Here’s a question for you.
How do you measure success in internet marketing? How do businesses know if their carefully constructed internet marketing campaigns are actually working? You might think these are pretty basic questions with perfectly obvious answers. You might even believe that these questions are rhetorical: surely the success of any internet marketing campaign has to be judged solely by the increase in the number of sales the business manages to generate. Let’s face it, if your business spends money marketing itself online, then you’ll obviously want to get more money back in to justify what you’ve shelled out – simples. Well, yes that’s right, but that’s only one way of looking at it. Success can be measured in many ways.
Internet marketing can be a slow and laborious process, particularly when you’re venturing into it for the first time. Yes it would be fantastic if every visit to your website resulted in a conversion: after all, all successful businesses like to make money. Yet success is also dependent upon building the strength and appeal of your website. You can only start to convert the traffic you receive into cash sales if you get the traffic come and visit you. So, how do you measure whether your website is sufficiently strong and robust?
Decreased bounce rates
If you’ve spent time and effort beefing up your website, you would ideally like the traffic you attract to stay on your site and explore what you have to offer. The best way of achieving this is to optimise your website by using effective and targeted keywords: this brings the site to the attention of the search engines and hopefully in turn leads to more users clicking on your link. Once you attract visitors you want to retain their attention and interest. You can achieve this by adding quality content and giving the user precisely the experience they were hoping to get. If you don’t, browsers will bounce away from your site and click on someone else’s link. That’s potentially one lost sale.
If you’ve optimised your website and have noticed that users aren’t bouncing away as regularly as they used to, or are spending more time on your site exploring the content you have to offer, then this is a definite measure of success. You might think that sounds a little negative – a bit like a back-handed compliment, but I wouldn’t agree. Your ultimate goal is a conversion, and you can’t achieve this if people walk away. Keeping users on your site is a primary objective: if you’ve managed to reduce your bounce rates, then you’re doing well.
Increased page views
Analysing the behaviour of your visitors, and what they do on your website is also a useful sign as to whether your marketing efforts are working. If the users you attract move around the site and visit different pages of your content, then that to me is a mark of success. It doesn’t matter if the visitor found your site through the search engines, or just happened upon your business because of some external link or marketing effort you’d put out there: what’s important is that they came to visit and are exploring what your business is about and what you have to offer.
Increased referring sites
Any business wanting to build an online reputation needs to have good quality links from other reputable websites and directories. If you want to cement your website’s status, then you’ll need links from referring websites. Each referring site is a new link to your site, and the more links you get the greater the flow of inbound traffic to your site.
If your business is managing to attract more of these links then that too is a mark of success. The greater the amount of traffic, the more likely you’ll get another sale.
Increased returning visitors
Building a successful internet marketing campaign isn’t just about increasing the number of visitors to your website and keeping them there, it’s also about attracting return visitors. If you’re lucky enough to welcome users back to your site, then you must be doing something well, whether by top notch content or simply appealing offers and promotions. Return visitors generally have already done their research if they’re in the market to purchase, so there’s every likelihood that if they come back to visit you; there may be a potential sale on the horizon, or a subscription to the service or blog you offer.
Success can be judged on many different levels. There can never be a one-size-fits-all solution to the question how does one measure the success if an internet marketing campaign. Expectations vary from business to business. The very best mark of ‘success’ is the number of visitors you manage to attract and retain. Have a look at your website’s analytics information and judge for yourself. You might just be pleasantly surprised.