Is Your Store Making Sales? How about Your Website?

September 24th, 2011 No Comments

If you owned a store and no one came to the store, you would worry. You wouldn’t say, “Well, I did my job. I opened up my store. There’s even merchandise here and a semi-functioning cash register. Someone who really wants to buy can.”

If that was the case, you would wonder what was wrong. Perhaps you would invest in a promotional campaign: maybe take out an advertisement, contact local media to try to get a story, give a sales discount to customers who check in via FourSquare, offer a Groupon or Living Social coupon, or pass out fliers in the parking lot.

If you build it, will they come?But, for many people, this is the case with the web. They build a website and expect customers to come knocking at their door. The web is not Field of Dreams. It’s just not true that if you build it, they will come.

Websites need to be seen by your target audience, who are taking your pre-defined actions (you did define them, right? If not, a strategic marketing consultant can help you map your business aims to your implementation). Maybe you need SEO, or advertising, or promoting your website to the media, or on your sales collateral? There are a lot of options, which work together in a holistic fashion.

OK, so now you’ve got traffic? But is it achieving your business goals?

Let’s go back to the store. The small store now is packed with visitors. Barely any space left, especially during some peak periods. There’s no room to move with all the visitors.

But they aren’t buying.

You wouldn’t say “But we’re getting a lot of visitors, so everything is OK.”

Sadly, the more sophisticated firms tend to say that about their website. They are doing the first steps of measuring site traffic and maybe even traffic courses, but that’s not enough to see if they are converting.

Your website serves to serve a business goal. That could be as simple as making sure potential customers know your hours and location to it could be downloading trial software, registering for your online class, making a purchase or donation.

Is it doing its goal? If not, why not?

Could it be poor design? Lack of credibility? Not clear what your positioning is? Why use your product? The conversion not clearly defined? No clear calls to action? There are a lot of problems but first you need to identify the process before you can identify the path to solve it.

Your website is there to serve business goals.

Make sure they are serving their goals. If not, test and optimizing.

Some keys to site optimization:

  1. Set business goals and translate them into technical goals
  2. Track these goals in your analytics solution. No need for an expensive system – Google Analytics will do for most needs, for click-stream data.
  3. Identify the results of your marketing channels: which channels are converting more and why
  4. Guess what’s converting and why and create new tests
  5. Test, Test, and Test.
  6. Adjust.
  7. Test some more
  8. Improve Results and Continue

In order to make revenue for ecommerce (and, ecommerce is anything in which your business requires conversions to take place online), the following is your funnel:

online_marketing_funnel

 

This requires both business and technical knowledge. It’s ideal if your business strategist understands technology and web analytics, as well, in order to ensure that the goals are properly defined, and are integrated.  But, even if you need a separate strategist and implementer, it’s important that its integrated.

Business Goal: To convert visitors. Conversions can be:

  • Sale
  • Increasing one sale to two sales
  • Attending for a seminar or class (for an educational institution, for example)
  • Making a donation

Objective:

  • Lowering online costs instead of via a call center or mail
  • Generating leads
  • Educating the public

Possible Tactics to Use and Integrate, after defining a clear marketing strategy and market positioning:

  • SEO
    • Link Building: Public Relations or Wire Service Distribution
    • Referral Traffic: Media Articles
    • Technical On-page Optimization
    • MARCOM: Content
    • Positioning: Keyword Research
  • Conversion Optimization
    • A/B or Multivariate Testing
    • Testing Different Calls to Action
    • Testing Form Design and Fields (are you asking too many questions or questions that your analytics tools will answer?)

Avi Hein is one of only about 36 individuals in Israel who are Google Analytics Certified, signifying certification and knowledge in website conversion and measurements.

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