By Amanda Crangle

Employee productivity is the holy grail of profitability and growth. We know that improved sales ratios from our sales team mean higher revenue without spending more on marketing. However, there will always be limits to what one person can do. And we spend thousands of dollars and countless hours training, teaching, mentoring, creating resources, and paying out commissions.

Every company has one sales representative they rarely think about. This rep works when you sleep, around the clock, 24/7/365, without breaks, without naps, and without the highs and lows of being an emotional creature—this sales rep is rep­resenting you to the world nonstop. Say hello to your website.

You may put money into driving people to your site using traffic from search engine ads, social media, and content creation. However, when is the last time you put time and effort into improving your website’s conversion rate?

Just like a sales rep you hire who is great at meeting people but can’t seem to close any deals, you’d likely invest more in teaching your rep how to close.

Your website is likely the tool used most by your customers and your prospects. It tells the world who you are, what you do, and why you do it. It’s an experience people have with your brand—many times, it’s the first, and it sets the stage for what they’ll experience next.

Yet very few water treatment companies make it a priority to understand how people interact with their company’s website and where they can improve to get a higher percentage of traffic to convert by filling out a form, calling, or making a purchase.

Google Analytics
Using free tools like Google Analytics (GA) lets you know how many people have visited your website, what pages they viewed, how long they stuck around, where they left, and if they took any actions while on your website.

Because of this, it’s quite simple to use your website as a test site to unearth the reasons people are there, what problem they’re trying to solve, what benefits/features are most important to them, what their expectations are, and if they were able to use the site effectively to meet their needs.

You don’t need to be a marketing guru, statistician, or math­ematician to use this software to help make improvements. Simply look at these key metrics:

  • How many people visit your website? “New users” will tell you how many individuals viewed your site over a given period of time. This way, if one person viewed the site 10 times on different occasions, the visitor would count as only one user.
  • How many people contact you? Goals are GA’s way to help you measure how many people take the desired action. For many of our clients, web form submissions and phone calls are the two primary goals that are measured. If you don’t have goals set up in your GA account, reach out to your web developer to ensure these are created and tracked accurately.
  • Which pages are converting the best and worst? This metric will be highly valuable in understanding which pages are getting the most traffic and how they compare to others in their conversion rate (goal completions divided by new users). For example, if a water softener page is your second-highest traffic page on the site behind your home page and has a very low conversion rate compared to other higher-traffic pages, this tells you there’s an opportunity for improvement that can make a big difference.
  • How is your website converting? Out of all of your users and all of the goals completed, what is the rate at which your website is converting people into inquiries? This metric is vital as you can use it to benchmark against actions you take to improve the site or to drive more new traffic.

Surveys and Polls
Using your website to learn more about your target audience makes a ton of sense and can cost as little as zero dollars per month.

There are web tools—Hotjar is one example—that have a free version where you can have your web developer add a simple snippet of code to your website, and then you can ask any question your heart desires.

Here are some great questions to ask to get to know your audience, from Making Websites Win by Karl Blanks and Ben Jesson:

  • What ALMOST stopped you from contacting us? This counterintuitive question can yield some great answers, as these people have been through your site and experi­enced the whole process through the goal completion. Adding this question to your site’s Thank You page is the best place to put this question.
  • What is the reason for your visit today?
  • Were you able to find what you were looking for?
  • Which of the following water quality issues are you experi­encing? At Lamplight Digital Media, we like to ask this question. We use a multiple-choice question followed by this long-answer question: How well did the site help you find answers to your water quality problems?

For more in-depth surveys, use any one of the great survey builder programs out there. The key is not to create the survey and forget it’s there. Once you start collecting data, work with your marketing team to analyze it, extract the golden nuggets, and implement ideas for improvement on your site. Be sure to split test if possible, however, to avoid making assumptions that tank conversion rates.

Split Testing
Have you ever created two different scripts for sales reps or appointment setters and had them alternate it until they are confident in one or the other? Or is neither option better at getting people to take the desired action? If you haven’t tried this, you should.

Testing our ideas in all facets of business is incredibly valuable and a fun way to engage team members as they test ideas in real time. Your website is the perfect place to do this.

Testing on a website is not as complicated as it sounds. You can use free tools like Google Optimize to test two different versions of a page on your website and monitor form submissions and phone calls (using a call-tracking number) to see how many people contact you from each version. Or, if you’re in the e-commerce space, you can monitor add-to-carts and sales.

Improving the rate at which your site converts people into leads is one of the most potent forms of marketing, and, surprisingly, very few marketing agencies use this tool to help small to medium-sized businesses. It’s one of the few ways you can get more leads for less money.

Clickmaps and Heatmaps
Hotjar also allows you to monitor where people are scrolling and clicking on your website with its free version. This is incredibly useful for the following reasons:

  • When you know how far most visitors scroll down your page, you now know how much space you have to convey what’s most important to them. You can also ensure you use clickable buttons and elements with overlays to add more information as they need it without having to scroll.
  • Find out where people are clicking. This is useful for knowing what people find most important and what they are looking for. If people click elements on your page that do not actually link to anything, you can improve user experience by making those elements link to relevant information.
  • Not all user data is recorded in GA. Whether people are using a private browser or have security settings in place to keep data from being collected, these heatmaps and clickmaps can provide great insights that you won’t find anywhere else.

Be sure that when you implement these tools, you have a plan in place for how you will use the data you collect. Without that analysis, insight, and action, the collection of data and these tools are meaningless.

About the author
Amanda Crangle and the team at Lamplight Digital Media help residential and commercial water treatment companies profitably grow their dealerships using digital marketing. They have worked with over 100 water treatment dealerships spanning North America, managed millions of dollars in ad spend and performed over 1,000 scientific website split tests. Crangle intimately knows the water industry, having worked in a dealership as a sales rep and as a general manager. She and her team are passionate about expanding consumer awareness of water quality issues and providing education on final barrier solutions.

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