Online Marketing with Offline Conversions
The growth and adoption of web analytics applications over the last few years has made detailed conversion tracking a mission critical part of operating a successful e-commerce website. E-commerce merchants routinely track all aspects of each and every individual conversion. Tracking return on ad spend by channel is now just as crucial as understanding profit margins. Improving a website’s ability to turn visitors into customers without accurate conversion data is almost flying blind. So what about the large numbers of organizations who don’t have this luxury since either all or the majority of their conversions occur offline?
Complicated or expensive products and professional services commonly have long sales cycles that prohibit e-commerce functionality. As a result, organizations that rely on offline conversions are often left grasping at straws as they try to measure and improve their website’s conversion rates and ROAS by channel. While comprehensive conversion tracking is far more difficult when customers convert offline, a number of strategies and specialized analytics tools are now available to help these disadvantaged organizations gauge website effectiveness and marketing campaign performance.
While it may be obvious to experienced online marketers, one of the most important steps is to ensure the website features an effective contact form with integrated tracking. Just about everyone includes the form but I routinely encounter websites with little to no conversion tracking for form submissions. Although form submissions don’t always result in sales, the percentage of visitors who complete one is also a key indicator of website effectiveness independent of the actual sales conversion rate.
Other organizations rely on phone contact to initiate a sales cycle and several specialized analytics and CRM providers now provide excellent call tracking services. These services employ a variety of methodologies including dynamic phone numbers based on referrer and click-to-call options like VOIP integration and call backs upon form submittal. Some like Who’s Calling and CallSource can even tie phone initiated contacts to not only the channel, but specific keyword phrases or ad versions.
A MarketingSherpa case study released this week features the success Jenny Craig has achieved through a click-to-call integration powered by eStara. A prominent “Click to Call” button was added to the jennycraig.com website that drove visitors to a contact form to request a call back. Leads are then distributed to local franchises from the primary corporate website. To further support the initiative and gather additional data, Jenny Craig also implemented a corresponding email marketing campaign and a series of surveys. Prominently featuring the click-to-call contact method and providing customers with timely and engaging responses has allowed Jenny Craig to not only better track their marketing endeavors but also roughly double their conversion rates.
Although not nearly as effective as a phone lead tracking solution, one additional strategy to combat the limitations of offline conversions is to assign a conversion value to critical pageviews. Studying visitor sessions that reach high-value pages such as contact pages or deep interior product detail pages can reveal some interesting trends to improve online marketing initiatives. Important pageviews can provide insight into traffic quality by channel and the effectiveness of the website to steer visitors in the right direction.
Organizations that are dependent upon offline conversions are still at a disadvantage when compared to e-commerce based businesses but their options are improving every day.