Measuring the success of any investment can be as important as making the investment in the first place, with online marketing and websites success can be hard to measure.
Typically simple statistics such as 500 unique visitors per day or only having a 32% bounce rate can seem to be an indication that a lot of people are visiting your website and not instantly clicking away right… Well yest this is true however how many of those people have bookmarked your site, actually contacted one of your sales reps or even have made a purchase?
In order to accurately measure success you need to have specific goals in mind, if you are just looking to get as many people on your site as possible and are not bothered about converting these visitors in to customers then read no further this article is specifically aimed to describe how to make more sense out of all the numbers and get to the bottom line of how successful your website is; for example it is better to make 10 sales from 100 visitors then 9 sales from 1000 visitors.
Goals are important they give you something to aim for and also allow you to evaluate the progress made in achieving each goal with out a good idae of what would constitute success you cannot say if your plan for success is viable.
For those who have been involved in setting goals may have come accross the mnemonic S.M.A.R.T which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevent, Time-bound.
Goals must be simplistic and focus on a single outcome, because of this it is normal to have more then a single goal.
A good goal for a website could be “to generate more leads from your website via phone and contact us links”, on the other hand having a goal such as “improve customer experience on our website” is not easily measured nor would it
You need to be able to measure success, to measure the success there needs to be evidence that something has been achieved. Depending on the goal the measurement could be quantitative or a that something needs to happen by a specific date (or both). For example Increase the rate of newsletter submissions by 10% in the next quarter compared to the previous. This is a great goal as if you know 100 people subscribed in the last quarter then you will achieve your goal once 110 people subscribe with in the next 3 months.
Reaching for the impossible is pointless but stretching your self is possible, if your goal was to get 1000 new orders on an eCommerce site with in a month but you have never sold more then 100 items in that period with out serious investment you will never achieve your goal.
Making the goal more measurable over time for example to increase sales by 2% each month as we introduce marketing strategies may be more achievable and measurable over time.
Goals need to be relevant to what you want to achieve and what you do. Your website goals should tie in to your organisation and its internal goals if there is a big recruitment drive you may wish to increase the presence of job ads on your website to encourage more people to apply for work for you.
There needs to be a dead line when you can evaluate the level of success and decide if your goal has been met, if it hasn’t this is a great time to re-evaluate what you have done to see if there are other avenues you can examine to improve in the future, there is no harm in examining the current goal and starting again.
Choosing effective goals
The temptation for a lot of people and organisations is to look at how many people have visited their website or how many people have completed a contact form or made a purchase. Whilst these are measures of success they tell you very little about the chances of someone completing an action that turns them in to a customer or potential client. Instead comparing these values i.e. a thousand people have visited the website but only 1 person made a purchase. This is known as a conversion rate in this case the conversion rate is 0.01% in that 1 sale divided bu 1000 visitors equals 0.01%.
A great goal could be to “raise the conversion rate to 0.05 % for visitors vs purchases whilst maintaining the current level of visitors on our website.
Other goals can typically be things like
Increase customer engagement to generate more leads by 10% over the next quarter
Decrease websites homepage bounce rate by 5%
Improve the quality of leads generated from our website to produce more warm to hot leads
Generate more sales
Improve sales support
Shorten and simplify checkout process to reduce abandoned shopping carts
With all these goals it soon becomes apparent that checking singular website stats becomes meaning less as more visitors to a website has no impact on actually achieving any of them, whilst getting more traffic to a website will generally help any goal online it is what visitors do once on your site will determine whether they are contributing to the success of any goal.
Measuring the success of most goals requires data measuring various aspects of your websites visitors behaviour in order to see if what you are currently doing has made a positive impact on achieving your goal, lets take a look at a couple of examples and what you may be doing to achieve them.
Reducing bounce rate from home page by 5%
Bounce rate is when people visit a single page of your web site and then with in a few seconds move away to a different website, to reduce the bounce rate on your home page there are numerous tasks you may be undertaking through to reduce this most commonly you would look at the below.
- Redesign the home page to make it more engaging
- Replace links on the page that never get clicked with new links that may be more enticing
- If you use ad-words you could examine search terms people have found you on and mark some as being negative key words, this means when your ads appear in google they will no longer appear when these negative terms are searched, for example if you sell satellite dishes you wouldn’t want search terms like Chinese dishes or Seattle dishes both of which would result in an instant bounce off your site.
The first 2 tasks above will make little difference to the number of people finding your website through google but may result in more customers seeing something they wish to click on to find out more about your company and can show improvement on bounce rate over a few weeks.
The final task may reduce visitors to your website but who cares right as these people are not interested in satellite dishes, having fewer people on your site can also improve bounce rate by keeping people away who are not potential customers and instead only bring customers in to your site who are actually interested in what you sell, whilst they may still find you on the natural search results at least you haven’t paid for a click that isnt relevant to your business.
Over all you may notice the bounce rate increase or decrease, checking tools such as google analytics will help you gauge how successful each change to the home page has been and whether further changes are required.
Increase customer engagement to generate 5% more leads over the next quarter
Engagement on websites generally means monitoring conversions i.e. someone calling you, filling in a contact form or talking to an operative over online chat,all these things can be captured as a conversion.
Conversions are a great metric and calculating the ration between visitors who convert to potential customers can be a useful statistic to measure success.
With analytics tools it is possible to measure the success rate by adding code to your site that fires messages to google analytics that lets Google Analytics know someone has filled in the contact form or that they have clicked the pone link to call you on skype or their mobile phone.
To start working toward this goal people tend to look at things such as how visible are contact details, is the phone number clickable, are there sufficient CTA links to get people to a contact form. In more developed scenarios these contacts can get logged in to a CRM system and automatically create a lead.
As well as making contact methods more apparent it can also be adventurous to look in to the overall SEO value of your website or look in to starting a PPC campaign on google ad words or on social media to get more people finding your website with specific terms that will bring our website to the top of the search results.
This kind of goal would be measures normally weekly-monthly to see what progress has been made.
If you reach your goal the next step is to plan how to improve things again based on your organisations current goals sometimes the same goal is used again to try and identify how to make things even better, however if you have reached or are near saturation point with in your area then goals need to reflect this.
For example if you wanted to increase website conversions and you provide services with in a single county there will be a finite number of customers so getting more conversions may only be possible should the area you operate expands, so instead of trying to get more customers it may be more likely to retain the existing customers and keeping in touch with them.
If a goal isn’t reached it is time to look at the goal and see if it was achievable, depending on how close you where to succeeding you may decide to make some small tweaks to see how long it will take to achieve the same goal over the next quarter. It may be that all the work you put in was in the wrong area or not all areas where explored and exploring additional solutions and methods of improvement may produce the desired result.
Goals and measures of success are an important part of business so should also be just as important to your website and online marketing campaigns at AME WebTech we listen to what you want to achieve and advise on how realistic your goals are based on budget, technology and the current market place.
We also offer quarterly, 6 monthly or annual reviews where we will look at all the analytics, current practices and solutions being used and advise where further improvements can be made or how your website and online marketing campaigns can contribute toward your latest business goals.
If we didn’t develop your website don’t worry we can still help why not contact us for more information.