B2B Web Analytics: The Search For High-Value Prospects
The objective of B2B search marketing is often to capture lead information through registrations for white papers, case studies, newsletters, free trials, research data, etc. But what about site visitors that don’t take the bait? Does that mean they’re not serious prospects? Of course not. It would be arrogant to assume that any prospect worth their salt would be downloading your stuff. You can be certain that somewhere in all those non-registering visitors are many high-value prospects. And if you’re selling big ticket items, it may be worth it to dig a little deeper to find them.
How to find them
Although web visitors are largely anonymous, web analytics can still give you good, prospect-specific information. Many visitors to B2B sites come from sizable companies. Often these companies have fixed IP addresses that your analytics captures. And for any given visit, you can also often see the city, state, and keyword associated with that visitor.
So what? How does that help you? Here’s where to start.
Look for deep visits, long visits, and high-repeat visits. If suddenly someone is spending a lot of time on your site, it may indicate a company considering a purchase.
Investigate high-value keywords. Sometimes, by the very nature of the search term used, you can tell if you have a savvy, educated visitor who is on his way to a purchase decision.
Track downloads that don’t require registration. You may have downloadable material on your site that doesn’t require a sign-up. If you do, don’t just have a download link. Most analytics won’t track that action. Instead, make sure that after downloading, the visitor goes to another page, one accessible only via the download. That way, you can easily isolate those who downloaded items; they are the only ones who will ever hit those pages.
Once you’ve isolated these visitors, use your analytics to get their IP addresses, geographical locations, and the keywords used to get to your site.
Okay, you still don’t know the exact identity of the visitor. But you still have valuable, actionable information. Here’s an example:
Suppose you’re an advertising agency and one of your areas of specialization is healthcare. By reviewing keywords, you find a deep visit resulting from the search term “healthcare marketing Chicago.” When you look up the IP address, you find “Rush University Medical Center.” When you search by IP address, you find there have been 5 visits in the last 15 days coming from Rush. You take a look at the keywords for the other visits and get more clues.
Hmmm. Think something may be happening? Although those visitors have never made contact with you or registered on your site, something’s going on. Maybe they’re not happy with their current agency. Maybe they’re at the start of a search and selection process. Maybe there’s a new person in charge of marketing with little loyalty to the current agency.
What to do
The first thing probably isn’t to pick up the phone and say, “Hey, I noticed you’ve been on our site a lot.” Rather, you may want to start asking some questions. Do we know the decision makers and influencers at Rush? Have we had any historical contacts with them? Is anyone there on our lists for direct mail or email marketing? Is anything going on in the news about Rush that would indicate need for our services?
Next, decide what you should do. Add them to the distribution list for outbound marketing efforts? Perhaps a serendipitous letter or phone call of introduction—neither mentioning your awareness of their site visits, of course.
In B2B sales, timing plays a big role. You may be a good fit for the prospect, but if you come in too late, you may no longer be eligible to be considered; the short list is already made. But if you just happen to call at the right time, your chances go up dramatically.
Sure, digging around takes a little more work than simply collecting lead information from web sign-ups, but it may be well worth it. In the hypothetical example above, Rush never registered or signed up for anything. Yet, you later find out that they’re searching for a new agency for their (again hypothetical) $2 million advertising budget. And because you just happened to make contact at the right time, you got your agency in the consideration set. That’s worth doing a little digging.
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