It's worth thinking about the question before you start collecting answers. In conventional lead conversion schemes we often measure web traffic, lead conversions and conversion rates indiscriminantly, hoping to figure out what the key questions are later. As an example, we assume that we know what people are looking for when they visit our website or mobile site, and we place calls to action and landing pages to capture them as leads. We send them lead nurturing emails, assuming that we know what they will want to see next. We can measure the accuracy of our assumptions, but that's about it. Wouldn't you like to know more about your visitors and how they behave within your marketing "space"?
In recent years advanced marketing technology has become available that allows us to go far beyond the "shotgun approach" to collecting and analyzing web traffic and lead generation. We are currently using the new tools that have recently been added to the HubSpot platform via the acquisition of Performable. Here are some of the key questions we hope to answer:
Who are the people visiting our sites (website, mobile site, social media sites, microsites and landing pages)? Note that I'm calling them "people", not statistics or indicators. Our objective is to build relationships, not establish trends alone, so we start by treating them as individual carbon-based life forms. Who are the people that become sales leads? Yes, now we are classifying, or segmenting our visitors. We need to do this in order to know how and when to respond. Who are the sales leads that become our customers? You can capture some of this information with conventional lead capture forms, but can you track these people throughout their "lifecycle", i.e. their behavior from first visit through and including conversion to a customer? Only Advanced Marketing Analytics has that capability.
What do these people want? What floats their boat, and what's the end game? We find out by giving them choices and measuring which direction they prefer. We present multiple landing pages, for example, through A/B and multivariate testing and see which ones convert at the highest rates. We also place "triggers" around our sites to gauge the flow of visitors from one place to the next. What pathways are our visitors following most frequently to become customers?
Where do they live? I don't mean street address, I mean where they hang out and find our content? I don't just want to know that they came from Facebook, I want to know where they were within Facebook when they decided to click through to our landing page or blog post? This not only tells me which venue has the best opportunities for marketing, but when to post, how often and what kind of content attracts the most leads. Wouldn't you like to know this so that your marketing efficiency improves?
Why do visitors become customers? If there's an important question to ask, this one beats them all. You should design your site content, navigation, pathways, choices and interaction to answer this question above all. Advanced Marketing Analytics strategy and testing should be focused on finding out why people become your customers. The answer(s) will help you fine-tune your entire marketing strategy to be more effective and to deliver positive ROI in the least amount of time.
This is the value question. To what degree are your overall marketing, site design, content and engagement strategies working? You have collected a lot of data, analyzed it and drawn conclusions, but to what degree have the components of your strategy contributed to the bottom line? Which elements, campaigns or ideas generated the most revenue last quarter? If you aren't answering this question, then you have nothing to discuss with the CEO or CFO of your company. With advanced marketing analytics you should be able to answer the "money" question for every aspect of your inbound marketing strategy.
In the past few years we inbound marketers have focused our attention on the top of the funnel. Draw in more people with compelling content and social media engagement, and the rest will follow. Now we're discovering that people are getting lost in the funnel, and we're having a hard time rescuing them. This new discipline of asking key questions and designing intelligent tests to answer them will help to make your funnel more transparent and productive.
Photo credit: Lee J Haywood
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