where dozens of competitors are offering the same products or services.)
Your first step is to discover what brings your customers back for more. Are they pleased with the shopping experience? Are they satisfied with prompt delivery of products or services? Is the site honest in its descriptions and terms? Is the site visually pleasing and does it load quickly, regardless of browser? Frequent visitors share one common trait: They like your business. However, that admiration is multifaceted. One positive isn’t enough to bring them back again.
5. Identify and analyze your most viewed pages and paths
Every web designer pays a great deal of attention to a site’s ease of navigation, including the placement of menus and drop boxes, font colors and sizes, and location of social media icons. However, few people pay attention to navigation path analysis once the site goes live.
Where to begin? Identify your most-viewed page, which provides considerable insights into your customer base and how your product or service is positioned within the minds of your buyers. At Grafix Softech, we measure the success of a site’s design by measuring conversions and activity on key pages. If these individual page metrics are trending up even after considering total site metrics, then we know our client’s site is working.
One lesson we’ve learned in our fifteen years of consulting on these matters is: The most-viewed page isn’t always where we want customers to spend most of their time. So, navigation path analysis is imperative if you want insights into your customer base and how they regard your site.
I’ll leave you with an observation from one of my interns: It used to be that only half of advertising worked, we just didn’t know which half. Today, an effective web marketing and analytics operation can tell us which half is working.
Tej Kohli is CEO and founder of Grafix Softech, an e-business consulting and Internet marketing company with offices in North America, South America, and Asia.
(Photo courtesy of Bigstock: Young Student)