Click To Close: How Marketers Are Supercharging Online Campaigns

by , Dec 31, 2008, 7:00 AM
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The old adage may have been that "50% of a marketing spend is wasted," but online marketing can effectively eliminate that proposition. Today's campaigns are highly visible, trackable and convertible, with each click being carefully catalogued and calculated to maximize every dollar spent and search term purchased.

As offline advertising dollars continue to be diverted to search and other online campaigns, B2B marketers are spending billions of dollars to drive that click. But what marketers have also learned during this evolution is that even the most strategic online marketing campaigns do not always equate to a sale. Some 98% of site traffic goes unrealized, with a roaming "silent majority" moving in between search engines and sites without ever filling out a form or picking up the phone. This equates to a huge loss for businesses that have carefully planned, tracked and catalogued campaigns to drive eyeballs to their Web site.

So how can marketers go beyond statistical data to turn anonymous Web traffic into real prospects, converting that traffic into paying customers and effectively short-cycling the sales process?

Basically, what do marketers do after the click?

Fortunately, there is an emerging cottage industry focused on this very issue, picking up where the click leaves off. Welcome to the wonderful world of post-click marketing.

The biggest mistake companies make is to think the end goal of an online campaign is to drive traffic to a site. Click-throughs are an important tracking metric, but traffic alone won't bring home the proverbial bacon for most companies. Savvy customers now want a personalized experience--they want to know that you can fulfill their needs, yet they are not likely to fill out lengthy surveys to help show you the way.

By simply integrating some additional layers to your existing campaigns, you can open a whole new world of promise that becomes available after the click. Opportunities can be harvested from Web traffic simply by reaching out and focusing marketing and sales efforts on the companies that have visited your Web site, rather than taking a spray-bullet approach that gets you right back to that wasted marketing spend.

First, marketers must create compelling Web content that creates a call to action for those who have taken the step to click in the first place. Instead of increasing your advertising spend (and really, who can afford that in today's economy?), optimizing your Web content and directing traffic to specific promotional landing pages will help increase conversions and improve on the overall effectiveness of marketing campaigns. Factor in the stickiness of your site's content to track customer and prospect interaction with each page.

Second, consider the ways you are maximizing Web site analytics to better integrate your marketing and sales efforts. Are you tying analytics to specific landing pages or just the home page? Attaching analytics into specific pages gives you a firsthand view into what is working, what is not, and how you can up the ante to convert site visits to paying customers. Clicks alone are not enough. You need to look at your visitors by market, company size, and more. Do you know what percentage of your visitors is from your target markets? Are you extending these solutions outside the walls of the marketing department to enable your account executives to sell more effectively?

Last, get to know who is visiting your Web site to turn that anonymous traffic into a known quantity. Consider: Are you leveraging solutions that allow you to view and act upon traffic in real time? Have you identified your target customer at each company prospect, so you can immediately capitalize on that company's visit to your Web site? Do you know the exact search terms that landed them on your site? You can easily implement cost-effective software options that go beyond statistical data and clicks to assign value to your Web traffic. These options allow you to really get to know your visitors: who they are, what they are looking for when visiting your site, and what brought them there.

The benefit of all of this? More selling opportunities and higher marketing ROI.

That fact is, with corporate America tightening its belt, companies simply can't afford NOT to know who is visiting their sites, how they found you and what they were looking for. Marketers leave a lot of money on the table by not capitalizing on the silent majority who click on search ads and meet the target profile, but do not convert (and are therefore never identified). In order to be truly effective, marketers must take the next step to reach out to these qualified prospects, maximizing the dollars they have already spent on search marketing and other online programs.

This does not mean that marketers need to reinvent the wheel with their next campaign, but they can super-charge it by taking advantage of all opportunities available to them--especially after the click.

0 comments on "Click To Close: How Marketers Are Supercharging Online Campaigns".

  1. Scott Brinker from ion interactive, inc.
    commented on: December 31, 2008 at 7:41 a.m.

    Great article, Chris! Delighted to see the post-click marketing movement gain more momentum.

    As I just wrote in a blog post, it is interesting that the term post-click marketing is morphing to incorporate several different types of after-the-click marketing activities:

    1. Landing pages, conversion paths, and microsites and their optimization -- which is what my company, ion interactive, has focused on.

    2. Identification, filtering, and tracking of site visitors to enable in-site personalization, such as what your firm offers.

    3. Lead nurturing after a respondent has been converted, although since that also happens after the conversion, I'd say it's more post-conversion marketing.

    These all are highly complementary to each other. Looking forward to 2009 being a great post-click marketing year for everyone!

  2. Peter Marino from reelWebDesign.com
    commented on: December 31, 2008 at 11:45 a.m.

    Excellent article Chris! Marketing seems to finally be headed to a more focused and transparent science, instead of the old shot in the dark, wasteful spending that we've seen in the past.
    I can't wait until Google is able to tell us, through it's analytics, how long and what portions of video intrigue people and get them engaged. This is the next great revolution in marketing.
    I am so excited to be a part of the new era of marketing that we're all involved in.
    Happy New Year to everyone and keep it "reel" :).

  3. Cisco Adler from Adler Interactive
    commented on: December 31, 2008 at 5:06 p.m.

    Fantastic article, Chris! There is such a great opportunity for marketers to better engage prospects and create phenomenal landing page experiences.

    We use ion interactive's (see above post) LiveBall platform to develop landing pages and post-click experiences. With these strategies we have realized exceptional conversion gains for our clients.

    I expect to see more and more focus on what happens after the click so that instead of just driving traffic, marketers open a true dialogue with prospects that build brand, increase conversion, and ultimately, increase revenue and profitability.

    Feel free to read more on our blog at:
    http://adlerinteractive.typepad.com

  4. John Grono from GAP Research
    commented on: December 31, 2008 at 5:37 p.m.

    While I concur with the sentiment regarding post-click marketing in the body of the post, I do wonder about the opening comment regarding how "online marketing can effectively eliminate that proposition" (viz. that "50% of a marketing spend is wasted").

    Please double-check my logic and maths. Effectively eliminate would mean that none of the marketing spend would be wasted. Last time I saw CTR data reported consensus was that it was around 0.3% online (but as high as 3% on mobile). So to "eliminate" any wastage wouldn't that 0.3% have to sky-rocket to 100%. I can't see that happening any time soon. I sure look forward to the post on "How To Achieve 100% CTR" ... but may settle for less grandiose claims in the opening paragraph.

    Have a great 2009 - may all the doom merchants be wrong!

  5. Dennis Yu from BlitzLocal.com
    commented on: January 1, 2009 at 2:09 a.m.

    Chris,

    Great note on the importance of post-click marketing! I am amazed at how much money companies will spend to drive the traffic, only to have it leak out through poor landing pages or via information that is not relevant to the original ad copy that brought them there. And specialized B2B lead gen can be north of $10 a click-- quite expensive, indeed.

    I think the problem is not about folks not realizing that conversion is just as important as driving traffic, but that organizations are usually not aligned to look across the whole funnel. You have PPC specialists who stop at the landing page. Or analytics folks who look at the user experience, independent of how they got there. Or marketing managers from different departments-- each having a different say in a "decision by committee" manner. At Yahoo, we had channel managers-- different people for SEO, PPC, affiliate marketing, email, and banners (in-house inventory), each with different goals.

    To solve that problem requires both an IT and a marketing solution-- we need not only tools that look across the whole experience, but changes to organizations. This cannot be done by a single person, hence we are now into 2009 and still facing this problem.

  6. Rob Earl from watson earl & partners
    commented on: January 2, 2009 at 8:35 a.m.

    Dennis Yu makes a good point. Which is why most smart marketers look at the whole picture, not just the parts. We've always taken a holistic approach. The conversion process begins with online campaign elements that drive to on-topic landing pages designed to engage and build interest while overcoming barriers to purchase. It's not a bad idea to imagine that every part of a site be able to deliver on the brand promise and promote conversion.

  7. Sebastien Trahan from Transat
    commented on: January 6, 2009 at 3:04 p.m.

    I believe one way to achieve a better response / activity ratio with emailing campaigns is to leverage the relationships companies have with their existing customers.

    We are entering a challenging era and companies who will keep their customers loyal will yield better ROI because spending on existing customers is cheaper than trying to attract new ones. I also strongly believe in relevent landing pages and content strategies for acquisition but focusing on the clients we already have is the first pillar of the marketing strategy we will execute through 2009-2010.

    Post-click analysis should also help to better understand prospects and to better tackle them further down the road.

  8. Chris Golec from Demandbase, Inc.
    commented on: January 7, 2009 at 1:16 a.m.

    Thank you for all the positive comments. Helping companies monetize more of their web traffic is certainly getting a lot of attention in these times.

    Quick clarification... the reference to "...the 50% of marketing spend" is an old adage that goes something like 'companies know 50% of marketing is working, but no one knows which 50%'. I agree this was a confusing if you weren't familiar with that saying.

    With regard to marketing effectiveness, good, bad or indifferent, we are finding that 10%-15% of web site traffic to B2B sites satifies the customer's target industry, revenue, market segment requirements for a "prospect". There are, of course, lots of variables, but these are the clicks that are ripe for 'post-click' marketing.

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