Friday, February 23, 2007

Executive-Level Web Analytics, Part 2

ThinkMetrics CEO Brandt Dainow recently wrote a piece for iMedia Connection on the Worst Website Measurement Mistakes. Dainow advises web marketers to ignore total site traffic and focus on conversions.

While the article is useful overall and Dainow's arguments are valid, I have one slight disagreement with him and one observation to add. First, the contention that overall site traffic doesn't matter; while it's true that absolute traffic levels don't matter, relative traffic levels do -- site traffic should increase over time. Dainow is absolutely on target in pointing out that one-shot campaigns such as email blasts (or worse, sweepstakes), while effective at driving short-term traffic spikes, often lead to few if any new sales. On the other hand, long term, regular activities such as monthly newsletters, blogs, and SEO activities produce less dramatic but more sustainable traffic growth, which generally corresponds more reliably with sales growth as well.

Second, marketers should also look beyond immediate sales conversions to also track "marketing conversions." There are three things a visitor could do upon hitting your landing page:

1) Convert into a sales lead (ideal).
2) Leave the site (bad).
3) Visit other pages on your site to get more information.

Item #1 above is obviously what you'd like to maximize, while item #2 you'd prefer to minimize (immediate exits represent wasted PPC spending). But item #3 is important to track; these visitors didn't immediately convert to sales leads, but definitely showed in interest in your company or product -- and may very well convert to sales leads later. So, in terms of actionable analytics, landing page content should be continually tested and tweaked to convert visitors to buyers whenever possible, but also to give them compelling "learn more" options if they aren't quite ready to buy.

*****

Terms: web analytics for executives, ThinkMetrics, Brandt Dainow, search marketing analytics, SEO, marketing conversions

The website marketing news and resources portal: WebMarketCentral.com

The most focused Minnesota B2B IT marketing and PR agency: KC Associates

Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentral.com

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Executive-Level Web Analytics

Website analytics tools ranging from the elegant but pricey Websense to the cumbersome but free Google Analytics provide an exhaustive array of analytical statistics: how many visitors are finding your site, where they are finding it, how they are searching for it, what they do when they get there, how much time they spend, and on and on. But which statistics do C-level executives really care about?

If you are running a search marketing campaign, the measures that top the list for executives, not surprisingly, are leads, cost per lead, and associated trends. These three metrics tell executives how well search marketing efforts are working, how efficient those efforts are, and whether web marketing productivity is getting better or worse over time.

Next, they want to know the top search marketing keywords -- which phrases are drawing the highest number of clicks. Needless to say, your website should be naturally search optimized for these terms as well.

Third is reverse domains: what specific organizations are visiting your website frequently, and how many pages they are viewing. Separating ISPs from actual companies is a manual effort with most web analytics programs, but the information is crucial to knowing which B2B prospects are returning to your site frequently for more information.

Fourth, sources of website traffic and associated trends. How much of your traffic is generated by paid vs. organic search, and how much organic search traffic comes from searches on company name-related vs. generic industry search terms? These measures demonstrate the effectiveness of SEO efforts and the trend over time.

Closely related to the above are the top generic search terms used to find your site. This is sort of the reverse of the second measure above, as this reveals what natural search terms should be added to your paid search campaigns.

Finally, executives are interested in new visitor vs. returning visitor statistics. A healthy lead-generating B2B website should be drawing a high percentage of new visitors each week and month. If most of your traffic comes from customers looking for support, both your product and your marketing probably need improvement.

*****

Terms: web analytics for executives, WebSense, search marketing analytics

The website marketing information portal: WebMarketCentral.com

The B2B IT PR and lead generation experts: KC Associates

Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentral.com

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Web Conferencing Services Reviewed, Part 2

Marketing Sherpa recently published an excellent and thorough review of webinar / web conferencing vendors. (After February 18th, 2007, it'll cost you a few bucks, but it's worth it.) Key finding: "A MarketingSherpa survey last year found that technology marketers ranked webinars as one of the top three marketing techniques and that 35% rated them as “very effective” -- second only to product demos in popularity."

The publication used seven criteria (price, features, registration form / thankyou customization, automated email reminders, call-in audio options, event reporting, and event recording options) to evaluate the following web conferencing providers:

- Convoq ConferenceASAP
- GoToWebinar
- iLinc
- Infinite Conferencing
- MeetingBridge
- MegaMeeting
- ON24 (previously covered here)
- Premiere Global Services
- ReadyTalk
- Vcall
- Webcast Group
- WebEx
- WebDialogs Event Central

Some of these vendors (and others not on this list) have previously been reviewed here.

Webinars can be a powerful B2B lead generation tool, but vendors come with a wide variety of price points and feature sets. Check out several before selecting the best one to meet your unique needs. Final word of advice: use the free trial period (offered by most vendors) to test each service through various types of firewalls, so you don't end up producing a great webinar that your prospects can't see.

*****

Terms: web conferencing services, webcasting services, webinars, GoToWebinar, WebEx, MeetingBridge, ON24, B2B lead generation

The online business marketing portal: WebMarketCentral.com

The B2B technology PR and lead generation experts: KC Associates

Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentral.com

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Monday, February 12, 2007

New Report on Webcasting Trends


ON24, a producer of webcasting and rich media marketing campaigns for B2B companies, recently released its annual ON24 Insider on Publishing: Key Webcasting Findings for the Publishing Industry report for 2006. The report details trends in the use of webcasting and podcasting (audio webcasting) by B2B marketers, participation, interactivity and other metrics.

Among the key findings:

- The use of both video and audio webcasting by B2B marketers increased in 2006 over 2005, though video grew somewhat faster (44% vs. 32%), driven by the increasing acceptance of webcasts as a B2B lead generation tool and the widespread adoption of broadband Internet connections, even in home and small office environments.

- Average attendance per event increased by about 9%.

- On average, more than half of registrants actually participate in the event.

- The use of live webcasts grew significantly faster than on-demand events, and account for the vast majority (85%) of webcasting events. However, archiving live presentations increases viewership/listenership by nearly 50% on average (not everyone who's interested can attend at the scheduled time).

Again, you can download the entire report here. Audio and video webcasting continues to grow because it enables B2B marketers and publishers to present content in an engaging format. Each has its own advantages: video adds the visual element to presentations, while audio (podcasts) are more portable. Podcasts are also less expensive to produce.

Finally, if webcasting is part of your marketing mix plans for 2007, be sure to use a professional production source -- a poorly produced event can do more damage than good to your brand.

*****

Terms: On24, webcasting growth, podcasting trends, B2B lead generation

The B2B website marketing strategy resource: WebMarketCentral.com

The B2B IT PR and lead generation experts: KC Associates

Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentral.com

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Marketing Sherpa Moment of Fame

If you haven't downloaded Marketing Sherpa's Marketing Wisdom for 2007 report yet, check it out -- it's packed with insight, ideas, and a few just plain entertaining stories of real-world marketing.

Of particular interest is item #87, which details a highly successful and award-winning direct mail campaign done for a supply chain management outsourcing vendor (okay, I may have had something to do with this). Here's the original story:

The challenge: design a direct marketing program to get the attention of C-level executives and VPs at medium to large software companies for a strategic, high-value service, specifically, outsourced supply chain management from Zomax.

The plan: a direct mail campaign utilizing an interactive CD inside a DVD case with an insert showing a superhero illustration to give the package a video game feel. The flying superhero wore a high-tech toolpack on his chest with tools creatively labeled to reflect the company’s supply chain services offering, such as “Inventory Normalizer” and “Supply Chain Analyzer.”

The result: an award-winning campaign that was also a big business success. More than 30% of recipients viewed the CD; 6% entered into active sales cycles, and a third of those became clients, producing more than $500,000 in revenue. The campaign was named a finalist or winner for four different awards, including the CMO Council / Yahoo! Big Idea Chair award.

Lessons learned (a.k.a. keys to success):

Make a list and check it twice (at least): Because each package was personalized with the recipient’s first name and company name, production costs were high and returned packages had no re-use value – so the list had to be solid, both in terms of company size and targeting the responsible individual. First, hours were spent building a list from in-house, purchased, and publicly available sources, and then each company was called to verify the appropriate name, title and address.

Make it personal: Personalizing the package increased both curiosity and the “cool factor” – it looked like a video game designed just for the individual and company.

Special delivery: The superhero packages were delivered via FedEx. While this added significantly to the overall campaign cost, 1) people are more likely to actually receive and open FedEx packages than regular mail, and 2) we were able to track delivery dates and times for phone follow-up.

Track it: The CDs were embedded with Zomax’ own tracking technology, iTrax, which allowed us to track – at an aggregate level, similar to web analytics for a website – the total number of CDs viewed, the total number of times they were viewed, and how many different PCs they were viewed in, to measure campaign response.

Coordinate follow-up: Deliveries were tracked in Salesforce.com, and marketing worked closely with sales to ensure that all recipients were followed up with by phone within 48 hours of receiving the package. Many of the recipients who weren’t immediate prospects still said they loved the package and would keep it on their shelf, providing Zomax with a number of long-term leads to nurture in addition to the short-term sales opportunities.

*****

Terms: Marketing Sherpa Wisdom for 2007 report, supply chain management outsourcing, direct marketing, direct mail, interactive CD, CMO Council Yahoo! Big Idea Chair award, personalized direct mail, trackable CD marketing, iTrax, Zomax, salesforce.com

The source for web marketing news, resources and tools: WebMarketCentral.com

The only Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) marketing, PR and B2B lead generation agency focused exclusively on B2B technology clients: KC Associates

Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentral.com

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