Measuring Your Website’s ROI – Part 2

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Micro Conversions and Segmentation

Last week, I discussed how to properly measure the ROI on your website. It starts with applying value to your goal conversions. But that’s only a basic start. This week, I’ll focus on in-site behaviors and how measuring more than simple goals augments ROI.

People spend too much time obsessing about the conversion rate. As a refresher, Conversion Rate is Visits with Conversion divided by Total Visits

Site Visits with Conversion
Total Site Visits

Many marketing folks live and die by this metric. But it’s fundamentally flawed in this form. The problem with using conversion rate as an end-all, be-all metric is that not every visitor comes to your site with the intent to buy. Measuring all your visitors and visitor actions as one, large group is not a true reflection of how well your site has performed. It may not be that obvious, but not everyone who visits your site is there to buy.

The Buyer Behavior Process

Maybe it’s a refresher for some of you, but people go through five phases when making a purchase. It starts with need recognition, but doesn’t end with the purchase. Many times, a consumer will second-guess the decision and continue to research to verify he or she bought got the perfect product or best deal.

Buyer Behavior Process

So, as such, only 20% of the people in the buying cycle should actually be counted. Think about it. Aside from perhaps groceries, do you walk into a store buy the first thing you see without investigating it or without having done some kind of research about it? Think about purchasing a new smartphone. You will likely visit manufacturer’s’ websites and look at various models. You might even look at various carriers and look at the different plan options each offer. This process will repeat several times until you actually purchase.

It is important to separate those visitors not interested in buying or becoming a lead (on this visit). Segmentation is the process of sorting visitors into meaningful groups. You can segment visitors into groups based on their behaviors, pages visited or even through which channel they came across your site.

Use the segmentation feature in your analytics software to discover those groups of users who perform certain actions. These actions can help you determine in which stage of the buying cycle your visitors may be.

Customer Support

Do you provide support through your website? Is it generally common for someone to come to your site, seek out help and answers in your support area, then leave without any other interaction? Do you offer the ability for clients to initiate a support ticket? These actions save the time it would normally take for your employees to provide phone or in-person support. If you offer support via a toll-free number, it saves long-distance costs, too.

Lastly, if a customer is looking for support, they likely have already purchased. Remove their from your “total visits” count when you calculate your conversion rate.

These actions are known as micro conversions. They are measurable feats that you can measure as part of your ROI. While they don’t generate revenue, they certainly save your company money. Assign a value to viewing various support pages.

There are other items you can also count as cost savings in your Website’s ROI:

Mailing Lists:

If you allow people to sign up for your email newsletter, you can count these warm leads as a dollar value. You can calculate the value of each person who signs up.

Low-end email lead lists cost about $100 for 1000 names of unqualified, unsorted leads.

$100 / 1000 = 15 cents each

How much did you pay for your last mailing list? Were every lead qualified? Assign a value to each warm, qualified lead that signs up for your mailing lists. Add it to your site’s ROI.

These visitors are often not quite ready to purchase. They’re still looking for more information or a better deal. It is typically a safe bet to remove them from your total visits count for the purposes of measuring ROI.

PDF Downloads

Most visitors that download files from your site are obtaining research and are likely interested in buying from you. These should be treated similarly to leads. However, there’s another cost savings in PDF downloads. Think about what those documents would cost your to print and mail.

Typically you mail brochures and other documents with some customized form letter. Someone has to write, stuff, meter and mail it. Then there’s the cost of postage. Standard letters are now 46 cents each; large envelopes are now 92 cents. That amount is on top of printing costs and the amount you paid your employees to data enter, print and stuff envelopes. Add it all up and add it to your site’s ROI for every PDF download.

Those seeking printable information in the form of PDFs are still gathering research before purchasing. Often, these documents will be shared with others who share the decision making process on purchases. For calculating your ROI, you can filter these visitors out of your conversion rate calculations.

Free Trials and Demos

What kind of lead is more qualified that someone who tries your product before they buy? Clearly these visitors are interested in buying your product. Apply the same average value that you would apply to a contact form lead.

Even more importantly, make sure you have a dashboard report in your analytics software for these visitors. Make sure your sales team follows up with them. Don’t waste your chance to convert a very interested buyer. People who sign up for trials commonly are ready to buy, but want that extra bit of the product you offer for free for as long as they can. Depending on your product and your typical sales cycle time, you decide whether or not to filter these visits from your conversion rate.

A Better Measurement

If a customer isn’t on your site to buy, they simply shouldn’t be part of your conversion equation. The true measure of how well your site performed is by measuring the purchasers. If your site works for all visitors and is deemed trustworthy to the visitors who come, your true conversion rate should be high.

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