Clarity of purpose is at the heart of measuring your website's effectiveness and ROI
There is a wealth of data freely and immediately available on how your website is performing. If you have marketing oversight and are not getting a regular report on how your website is performing, you need to change this immediately!
It is very easy to get basic metrics on your websites performance from Google Analytics downloaded each month by a secretary or by a marketing assistant for your review. Much more data is there if you want to delve deeper into particular questions about its performance.
In fact the problem can be the scope and sophistication of the data available... just what should you be looking at, and what can it tell you?
Much of the data availabe answers operational questions, such as "what pages do people arrive on and leave from?"; "how do they find us and what pages do they look at most?"; and "how long do they stay on the site?". This sort of information is great for tweaking the performance of the site and the pages.
But is your website delivering value to your firm? And how much? Say you normally have 500 visitors in one month and you boost this to 5,000 - sounds impressive, but what is the value of this?
In tackling this bigger question, the first thing you need to consider is "What is the purpose of my website?"... where does it fit with the achievement of your firm's strategic priorities, who do you want on the website and what do you want them to do on it?
For instance, do you want your website to be:
- Brochureware, with basic information for prospects who already know the firm (if this is your firm, I suspect you are really missing a big opportunity); and/or
- A lead generator, attracting new potential clients for nuturing; and/or
- A strong recruitment tool to help you attract the best and brightest; and/or
- Something else?
Once you are clear purpose you can start looking at its past performance, future metrics and appropriate targets to start to assess its success.
So with the brochureware website that is aimed as existing prospects, a good result would presumably be having visitors who spend a long while on the site, look at plenty of pages, especially those regarding services and partner profiles. In fact, with the right infrastructure on your website can know exactly what pages each specific prospect viewed and when.
By contrast, for a lead generation website you will want to know what proportion of visitors you are converting into leads, and how many of these leads are suitable prospects and how many eventually convert into clients.
Maybe you want it to do both. Either way, with this sort of clarity you can also start to design the website to better achieve these outcomes.
For instance, many consultancy and professional firm websites have lots of menus so visitors drift around and, eventually, disappear. Were they relevant or not? Were they clients, leads, recruits, competitors or randoms. No one knows. Some may return again, but most have gone for good.
But if you know what you want visitors to do, firstly you can configure your website to funnell them to do what you want them to do! Secondly, you are able to assess whether your website is successful in achieving this.
Okay, so that' the theory "give me some practical tips" I hear you say!
Assuming your want your website to generate leads, here are six basic stats to start assessing whether your website is working hard for your business:
1 - Does your website have numerous "lead magnets" ... this is jargon for interesting content, such as articles, events or similar that people have to register to obtain? You want visitors to register for these as it puts you in the marketing driving seat because you now have their email and other details. If you are in the B2B space and want your website to generate plenty of leads for nuturing, then you need lead magnets! If you have them, start assessing how many leads they are bringing and their quality.
2 - What is the volume of traffic on your website? It's a basic and blunt metric but ultimately if you are getting very few visitors something is probably going wrong. Unless of course you have achieved the very finely balanced position of only getting visitors who are highly relevant to you... which probably indicates you are not only not attracting people not relevant to you, but also are not attracting large numbers who are relevant too!!!
3 - What is your bounce rate? Google Analytics will tell you this, and it represents the proportion of visitors who land on one web page and then disappear without looking at another.
Generally a high bounce rate is bad. It could indicate that lots of your traffic is not relevant to you or visitors find your website so off-putting that they don't bother looking any further. You should investigate which pages have a particularly high bounce rate and also those from which people are most likely to exit the site.
4 - How many visitors get to the pages that matter? We talked about having particular pages that you want your visitors to visit, so you will want to know if your website is successful in achieving this. Google Analytics helps by allowing you to set specific "goals" which tell you how many visitors go to particular pages. For instance, if you want people to go to the "contact us" page or the page where they can download your brochure, you can set these as goals so you can get automatic reporting on whether these goals are being achieved (and Google Analytics can give you much more useful information too in order to help you improve performance).
5 - The proportion of visitors whose details you capture. Ultimately if you are getting lots of visitors but few of these are registering with you or otherwise getting in contact something is going rime. Similarly, if each month your websites generating a decent flow of registrations then you are in a good position and can start to improve and fine tune.
6 - How many visitors eventually become customers. Most businesses want people to come to their website and become clients. Sometimes this happens quickly as the prospect is tendering and is looking for firms to invite a pitch. More often this takes a long while as visitors are in "informaton gathering" mode, not "buying" mode so you need to stay in touch through your marketing activity until they are ready.
ither way, you want to know how many visitors are eventually converting. If you have a fancy CRM it can provide this automatically (perhaps with a bit of configuring of the reporting tool). Otherwise it is a question of someone checking new customers against sing-ups to the marketing database.
For instance, I use an integrated inbound marketing software package that tells me how people first found my website (was it from Google, a referral from another website, online ads, email marketing, etc) and it automatically captures these details when they first for a download, newsletter of complete a contact form. When they eventually become clients I have a complete audit trail of all interactions. Most websites don't yet have software that is this sophisticated, but this is definitely the direction of travel.
This is one in a series of blogs looking at how professional and consultancy firms can improve their marketing effectiveness and measurement of their Return on Investment. Click here to see all those already published and Click here to sign up for future ones in this Measuring Marketing ROI series.
If you want to get your website working hard, Kelso Consulting has a range of services, ranging from half day consultancy, to help you get your reporting working, through to services to make sure your website is generating lots of leads, appearing at the top of Google and generally being a powerful development tool for your business. If you'd like to find out more about this, do call us know on 020 7242 2286 or contact us via this link.