The effectiveness of a website can vary greatly depending on the goals and purpose of that site. E-commerce sites for example are fairly easy to evaluate in terms of dollars and cents because at the end of the day you can track how much you have sold verses how much you spent on the site. With marketing or informational sites that calculation becomes a bit harder to track. Foremost Media recommends several key things for each website we build in order to track effectiveness or return on investment:
- Clear calls to action on every page of your site are very important. Every page should have a purpose or response you want the user to complete. Register for an event, visiting another page for additional information, subscribing to a newsletter, in a properly designed website these goals should be identified and tracked throughout the site. Then, using web analytics and response forms, you can assign value to the actions and extrapolate that into return on investment.
- Site wide analytics- With proper analytics such as Google Analytics installed you can track the following elements:
a. Site Stickiness - How long people hang around your site and digest your content
b. Bounce rate- Is your site traffic hitting one page and leaving or are the browsing through much of your content
c. Traffic counts- How many people are visiting your site and are they new verse returning visitors
d. Demographics- Demographic data allows you to track where are visitors coming from geographically, what gender are they among other things.
Evaluating Effectiveness In Real Life
When working with our clients to determine their objectives for online marketing and website development, we start with the goals they have for their business as a whole. We believe that the goals a company has online should be an extension of their overall business objectives. The purpose of a website and an online presence varies considerably from company to company. The primary online objective for one company may to be increase qualified leads, while another company may solely focus on closing sales. Being in business since 2001 has provided us the opportunity to work with many different companies and to focus on a variety of goals. It is easy to set goals. The ability to achieve them is what sets us apart. That is why the goals we set with our clients are SMART goals.
- Specific - The best goals are not vague, but precise.
- Measurable - Establishing criteria for success allows the measuring of progress and the ability to stay on track throughout the project.
- Attainable - Goals should be neither out of reach nor below normal performance.
- Relevant - Any objective should make an actual difference to your overall business success.
- Time-Bound - A commitment to a deadline will help you focus your efforts on the successful completion of the goal before the end date.
A recent client of ours was focusing their online efforts on acquiring new qualified leads for their sales team to convert to sales. In June of 2013, their total marketing reach was 15,246 individuals (determined by database size). Their specific goal was to increase their reach. In order to make this goal measurable, the goal of increasing their marketing reach by 20% in one year was established, giving us an aggressive time-bound objective. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) were put in place to help determine that the goal was attainable. Increasing the marketing reach was previously shown by the company to increase qualified leads and in turn, sales, making the goal relevant to their organization's objectives.
With the SMART goals in place and KPIs established, we were able to develop a sophisticated strategy based on the metrics that matter to our client. In June of 2014, we successfully increased their marketing reach to 27,382 individuals, a 79.6% increase in one year. Not only was the initial goal achieved, but also remarkably exceeded. The increase in marketing reach and qualified leads has had a direct impact on the overall business objective of increasing sales and profitability for our client.
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