As I mentioned in my last post, from an analytics perspective, B2B is easier to understand when compared with B2C. This is because your visitors have budgets and defined needs, and aren't just bored at work wondering if they really need that new red sweater. People need laser printers, insurance, air conditioning, shipping, keycard locks, and furniture; they aren't going to abandon their search and decide to work on the floor, borrowing their kid's MacBook. So what that means is that when you fail at selling a visitor to your site, you should be able to find out why. In the world of B2C, customers can buy from you, buy from someone else, or not buy. In B2B, however, the third option often isn't an option at all. So it's up to us to figure out why they're buying somewhere else.
I think a lot of opportunities to improve your marketing and your site can be uncovered by spending some time in your web analytics tool. By focusing on a few metrics or combinations of metrics, you can start to get a good feel for where things aren't going as well as you thought. Let's talk about a few of these interesting metrics and reports today, and we'll cover some more in future posts.
This is one metric that is vitally important to the B2B marketer. When many people come to your site and then immediately abandon, you know their expectations were not met. Meanwhile, your precious marketing budget is going up in flames. You need to ruthlessly seek out the traffic sources and landing pages that are contributing to bounce, and figure out why it's happening.
A particularly good metric to combine with high bounce rates is high click through rates, which tells you that people were interested in your content, but then you let them down somehow. If you are a business that has a B2C counterpart, one issue could be the B2C traffic; so be sure (both in your marketing and on your site) to explain that you are a B2B provider. While this will reduce your click-through-rates, it will meaningfully increase traffic quality, reduce bounce, and improve conversion rates. Similarly, the language you use on your site should be simple and straightforward, describing clearly what you do and where they have landed. While we assume our buyers are savvy in our particular niche, we often alienate the people in the executive suite with esoteric languages and explanations of what really could be a lot simpler. If you can't explain your business or product in simple language, you are leaving a lot on the table (probably in a lot more places than just your web site) when the people who really do write the checks visit to research your offering.
Your web analytics tool will have reports that allow you to see, geographically, where both your visitors and your conversions come from. Compare these maps. Are some states hot converters but low traffic attracters? How about the other way around? What might these audiences need differently from each other? How are they looking for your services differently, using regional languages? What are they finding?
You should also start thinking about your offline efforts, geographically. How is your sales force represented in the areas where you're weaker or stronger? What about your competitors? Find out whether people are more aware of your brand vs. your competitors in different areas, and you can focus some of your sales and advertising efforts where a market share increase may have huge marginal benefits. If you need specific tools to conduct this competitor research, contact me @evanlapointe and I can suggest resources that may help you with this.
This is just scratching the surface of what's possible with a good focus on analytics. Challenge yourself to think across channels and use ideas from around the organization to effect change in other areas.
And please, reach out on twitter (@evanlapointe) if you have any questions or want to work through your particular challenge. And if you're more experienced with web analytics and want to geek out on more complex issues, check out Atlanta Analytics (discussion on analytics in business) or Occam's Razor (where you can learn black belt hands-on analytics).