When mining website data, every marketer wants to see results from their time and money spent – aka return on investment (ROI). Here are the questions we hear from our clients, especially B2B sales and marketing managers:
- Did we get new customers or sales leads?
- Did word of mouth referrals increase?
- Are our products more visible in our industry?
Today, online programs drive much of sales and marketing. Our clients are moving away from printed catalogs and brochures, since they go out of date so quickly. Who wants to accumulate boxes of brochures that are 2-3 years old? Instead, they are creating online sell sheets, product specifications, installation guides, customer stories, testimonials and press releases. With no print inventory, it’s easy to pivot as your business or product mix changes.
Improving Search Rankings
Besides saving the significant cost of color printing and mailing, Google and other search engines consider these documents “rich” content. The mere act of posting fresh content to your website will improve your search rankings. Add in a social media presence on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, and prospective customers will find you faster and in more places.
The beauty of online communication is how easy it is to track. You don’t need a hard hat to mine key data. Analytics tools are either free or low-cost and easily accessible. Tracking online activity will help you gain insights and make informed decisions about future spending.
Example from the B2B Side
Here’s an example:
We redesigned a client’s B2B website two years ago. After years of only posting their print catalog and product numbers on their site, they added forty pages of product stories, a new video and extensive company information. They focused on Innovation and New Product Development, which supported their changing wholesale product strategy. Not surprisingly, their online traffic went up 6X the first three months after launch.
Since 2014, we’ve helped our client update their site regularly. They add new product news monthly, post videos, awards, trade shows, employee profiles and industry thought leadership. At first, they couldn’t correlate the cause and effect to their online efforts. Into the second year, they saw that business was up, unsolicited calls were coming in, and trade publications were contacting them for business stories.
Of course, there will always be referrals and sales we can’t track directly to their website – such as calls to their distributor reps and subsequent orders. But we know that new customers tend to check out company websites. They research products and perform due diligence on the company. So the stronger and fresher a business website, the better it supports every purchasing decision.
6 Key Website Metrics
Here are some of the key numbers to watch:
- Referred traffic vs. organic ~
Referred – came from other sites/servers
Organic – this is where your search rankings are key, especially if you’re not running a pay-per-click program.
- Page Views – helps you understand which products or services are of interest.
- Time on Site – are visitors staying long enough to find what they need?
- Bounce Rate – are visitors clicking away from your website after minimal viewing?
- Unique Visitors – often listed as “New vs. Previous.” B2B companies want to see a healthy mix of both.
- Geographic States – where are your visitors located?
So, How is Our Client’s Website Doing?
- Home page – This was the page with the most web traffic, as we planned
- #1 Product page clicked – Product XX, which was the priority for 2016 and featured in several updates
- Referred Traffic – this number stayed high, despite increased competition
- Bounce rate – reduced from 51% to 31% over six months (average bounce rate for B2B is 61%)
- Avg pages viewed – 3-4 (up from 2.9)
- Time on site: 2.35 minutes (up from 2.02)
Grow as You GO
Another thing to remember is that you’re not alone in learning web tools. It can seem like a flood of information. If you or your staff is having trouble embracing web tools, just focus on 1-2 metrics until you get more comfortable. The same goes for social media. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have detailed reports on networks, likers and engagement. In our experience, doing a little data mining is much better than doing none at all.
After two years of seeing their quarterly analytics reports, this client has moved beyond looking at just web traffic numbers. They’ve starting using analytic data to leverage and tweak their digital marketing.
Here’s a helpful blog for B2B marketers – Good luck and here’s to a successful 2017!