Many companies don't seem to understand the importance of their own website. They pour money into it to look pretty, to be easy to navigate, sometimes they even try to get people there. With that level of investment, why are they still refusing to reach the website's full potential? Are you ignoring it too and unintentionally harming your own business as a result?
Companies these days can have various levels of digital marketing embedded in their processes. Or they might have none. It all depends on the business model, but one thing is almost commonplace - every business has a website these days. Regardless of the extent of digital marketing in place, that website is getting visitors. A portion of those is interested in the company, a portion is not relevant and rightfully ignored. Yet, the interested ones go unnoticed as well, lumped into ‘not relevant’ group under the pretence that they are not interested enough yet.
It still leaves me speechless. After a business spends thousands of pounds on their website and supporting marketing, why is the website not considered a valuable asset to their marketing and sales? Why are businesses reluctant to truly maximise their ROI on the investments? I have wrecked my brain, recalled multitudes of conversations with prospects and managed to pinpoint two main running themes - 1. Hesitation; 2. Aversion. Let me address those in order. If your business suffers from one or both, here is how and why it’s holding your business back and ultimately robbing you of the profit you deserve.
###Hesitation I mainly noticed hesitation with businesses that are already investing in marketing and might have some form of tracking in place. It is also present in businesses that are actively, but with limited ability, trying to drive traffic to the website and are either convinced that their marketing tells them everything, or that their marketing is giving them 100% response rate. That means that if 100 emails are sent out, 100 people will interact with the business as a result. In reality, a business is likely to get around 10 enquiries through the website or over the phone as a result of that marketing activity. That is knocking down the 100% response rate to around 1%. It is this illusion of complete success that causes companies to question the necessity of using additional tracking. Sometimes hesitation stems from already having multiple tools in place, each doing one thing. Introducing another tool into that mix is then generally rejected, despite the fact that one tool can combine multiple functions and as a result help the business save money. Hesitation is not that hard to overcome. A sales rep just needs a strong conviction and the stomach to respectfully challenge the prospect’s beliefs. Marketing clickthroughs are nice to see, but what can you do with them to add to your bottom line? I have dozens of marketing emails landing in my inbox daily. Some I open, some I click through. Generally, I don’t have enough time to read them all. Sometimes I don’t even have time to read the article properly. Passing a click-through to your rep then means they are calling somebody who hasn’t had a chance to fully familiarize themselves with your business. Unless they come back to the website. But you won’t know that. You will chase your reps to call everyone instead of the ones who have researched you.
###Aversion Surprisingly there are businesses out there that categorically dismiss anything digital. I am not arguing against doing business the old-fashioned way. I am arguing against putting your business through unnecessary hardship by refusing to match your target audience needs and giving the power away to your competitors. I found aversion in businesses that have a website but never went further than that. In certain exceptions, they might have Google Analytics but only because everybody seems to have it but actually they don’t do anything with it. Businesses might have that aversion for many reasons - perceive the market to be overly saturated with digital methods; don’t see the benefits for their own business; etc. Personally, I am still failing to fully grasp the thought processes of this rare breed. After all, they put up a website and are undoubtedly getting visitors there. You can imagine how they are radically against tracking when anything digital is turned down. It is almost as if you were talking about a nuclear war. Defences go up. Immediate no is thrown in your face and there is not a way in hell they will ever change their ways. Why? I often hear it’s because they find it intrusive. They wouldn’t like to be tracked themselves so they are not going to track their prospects either. That sounds awfully similar to - “Don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you.” (Confucius) I agree with the concept in day-to-day life. I am afraid when it comes to tracking, it is not the right time to adopt that view. You are not selling to yourself but your audience. Your audience is already used to targeted ads of products they viewed 5 minutes ago. They are used to cookies dropped all over the internet to optimize browsing experience. And those that don’t want to be tracked? I bet my salary that they are already using cookie blockers to stop that from happening. And so should you if that is your position. But don’t let that idea harm your business and rob you off prospects on your website.
I also found a combination of hesitation and aversion in some niche companies. These businesses are sometimes aware of the limited number of prospects they have and hence hesitate when it comes to tracking their website. Usually, their concern is about the limited number of hits they get. Sometimes they are against the idea of tracking the website precisely because they have a limited number of prospects, thinking it useless as they claim they know everyone. This combination can be hard to overcome. Success in convincing niche companies about the importance of tracking is dependent on the disposition of the decision makers and how open-minded they are to listen; as well as which particular reasons they give for hesitation or aversion.
Either way, if you’re having either of the symptoms, you need to stop! You need to stop hesitating because the longer you’re on the fence, the more value you’re losing. You need to stop refusing to listen because by doing so, you are costing your business money in deals and you are being left behind. The further digital technology goes and your prospects’ habits evolve without you doing anything to match that, the harder it will be for you to play catch up when you realize that you are already losing the race. You end up losing out not only on deal opportunities but also opportunities to learn how to do things smarter and in a more efficient way.
Your website is your lowest performing salesperson. What happens to those? They get sacked. But you can’t sack your website. It is your virtual shop window. YOU put it there for YOUR audience. It is there to have a presence. It is there to be a depository of information. And if you think you don’t need to know who goes on there. You are wrong. It doesn’t matter whether it is a prospect or a client. These people are on your website for a reason. A reason that you are actively ignoring. It is a reason to find out about you. It is an interest! Consequently, you are depriving yourself and your salespeople of opportunities to close more deals and nurture existing relationships.
Why website tracking matters to your business should by now be self-explanatory. You put your website out there just like a stone shop has a large shop window to show off its products. You put a website out there to showcase what you do (whether a product or service) for people to see and view. Unlike a stone shop, you might not have enough manpower to monitor all the traffic and then pick the most interested people. Which is why you’d have a tracking tool in place. Tracking would do all that for you - monitor, record and highlight.
Whether or not a niche business, people go to your website for a reason. No one wakes up one morning and thinks about buying a specific part for a machine, or highly customized piece of software for the office. Neither of which are particularly low value. It is almost as if Louis Vuitton or Yves Saint Laurent saw all the customers walk into their shops, viewing the same piece of clothing but nobody engaged. They don’t have the money? Perhaps not yet. But between now and when they do, they are likely to go to other brands and view the same thing. Don’t lose out on prospects because you fail to initiate a conversation when they were interested in YOU. By the time they have money and you contact them, they might not even remember who you are.