How to Know if Your Website is Helping Your Business Succeed
The best way to know whether your website is helping your business succeed is by measuring its results. Read on to learn what to measure, how to measure it, and what to do with the information you collect.
Digital marketing is the opposite of "interruption" marketing, like billboards, in that if there's an outcome you want from your efforts, you can measure it. Of course, the volume of traffic driving by a billboard can be estimated, but there's no tracking device recording how many people noticed, understood, or cared about the billboard, not to mention acted on it. This is one reason why digital marketing continues to grow in importance and popularity; business owners like that they don't have to spend time and money promoting their business with no idea of whether it's working, or not.
Tracking things like visitor numbers, traffic sources, and popular pages on your website using a tool like Google Analytics is a good start, but it's still a long way from measuring and understanding progress towards specific goals. To accomplish that, you need a digital measurement plan.
Digital Marketing Plan Checklist
To get the most out of your website and digital marketing, get the following in place:
- Identify your business goals.
- Identify KPIs that support your business goals.
- Pinpoint website analytics data that support your KPIs.
- Measure and track key data points.
- Get expert analysis of your tracked data.
- Optimize your website based on sound data analysis, with a goal of improving your KPIs, to move you closer to your business goals.
Companies that don’t put data at the center of their marketing and sales decisions are missing out on a 15-20% increase in marketing ROI.
The Risks of Not Having a Digital Measurement Plan
A website without a digital measurement plan is like the people at NASA launching a shuttle into space and then turning off all their screens and walking out of the room.
But that's the position a lot of companies are in; they've launched their website out onto the World Wide Web and have no idea of how it's doing. From a digital perspective, they're flying blind. This puts companies at risk by not equipping decision-makers with the information they need to make the best decisions to benefit their business and keep it successful.
Google to the Rescue
As we mentioned before, Google Analytics is a great place to start, and best of all, it's free. With the help of a few YouTube videos, plus some determined clicking around in analytics, you should be able to make sense of the most obvious data. For more advanced analysis, you may need professional assistance.
Here is a shortlist of valuable things analytics can show you:
- Which content is most popular?
- Which social channels deliver the best visitors?
- Do people prefer to contact you by phone, email, or web form?
- Which countries, states, and cities do your visitors come from?
- Which devices and operating systems do they prefer?
- What time of day do people use your website?
To implement advanced tracking, you'll likely need to hire an in-house digital marketer with analytics experience or consult a digital marketing agency.
Making Digital Measurement Meaningful
For your digital measurement plan to be meaningful, it needs to be tied to your business goals and KPIs. If you need help identifying your business goals and KPIs, someone with a good handle on digital marketing strategy will be able to help.
The less companies know about their KPIs, the less likely they are to meet their revenue goals. 74% of companies that weren't exceeding revenue goals did not know their visitor, lead, MQL, or sales opportunities.
Example: A wearable technology company with an e-commerce website
Business Goal: Sell 14% more virtual reality headsets via the website
Marketing Plan: Promote website through paid search, email marketing, Facebook Lead Ads, Instagram, Snapchat, and organic search
Content Plan: 6 explainer/promo videos, 2 blogs per week on “How Living in the VR World is Better Than Interacting with Real People”, “How to Cope with Your Headset Tan Lines” etc., 1 email per week, 14 social posts per week, and on-page SEO
Digital Measurement Plan:
- Compare total traffic and monthly trends from each source.
- Compare “engagement metrics” of each channel, i.e. Facebook vs. paid search.
- Compare “engagement metrics” of each device, i.e. mobile vs desktop.
- Implement conversion tracking at each stage of the checkout process.
- Track top exit pages to highlight potentially weak pages.
- Track sign-ups for "latest offers" email list.
Ideally, lead sources can be tracked through your sales process all the way to purchase, so you can calculate the actual ROI of your website and digital marketing.
The Benefits of a Digital Measurement Plan
The primary benefit of measurement can best be summarized by someone much smarter than you or me:
A digital measurement plan ensures that you're measuring the things that matter so you can adjust to your website as necessary to improve your bottom line.
Data is Objective
You can't argue with facts. In marketing, as in life, many ideas can be dismissed with "That's just your opinion." But people trust numbers. And the numbers don't lie! Having data you can trust helps you move towards the more important question of "What does this mean?"
Leverage for Buy-In
By illustrating the state-of-affairs using data, you have something tangible and credible to communicate to employees and stakeholders. We're all working towards the same goal: sales. But getting there is a process (your marketing plan) and measuring metrics closely helps you assess if you're heading in the right direction and what areas need your attention next.
Measurement is a Good Investment
Measurement is a good investment of time and resources. It's time-consuming to develop and implement, but a measurement plan enhances the return on the investment you've made in your website. The data will give you insights into what's working and what's not to guide you towards incremental changes to make your website more effective.
Following a "Test, Measure, Optimize" cycle continually helps improve your bottom line.
We're currently in the age of market disruption and unprecedented competition. Your company needs to work smarter than ever to succeed.
If you'd like to talk about your business goals and how you're currently measuring online success, let's start a conversation.