Making Numbers Work for You

Gone are the rose-colored-glasses days of “Gee Whiz.” Return on investment is the imperative. Your bottom line depends on your ability to market intelligently. And your ability to market intelligently depends on the accountability you design into your online efforts. As Jim Sterne of Target Marketing wrote for us, “There is no such thing as a perfect website, there is only … change. Do not expect to ever reach the final version of your site. You want people to buy? Keep trying things and measuring the results.”

The underlying beauty of a conversion system based on the principles of Persuasion Architecture lies in its accountability. For Call to Action, Jason Burby, Director of Web Analytics for Zaaz, offered these “number tactics” to help you shape the accountability of your conversion system.

Jason writes:

Tip 1: Find out where, when and why and what kinds of people are leaving your conversion funnel (whether lead generation, signups or commerce).

Using analytics, find out:

  • What drives people to leave the funnel

  • Where they are going

  • What type of content are they seeking

  • What type of content drives those same people back into the conversion funnel

  • What motivators or risks people see in the process

Tip 2: Assign a value to all desired conversions on your site.

This is easy when looking at commerce sites, but can be a little harder on lead generation sites. Most sites have a number of desired conversions, often of different types. By assigning values to each, you can prioritize improvement efforts.

Tip 3: Track the conversions that happen offline.

Just because they aren't converting online doesn't mean the site is ineffective. It is important to look just as closely at offline conversions as we do those that happen online. To do this, employ multiple 800 numbers. Specifically:

  • Have a single 800 number for the Web site alone, then track inbound calls for quantity, closing rate and closing value

  • Assign different 800 numbers to different parts of the site based on product groups or level of exploration (unique number only on the shopping cart page)

  • Assign a different 800 number to each different campaign to measure effectiveness

Remember, Data Are Simply Numbers

If I say, “43 and 24,” it’s pretty meaningless. If I say, “Last week our Web site generated 43 leads and this week week we generated 24,” I haven’t communicated anything beyond a decline in lead generations. Your first question is, “What’s going on???” Quickly followed by, “How do we fix it???”

Data are numbers. But how you draw conclusions from those numbers yields information that enables you to market more effectively. Want to understand what to test, how to measure and, most important, how to optimize? Then cozy up with the handy-dandy, comprehensive Call-to-Action, your all-purpose resource for actionable information in the online world.

Volume 113: 6/15/05


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