Being online – it’s all about your bottom line
SMEs should put their web presence at the core of their overall marketing strategy says Caspar Craven
After more than a decade of the WWW, are businesses really much smarter about using it? Recently, the ROI debate has focused on driving online traffic to websites, expecting revenues to follow. That’s simply too narrow a view.
In today’s economic environment, SMEs with limited resources need to ensure that every pound they spend delivers tangible ROI. Many businesses have invested in the web and are still frustrated by a clear return in value. I would argue that if you run a fast growing business – or are trying to maintain existing market share – you need to:
1. use the information you can obtain from your website to prioritise your marketing and sales efforts and maximising revenues from your existing customers.
2. integrate your online and offline marketing activities
New generation web analytics offer an unparalleled opportunity to understand who is using your website and more importantly, why. You can identify the organisations who have been visiting your site, how they found it (e.g. through the keyword they use) and what they are looking for (e.g. by analysing the pages the user visited and time spent on those pages).
From this you can:
1 – Understand who is visiting your website
Existing clients, pipeline prospects, potential customers, new recruits or competitors? Are you attracting the right audiences? Do you need to change the content, presentation or marketing of your site?
2 – See who is responding to your wider marketing messages
You may be using PR, direct mail, email marketing and trade shows but how do you track responses and prioritise follow-up? Cross-referencing your targets with the organisations accessing your website provides clarity on who to target and why.
3 – See how your business “shows up” on the internet
Are visitors to your website finding you through your company or product name or keywords that reflect your products and services? What does this say about your online and offline messaging and branding?
4 – Search for particular organisations
If you target particular companies, you can track whether and how they found your site and what they found of interest. Are your ‘calls to action’ working? What needs to change?
Having a high Google ranking isn’t enough – although it can help! Use web analytics to understand your customers, measure the effectiveness of your overall sales and marketing activity and develop smarter, more targeted, cost-efficient and powerful campaigns. You are more likely to turn browsers into buyers and interest into real revenue. Now that’s what I call delivering ROI.