My wife used to torture me by “making” me watch shows like Top Chef and Project Runway. No matter how much I tried, I could never seem to get into them. But one night, I came home to something new – Tabatha’s Salon Takeover.
At first, I thought it would be more of the same Bravo drivel, but much to my surprise, I found myself getting into it!
The concept for the show is simple:
Struggling salon owners reach out to Tabatha – a business coach type. Tabatha comes to the troubled salon and takes it over for a few weeks. Although the situations and problems are always different, Tabatha follows the same process and it starts with accurate measurement and tracking.
That’s right – even with her years of salon management experience – before Tabatha makes a single performance improving recommendation, she uses cameras, make-believe clients and interviews with everyone she can get her hands on to get a feeling for the current situation. Only then does she start to carry out changes designed to improve the salon’s performance.
Even though it’s a reality TV show, you get the feeling her process works. Don’t be surprised – weight-loss coaches, fitness instructors, financial planners, home energy auditors and doctors all follow a similar methodology.
So why do so many business owners rush to launch marketing strategies like search engine optimization, pay-per-click, email newsletters, online articles, direct mail, etc. without first getting a more accurate view of the current situation?
It’s scary, but many small business owners could learn a thing or two from Tabatha! Undoubtedly, every business owner wants more (qualified) visitors, higher visit-to-lead conversion rates, more leads, sales and profit. What no one seems to enjoy doing is taking a cold hard look at their current reality.
Should you let Tabatha take over your website (well, someone like Tabitha)?
Here are a few signs that you need a website takeover:
No goals with respect to traffic, conversion rates, revenue, profit, etc.
No idea how many visits your website receives per day/week/month
No clue what percentage of your visitors are new vs. returning
No sense of your top traffic sources – both in terms of gross visitors and quality visitors
Using the same phone number on your website as you are on your trucks, business cards, brochure, etc.
Using email addresses on your website (instead of using lead capture forms)
Don’t know your website’s true visit-to-lead conversion rate is
You simply cannot maximize your marketing performance unless you address everything listed above. Your top competitors know this information – we work with some of them!!
Start with the top bullet above – goals. People with specific, measurable and written goals outperform those without them – period. No goals virtually guarantees sub-optimal performance. In 2011, you can drive to work on a moped (with your secretary on the back) or you can drive in a new Mercedes (or Prius) – you are the sum of your choices so choose wisely!
With no clue about how many visitors you get today, you can’t set smart goals. How will you know when you’re investments in SEO, PPC, etc. are working? Some will answer – “we’ll know when things are working when we’re making more sales.” This is true, but for many small businesses measuring success isn’t so easy. Things aren’t always black and white. It might take more visitors to find that your website needs some content adjustments. If you were to measure success only in sales, you’d quit long before the ideal changes could be determined and made.
If you don’t know what percentage of your visitors are new (vs. returning), you might find yourself thinking that things are going great (more traffic – yeah!) when really they haven’t changed (more return visitors with no new visitors). Likewise – if you don’t really know your top traffic sources you could end up giving credit where credit isn’t due.
Using the same phone number everywhere is perhaps the biggest mistake made by small business owners (and even larger businesses). If you use the same phone number on your website as on your trucks, as on your brochures, etc., you’ll be forced to rely on your prospects and customers to decide which marketing strategies are most effective. Through years of tracking, we’ve found that this is correct less than 50% of the time!
A secondary issue with using the same phone number on your website as everywhere else, is that you can’t determine your website’s true conversion rate. Out of 1,000 visitors, exactly how many inquiries will you receive? You MUST know this. Marketing strategies you thought were crummy, may actually be diamonds!
One client of ours thought their cost per lead from Google Pay Per Click was $145 – determined by reviewing online leads and their customer service rep’s call logs only. When you look at the tracked phone calls from Pay Per Click, you realize that their cost per lead is actually $40! Think about how that variation would impact the decision you’d make about PPC advertising!
It’s a new year and a new decade. If you’re interested in improving your marketing performance, start with more accurately tracking the number one sales and marketing tool you already have – your website!!
About The Author: Ben Landers is the President and CEO of Blue Corona, a data-driven, inbound internet marketing company. Submit an inquiry to book Ben to speak at your next conference or event.
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“Would you ask a plumber to install a air conditioner? As a mechanical contractor we are technically literate in our field of HVAC not SEO. This is why we chose Blue Corona. After phone interviews with several SEO companies we chose Blue Corona based on their professionalism and confidence to design and deliver a site based on our needs. The entire process to date has been more than expected and we are extremely happy with the staff's expertise, friendliness and professionalism. All expectations were clearly defined from the beginning and everyone at Blue Corona has been awesome to work with. It is very refreshing to work with a professional group that delivers on their word. ”