To make sure you’re doing the right kind of site-tracking for your business you should learn of the different kinds of tracking models and tracking your offline conversions.
One thing to be aware of is that Google Analytics is largely a system that uses a last-click methodology. This means that if someone originally found your site through Facebook a year ago, then six months ago found you through an SEO/organic search, but today made a purchase or became a lead after typing your domain name into the address bar on their browser, you would falsely assume that the lead was just from the direct type-in. If that same person came into your site today after seeing a paid search ad and you only gave credit to PPC without realizing that Facebook and SEO had helped make that person aware of your brand over the last year, you would be making a fatal mistake. This mistake would be pouring loads of money into PPC, thinking it was more responsible for leads/sales than it actually was. So, having a solution for attribution tracking is an essential part of a complete ROI tracking program.
When factoring in all the leads that were generated by a website but not tracked (such as people using a search engine to discover you, then going to your brick-and-mortar location or calling to make the purchase), the ROI on search marketing becomes staggering and impossible to ignore. Be honest with yourself and your Internet marketing agency, so that they can see what is working and what is not. If they charge a standard monthly retainer, your fee won’t necessarily increase just because you admit you got lots of off-line sales due to web marketing. In fact, they might just work even harder so that you become their best case study!
Tracking Off-line Conversions
You may not realize the impact that your website has on off-line sales. It could be bigger than you think. It is estimated that nearly one quarter of total off-line sales are influenced by the web.
The problem comes in tracking these off-line conversions. While web analytics packages allow you to track online conversions of your website visitors, tracking off-line conversions can be trickier. Here are a few tips for tracking off-line conversions from your website:
- At a minimum, create one new 800 number that you use only on the website, or even a unique 800 number for each online ad campaign. By using a unique 800 number, you can partially track online consumer activity to an off-line sale point. Then go a step further and track the percentage of calls to the unique 800 number that convert into sales.
- Create a coupon download that can be printed for use in stores, or unique offer codes users can redeem at stores or over the phone. This can help you to attribute off-line sales to online leads.
- When a purchase is completed, ask the customer to fill out a post-purchase survey. Offer an incentive, like 5% off their next purchase. Use the survey to ask how the customer discovered your business, as well as what they liked or didn’t like about their experience. Pre-purchase surveys, which target the browsing consumer, also work, and are best when accompanied by some form of incentive.
- If you have a brick-and-mortar store or location, ask your sales associates to keep a spreadsheet of people who come in holding printouts from your website.
- After an off-line sale, ask the customer to visit the website to sign up for a rebate or to register for a product warranty. Then you can gather demographic, geographic, and contact information, as well as information on consumer activities—including how the customer discovered your company and the product or service.
Using the above strategies for tracking off-line conversions will give you a much clearer picture of your website’s performance. Even a little effort, like using a unique 800 number on the website and offering e-coupons that are redeemable off-line, will go a long way toward helping you track your online advertising efforts.