In the world of business, many subscribe to a school of thought that lives by the maxim, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” I'm sure you have heard this statement at some point in your career. To many, this quote is just another over-used business cliché that does not have any practical application in the real world. I disagree.
In this article I will explain how this quote is quite accurate as it relates your company’s website and your digital marketing strategy.
What Can Be Measured?
The main problem that still exists with most websites today is that they are designed to be like brochures only. While these sites may present a lot of information about a particular company, as well as its products and services, they are not created with the intention of actually creating new business.
However, built with a different sort of goal in mind, company websites can serve as business generation tools and can actually do lot of the heavy lifting in your sales process—particularly in the area of lead generation.
To this end, there are two levels of measurement that are used to measure the effectiveness of these sites: traffic-generation and visitor-conversion.
Level Number One: Measure Website Traffic
Consider a window display at a clothing store. Website traffic is analogous to the number of people who stop or pause to look at the display.
In the case of web-traffic, potential customers are landing on your web page, either through an online ad, a search-engine request or a link shared through social media. No matter how they got there, they were drawn to your page for some reason, just as the shoppers at a mall might be drawn in by the window dressing at a store.
Website traffic can be measured using Google Analytics, which is currently the most popular tool for measuring web activity. Google Analytics can give you great insight and detailed information about your website traffic. When first using this tool, I suggest that you focus on three important metrics:
- Total website traffic: This will let you see how many people have visited your website in a given period of time.
- Visitor locations. This lets you know where the people who are landing on your page are physically located. If your business provides services solely to local customers, it will be beneficial to know how much of the web traffic on your page comes from local prospects.
- Website traffic sources. This lets you know how people found your site. Did they come directly as the result of a search engines request, or did they find you through social media or referral partner? Understanding this is very important to help you know which of your marketing channels are working for you. You can learn more about the traffic sources in another article I wrote.
Level Number Two: Measure Website Conversion
Your conversion rate is a measure of how many visitors become interested enough in what you have to offer that they have decided to take some sort of action to get more information. In most cases, the action entails calling you on the phone or completing a web form to request for more information.
Relating back to the window-dressing example, this is the number of people who are so taken in by the clothing on display that they come into the store to look at the prices or to try it on. In this instance, the window display will have successfully turned a passer-by into a prospective customer.
So how do you measure conversion? Google Analytics enables this by giving you a way to set up and then measure your goals. You have two ways of tracking leads generated by your website: by measuring web inquiry rates, and by measuring phone call rates.
How to measure web inquiries
You can measure the number of people who have completed your web request form by redirecting them to a thank you page.
Here's how it works:
- A person is looking for information on the Web.
- He winds up on your landing page, which includes a web request form.
- He is compelled by what you have to offer and completes and submits the web request form.
- He is then redirected to a thank you page.
Google Analytics can follow this entire flow and provide you with data with which you can track the percentage of completed steps.
Here is the formula for calculating web inquiry conversion rates:
Web Inquiry Conversion Rate = Number of People who Reached the Thank You Page ÷ Total Number of People Who Visited the Site
So, if 1,000 visitors land on your site in a given month, and 50 of them submit a web request form, your Monthly Web Conversion Rate would be: 50 ÷ 1,000, or 5%.
Keeping track of your conversion rates over time will give you a better understanding of how effective your website is at converting visitors into leads.
How to measure phone calls
The simplest way to measure this statistic is to have a dedicated phone number for your website inquiries or a different number for each specific page you are promoting. This will enable you to track the number of phone calls you receive as a result of your website or specific web page.
A more sophisticated way of tracking phone calls is by using a call tracking service like Ifbyphone® or CallRail®. These companies offer dynamic phone tracking services with automatic number insertion. Sounds complicated, but it really isn’t.
I’ll keep it simple. In short, these companies automatically display a unique phone number to each visitor by replacing the main phone number on your website. When visitors call the number, this action is automatically tracked and displayed as a completed goal in Google Analytics. This gives you the ability to track phone numbers at a more granular level, such as by page, traffic source, etc.
Here is the formula for calculating phone-call conversion rates:
Phone Call Conversion Rate = Total Number of Phone Calls Received ÷Total Number of People Who Visited the Site
Therefore, if 1,000 visitors land on your site in a given month, and 100 of them call to request more information, your Monthly Phone Conversion Rate then would be calculated as: 100 ÷ 1,000, or 10%
Keep Your Eye on the Big Picture
The end goal of your website should be to generate leads. The best way to determine the effectiveness of your website is by measuring both the number of website visitors and the percentage of visitors that turn into leads.
If you are marketing your company through diversified marketing channels, the ability to measure the effectiveness of each channel (Pay Per Click, SEO, Social Media, etc.) is extremely beneficial. Likewise, by following conversion rates and the quantity of new leads, you can best determine which channels are most effective and can best allocate your marketing dollars. In this way, you can both measure and manage your marketing.
My hope is that this article has given you a new appreciation for the quote: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” It’s time to get to work. Go ahead and set up all the tracking on your website and start measuring.