If so, you might find yourself jealous of people who work on eCommerce sites. eCommerce sites benefit from instant feedback. Make a change, then watch to see if sales go up or down.
With manufacturers, though, the sales cycle is different. It's longer - and often involves off-line components like sales reps, trade shows, and industry conferences.
So how do you track your efforts in improving your website?
We suggest four areas:
Hits. Page views. Visits. Sessions.
Technically all different, these metrics essentially all speak to the same core question:
Is anyone using the website?
Pick one and watch it over time. While it's fun to watch for blips of higher traffic after specific efforts, concentrate on a long-range lens here. Watch traffic over a 6 or 12 month period.
You probably have a wide range of content on your site:
With all of that content sitting out there, we need to answer:
What does our audience most want to read?
Put a report together that shows your most popular content. Once you know what visitors are reading, you'll have some decisions to make. You can:
Consider running a referrers report on this popular content. Is someone linking to it and causing the traffic to increase?
You may discover audiences you didn't know you had. Or maybe you stirred up a controversy somewhere. Either way - you can either thank the linking site or step in to address any controversial issues.
Don't just watch traffic levels and call it a day. You could buy some Google ads and drive a million hits to your website tomorrow if you had the budget. But traffic alone isn't enough. We need to answer the question:
How many visitors to our website are converting?
That might sound more appropriate for a B2C website selling widgets to consumers. But even if you aren't selling product directly on your B2B site you can still track conversion rates. The conversion just isn't the product sale.
Picture your ideal web visitor having an ideal experience on your site. They come, they read page after page of your awesome content, and are completely impressed. They want to take the next step, so they:
You can setup your website and analytics package to track any of these. Plot them against site traffic. Compare them to sales for the same period.
Even though you have a longer and more complex sales cycle you many find a relationship.
We'll throw this one in the list even though you may have to look outside of your analytics software to implement a way to measure it.
We also want to answer the question:
Are our website visitors happy with the experience they had?
Tracking this metric over time and across site updates is a good way to gauge the results of your work. Popular software for website customer satisfaction surveys includes SurveyMonkey, Client Heartbeat, and PopSurvey.
Consider your implementation approach carefully. An ill-timed or recurring pop-up survey could itself damage the experience your customers have on your site.
Need help sorting through the metrics on your website? Contact us and we'll make sense of the confusion for you.
Michelle Richard is Omni’s VP of Marketing and Communications. She has over fifteen years of experience in business, marketing & communications. She began her career providing corporate communications support to Fortune 500 companies like Kraft Foods, Monsanto Company and Philip Morris Family of Companies. Michelle is also co-founder of Coalesce, a marketing and design agency based in Appleton. She started that business in 2004 and sold her ownership shares to a business partner in 2011. Michelle holds bachelor and master degrees in life science communications from the University of Wisconsin.
Omni Resources is a premier custom software development firm focused on building web-based & mobile applications, business process automation and data management solutions for manufacturing, healthcare, insurance, retail and SaaS companies.