Puzzled by a lack of B2B sales leads from your website? Does the following sound familiar?
You just looked at a web analytics report for your site and pageviews are up, new user sessions are up, and traffic from organic search is increasing nicely, too. You want to celebrate, but there’s one big problem. Too few leads.
Bad Traffic, Bad Website, or Both?
There are many factors responsible for web lead productivity.
- Web traffic volume
- Web traffic quality
- The offer and call to action
- The landing page
- Macro-economic factors such as business cycles
Volumes of content is generated every day about call to action testing and landing page effectiveness. While critical to lead capture, don’t start your A/B testing of offers and landing pages before understanding the traffic coming to your site.
Experienced website managers and digital marketers know to analyze the quality of traffic, but less sophisticated companies believe session volume and pageview volume are the holy grail of web performance metrics. To the unsuspecting, if volume is up all is good in the world. If only it were that simple.
It’s relatively easy and quick to gain important insight into the quality of your website traffic. An initial analysis only needs to consider four factors. You can do this in about 60 minutes if you have familiarity with Google Analytics.
- Geo (country)
- % of pageviews to the Jobs page
- Next page after Home or the landing page
- Take a harder look at relevancy of key terms. Review SERPs
You’re Not From Around Here, Are You?
The first question to ask is, “What geography did my traffic come from?” If your market consists of a single city, region, or country it’s imperative you understand what percent of the traffic actually originates from within your geographic market. Traffic originating elsewhere is of little importance to generating B2B sales leads, although it can be useful information for spotting promising new markets.
The company below only sold its services to organizations in the U.S. Of the 97,397 sessions for the period, just 30.5% originated from within the U.S. (Exhibit 1). Analyzing the web analytics without filtering out the countries outside the market area results in a false picture.
You can drill down into the Geo data in Google Analytics. For example: U.S-State-City. The analytics can be viewed in table format, or in map overlay as seen below in Exhibit 2 for the state of Pennsylvania. If you’re only marketing within Pennsylvania, it’s helpful to see where the traffic is originating.
After looking at the Geo statistics for your website traffic you’ll better understand what percent of the traffic could become a customer based on their location—inside or outside of your market area.
Which Way Did They Go?
Knowing where visitors to your site came from doesn’t tell you everything you need to know to properly assess traffic quality. Study what the visitors do on your site. With a goal of analyzing traffic within 60 short minutes you’ll have to prioritize the data you review. This is where the user flow diagrams are helpful.
By selecting the Landing Page dimension you can see the five pages through which the most visitors entered your site. Visually you can quickly see the volume of the flow from page to page (green) or flow off the site (orange).Clicking on the pages and links in the diagram reveal the specific numbers.
I find the user flow diagram to be invaluable. It tells me at a glance which pages attracted the most site entrances and what the visitors did after arriving at the page. Based on the pages’ content I can judge the quality of traffic. Noticing what the next interactions are also are revealing. I’ll explain.
In Exhibit 3 notice that visitors to the home page (/) ventured to a variety of pages in the 1st interaction and 2nd interaction — Products/Services, About, etc. Visitors who entered the site at the home page, and who did not leave the site, wanted to learn more about the company and products based on their behavior after landing on the page. That’s a good sign of interest and quality, especially since the Jobs page is not in the top-five, which if present would indicate a lot of the visitors were job-seekers. More on job seekers later.
The fascinating aspect of this particular flow diagram is this: visitors to three of the top-five landing pages went no further. They landed on the page and then left the site. What does this tell us? In this case the content on four of the 5 pages was highly technical “how-to” information. Based on the statistics the visitors landed on the page; either got what they were looking for or not, and left the site. They had no interest in the company, its products or services at that point in time. They might has well have gone to Wikipedia.
I wouldn’t put too much weight on this if the data was for a short period of time, but the flow diagram in my example consisted of traffic data from the previous 16 months. This led me to the conclusion that most of the traffic to the site was of low quality purely from a lead generation perspective. The traffic was mostly interested in some technical and educational information; definitely not interested in the company or its services.
We were happy to receive this traffic, to build awareness for the company and its expertise, but the client had to face the facts: most of the traffic to the site did not fit one of their primary buyer personas and were not likely to fill out a web form to become a B2B sales lead for the client.
The Curse of the Browsing Job Seekers
I like to check traffic to the Jobs and Careers pages to gain an understanding of what percent of the total sessions are generated by job seekers rather than solution seekers.
In my example (Exhibit 4) the Careers page was responsible for less than 1% of the total pages views. However, for another client the Careers page represented 50% of pageviews. Attracting potential employees isn’t a bad thing, but don’t confuse job seekers with solution seekers, especially if you’re goal is lead generation.
Job seekers aren’t the only type of low quality but high volume traffic you can be getting. Students are constantly researching information for papers and assignments. After conducting this 60-minute analysis for another client I came to the conclusion that one third of the traffic was from engineering students in India. This knowledge caused us to push the reset button on their SEO strategy.
How Is That Relevant?
What brought the visitor to your site is very meaningful. A look at the Acquisition Channels in Google Analytics shines lite on the traffic from search compared to direct, referral and social. Evaluating the relevancy of our key terms for which we’ve optimized the site, and looking at the terms which brought traffic to the site can lead us to emphasize different key terms in an attempt to boost quality and B2B sales leads. Here’s what I did next.
Referring back to Google Analytics, I first looked at Acquisition/All Traffic/Channels. In my example (Exhibit 5) a whopping 82% of the sessions for past 16 months were generated by organic search.
Next, I wanted to verify that organic search was responsible for bringing visitors to the landing pages having the most sessions. The answer was just a few clicks away: Acquisition/Search Engine Optimization/Landing Pages.
This table in Exhibit 6 showed me the top-10 landing pages for organic search during the period. Though it doesn’t show me which terms, it tells me how many visits each page received based on clicks. The top page for search traffic received 1300 views in the period.
The click through rates (CTR) are very impressive, but what really caught my eye was that 9 of the 10 landing pages rank on page one with an average position under 10. The home page was ranked nowhere near page one.
This verified that most of our search traffic was coming to the site for technical information, not solution or company information. I was beginning to understand why the client wasn’t getting more leads, but I had one more area to investigate – the key terms themselves.
Another click or two gave me the answers. Acquisition/Search Engine Optimization/Queries presented the search queries that exposed browsers to the site’s URLs for the past 90 days (requires Google Analytics linked to Google Webmaster Tools). I sorted the long list so the terms generating the most clicks were at top of the table. Then I looked at the terms. Sure enough, nearly all of the queries responsible for most of the clicks were technical in nature.
Now What Do We Do To Generate More B2B Sales Leads From The Website?
Based on your findings from following this 60-minute drill the actions you’ll want to take to improve lead generation can be any of the following:
- Incorporate a call to action on the landing pages that is relevant to the content and visitor. This may not generate a lead for new business, but it can generate a subscriber to a technical newsletter.
- Research what key terms you should optimize for that will attract potential buyers to your site. Then, optimize heavily for those terms. De-emphasize terms that tend to attract students and job seekers (unless those audiences are part of your strategy, of course).
- If job seekers represent a high percentage of your sessions and attracting top talent is important to the company, adjust your home page to direct job seekers to the right page quickly. Configure Event or Goal tracking in Google Analytics so the traffic can be easily identified and tracked separately. For example, clicks on a button, banner, or image linked to the Jobs page can be tracked and noted.
- If your analysis reveals that the quality of your traffic is actually pretty good, then turn your attention to the call to actions you have in place (or not) on your pages. Don’t make someone go to the Contact page to engage with you. Look at the flow diagrams to see if the path to conversion can be streamlined. A/B testing of offers, and landing pages is advised here, too.
- Revamp the content and call to action on the major landing pages so visitors have a way to engage with you even if they’re not ready to buy. Naturally, this action requires that you’ll do something with these lower quality leads to nurture them over time.
- Be more aggressive about publishing content of interest to buyers, rather than job seekers, techies and students.
Every company should conduct this 60-minute quick check of web traffic twice per year in order to keep in touch with the type and quality of visitors coming to the site. It’s certainly not the only assessment you can conduct, but it’s the best place to start.