Spoke with Rodger Roeser of That Marketing Show recently about Web 2.0 marketing tactics, measurement and Digital Body Language. The show's online now. Check it out here.
Oh, the coveted click. It’s traditionally been considered the Holy Grail of the Internet, and marketers have spent millions in search of clicks. Google made billions by providing them. The legendary dot-com bubble was fueled by an ever ballooning belief that eyeballs (really clicks) were a source of found wealth.
But today’s smart marketers know that you can't bank a click. Clicks aren't reported on the balance sheet, in the annual report or to Wall Street. Your CFO doesn't care about clicks. Neither, for that matter, does your CEO. And your VP of Sales is just humoring you when he tells you how great it is that your Web site received a million click-throughs from e-mail. The reality, my friends, is that clicks by themselves are meaningless.
What really matters? Revenue. And unless you're selling advertising like Google and getting paid every time someone clicks on a link on your Web site, clicks don’t represent revenue – the process of exchanging goods and services for negotiable currency.
Many businesses are spending big bucks to drive traffic to their Web sites: placing tiny ads on Yahoo, Business.com, and Google; buying banner and text ads; and using social media. It’s all in an effort to garner clicks. We do it, spending north of $10,000 per month – and that’s pretty modest for a company our size. How much do you spend?
And here’s a better question: What are you getting for your money?
Sure, it’s gratifying to measure clicks to your Web site. And if you use Google analytics, Omniture, or one of the other Web-tracking packages out there, you can tell yourself interesting stories about which pages are most popular, how people walk through your Web site, and which pages precipitate an abrupt departure. But does all that truly measure what you get for your search engine advertising? Nope.
But there’s a better way. A new model is evolving, one in which marketers track and measure not pay-per-click, but pay-per-close. This approach analyzes how your Internet marketing efforts translate to real business. Clicks still matter – but it’s what the click leads to, not the click itself, that counts.
Here's how we track pay-per-close at Eloqua.
When someone clicks on a keyword on Google and lands on our Web site, we start tracking their behavior (using our own product, of course). We don't yet know who they are, but that's fine because right now, we don't mean anything to each other. The prospect doesn't care to hear from us and we don't know that they are even interested in what we’re offering. We're just providing them information and passively observing their behavior, like an attentive shopkeeper watching someone browse his inventory.
However, when a person signifies interest -- by downloading an eBook, viewing a demo, or signing up for a newsletter, for example -- we take the opportunity to approach and engage them. "Can I help you find something?" we ask them. And they tell us, through their behavior, what they're interested in.
At that point, we can tailor our communication. "I see you're interested in deliverability," we can say to them. "Did you know that we have a full-time deliverability officer who maintains relationships with the major ISPs and spam experts around the world?" And now we're engaged in a digital conversation with them.
Throughout the course of that conversation -- which can last days, weeks, or longer -- we're always remembering what they did before and modifying our message like any good conversant. Oh, and we record every campaign they respond to, from first click all the way through to close of business.
Why is this more effective than tracking simple clicks? Because when the revenue comes in, we can now credit our search advertisements, social media efforts, or other sources of clicks with the actual amount of cash they contributed to our top line.
And that's a conversation that our CEO likes to have. It's one that our CFO can engage with. It's of interest to the Board and to Wall Street and it makes the VP of Sales authentically happy.
So instead of getting excited about clicks, think about changing your approach. Track the metrics that really matter. Using the pay-per-close approach is a better way of measuring marketing's contributions to the organization.
Dr. Robert Cialdini will change the way you communicate forever. His research, books and talks (he'll be keynoting at the Eloqua International User Conference next month), have been read and attended by hundreds of thousands. He consults for Fortune 100 companies about how to get customers to do, well, what you want them to do.
His best-selling book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is on my desk at work and on my bookshelf at home. And his new book Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be More Persuasive is packed with ideas that you can learn and use today, to help you become a more effective marketer.
I spoke to him about how we can become much more effective in our every day communication. Listen to the Podcast now.
And you can always subscribe to the Podcast in iTunes by doing a search for "The Innovative Marketer," and having the show delivered automagically to your desktop.
David Meerman Scott and I went over time on our B2B Magazine Webinar on social media and agreed that we'd handle Q&A on this blog (and perhaps over on David's as well). I consolidated some of the 50+ questions we received, answered a few specific folks privately, and posted the answers individually below.
If you have any additional questions, post 'em in the comments below this post. Otherwise, we'll carry on threads under the questions posted below.
By the way, is this the best way to handle Q&A? Let us know.
Hi You hit it right on: Must Unlearn what you Learned. My struggle is old time thinking. 'How come we aren't in print magazine and our competitor is.' How do you convience old time thinking of Print versus Online?
It's important to reframe the question differently: Are we where our customers are? You'll often have competitors who are in marketing channels that are irrelevant or distracting to you. Do you follow them, or do you find where your prospects are gathering today. The other thing is that this isn't an either/or situation. We're too early in the game to say that "x is dead," where x is anything that marketing was doing more than 10 years ago. Consider adding new media to your existing tactics and dial back the old ones slowly. And make sure you have a solid set of metrics in place so you can assess your results more objectively.
Is it better to market a product without telling the consumer what it is? Or giving them all of the information up front? What I mean is, is it better to make the consumer want the product before knowing what it is?
I'll let David comment on this one, but gosh, if you deceive or ignore a consumer these days, you'd better expect that the blogosphere will uncover it pretty quickly and spread the word. Just ask Whole Foods or Kryptonite locks.
How do you measure effectiveness of social media if you're not gating content?
There are a bunch of metrics you can use. Links from other web sites. Mentions on blogs. Print publication pickup. Increases in numbers of speaking opportunities offered to your social media participants.
Derick, Stefani, Andrea and a least a dozen others asked questions which I can best summarize as "How do you calculate the ROI of social media?"
I'm hoping that you asked these questions, before I did my little spiel on the webinar. If you can, have a look at the on-demand version and let me know if you have specific questions about the calculation I walked through.
Robin and a few others asked:
How you can tell which social media channels your target customers are using today?"
Usually, I ask. We do customer surveys. We have user group meetings. We talk to sales and account managers about what their customers are up to. And we'll seek people out on Twitter, on Facebook, through Myspace, on blogs. And then we... and this was another great point David made during the Webinar .. we start to participate in those conversations. So we don't attempt to start our own networks until we've engaged with people where they already are.
Steve Gershik has been a VP of Marketing and demand generation leader for over 18 years. He frequently writes and speaks about marketing automation, brand management, demand generation and Internet marketing.