During a recent sales presentation, a prospect I was speaking with gasped when I showed him how one of our clients had steadily increased their pay-per-click advertising budget from $1,500 per month to more than $25,000 per month. During the same time period, this client also significantly increased their investment in email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media. They had gone “all in” with online marketing.
Each week, I talk to dozens of business owners about Web marketing. They range in size from local mom-and-pop businesses to large, multinational corporations. From these conversations, I’ve determined that, regardless of the company size and industry, when it comes to online marketing, there are two types of companies: those that have gone all in and those that can’t believe how much their competitors are spending.
The Importance of Tracking Your Website
Whether or not a company is investing heavily in online marketing typically comes down to their answer to a single question: Can they connect website activity to their bottom line?
More often than not, companies that are investing heavily in Web marketing have put in place the systems and reporting mechanisms to accurately track their website activity so they can attribute various website actions—even seemingly small ones—with revenue and profit. These companies know the value of getting a new visitor to their website and getting them to subscribe to the company’s email newsletter. They know what a visit to the Store Directions page on their website is worth.
Companies not accurately tracking their websites tend to rely on customer surveys with age-old-questions like, “How did you hear about us?” that typically generate responses like, “your website” or “the Internet.” This isn't much of a strategy because you have no real idea what a new subscriber is worth or what percentage of your website visitors subscribe. It’s easier to spend $5 per click to get someone to your website if, from tracking, you know that you will get a new email newsletter subscriber for every two visits and you’ve determined that one new subscriber to your email newsletter is worth $30.
RELATED: How I Lost Thousands in Email Marketing
How to Make the Connection
Identifying the value of a new client, what you’re willing to pay to acquire an additional client, and the percentage of leads your sales team turns into business, is easy for most business owners. The challenge for them is finding out the percentage of website visitors that convert into leads—but this is not as difficult as you might think.
To connect your website activity to your bottom line, you should:
- Implement tracking tools such as Google Analytics.
- Customize your Analytics account to identify important website actions as goals.
- Implement call tracking so you can connect Web-generated phone calls to the market source that drove the visit to your website (useful only if you receive inquiries via phone).
The types of website actions you should track depend entirely on your business, but common goals include: email newsletter sign-ups, Web contact form submissions, phone calls, and each time someone plays a video on your website.
RELATED: Web Forms to Help You Keep in Contact With Customers
When you know what percentage of Web contact forms become sales and the percentage of Web visits from a particular traffic source that complete your contact form, it becomes easy to determine the value of each visit from that source. Armed with your numbers, you can test new marketing strategies with confidence—knowing it will be much easier to determine whether a particular campaign was a success or a failure.
Accurately tracking your marketing investments is critically important—especially for small businesses with limited advertising budgets. While exceptions certainly exist, most companies investing heavily in online marketing are doing so because they can connect website activity with their bottom line and the numbers make sense. After all, if you own a small business and you have the capacity and desire to grow, why wouldn’t you invest more in a marketing strategy that generates a profitable return?
With the right analytics tools in place, success becomes a simple process—track, test, tweak, repeat.
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OPEN Cardmember Ben Landers is the president of Blue Corona, an Inc. 500 online marketing company that provides services like PPC, SEO, and Web design to companies throughout North America.