It's not just about traffic

Ben Wolf wrote this on Jul 29, 2013

It's about getting more leads.  Simply put, that's ultimately the goal for web marketing departments.  There are many tools that can aide in that process, but none are more powerful than the web and email.  The harsh reality is that the vast majority of companies aren't leveraging the web for its primary benefits which are learning about potential customers, generating leads, and converting leads into customers.  This is the (not-so) new era of web marketing called Inbound Marketing or Permission Marketing and the best and brightest companies on the web are taking full advantage.

Most companies started adopting the web in earnest back in the late 90's.  I remember it well as I was working for the leading law firm website development company, Hubbard One.  Within a couple of years we had 30% of the AmLaw 200 (America's largest 200 law firms) leveraging our design services and utilizing the content management and marketing products that we had developed.  Law firms did and still do track their success based off of visitor and page view statistics or what might be called impressions.  Those numbers can be intoxicating, but it's difficult to really understand how beneficial they are to the sales pipeline.

Back in 1999, Seth Godin coined the term Permission Marketing which carved out a new style of marketing from the more traditional advertising methods (i.e. Interruption Marketing) such as commercials and billboards.  Think about how a company like Amazon has changed over the course of the past 15 years.  They used to sell products from a web-based catalogue.  Today that catalogue knows a lot about you and people just like you.  They know that people who like books by Dan Brown also like books by Tom Clancy and they use that data to make your life easier when you shop for books.  As a result, they vastly improve their sales.  They pay attention to their referral sources and modify the content they show you based on how you arrived.  It makes perfect intuitive sense to anybody that's been using the web for the past 15 years. 

But still, after 15 years of an exploding internet most corporate sites are stategically unchanged.  Most marketing deparments are measuring success based on website traffic.  And most companies aren't generating solid leads from their sites.  The good news is that content has continued to develop and there are new tools that make it easy to turn traffic into leads.  Corporations can use A/B testing techniques to hone in on what makes site visitors respond to "Call to Action" forms.  And that's a real source of leads and a direct realization of the benefits of web marketing.  It's time to look beyond traffic statistics and start collecting the leads.  Your business will thank you for it.