Getting business to business leads from a website is difficult to do, and even harder to measure results. When it works, however, it is a valuable resource to get leads and new business for a business to business products and services company. Measuring the success of business to business brick and mortar business Internet Marketing efforts can be very difficult. Internet sales businesses have it easy - the more effective the marketing, the more sales they get. Retail businesses likewise have it easy - their websites just have to provide clear information on what they do, why they are the best, and provide contact information so people can call them. It is, however, just about impossible to get a potential business customer to fill out a form, and it is no fun passively waiting for interested customers to call. In many cases businesses just put up a basic presence website and hope for the best. There is, however, a better way.
About 18 months ago I had my company's web page rebuilt on a WordPress platform by a talented web development company. I wanted it to have a good structure and be extendable so that I could add pages and news items myself. They did an outstanding job, and I was very happy. I started using a couple different tracking methods to see how much websites traffice I was getting. I used the plugin Statpress on WordPress itself, as well as Google Analytics. As my company's website grew in size and I used the techniques I have written about in the Internet Marketing section, traffic grew gradually. I expected that we would start getting phone calls or email inquiries about our products and services, but was disappointed day after day. Over a 6 month period we got maybe one or two calls and emails that led to some small opportunities. It seemed like what I was doing was a waste of time. Traffic to the website was growing but it was not leading to increased business. To both me and my sales managers, it looked like this exercise was a waste of time.
Prior to this, I had tried running some different reports on Google Analytics, but could not really get anything useful out of them. According to both Google Analytics and Statpress, I was getting about 1500 unique visitors per week on my website. Surely some of them must be from local companies that we wanted to do business with! I tried getting reports on visitors from my home state, but it was not really useable. Frustrated, I started searching for a reporting tool that would let me look at just the people in Georgia who were visiting my website.
After I put in the new analytics tool, I started looking at the visitors logs. From them I could see what search terms people used to find our website, what pages they went to, and most importantly, where they were from. For example, I could look at the last 7 days at every web site hit from anyone in my home state. Furthermore, the analytics tool would track what pages on the website they went to and how long they visited my website. Some of this information helped me refine pages on the website because I could see they were more popular. I also learned how to spot whether someone was looking for a job (went right to the careers and jobs page), got to our website by accident (one page looked at only), or was genuinely interested (looked at a few different pages, went to the About page, went to the Contact page). Unfortunately, instead of the 1500 unique visitors I thought I was getting per week, it was more like 700. Still not a bad number, but real analytics tools appear to do a better job of tracking the visitors as they make their way through the website.
When I narrowed the search to the either my home state region, the information I got was a lot more useful. Out of the hundred or so daily visitors, every day there would be a about twenty that visited the website from a network that was identified by name. Many of those were existing customers, or people we were just starting to do business with; at least it was reassuring that they were reading all the content I had poured all that hard work into! About seventy percent of the visitors were from Bellsouth, Comcast, Verizon, or other companies like that, indicating that they were from small office or home users.
Every day, though, there would be some visitors from companies we had not done business with before, and they looked through the website in a way that indicated they were interested in our products and services. These companies merited further attention. For each one of these companies, I would go look at their website, and see if they fit the profile of a good potential customer for our services. On average, about two or three a week would fit the profile that I was looking for. I would send these company names to our sales team, where one of the salepeople would get the lead. They could then look up the company name and get the contact information for the right people at the company to call. This has given us one or two good leads every week since we started this process.
Looking through the analytics tool when filtered by state works really well. Some other things that I discovered going though the full logs, however, made me doubt that sorting by state was a good idea. What I noticed was that some Georgia customers would access the Internet through a completely different state - sometimes a different country! These are the types of companies we especially want to work with, because larger companies tend to have offices in many locations. As I learn the analytics tool better, what will probably make sense is to come up with a special view that will filter out all the service providers and just show the businesses and government networks that I am interested in.
The work put into the website and Internet Marketing turns out to have been worth it so far, and I will continue the process. It just turns out that the expected way of seeing results are different in the business to business world. Results are not measure in online sales, or in the number of people who fill out a contact form, but in leads that have to be gained through analyzing web activity. I am able to get a few good leads every week out of our website by looking through the information provided by the high quality analytics tool that I am now using. Internet Marketing works, and just like regular marketing, results have to be measured and quantified. So far, the quantity of good leads turned up has justified the work done both on the website and in ranking for specific keywords on search engines.
Just like any other purchase, I recommend that you evaluate a few different products before making a purchase. The analytics tool I use on my main business website is listed on the Priority Cue Resources page.