Saturday, December 29, 2007

Web site visitors vs. turnover

I got excellent data from one of our customers. It's quite obvious that I can't tell you which company it is, atleast at the moment. They do some of direct sales, but mostly their turnover comes from resellers. The CEO of the company looked at their web site visitors and turnover. As you can see below, there are only couple of exceptional months (May and August), and most of the year visitor and turnover curves follow each other.

If this is true, we want more visitors to website to get more sales, right? And we would like to measure couple of things, so we can prove it by numbers. The company is doing different kind of marketing activities constantly, so here's suggestions what we could measure:
  1. Off-line sales by printable special offer coupons
  2. How much the next marketing campaign costs?
  3. How many new visitors they get from the campaign?
  4. How much they are getting new income from the campaign?
  5. What is the cost per action (CPA) or cost per order (CPO)?
  6. What is the profit margin?
  7. What is the return on ad spend (ROAS)?
  8. What is the return on investment (ROI)?
It's really challenging to get exact sales figures when you're selling off-line and mostly through your resellers. People can convert without printing any coupons and they can convert by phone or email. It's hard to measure how your marketing works, if you're not having separate domains, phone numbers or email addresses for each campaign. But it's better to do the estimation roughly than doing it at all. That is marketing optimization. What do you think, can we prove the formula (web site visitors generate turnover)? And finally, a good quote from the CEO:
It's very important to have a good web analytics system in place, so marketers can find out their return on investment. Without this, importance of the company website may seem to be far less than it actually is.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

What's the level of our privacy?

I finally got a profile into Facebook. And we established unformal closed group for Navia CMS users. Every friend I have in Facebook can see wether I'm online and my status, if given. We even have these Skype-buttons at Naviatech's site, so that customers and partners could see if we're "away" having lunch or "off-line" in a meeting. Purpose of this is to avoid unneccessary phone calls, but I have to admit that it may increase the amount of e-mails received. I haven't measure it though. : )

Professional web analysts want to measure everything, of course. Eric Peterson have this awesome formula for visitor engagement metric. And for example, if I sign in to Amazon.com, it remembers what I have bought and recommends other products according to my own or my colleagues shopping cart behaviour. This is ok, we want people to convert and offer them better service.

There is atleast one advertising agency in Helsinki promoting their newsletter tool which reports recipients who opened the message. Sales team can have that information immediately to work with. One consultant was asking us how to track down and follow visits after login in personal level? Yes, we could do that and we have the technology, but...for what? I have talked about privacy with several web analytics professionals and lately also with an attourney in legal firm Castrén & Snellman. Unfortunately there is no specific privacy law in Finland at the moment. But, if you follow up visits in personal level or who opened your newsletter and when, you should have asked a permission from people for that.

My recommandation is that you can get the data and use it anonymously in more general level. You have to measure effectiveness of the newsletters and how many people clicks links in the message and more how many people convert to your ultimate goal. But if you don't have recipient's or visitor's permission, don't annoy people to call them and try to sell something they might not be interested in the first place. Instead, try to plan and execute your campaigns so that you could get maximum profit out of if, whithout pissing your potential customers off. There's also a possibility to get a legal action too. I think that as a marketers, we have to be smart and polite, so let the people decide how close they want us to get...

Please tell me your opinion and send comments on this one.

Season Greetings for Everyone!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

How to raise organic search clickthrough

Getting your site on top of the search results is not enough. You can easily do some search engine optimization of your own, by stuffing couple of keywords to page's title. But beware, your search engine result must be also appealing, so the searcher will click the link leading to your site. Spamming the keyword may be efficient but it's not pretty to read and heavily used maybe also unethical. Instead, you should think search results as paid advertisements like Google Adwords. According to the study of Cornell University
searchers focus on:
  • Title: 30 %
  • Snippet: 43 % *
  • URL: 21 %
  • Other: 5 % (cached, similar pages)
If you want more visitors to your site, the snippet and title must have interesting copy text. And if you want those visitors to convert, you should include some call to action too. The problem is that you can't measure organic search clickthroug rate because you don't know how may times your site is displayd in search results. But you can measure visitors coming in your site with certain keyword and you can do some multivariate testing. And of course, ultimately you will measure and try to raise your web site conversions.

It's propably easy to change (with CMS) your landing pages' titles and body text, right? And the system creates nice, short and understandabe URLs which you don't have to worry about. Now you just have think about your search result as your short online ad. For example, if you're selling christmas trees either online or off-line, your title might be something like this: "Christmas trees - check out our special christmas tree offer". Google will show 65 characters from the title, so you have to remember that. And the start of your body text could be something like this: "Order your christmas tree well before holidays and get our special christmas tree offer. Order online and get a free christmas tree delivery or print your coupon to receive special chistmas tree offer in our store.

I hope you got the idea. With Adwords you can't use so many characters, so it's little easier to think copy text for search engines. And in my opinion, you should use same campaign idea and message both online (banners, newsletters, paid and organic search) and off-line marketing activities (radio, newspaper etc.). But somehow you should be able to measure those off-line marketing tricks, so you could evaluate your the whole marketing mix and what is the most profitable channel for your business.

* Snippet = the short paragraph that a search engine generates from page's body text or page discription (meta data) under the title to display the relevant information on the page for the query.