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Showcase #4: Measuring up

Increasing traffic then converting website visitors to leads or sales is Adhesion’s formula for online success

See also: Creative Showcase is an advertising supplement created by Idealog. For information on upcoming Creative Showcases, call Ben Gibb on 09 966–0997 or email ben@idealog.co.nz

With more and more consumers looking to the web to help them shop, what can be done for the many businesses that are unsure how to tap into the online opportunity?

The answer, says Paul Russell, director of online lead and sales generator Adhesion, is to demonstrate to them one of the web’s greatest marketing strengths. “This channel is all about measurable outcomes,” he says.

Results focused

No other marketing medium is as inherently measurable, meaning that an accurate return on investment is easy to calculate. So much so that Adhesion voluntarily sets traffic-based KPIs for itself when working with customers.

“We’ll say, for example, that within three months we’re going to increase your traffic volume by X percent and work to meet that number.

“We’re not in this business to just build pretty websites or spend clients’ money on campaigns that don’t deliver.”

But getting customers to understand that, particularly those that don’t know where to start or what to do, is just one of several challenges for online marketing specialists.

“We want marketing managers to see that it’s not quite as complex as they think—yes, there are new concepts and they may be a little different to what they think, but it’s all knowable, doable and achievable.”

Magazine layout

The Ocean Kayak and HomePlus websites have been designed with an open navigation and clear call-to-action to maximise conversion rate

Once bitten twice shy

HomePlus, a national franchise provider of home improvement products, came to Adhesion after a previous web marketing effort failed to fly.

Adhesion director Tony Waldegrave says HomePlus marketing manager Angela Meekings’ initial web experience left her sceptical, but she knew the firm’s customers were online and needed to effectively engage them.

“There were two problems with HomePlus’ existing site,” says Waldegrave. “First, it didn’t have any web analytics, so the marketing team had no understanding of how much traffic was going to the website or what visitors were doing once they arrived.

“Second, the site had been created with the wrong objective—to direct visitors to the HomePlus branch network. The problem was that made it impossible to measure enquiries generated by the website and added a step to the ultimate conversion point, a free measure and quote.”

Enter Google Analytics. Adhesion added code to the site to measure and analyse visitor traffic, behaviour and enquiry completions, and recommended a change to the site’s call to action, inserting a button on most pages to make it simple for visitors to enter the enquiry pathway.

The final part of the solution was to generate traffic. Google AdWords campaigns were used to snare Kiwis searching for information on the types of products in the HomePlus range. This proved highly successful, capturing over 10 percent of the target market. An initially tentative Meekings has now given Adhesion carte blanche to keep chasing online leads.

“Traffic to our website has increased by 100 percent and enquiries are up by over 250 percent,” she says. “We have new confidence in this channel and now see it as a core component of our overall marketing strategy.”

Falling behind

A similar formula was applied to Silverdale-based Ocean Kayak, which distributes and sells sit-on-top kayaks through a national dealer network. Ocean Kayak was losing ground to its competitors who were actively marketing online.

Russell says Google Analytics was put to work on Ocean Kayak’s existing site and an AdWords campaign undertaken to generate data on visitor patterns and behaviour. “It became clear that the existing site wasn’t giving the target audience what it was looking for. Product pages were buried deep in the site and, while the website’s purpose was to drive traffic to Ocean Kayak’s dealers, nowhere was a visitor prompted to take that conversion action.”

Adhesion recommended designing a new website for Ocean Kayak as part of a strategic plan. The new site went live at the start of the year with an easy-to-use content management system, search engine optimisation so it will perform well in Google, and product information no deeper than two clicks. Plus it clearly communicates the ‘find a dealer’ call-to-action to improve conversion. “Early data indicates we’re getting more than twice the enquiries to our dealers,” says Ocean Kayak national sales and marketing manager Simon Bilkey. “With more prospective customers being fed into the sales funnel, we’re expecting to see a definitive increase in overall sales revenue.”

Conversion factor

Waldegrave says there are several boxes for marketers to tick before venturing onto the web.

First is to define their business’s unique selling proposition; second is to take that proposition and present it online for an audience that is seeking product or service information.

Online marketing is ‘pull’, not ‘push’, Waldegrave says. “Traditional offline marketing is generally broadcast or push marketing to a target audience. But consumers on the web behave differently—they’re often in a buying cycle and are totally in control.”

Online marketers need to be clear about their objectives. “If you’re like most businesses, you’ll want to generate leads and sales.”

That means driving traffic to the site and persuading visitors to make an enquiry or a purchase. Waldegrave says that can be summed up by a simple formula: online outcomes = traffic generation x website conversion rate.

“These two work hand in hand—a well planned and designed website will improve visitor engagement, and good online marketing will deliver highly qualified visitors that are more likely to convert. The result: measurable outcomes from the online channel.”

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