How do you measure your success in using the WEB for capturing more business?


Which of these methods do you use?

  • Ask new customers or prospects how they found you
  • Look at how many website visits you are getting
  • Do a couple of searches in Google and see if you are on the first page
  • Ask Yellow Pages, Angie’s List or someone how they are doing for you

If you are using some or all of these methods you are not getting the full story and I will tell you why.

If you are relying on asking new customers how they found your website or business, you may be getting a very slanted picture. Most people do more than a little research before finally making a call. By the time they actually call you (and this could all happen in few hours to several weeks), the client may not remember how they actually came to be aware of your business in the first place.

According to Nick Persico, co-founder of Smart Host, says it is not enough to ask, “How did you hear about us?" He says it is very important to know exactly what they searched for. Was it your business or the name of your competitor or a description of your product?

Some websites have forms to aid in customer contact and these forms ask the question, “How did you hear about us?” This is not the place for this. Since many users just want to get through the form you will be getting some very bad data by doing this and at the same time hurting your chances that someone will fill out the form. Read what Patrick Smith has to say in his blog titled, Stop asking your Users ‘How did you hear about us?

If you are looking at the number of website visits and concluding from that some sort of success or failure, you are very much mistaken and misguided in a number of ways.

First, the number of website visits has been dramatically increasing as the number of bot visits has increased over the last year. A bot visit is a meaningless visit to your website by another computer for the purpose of marketing to you or gathering information. Two big ones accounting for double-digit percentages of the visits to some smaller websites with less than 500 visits per month are and buttons. According to an article in Forbes, some 60 percent of web traffic is non-human. Our experience, with our clients, does not confirm this but it does mean that you cannot measure web traffic overall and conclude anything.

If you do your own searches in Google and see if you are listed, you are still not getting at the real benefit.

According to Google, one-third of all Google searches (that combination of words searched) have never been done before. In addition, there are hundreds or thousands of ways to search for anything. If you are on the first page for a simple search, it does not mean you will be there for most of the searches

In addition to that, searches on your own computer use your browsing history to influence what websites are on the first page.

Ask your present provider how they are doing. I have seen reports from many providers of internet marketing such as Yellow Pages, Yellow Page City, Angie's List and the information is very sketchy.

You usually are shown how many ‘impressions’ you are getting from the ad they created for you. An impression usually means that the viewer saw the page that contained the ad. Sometimes you are shown data such as ‘conversions.’ These mean that the viewer clicked on an ad to see the coupon or something like that. In some cases, you can see telephone calls to your business number through the ad provider's tracking phone number.

I do not believe you are told lies but neither are you given the whole truth here.

An impression of an ad means that the ad was on the page that someone looked at. It does not mean it was even on the computer screen let alone seen. We call this ‘below the fold.’ If you are advertising on Yellow Pages, for example, there are seven ads that are visible without scrolling down and there are a total of 27 ads on that first page (for a particular search). Your chances of being seen are 7/27 or 25 percent even when Yellow Pages might rotate the ads.

How then do you measure your effectiveness in using the Internet?

This begins with what you are trying to do. I will give you information on a few common questions.

  1. Are you trying to see if your payment to Yellow Pages is getting you more business?
  2. Do you want to see if your SEO company is improving your listing in organic searches?
  3. Do you want to know if the money you are spending on Google Ads (PPC) is getting you anywhere?

When you are using Yellow Pages advertising one of three things might happen

  1. The viewer will click on the ad to go to your website. How many people do this can be measured by Google Analytics and in addition, you can see which web pages they visit when they get to your website.
  2. Second, the viewer might make a phone call to you (depending on your service or product) from the Yellow Pages listing. I feel this happens much less frequently than a visit to your website.
  3. A third thing you can do is have a unique coupon on the Yellow Pages site and when customers bring this to you will prove that they are definitely using Yellow Pages (still they may not have found you there).

This data can then be analyzed and combined with the cost of the program to determine if you are actually getting leads from this marketing activity.

Evaluate your SEO company

Depending on your arrangement, your SEO company should be getting qualified prospects to your website. Some SEO companies will also make sure the page the website visitors land on is doing the most to get the viewer to call or email you.

In order to maximize the traffic coming to your website from searches in Google, Bing or Yahoo, your website needs to be on the first page of search – possibly second page depending on your industry. This is where you need a good web tool to perform multiple searches for the keywords that you and your SEO company have agreed on you should be found for. These searches should be performed without the search engine knowing your web history. If you do a search on your personal PC, make sure you open a private or incognito web window. Otherwise, the websites you have previously visited will influence what you see in the search (usually making your website seem better than it is). There is more about this is the blog from Web Solutions of America.

Is your Google Ads budget helping you?

The best way to do this is to pay for a tracking phone number that the person clicking on your ad will see when they go to your website. There are services that handle this substitution and it involves more cost than just payment to Google Ads and adding a special code to your website.

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