Web buyers are becoming a larger and larger percentage of everyone’s business these days. It’s important to keep in mind that not all web buyers are created equal. Your web buyers generally fall into one of two categories:
1) Those who sought out your site specifically, with a previous knowledge of who your company is, and what you sell
2) Those who have no previous knowledge of your company, and found your website while they were trolling the Internet looking for a product you happen to sell
Understandably, these two types of buyers are likely to perform quite differently. The former are likely to be loyal customers and good repeat buyers. The latter have no brand loyalty, and are likely to be shopping for the best price. Getting them to return for future purchases can often be extremely difficult.
What does this mean for your marketing efforts?
First, if you’re a catalog marketer, it may be beneficial to mail web buyers as a separate segment. You’ll probably find that they perform quite differently from your other buyers. You may find it’s not profitable to mail your web buyers as often as buyers from other channels.
Second, don’t just look at your overall web results, but dig a little deeper. You’ll find three sources for your website visitors:
1) Direct Traffic. This means they reached your site by typing in your URL. These visitors are already familiar with your company, and may well already be regular customers.
2) Referring Sites. These visitors came from a site that links to yours. It could be an association you belong to, or your own Facebook page. Drill down for more detail to get a sense of how qualified these visitors might be.
3) Search Engines. These visitors reached your site by searching on a keyword that yielded your site in the search results. Depending on the keyword, they may or may not be good prospects for repeat business.
One way to assess the quality of the web visitors who reach you through search is to see how many of your visitors included your company name as part of the search. The easiest way to determine this in Google Analytics is to go to “Traffic Sources,” then “Keywords.” At the bottom of that screen, you’ll see a box with the words “Filter keyword containing” before it. Type in your company name and hit “Go.” Repeat with any common misspellings of your company name. With the rising use of smartphones and their small screens, misspellings are increasingly common.
If you track your web results to the conversion level, you may be quite surprised at how differently your web visitors perform, depending on the source. Visitors who come from direct traffic or search on branded terms are likely to be strong long-term buyers, while others may visit your site once, and never again.
Getting a better sense of how qualified your web traffic is can help you avoid waste in your mail plans and understand how worthwhile search engine optimization may or may not be.
It pays to get a good picture of your where you web traffic is coming from at regular intervals. Like most things on the Internet, change is the only constant. New strategies may be called for as your web visitors change over time.