Monday, July 27, 2009

Website Marketing and Conversion, Step 3

Metrics, measurement and meaning!!! If you're website is going to be successful over time then you must use some sort of metrics program to provide you with accurate measurement and interpret that information so that it has meaning for you in a way that allows you to take action and improve the results. Many small and medium sized businesses overlook this critical element of their online development and waste resources doing what they think is the right thing to do, not really knowing whether it is or not. This is costly both in time and capital resources and the solution is readily available. If you aren't, your competition is, and they're winning your prospective business.

You know how difficult it is to measure how successful your marketing activities are, is it the ad in the paper, the direct mail piece, the radio, television or print ad, the flyer campaign or trade show that is generating your results? In the years that I've spent in the world of small business development, I've counseled every company that I've had the pleasure to work with to do their best to track the results they are getting but it's very difficult. You have to make certain that your staff are trained to find out how inquiring prospects heard about your business, make certain you have a process in place to record this information, then analyze the information and finally decide if it's right or not. (In my experience it's as right as it is wrong!) This leads to the often heard expression "I know that 50% of my marketing spend is what is getting the results I want, now if only I knew which 50%." true!

Imagine campaigns where you knew how many prospective clients were responding to each individual offer you had. Where the prospect had come from, some of the reasoning behind how they had found your offer. what if you knew the company they were from and what their email address was? Do you think you could use this information to improve your company's sales figures? What if you could know some of this information about your competition? Welcome to the online world! The right metrics solution can give you this and more. No more wondering what is or is not working, just solid information that you can build on going forward to further improve your results.

You may have heard of Google Analytics, hopefully you have, and hopefully you're using at least this basic information to assist you in evaluating what results your website is generating but let me be clear, there is much more information available if you know how to find it. For example Site Meter ( offers a free software that will give you pretty good information and the paid service they offer (starting at $6.95/month based on up to 25,000 page views/month) gives pretty good information for you to work with and there are many other solutions out there that will provide you with similar or better information. I repeat, this information is critical for your ongoing success online! As a website owner please recognize that once you have a website that's just the beginning. Like any other form of corporate promotion you must evaluate and modify to improve the results on a continual basis so budget for it. How much more is available? Lot's!!!

In the last three postings I've given a very brief outline of a three step process that will absolutely improve the results you're getting online from your website: 1- create content and promote it; 2- give your website visitors ample opportunities to convert in some manner or another while they are visiting your website; 3-measure the results for meaning. There is a lot of work to do but whatever time and resources you commit will provide you with the best ROI of any marketing investment you make. What if there was a platform that gave you this and so much more? I encourage you to check out because they have the best most cost effective solution for small and medium size businesses that I've found. If you are going to spend anytime investigating what possibilities there are for your business online, I urge you to check out Hubspot, and I guarantee that at the very least you'll learn something valuable for your business. Let them know how you found them!

Want some help? Contact me. I want to help you be as successful as you want to be with your online presence development. I'm your outsourced VP of Online Marketing and I will deliver more and better results from your website than you have ever had before and love doing it.

We're at the edge of the future!

Andy Xhignesse

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Website Marketing and Conversion, Step 2

Website marketing requires time and intelligent planning to create the business outcomes you want for your business. In this series, I've been outlining the simple basics of how to begin creating a website that will:
1- Receive targeted traffic;
2- Convert that traffic to new client relationships;
3- Allow you to monitor results, change/develop content to constantly improve results.
Today we'll focus on #2, converting your websites traffic to new clients.

What is meant by the term conversion? Web conversions take many forms ranging from accessing information such as a whitepaper, filling out a form for contact, to completing an online purchase. Regardless of what the conversion is, as small and medium sized businesses your number one priority should be creating conversions and if appropriate having a series of conversions that lead to the creation of a new client...really, what else matters? Website designers will have you believe that your website needs to look a certain way and that this colour or that layout is better...the best return on your investment is when visitors to your website ultimatley become clients right? Stay focused on conversion!!!

How is this done? There are many details that I won't go into, (branding, language, etc.) that's not the intention here, what I want to give you is some ideas on how to make this work for your business. What's important is to remember that a conversion doesn't necessarily mean that you create a new client right away, remember relationships take time, all you want to do is begin a relationship and provide opportunities to develop that relationship over time. Generally this can be accomplished when your website provides the site visitor with different ways to engage with information that will help them answer questions, questions that you should understand for your business based on real world experience. Here is a simple example.

Company XYZ has a website that promotes their residential HVAC solutions. One very common question will be "How much will my new furnace or air conditioner cost?". It may not be the first question, but it will certianly come up at some point as the site visitor continues their purchase decision making process and it opens a great opportunity for XYZ to begin a relationship. How? Simply offer a "FREE NO OBLIGATION QUOTATION". This could be a link in the appropriate position in the text that takes them to a form, or it could be a "button" link at the side of the text that takes them to a form, or it could be a specific call to action in the text that says something like, "Call us today to get yoru free no obligation estimate." Regardless of which one (or all) of the conversion options used here, any serious prospect is going to want this information and there are three ways outlined in this example that will allow the site visitor to begin or deepen their relationship with Company XYZ that can lead to that prospect becoming a client. Converted! As noted earlier, there are many other considerations, but the basics outlined can dramatically improve the ROI from your website.

Are there other conversion possibilities? Many! Depending on your business and how relationships are created in the 'real world' you could use information in the form of whitepapers, landing pages that speak to a prospect in a certain manner on a specific question or concern typical prospects have, create "FREE TRIALS" or "SPECIAL OFFER" buttons, and these are just a few ideas. What's of greatest importance is to make certain that you are in fact providing visitors to your website with a variety of relevant ways to begin a relationship with you. If you're uncertain about the details, contact somebody who can help you, again I repeat, as a small or medium sized business, your number one objective should be to create new business from your website, anything and everything else...justs costs you money!

We're at the edge of the future!

Andy Xhignesse