Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Four Key Metrics of Web Redesign Success

Over a year ago I had a chance to participate in an extremely complicated web redesign for a large business-to-business client, but for a variety of reasons didn’t pursue the project.

Now the redesigned web site is finally live.  

During discussions with the potential client and partners, the idea of measuring how users behave on the website was not a priority. 

This viewpoint concerns me, because when it comes to an integrated and strategic marketing communications program, the point of a b-to-b website is to figure out what the site’s goal is (increased conversions? More qualified leads for the sales pipeline? Increased time on site?  Increased contact us forms?) and build the site to support the overall goal.

One can only know if the web project is successful, or achieves a positive ROI, if the goals are clearly established at the outset. 

First Ask Why
Anybody who has worked with me in past 5 years has heard me say the following rant a zillion times:

When it comes time to redesigning a B-to-B website, take time to ask why. The most important first step is to establish the overall goal of the site (lead gen? awareness building? encouraging user participation in a forum? encouraging downloading collateral?). Then, make these tasks extremely fast and obvious to do. Less common actions should certainly not be any more complicated than necessary, but priority should be given to the key user goals.

Home Page as a Political Football
Now that the site is launched, it is clear that the home page became a political football inside the organization.  I counted at least 13 “calls to action” on the home page.  Download this. Click here. Read this. Buy that. View this. Watch that. Visit here. See this.... oy vay!!  It is hard to determine the "key user goals" on the home page. 

Resource Intensive
Complex web redesign projects are significant undertakings, and represent a tremendous amount of effort. 

After a relaunch, it's important to focus on the following key metrics, which are available via Google Analytics.  

After about 3 to 6 months from the launch, the web team should share the following data: 

  • bounce rate (the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page), which should go DOWN after a relaunch
  • time on site - which should go UP after a relaunch
  • page views - which should RISE after a relaunch
  • conversion rate (which should go UP, measuring percentage of visitors who fill out a form; take an action like signing up for newsletter, etc)
While certainly not the full picture, these four metrics provide a good "snapshot" to indicate how the site has optimized user behavior.  

Next Step: ROI 
In fact, these four key metrics help calculate overall ROI, a topic addressed here.  

When calculated along with cost of the website; the percentage increase of visitors to the site; number of closed sales to leads; and average revenue of a closed sale, one can then determine the Return on Investment of the site redesign.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Case for Relevance: Free App Facilitates Twitter Engagement

I stumbled upon an interesting application to get more “oomph” out of Twitter social media management for b-to-b clients.
It’s called “Formulists” and it’s a powerful tool to create and engage with relevant, related and influential Twitter followers (you know, the ones who are related to the business or organization, which is the point of engaging on Twitter, right?)

With Formulists, it is fairly intuitive to create and manage Twitter Lists. This application lets you organize Twitter into smart, auto-updating Twitter lists: filter based on location/bio keywords, Twitter activity and more.

Not sure how long this tool (which seems to be in Beta) has been available, but it is quite powerful to help facilitate engagement. 

What’s the Goal?
Simply posting tweet after tweet on Twitter is not the goal, only to be read by a group of unrelated and random followers.  Instead, the value comes from engaging with relevant followers….the ones who use keywords, topics and hash tags in their tweets and Twitter profile.

This is one of those applications that helps cut through the Twitter universe of unrelated, outside-the-scope type folks, and find and engage with targeted followers who list keywords in bios, or Tweet using key hash tags,

Formalists Defined
 Formulists does the work of grouping your tweeps into twitter list feeds so that you can focus on reading and talking to them more!
The first screen takes you through a key question asking:
What is your goal on Twitter?
             Organize Your Network
             Expand Your Network
             Track Followers
             Strengthen Social Ties
             Track Competitors
             Customize Existing Lists

Just that question alone shows this is a spot-on tool to optimize Twitter management.

Find, Engage Related Followers
For one client’s program, I created a list called “TwitterActive” that shows those “social stars” in a specific keyword or area, folks who are talking to the same people as the client’s account.

These lists help find new, related followers, or followers like someone else, or even Influential hubs in a given network. 

You can even see who is using a hash tag or search term the most in their Tweets, which is pretty cool.

Making the Case
I’ve been making the case for some time that to be of value, a b-to-b Twitter program needs to stay on topic, target key followers, cull those followers who are not in the target, and be strategic in use of keywords and hash-tags. 

Why would a corporate trainer Twitter account be interested in amassing follower profiles, hash tags, keywords and tweets that stress marathon running, for instance?

This new list tool proves the case!   If you have some time, give Formulists a try!