How Website Performance Tracking and Measurement Can Help You Make Better Business Decisions
“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”
This saying holds true in many areas of life, including business planning. Your business can’t move forward and achieve real success without concrete and measurable goals in place.
Goals should be set in different areas of your business: sales, revenue, profits, retention and operations are a few. But business owners sometimes overlook the importance of setting goals and objectives when it comes to the performance of their online initiatives. And those that do set goals often fail to establish proper website tracking mechanisms that will enable them to measure progress toward their goals and calculate ROI on their website marketing investment.
The Art and Science of Website Marketing
Website marketing is both art and science. While the design and execution of a website would generally be considered art, the measurement of website performance as a lead and sales generation tool is definitely science.
The first step in the science of website tracking and measurement is to set specific goals and benchmarks for website performance. You need to know exactly what it is that you want website visitors to do before you can set up the right tracking mechanisms that will enable you to measure this — and ultimately, optimize your site’s performance. Depending on your sales process, your goals for visitor behavior could range from an immediate online sale to a download of a white paper or a request for more information.
In most online B-to-B sales, there are several steps along the sales pipeline that must be taken before a sale actually takes place. First, you need website visitors. There is a wide range of different website marketing tools that can help you attract more visitors, including Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, and social media and email campaigns, to name a few.
Next, you need to encourage visitors to take action once they arrive at your site or landing page. For example, your goal could be for visitors to fill out and submit an online form that asks for a quote or some other kind of follow-up from your company. Finally, you need a mechanism for tracking how many of these leads are converted into sales.
One of our clients was doing a good job of generating website traffic and getting a high percentage of visitors to click the button that takes them to their online form to request a quote. However, only 10 percent of those who went to the online form actually completed and submitted it. Upon closer inspection, we realized that the client was asking for way too much information on the online form, which is why 90 percent of the people who made it this far were abandoning it. After simplifying the form, the client saw online form submissions jump from 10 percent to 30 percent.
Another client’s online form was converting at just 15 percent. We conducted an A/B test, which increased the conversion rate to 20 percent. But this isn’t just a 5 percent increase in conversion rate — it’s a 33 percent increase in gross leads. If each lead is worth $100 and the client gets an additional five leads per week, the $300 cost of the A/B test has been covered in just the first week.
In fact, A/B tests are an important tool when it comes to website performance tracking and measurement. They can be used to normalize external factors in order to determine which approach to layout, messaging, calls to action, or any number of other factors is most effective.
Along the Sales Pipeline
These examples illustrate the potential impact of proper website performance measurement and tracking in just one aspect of the online sales process — submission of an online form. Such tracking should be conducted all along the sales pipeline, starting with campaigns designed to attract website visitors (like SEO and PPC) and ending with the conversion of a prospect into a paying customer.
In between these opposite ends of the sales pipeline, measurement should also be done to track the behavior of website visitors according to a number of different criteria, including:
- Individual campaigns visitors responded to
- Landing pages visitors visited
- Location visitors originated from
- Keywords used to attract visitors
- Type of device visitors used to access the landing page (e.g., desktop or tablet computer or smart phone)
When you are tracking and measuring website performance in this way, you can determine which aspects of your website marketing program are working and which ones aren’t. Then you can invest more resources into the former, while working to improve the latter so that they also deliver marketing ROI for your business.