Stop Listening to Assumptions and Guesswork

This is a topic very close to my heart, one I’m extremely passionate about. Key information that needs drilling into so, so many companies that have an online presence big and small.

Following on from Avinash Kaushik’s exceptional blog post Online Marketing Still A Faith Based Initiative where he talks about the following:

For all the data that is available online to businesses, we still rely mainly on faith based decisions. The problem he says, lies not with how we measure, the problem lies with you (company executives).

Avinash states three important reasons to answer why in a world so full of data, so empowering when it comes to relevance and creativity…why is it we suck so much at online measurement:

Based on his experience they are:

  1. The web has been around forever and yet it is not in the blood of the executives who staff the top echelons of companies.
  2. We still believe in and live in the world of “shout marketing”, the thing we have practiced on TV, radio and magazines all our lives.
  3. Our lousy standards for accountability.

Why Aren’t you Measuring your Website Marketing Correctly?

What do I mean? Frankly, you as a company are quite happy to rely on assumptions and guesswork about your own website and online performance.

Customers are getting tortured every single day by ineffective websites, poor user interfaces and usability, and generally unappealing content.

You heard me! You measure your finance and billing, you track your company time using project management tools, you probably even note all your working hours in the office per employee.

WHY THEN… is your website the most neglected part of your business measurement strategy. Far too many companies in the UK alone are quite happy to throw money down the drain when it comes to their online marketing efforts, even in these tough economic times.

People assume that just because it’s a website and the fact it’s online means that it cannot be measured easily or it’s far too easy to ignore all the data that is collected.

The problem is not with the measurement tools or how we measure. The problem lies with you. There is a distinct lack of in-house knowledge and understanding about online marketing practices within some companies and how to measure online business intelligence effectively, especially in higher paid executive positions.

The UK internet economy is forecast to grow at 10% per annum between 2009 and 2015 to £174bn or possibly to as much as £228bn. – Boston Consulting Group, October 2010

Are you going to let your company miss out on available growth through online channels just because your happy to base decisions on faith and guesswork. I didn’t think so.

How Many Times Have you said any of these Statements:

  • I think my pay per click spend of £1,000 a month is generating sales and leads
  • I think my pay per click campaign generates ROI
  • I think my search engine traffic is producing sales and enquiries
  • I think the £10,000 we’ve just invested into SEO has resulted in more search traffic and authority
  • I think my re-design of my website has resulted in more traffic and conversions
  • I think my digital agency are doing a good job
  • I think my visitors read our content
  • I think our website has a good conversion rate
  • I think my time on social media is well invested
  • I think our customers find our website easy to use

Why should you be unsure of your answer?

Yet,  you are probably a person who has said at least one of these statements over the past year. In 2012, let’s put a stop to relying on assumptions and guesswork.

Most businesses have Google Analytics installed as standard, the main web analytics solution to track and measure your website performance. Stop ignoring it, don’t leave it your web designer or agency to interpret it for you, take control of your data and start discussing it within your company.

You will always need the support of a good web analyst to help you ask the right business questions of the data, such as ; ‘What is my best source of converting traffic?

But that doesn’t mean you can’t start discussing your website performance in your boardrooms and make it a focal part of your measurement strategy in your business already.

Start Measuring for Real

Hire a online marketing consultant to educate your marketing teams or hire someone in-house with the knowledge. Why are you prepared to listen to the guesswork and assumptions of others.

I’ve seen it with my own two eyes, companies who have ‘bought into’ what the marketing agency was selling, only to have no idea what they were paying for, how it should be measured or what results it generated.

It is criminal to think that this happens on a daily basis online! Shocking really, especially when we can measure our online channels with a 90%+ accuracy.

Yet, the education and knowledge gap grows wider every day, there are too few companies willing to educate and teach their clients about the results and how to measure their online marketing campaigns effectively.

What you Should try Measure and Improve in 2012:

  • Setup basic goals tracking in Analytics to measure your website objectives e.g. conversions for; sales, leads, marketing material downloads.
  • Try to increase your organic search traffic for 2012, look at your % share of search terms.
  • Stop relying on ‘shout marketing’ metrics, visits, clicks, impressions, page views. They don’t mean much at face value.
  • Segment different traffic performance individually to find what is best and what drives the best ROI.
  • Focus on increasing your website conversion rate.
  • Measure Visitor Loyalty & Visitor Recency. See who comes back and consumes your content regularly.
  • For E-Commerce / Online Retail, measure and focus on increasing Average Order Value and decreasing your Days/ Time to Purchase.

Ask yourself this final question: Why does your website exist?

You should focus primarily on what your answer is.

This overall business objective will help you drive your website goals and key performance indicators in 2012. For example; my website exists to sell X product, then you might focus on improving your average order value, website conversion rate and organic search traffic to increase % of product X sales online and overall sales revenue of product X.

Make sense. I hope so.

Good luck and let’s try change 2012 to focus less on faith based decisions, instead focusing more on educated, results driven, data based facts.

Thank you for reading, if your business needs help educating your marketing teams to measure your online performance effectively or you want to hire a consultant to help you improve your website performance please give me a call on +44 (0)113 815 3328 or alternatively you can get in touch here.