It’s Not ALL About Conversions – A Wider Perspective On B2B Search Campaigns
Ok, so I’m really passionate about looking for ways to improve conversion rates – I admit it. I’m kind of a conversion junkie. But sometimes I make the mistake of getting so focused on conversions that I can lose site of the bigger picture. I end up only staring at the trees right in front of me, without taking the time to take inventory of the forest. Such a shortsighted viewpoint can undermine a B2B search engine marketing campaign to the detriment of a sales organization. Let me explain…
What’s the purpose and goal of a B2B search campaign?
Ah…that’s a loaded question. As a consultant, it’s not uncommon at all for me to find multiple stakeholders within a company who have very different goals for the same campaign. The VP of Marketing is being graded on her number of leads. The Marketing Coordinator will pride himself on improving the conversion rates of downloads. And of course, the Director of Sales just wants hot and heavy opportunities that hopefully result in signed purchase orders. And let’s not forget the wise Board of Directors member who just wants to see the company’s name in lights at the top of every appropriate Google search.
Somewhere between all of these goals lies a metric that most of my clients aren’t aware of and seldom factor into the success or failure of a search campaign. It’s simply this:
How many legitimate companies have been steered to the website this month as a result of search engine marketing?
What I mean by this is, can you tell over a 30-day period, how many recognizable companies that your company could, or would like to do business with, showed up in your analytics reports. Specifically, can you tell if your site was visited by the Public Schools of Detroit, Merck, Home Depot, ACME Technology Company, and more? Which search engine or referring site did they come from? Which search phrase brought them to you?
I’m amazed at the percentage of companies that spend thousands and thousands per month on Google AdWords, yet don’t have this information at their fingertips.
Why it’s important to track visiting organizations back to search phrase
If you are in a competitive B2B space, it’s not uncommon to see lackluster conversion rates for things like demos and whitepapers. Let’s be generous and say you are getting a conversion rate of 30% for paid search (and that would be very generous). That equates to having no intelligence whatsoever on 70 out of every 100 people that you are already paying for. Sure we can tell you that “IT audits” is the search phrase that’s bringing in the most clicks, but what does that actually tell us? Not much.
Of these 100 visitors, how many identifiable, specific companies did you catch so that you can report this to the Sales Manager? After all, some of these companies may likely be ones that your sales team is already pursuing. A few may be extremely important and could make or break a forecast. Certainly someone on the sales team could use this intelligence to place a timely call.
Even more importantly, you may find that 80% of the high quality organizations are coming as a result of just 20% of your search marketing spend. And that other 80% of your media spend is bringing in a slew of non-attractive visitors.
Having this data at your fingertips
In the olden days, Webmasters would scour their web log files looking for visiting IP addresses and doing reverse lookups on WHOIS.org. These days, there are several available tools that already include this functionality as part of a broader Internet marketing and sales solution.
One of the simplest tools but relatively unknown tools is called Leadlander.com. It’s really simple to install and pretty easy to realize immediate value from.
I also use a solution called Pardot.com, which offers much of the same functionality in more of a full-blown marketing automation solution.
There are several other products out there, so do some research on your own. If you know of others you like, I invite you to contribute comments and we can build a knowledge base around this topic.
Close the loop
Once you begin capturing this data, make sure to use it! At the very least, send weekly or monthly spreadsheets containing the names of the visiting organizations to the Sales Manager. Hold your Sales Manager accountable for simply taking a highlighter to any organizations that are ‘on target’.
Simply doing this will give you a dashboard metric to play with. “Last month we had 5 legitimate visiting organizations, and this month we have 10.” And again, you’ll get a handle on which phrases tend to bring more quality visitors than merely quantity. Quantitative metrics can be the kiss of death for any B2B marketer if given too much importance.
Take away points
- Make sure you are capturing the names of visiting organizations and can tie them back to search phrase.
- Get sales to highlight organizations that are of value on a monthly basis.
- Use that information to better optimize your campaigns.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.