How to make sure your website is making you, not costing you, money Featured

8:00pm EDT September 25, 2010

Back in the 1890s John Wanamaker,

notable U.S. retailer and founder of Philadelphia’s first department store

said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't

know which half.”

This old quote is why Kevin

Hourigan, president and CEO of Web design, development and Internet marketing

agency, Bayshore Solutions, is so passionate about Web marketing.

“When correctly implemented, you

can clearly measure and effectively manage your website’s profitability,” he

says.

Smart Business spoke with Hourigan

about how to ensure your organization’s website is a revenue-generation asset

versus an advertising expense.

How can you tell if your

website is making you or costing you money?

Let’s look at the process:

marketing and advertising produce leads and prospects, of which a percentage

converts to sales, which eventually fuels profits. With website marketing

initiatives including SEO,

paid

search, online

advertising, social

media, engagement, etc., the hard costs

associated with those activities are readily known. Therefore the straight-line

comparison of Web marketing costs to number of leads produced and sales dollars

as a result will yield this information, if you are tracking the data

correctly. The vital key is tracking, and unfortunately an alarming amount of

businesses are not tracking correctly, compromising their ability to understand

if their Web marketing is making them or costing them money.

How do you track correctly?

The tracking information that is

going to help you truly see your Web marketing performance picture does not end

where the majority of Web analytics and Internet marketing tracking tools leave

off. Unless all sales are processed on the firm’s website, correct tracking is

a much more complex process. Web traffic analytics and conversion to leads,

inquiries, requests for quotes, etc., can get you to the leads-generated

number, but you need to connect this number to the amount of sales that result.

Marketing that is on its A-game

delivers ‘cost-effective leads that quickly convert to sales.’ Therefore it is essential to track all your marketing activity, and

all of the associated metrics, through to the sale. Making this connection

enables you to make informed decisions on keeping the half that serves your

business and tossing the half that doesn’t.

How do you make this

connection?

Integrate your Web Analytics and

Web forms leads to your CRM system. This enables you to systematically follow

the lead-gen process, with its attached metrics and cost data, through to the

sale. Also, assign unique phone numbers to Web initiatives and all Web touch

points to gauge activity that begins via your website and inspires a direct

phone call.

For eCommerce

businesses, this is a very straight-line

exercise, because sales are transacted on the website. For B-to-B and B-to-C

firms whose websites are generating leads but not e-commerce sales, this can be

a little more complicated but well worth the effort.

How does tracking integration

help your website be a revenue versus an expense center?

Seeing clearly which keywords,

traffic sources, campaigns, pages, referring sites, etc., best deliver sales at

the most effective cost is an enlightening tool to guide your Web marketing

decisions.

Integration

of leads metrics and analytics into your CRM will let you track the sources of

where your leads are coming from as well as the cost of those leads, the leads

that convert to a sale, the average revenue and the duration of time to close

the sale. When you can now track what lead sources convert to sales, you can measure

your most effective marketing tactics for

generating quality, cost-effective leads.

 

Through

our own lead data and CRM integration at Bayshore Solutions we were able to

detect clear patterns in the keywords used by true prospects versus people

interested in employment opportunities or selling us something. We also

discovered a distinct quality of lead difference (‘real’ potential customers

versus unqualified prospects and even competitors) among different ad copy

versions and incentives to visit our site and complete a quote request form.

Web performance analytics offer a

plethora of metrics and it is very easy to get lost in them. Many of the

metrics available have value and give you insight into influencing, supporting

or measuring different statistics. The key is to know which ones are important

to the goal of your website being a profit center.

A harsh lesson learned and a great example of this was a

client who was seeing sales growth through integrated SEO, PPC and online

marketing tactics but was fixated on their website bounce rate. They insisted

on directing their efforts solely to decreasing the bounce rate. The net

result: over three months, they lost the momentum they had been building by

focusing on just the bounce rate and

were now seeing a decline in sales. Why? Too much effort was applied to one

part of their interactive marketing metrics and not enough to the indicators

that help marketers make the right decisions and lead to sales.

Capturing

lead data and connecting it to the end outcome is a critical step in accurately

measuring results. From there, you will make strategic and tactical decisions

because they will generate qualified leads that convert into customers.

 

It takes

time and discipline to get your integration established, but it truly allows

you to make sure your Web marketing investment is yielding great lead generation results that

progress to really great revenue growth.

For a snapshot of Bayshore

Solutions Web marketing methodology, click to: www.BayshoreSolutions.com/method

Kevin Hourigan is the president

and CEO of Bayshore Solutions. Reach him at (877) 535-4578 or www.BayshoreSolutions.com.