How useful is the A1WebStats companies data?
We sometimes get subscribers referring to the details of companies that have visited their website, asking “how useful is this to me?”.
The answer lies in the mindset of how each person relates to that data.
We have subscribers who can’t live without it and at the other end of the scale we have subscribers who think “this is all too much like hard work”.
So we thought it was time to share how we feel the data should be used …
Daily process part 1 – skimming
Each A1WebStats subscriber receives a daily email that contains a link to a list of identifiable companies that have been to the website in the previous day. When clicking on that link, the data will look something like this:
The purpose of that initial summary view is so that you can scan through those visitors and untick any that are clearly of no interest to you, followed by clicking on the ‘Continue’ button to see the details of those remaining.
In the screenshot above you can see that there are some universities who visited that website. In the case of that company, universities are not of interest to them (because they’re likely to be students doing research). Therefore, they’d be unticked.
Daily process part 2 – understanding
So you’ve now got your detailed view of companies that you can analyse in more detail. As you look through those company names you’ll be able to categorise them as follows:
- Existing contacts
- People who want to sell you something
- Others that don’t fit into the above categories
So you address those in the following ways …
These may be clients or just companies you know. Their visit to your website and movements through your pages should be of interest to you. If nothing else, they’re an excuse to get back in contact with the person/people you know in that business.
It should be of interest to see which pages your competitors are looking at – it may imply that business is bad for them and they’re trying to work out what you’re doing that they’re not. If they are regular visitors then ask yourself what that actually means.
People who want to sell you something
You can safely ignore these but they’re also useful. If someone from a company contacts you, being complementary, saying they’ve looked at lots within your website, you’ll know for sure how truthful they were (by looking at their path through your website pages).
These you hold onto for part 3 of the daily process.
Others that don’t fit into the above categories
Generally you can ignore these but there may be some that you want to investigate in more detail.
Daily process part 3 – prospects: the brutal truth
You’ve ended up with a much smaller list of companies data and you can look at this in a variety of ways …
Why didn’t they make contact?
This is a good question to ask. If someone looks like a prospect, but they haven’t made contact with you, it could be for various reasons:
- (and this is generally the case) Your website is not good enough. Only when you consistently see enough prospects who haven’t made contact with you, will you finally bite the bullet and start making your website better. Lots of website visitors who don’t make contact can often mean, quite simply, that your online presence needs to be better.
- They’re fishing around the market to see what the options are, or there may be a longer decision-making process. They may come back to you at a later stage. Ask yourself though – are you using Google remarketing, so that your adverts appear in front of them when they go to other websites (which may bring them back to you)?
- It’s a price-sensitive issue.
Needle in a haystack
So you know the company, but you don’t know the person who visited. Some analytics systems claim they can tell you the name of the person as well as the company but:
- Such technology is currently very immature and inaccurate
- From a privacy perspective, it’s treading on dodgy ground
The grim truth is that it’s YOU who has to take the baton (the company visit data supplied by A1WebStats) and then run with it to your goal (a successful contact made in that company).
If that’s a smallish company then it’s a lot easier to find the person who was most likely to have been the visitor to your website. If it’s a larger company then it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack and this is when it comes down to your resilience and a range of choices:
- Give up at the first hurdle. There’s no way you are going to put resources into trying to find the right person/department within that company. Fair enough – that’s your choice, but you’re handing potential business to a competitor.
- Outsource the pain – use external resources who are paid (typically on a low fee plus commission basis) to bridge the gap between you and the person you need to be speaking to. You can actually use A1WebStats to automatically email companies data to an external resource so that they can do what they do best.
- Use available systems to try and locate relevant people in that company. For example, LinkedIn, or online databases of named contacts within companies (such as data.com). You could then choose whether to contact them directly or nurture them gradually (e.g. via online groups that they’re part of).
- Pick up the phone and try to get through to the right department.People ask us “what should we say if we ring a company and get to speak to someone who may or may not have been our website visitor?”. Our answer is: tell them that you’re a proactive business who tracks which companies have been to the website, have identified that someone from that business has visited, and you wanted to find out if there were parts of the website that could have done a better job of encouraging them to make contact. That generally gets the dialogue going and they don’t immediately feel that you’re trying to sell to them.
Nurturing for the future
If a company has been to your website and you’ve given up trying to gain dialogue with someone from there, then ask yourself this question:
What if someone from that company came back to our website in the future?
Every company that comes to your website, but you haven’t had contact with, is (as long as you think they’re a potential buyer in the future of course) a perfect opportunity to raise your visibility with them. Methods to do this include:
- Connect with people from there via LinkedIn (so that they may see blogs etc. that you produce in the future).
- Create online dialogue with those people (e.g. they may be involved in a discussion that you can contribute to in a useful non-salesy way).
- Follow them/their company on Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. – there’s a chance they’ll follow you back.
There are many methods you could use but the end goal is to have gained a relationship (probably online) with at least a few people from each company. They will have read your blogs, or had dialogue with you online, or something else. Their key value to you is that when you see their company come back to your website in the future, you can go to your new contacts in that company and say “it may not have been you who visited, but would you know who was interested in [insert as appropriate here]?”. Those people may be able to connect you up with other people within their business, and are more likely to co-operate with you if there’s been a basic level of trust built up with them.
Not enough of them
You may look at the number of prospects you end up with and think “there’s not many of them each day”.
Ideally, you’d keep a tally of your prospects each day, add them up over a month, and compare them to your overall number of website visitors, working it out as a percentage.
Say, for example, you end up with only 1% of all website visitors being from identifiable companies that you would also consider to be ‘prospects’. How do you relate to such a poor percentage? In our view it’s simple:
Your website/online marketing strategy is not good enough!
Sorry, it sounds brutal, but if your website is not bringing in enough identifiable prospects then it means that someone isn’t doing their job. This opens up a huge can of worms because there are so many options to consider. These include:
- Organic SEO
- Paid online advertising (e.g. PPC, LinkedIn, Facebook)
- Social media activity
- Email marketing
- Interactions in online forums (to drive people back to your website)
- Print advertising/editorial
The list goes on and on and on.
Before considering all those though, look at your existing levels of website traffic. If they’re reasonable but you’re not converting enough of them to enquiries, then it makes more sense to strengthen your website before you start trying to make it more visible online.
Take it from us at A1WebStats, we see numerous businesses who work within the same sector as each other, and the levels of traffic to their websites are wildly different. The differentiating factor is that those who have strong websites and are dedicated to driving relevant traffic to their websites, are those who see more companies visiting and interacting with them.
Your success is only as good as your mindset
It’s hard for us to sit on the fence on this subject because we have seen too much evidence of companies that have the right mindset and also plenty who don’t. Although we can’t (for obvious and confidential reasons) give specific examples of those who ‘get it right’, we have seen thousands of websites over the years and we know which are doing well and which aren’t.
The successful mindset adopted by businesses is simplified as:
- Identifying levels of company visitors to the website.
- Doing as much as possible to salvage something from those company visitors.
- Accepting that people aren’t making contact for various reasons.
- Making the website stronger so that more people make contact in the first instance.
- Then go on to boosting up the online visibility of the business.
We’re here to help
A1WebStats may be primarily software but we’re also people (yes, humans!) who care about our subscribers getting the best out of websites. If you have any questions at all, including about how to get more out of companies visiting your website, then please do let us know – we’re here to help.