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An effective Web site requires an ongoing investment, but with a good ROI strategy it doesn't have to cost you.
Every Web site needs to provide a tangible and timely return on investment (ROI). Your company's Web site should be one of the most active and accountable members of its marketing team. Accountability is a good thing as long as it's based on sound objectives.
ROI objectives can represent tangible things such as cost savings and intangible things such as the projected impact your Web site will have on customer perception and behavior. These objectives identify how you plan to use the Internet to recover your investment and to achieve some specific communication goals and marketing efforts.
For example, if you want to build upon existing awareness in a target market of 18 percent to 25 percent, you can identify the percentage of the target market that will visit your Web site. Of those within the target market that visit your site, you can identify measurable objectives based on other communication goals, marketing objectives, and sales objectives. These objectives might include:
- The number/percentage of target market site visitors that subscribe to receive ongoing information from your company via email
- The number/percentage of target market site visitors that will request additional information about your organizations products or services
- The number of customers who successfully resolve customer service needs online
- The projected number of products and services sold online, or transactions originating from Internet visits
- The number of new monthly visitors and repeat monthly visitors to your Web site
Setting quantifiable objectives for your Internet site that relate to your overall marketing and communication goals is critical. Equally important is the ability to effectively measure whether objectives are met.
Each time an individual visits your organization's Web site, information about their visit can be saved. This information can be used to generate "Web statistics" that characterize your site's overall use. Using Web statistics, you can calculate a number of useful marketing-relavant indicators:
(unique visitors to home page / unique visitors): Penetration reflects the percentage of site visitors that go beyond your organization's home page. It's not uncommon for Web sites to lose 50% or more of its visitors before the home page finishes loading. A home page that has 5,000 visitors a month with a penetration of less than 50% may be less effective than a site with 4,000 visitors with higher penetration.Conversion
(unique visitors taking desired action / unique visitors): Conversion reflects the percentage of site visitors that take a desired action. You can measure the conversion for several actions simultaneously. For example, the percentage of site visitors that purchase online; and the percentage site visitors that subscribe to your organization's electronic newsletter.Connection
(Referral click-throughs / desired page views): Connection refers to the number of site visitors to your site from an external location, such as another Web site or banner advertisement, that view desired content. Online promotions with a high connection rate are more effective.Migration
(visits to content area / site exits from the content area): Migration refers to the number of site visitors that leave your site from a specific content area. Content areas with the highest migration are typically less effective than areas with lower migration.Clicks to Action
(Average number of clicks from home page to desired action): CTA reflects the number of clicks it takes from the Home Page to reach a desired action. For example, reducing the CTA to complete an order should result in a measurable increase of customer conversion for online orders.Intro Skip Factor
(number of visitors to Intro page / visitors that bypass Intro): This indicator reflects the number of visitors that view your site's intro page, if applicable. If a large percentage of site visitors bypass the intro, it can indicate an ineffective intro, or a high percentage of return visitors.
When Web statistics are not collected with marketing, communication, or sales objectives in mind, other methods of measuring objectives are also required. Data for measuring the success of Internet objectives can be incorporated within the processes used to determine the success of communication goals, marketing objectives, and sales objectives overall. For example, customer surveys should include questions related specifically to the unaided awareness, attitude, trial, and retrial levels of the organization's Web site.
By establishing objectives prior to implementing a Web project, it may be possible to integrate objective-specific reporting features. In the same way site visits collect information for Web statistics, information can be collected for evaluating whether objectives have been met. That way, you can demonstrate how expenses translate to business objectives and profitability.
Troy Janisch is president and founder of the Icon Interactive Group (www.iconinteractive.com
), an industry leader helping companies integrate Internet and other Interactive media into sales channels, marketing strategies, and overall branding. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, & do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC. (WTN). WTN, LLC accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.