To say that 2009 has been a challenging year for B2B marketers would be an understatement at best. Over the past twelve months, we have seen conversion rates drop as searchers do more and more research, but aren’t quite ready to do business.
While everyone is hopeful for economic improvement next year, there are measures that B2B marketers can take in their search campaigns to increase the chances of success. As you start planning for 2010, consider the following three tips on how to improve your search results.
Explore reporting options
Understanding your total revenue or acquisitions from search is paramount. Fortunately, there are two areas to explore to ensure you’ve captured it all:
Like most search marketers, you probably have a specific conversion window that you report on. However, given the economic climate, you might want to consider expanding it. Why? Because expanding your window will allow you to determine if more searchers are taking the desired conversion action, but doing so outside of the timeframe you are currently measuring.
In essence, expanding your conversion window could very well help you claim additional sales, and ultimately boost the efficacy of your campaigns.
While making the sale or gaining a new customer is a top priority, don’t underestimate the value of micro-conversions such as email or newsletter signups, and downloads, etc. Sure, it may take longer to convert these searchers into customers, but such micro conversions play a key role in fostering relationships with B2B prospects.
Because of that, some percentage of these searchers will turn into customers down the road. By tracking these micro-conversions to actual sales and customers, you can establish a value for each action. Doing exactly that will boost your search results and aid your search strategy.
Optimize to the ultimate conversion point
Many B2B marketers mine their engine and conversion data for information that will help them drive more sales. However, the conversion data that can help them the most is often not relayed in the conversion pixel or tag. Because of that, what the marketer usually sees is the activity that occurs on site, such as a new lead or a free trial. And while leads and free trials are important to generate, they are not the ideal data points to optimize to.
Instead, marketers need to optimize to the data on the backend, such as whether that lead or free trial resulted in a customer. This requires marrying your engine data with the ultimate conversion point, which is found in your CRM data.
Note that the rate at which leads and free trials convert into new customers will most likely vary by marketing channel and within search, whether by engine, campaign, ad group, or keyword. Having this information will help you allocate search funds so that you gain as many new customers as possible at the lowest cost.
Branded click path analysis
If a large percentage of your sales or customers come from branded searches – as it does for most advertisers – then it is important to perform click path analysis on those entering your website from branded terms. Doing so can help you boost your search results in two ways:
- Click path analysis will allow you to review what products or services your visitors are purchasing. In turn, this information will tell you what products or services to focus on when creating a more effective user experience (in terms of messaging and landing pages).
For example, if branded searchers tend to select products or services specific to one type of business, then you may want to test improving your conversion rate by allowing searchers to segment themselves on your site by selecting their business type or business need.
- In addition, click path analysis can help you determine where abandonment is occurring on your site most often. This information can provide you with insight into where landing page optimization is needed most. It will also help you understand the intent of these branded searchers, which can be difficult to determine from just the branded search term alone.
Hopefully 2010 will bring economic growth and recovery, but most B2B marketers know that they can’t afford to wait and see what happens. Now is the time to look for ways to generate improvements in your search campaigns, and the above tips can help you do exactly that.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.