Do you really care how many people saw your website today? Do you care how many cars drove by your billboard today? Do you care how many people walked by your office or shop today and looked in the window?
Probably not unless some of those people made a purchase or became a client or new customer.
Digital babble or industry jargon or tech speak doesn’t get you, clients. It can get you nebulous information like impressions, bounce rates or conversion rates.
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This article is geared towards small to medium businesses with an online presence and centered towards how to get potential customers to engage with you and convert to being a client or customer. Whether you have a home services company or a business online or are providing website design, you must appear in the search results and in particular Google’s search results.
It doesn’t matter how the visitor arrived, whether it was a click from AdWords or through a social media campaign, display advertising campaign or through regular searches shown on the SERP aka the search engine results page.
As the business owner or the person in charge of the website, the short answer is yes you do care, but it’s most likely not the most important metric that you care about; especially true if you’re providing a service versus a product.
Clicks, impressions, sessions, and visitors may not be relevant to you at all. It boils down to the viewpoint of the person making the statement and what his or her position is and how it relates to the website.
When I wrote the original piece, I failed to mention things like retail. In that sector impressions, visitors and clicks can be vitally important. But for the small business owner selling a service; maybe not.
How could digital marketing or an Internet marketing company tell you that they don’t care about getting clicks to your website? It’s easy to say and if you read on you might even agree with me.
As a business owner, you most likely are not an Internet marketing genius, but even if you were, everything that I mention here is dependent on your viewpoint. You may not even care about conversions.
What is a conversion? Another click? Someone filling out a form or requesting a free download? Maybe key conversions are what you care about? What is that you ask? If you don’t know you probably don’t need to know.
If you asked what key conversions are to ten different marketing strategy specialists, you’re probably going to receive ten different answers. Many of these phrases are just jargon and digital babble that goes on and on, many time unchecked.
If you’re looking to learn new acronyms, then most likely this is not the article for you.
It is my philosophy that the number one metric for digital marketing is about getting clients and customers.
This article is not written for those that are only concerned with branding. This article is for people concerned with turning clicks into clients™; those that want to turn those impressions, visitors and everything else into clients.
What many digital marketing experts and inbound marketing types don’t understand is that a genuinely successful Internet marketing campaign ends up with new business for the client. They forget that in the end, it’s all about the small business owner and that is usually what they want.
I have had search engine optimization professionals say things like this: I don’t understand why the client is not happy; the SEO work is incredible. Most of these SEO professionals are not business owners. Most of them don’t need to worry about potential clients because people bring the clients to them. In some ways, they are myopic and left out of the big picture.
What they fail to see is that they get remunerated even if the client receives no new business. They look at clicks, impressions, visitors and all of the metrics as validation of their work. But to the client who is looking for new clients or customers, the internet marketing strategy failed them. The online marketing strategy delivered no return on the investment.
The business owner or advertiser needs to have potential or prospective clients sign up for a service, or buy the product, and then he/she gets paid.
To do that, we as marketers need people to click on the website, so we sort of care about clicks. We want and need people to search deeper into your site learning more about your product or service offerings. These steps are what I call “sort of conversions.”
What counts is that people are buying or signing up for your service and that get you paid. I call that a sale!
Does your agency only talk about conversions? Everyone in our organization cares about our clients getting paid, and when the client gets paid, we get paid.
In fact, the better we are at generating more clients or customers for our clients, the more they spend with us meaning, the more we get paid. So, for me to tell you we are better or different from most agencies means nothing!
On the other hand, if I show you or let you see behind the curtain, you will learn how we are “turning clicks into clients®.” You may get the picture that we are not your ordinary digital advertising or internet marketing company. We are not ordinary; we even went to the United States Patent & Trademark Office and had the phrase “Turning Clicks Into Clients” trademarked. Why? Because that is what we love to do, it gets our clients paid; then we get paid.
I haven’t run across any competitor that employs all of the methods and procedures that we do to get new business for our clients. I haven’t heard about anyone that provides the level of client access/service that we do. So, I am going to assume that people just don’t do it. I think all agencies should service the heck out of their clients. I think they should all care about the ultimate conversion which is when their client’s target prospects sign up for their services. In this digital age, I think digital marketing experts and companies like to rely on technology too much.
Did I tell you that we harness our power by using many of the same systems and software(s) that our competitors use? We do. I also think we employ many others that some agencies forego and use freeware.
Our monthly software spend is incredibly high. I would imagine that many of our competitors spend a fair amount too. But a large part of what we do requires intelligent, bright human beings that can listen, interpret and then take action and feel satisfied that they helped their client succeed.
Today, technology can’t replace our people; it only assists them in making the right decisions for our clients. I love to go to industry meetings and listen to industry peers and owners of agencies talking about their software. Rarely, do I hear someone rave about their people that use the software!
Our Clients care about the “now” when it comes to getting business.
Our competitors forget that sometimes technology is not going to fix everything or do everything for the clients. So, let me roll back the curtain and expose what we do. From this point on I’ll tell you exactly what we do and how we do it. You will be surprised that it isn’t rocket science! But man does it work.
Step One – Research
Research, research, research, and just when you think that the research is enough research some more. What do I mean by research? We interview our clients and find out exactly what websites they like and why they like them. What do they like about the competition(s) websites? What don’t they like about their site? I could spend a lot of time talking about this step/phase, but it is too time-consuming for this article. I will write another post just talking about research and software(s) that help. You will find that it is a lot more than just figuring out what ad words to string together on Google or Bing. It is a crucial topic on its own — especially the part about knowing the client’s industry.
Step Two – Get the campaign running
Behind the scene, technicians and analysts have developed a marketing plan for your digital campaign. Did they present that plan to you? Is it a written documented plan? If you are paying a lot of budget money to an agency and you haven’t seen a plan, then you need to become more involved. If you are only spending a little, you still deserve to know the plan. It will probably be short and concise, but you should see the program. Let’s assume that you have received a plan.
That plan will most likely tell you where your advertising dollars are going to be spent, and what type of ads will be run. Where are the ads going to run? On Google, Bing, Yahoo, Instagram, YouTube or Facebook? What services will your budget dollars support? SEO (search engine optimization), or PPC (Pay-Per-Click) or Display, video, live-chat advertising, SMM (Social Media Marketing)? Have you considered adding LinkedIn to your Social Media Strategy? Is your budget covering all of these services or others not listed here? Now let’s assume your campaign(s) are up and running.
At this point, most agencies will tell you that they need at least a few weeks to make sure that the campaigns are running well. And during this time they will be going in and making changes and finding keywords that work, removing those that don’t work — blocking out specific keywords so that your traffic appears to be within the parameters for success. Making sure that if your service area is geographic that towns with the same name from other states get excluded. We do all of this, and we do it as well or better than most other agencies.
STEP Three – The human factor
All of our campaigns are tracked using specialized software and phone numbers. We assign tracking phone numbers to your website so that when someone responds to an ad or search and then calls, we capture the data. Our tracking software is second to none! We collect the caller’s name, phone number, and other valuable information.
We can tell you who answered the call from your firm and when. We monitor the calls daily, for all of our clients. We watch for trends like calls going to voicemail, and then the caller hangs up. WE Phones that are ringing endlessly. We can tell you if your people are courteous, empathetic, rude or whatever. We have even held phone training for various professionals like attorneys or accountants. We are true believers in the people factor in our business and our client’s businesses.
Here is one of my favorite phone problems; the answerer uses the wrong company name when answering calls. He or she is covering for the regular receptionist and doesn’t realize that the call is coming in for another company held by the parent company and answers with the wrong name? Nobody understood why there were so many hang-ups after the calls were answered.
Could using the wrong name be a confounding factor? You decide.
Another favorite is the answering service that doesn’t pronounce the company name correctly or uses the wrong name altogether. It happens, and we get it fixed! We have had to have clients replace headsets because the microphones were not of good quality. We remove ads from certain cities and areas that maybe our clients don’t service regularly. If you only want to serve Pennsylvania and people from New York are calling then, the client just paid for a bad call.
We have developed a “top ten of phone etiquette problems.” Most of our client’s employees make these mistakes daily until we intervene and then ensure that the problems are fixed, permanently. We run analytics regularly on our client’s website(s). The analytics allow us to have their site(s) performing at an optimal peak. The result is that the search engines respond better to the website.
Potential clients/customers respond better because the site(s) is fast and mobile friendly. We make comparisons to their primary competitor’s websites. We delve into the highest-ranking signal that Google uses, backlinks. We test the backend of the competitors’ website, and this data provides us with ideas that we use to better our client’s marketing results. This part is software driven, but a real person interprets the data and advances change in our systems.
We have a strategy team assigned to each account which reviews data and makes changes regularly. The team is like an orchestra, all following the “maestro” (Our account managers) direction. And then there is the daily phone call review.
We provide weekly snippets of information showing how their marketing campaign is performing. These help clients understand our value and more importantly their return on investment.
Step Four – Confirming that all is well
Each day, the first thing that happens (after coffee) is that staffers log into each client’s telephone tracking system. They listen to the previous day’s calls. They rate the calls and note any problems or distinctions. A log is kept for each client, and it is passed to the strategy team. Information is reviewed, problems recorded, and clients are notified of problems.
Clients are also informed of outstanding service that may have been provided by their people. If someone provides outstanding value to a client or prospective client over the phone, we provide management with audio of that call. These steps are taken every business day! Additionally, Step Three is repeated so that on any given day we know our customer’s website, advertising and other valuable items are functioning well. Calls are coming in, and the advertiser is closing or booking business. We report results regularly with meaningful, useful information.
Step Five – Generating actual “Return on Investment” (ROI) Data
So, everybody’s happy, right? Our client, the software vendors, the search engines, just about everybody, except us. Why aren’t we happy? We haven’t completed the most crucial step in the process for the client. We haven’t generated any actual Return on Investment, which are the verifications and financial validations of the client’s “real” return on the digital investment strategy.
So here is where I admit that while I pulled the curtain back, I didn’t open the small door behind the curtain. This door holds the key to making the client stay with you for a long time. That key unlocks the secret to our success, proving to the client, using their actual figures showing how much revenue they generated. We show the client, in writing, that for every $1.00 spent with us, they received X dollars back, which is their ROI. It is a natural process to start and a rewarding one for both our client and us.
This data is shared and reviewed monthly with our client’s upper management. It goes to the very heart of what we do. We turn clicks into clients, and that’s what the business owners want; Clients and Customers, not impressions or conversions.
by JANEENE HIGH