We all know the power of understanding our visitors' behaviors online -- using Web analytics to understand clicks, movements, patterns, conversions, segments, and more. We have found ways to identify opportunities to improve site performance based on this behavioral data, which is great.
And many organizations are looking at attitudinal data using surveys to help understand how the site impacts their audience. Too often, though, there are three problems with this:
I was reminded of the power of understanding your clients' attitudes the other day while on Facebook. That includes the power of positive or negative experiences in online communities, word of mouth, and the ease with which consumers can share information.
A friend of mine and founder of BazaarVoice, Sam Decker, had his Facebook status set to "Just got burned on a proposal by [company name here]. Avoid!" when I logged on one day recently. Clearly Decker didn't have a good experience with this company and he was sharing that with all his Facebook friends. I figure everyone he talks to over a few days isn't likely to hear good things about this company.
Let's take a few steps back to examine a prospect's negative experience. Let's assume this started with a visit to the vendor's Web site. A prospect spends time to research a few Web sites she may be interested in doing business with. She then decides she's interested in starting a dialogue with one or two companies, fills out the contact form, and waits for that call or e-mail.
From a Web analytics standpoint, those are successful conversions and look great. Unfortunately, far too often the company won't get back to this person fast enough and will miss out on striking when the iron is hot (a topic for another time). In other cases, the company will follow up and form a successful business relationship. But that doesn't mean everyone leaves that process satisfied. And a negative experience like Decker's will greatly impact future conversion from a lead to a customer.
It's important to constantly check with your customers and prospects on how you're doing. Whether this is online or off-, you can learn a lot about what works and what doesn't. To expand on the three common problem areas mentioned earlier:
We all understand the power the average site visitor has when she comes to our sites and when she starts a dialogue with us. Take the time to understand what works well, and identify areas of improvement. Focusing online is a great place to start understanding this, but you must understand it all the way through your online customer lifecycle. You don't want to be the "company name" in a single posting, multiple postings, or discussions among friends.
Jason is off this week. Today's column ran earlier on ClickZ.
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As the Chief Performance Marketing Officer for POSSIBLE, Jason supports the agency's global Marketing Sciences and Media Services programs.
His primary role is to help POSSIBLE teams and clients use data to craft digital strategies that attract, convert, and retain customers - maximizing ongoing ROI across paid, earned, and owned channels. He believes that brands can better serve their customers by understanding audience behavior, and that messaging should be targeted to individual customers through the use of testing, behavioral targeting, and CRM initiatives.
Jason has written extensively about digital analytics, optimization and digital strategy, including an ongoing column at ClickZ.com. He is the co-author of "Actionable Web Analytics: Using Data to Make Smart Business Decisions," which is one of the leading texts in the field of digital analytics. His client roster includes Microsoft, Nike, Nokia, Dell, Ford, Sony, PayPal/eBay, P&G, Alcoa, Expedia, Mazda, Intel, and Motorola, and more. Jason is a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars around the world ranging from the Cannes Lions, Adobe Omniture Summits, eMetrics, SES, ad:tech, BazaarVoice, and many other WPP events.
Follow him on Twitter @JasonBurby.