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Who is Visiting Your Website?

By John McTigueNov 18, 2011

Most of us have no idea whether or not qualified sales leads are visiting our website until they become leads by converting on a landing page. At the same time, we wonder why more of these stealthy visitors don't become leads and why they are visiting at all. CEO's and marketing people wonder how effective their brand is at reaching their target market and attracting them to the website. Wouldn't it be nice to know more, even before our visitors become leads?

Visitors Always Leave a Trail, We Just Don't Look Hard Enough

Whenever someone visits your site, your web server records their IP address. In many cases, their IP address is dedicated to a single account owned by a company or institution. If you have a business website and are reaching out to other professionals, chances are good that their IP addresses are registered with a company. In other cases, for example when we surf the Web from our home computers, it's more likely that we are using a shared IP address from our Internet Service Provider. You can look up your own IP address by using a free service like whatismyip.com. In either case, the information is stored and can be accessed for further analysis.

What's In My IP Address?

There's a wealth of information stored within your IP address. For example, you can view geolocation information. Try going to http://www.ip2location.com/ and you will see information about the location of your Internet service. You can also do a "whois" lookup to see who "owns" your IP address by going to a service like http://www.ipchecking.com and entering your IP address. A whois lookup of this kind will usually reveal information about your Internet provider, but in the case in which a company "owns" its own set of IP addresses, the company itself will be revealed. Most mid or large size companies own their own IP's or blocks of IP's. If multiple people from a company visit your site, each instance will be logged separately, so you can track individual visits by date and time. You can also do a "whois" check on a domain to see who owns and operates it by going to a service like http://whois.net/ and entering a domain name (for example, "kunocreative.com").

How to Reveal the Identities and Behaviors of Website Visitors

Well, if you can manually look up information about your visitors online, surely you can automate this process with a computer program. Google Analytics gives you much of this information in its Visitors tracking reports, but it does not provide individual IP addresses nor does it perform reverse lookups to show the identities of visitors. Google hides this information to avoid privacy issues. You can, however, analyze the behavior of your visitors - which pages they visit, how often and from which source they found your site. What if you could combine all of that information with identity lookups?

HubSpot has this capability. It's in the Convert > Prospects report available at every level of their software licensing structure. In the Prospects tool you get a snapshot of your website visitors sorted by company (or organization) and showing you detailed analysis of their visits, by date, by page, and by location. If any of these visitors has also converted as a lead, HubSpot draws the connection and shows you relevant lead information. You can drill down to view visits on specific days, individual page statistics and points of origin (sources) for your visitors. You can filter the data by company, by region or by keyword to find specific prospects and analyze their pre- and post-conversion behavior.

hubspot prospects tool

What's the Value of Accessing Visitor Information Early in the Cycle?

Your sales team can benefit dramatically by tracking prospective clients earlier in the sales cycle and by reacting swiftly to "bursts" of visitor interest. For example, if a prospect is performing an intensive due diligence on your products or services, you will see that interest before they even decide to contact you for more information. You can inform your inside sales team, who can work their magic to find and contact the interested party right away rather than waiting for a lead conversion event. Or at the very least, when a lead contacts you, you can respond with a wealth of information about their needs and level of interest. You can also use this information to segment your leads and provide inbound marketing content to move them down your sales funnel.

One Word of Caution

The IP lookup technology isn't foolproof. Visitors can disguise their identity by using shared Internet services (not designated to their own company) and by other means. In these cases you will see a lot of visits by Internet services providers. There's nothing you can do about this "noise", but the HubSpot software does allow you to filter out these results. The other thing you should be very careful about is privacy. Make sure your privacy policy discloses your terms of use, specifically that of IP addresses and lead capture information - and don't forget to publish it on your website! Also, be careful about using data collected from your visitors, and if you have any questions, consult with your company attorney before you use visitor data in any way.Download the High Performing Websites Guide

Additional Topics: Inbound Sales
The Author

John McTigue

With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. You can connect with John via LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus.
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