The Bird's Eye View
Most companies today have immature connections (at best) between their marketing and sales departments. With this book, you'll start to break down this silo mentality and get the different groups really talking and working together.
Which marketing efforts generated more leads? Which efforts generated better quality leads, thus enabling the sales team to close more sales? Which efforts cost more than others, particularly when compared to the actual sales they generated?
Metrics are at the heart of answering these questions, and metrics are what you use to assess your various marketing efforts, including search engine optimization, paid search campaigns, contact forms completed, and how many times the phone rings, too.
To get to the level where you have measurement tools in place—and can use them over time to measure results—requires a certain level of process maturity. Don't be annoyed if you're simply not there yet; that's what we'll do together using the tools in this book.
It is not unusual for a company today to be fairly inexperienced when it comes to search engine optimization, paid search campaigns, or both.
Perhaps the company's been running campaigns for awhile but never ran the numbers to see which ads work better than others. Or maybe a business knows its products, and therefore what keywords should be woven into the website text, but never really approached it methodically. Perhaps they've never done a competitive analysis for multiple keywords and keyphrases in several keyword themes, which could identify new keyword opportunities.
We're not surprised. We see this all the time. But a desire to reach the next level of process maturity is the key—that's how we get new clients in the door, and that's why curious people like you have bought this book. You're hungry for more information and want to know how to squeeze more from every marketing dollar spent.
You're at the right place.
Your Online Sales Engine
Wrangling a website into something that generates measurable, repeatable results for your business requires blending together many different areas of expertise and building bridges to share information across departments. We call this process creating Your Online Sales Engine.
This book gives you a working knowledge of online sales components so that you can engage competently with your technical and marketing colleagues in a less-stressful environment while producing the most effective final product.
The online sales engine components are
- Speaking to your audience, analyzing keywords, and developing user personas
- Getting visible with organic and paid search
- Making websites that work, either from scratch or through improving what you have in place already
- Selling online, including landing page design and conversion rate improvement
- Reviewing metrics that matter, and revising the other online sales engine components based on sound business analysis
Chapter 2, "What an Online Sales Engine Can Do," covers what the online sales engine is composed of in more detail.
The Heart of It All: Metrics
To say that we are big believers in gathering and applying metrics is not really quite right... evangelists is a better term. You can't make sound business decisions without knowing what's really going on between your website and its visitors. And you can't know what's going on unless you have good data and even better analytic practices.
Paid Search and Organic Search
Digging into search engine optimization (SEO, or organic search) and paid search (pay-per-click [PPC]) work is just the beginning when you get an online sales engine up and running at your company.
For example, Figure 1.1 shows that the bulk of the websites listed on the page come from organic search listings. The three websites at the top, highlighted with a shaded background, and the ones along the sidebar on the right under the map, are the paid search advertisements on the page. The organic listings include Google Places links (the ones with the "map pins" next to them).
Figure 1.1 The mixture of paid and organic search listings for "dog sitter 48105."
Other Sales Engine Components
We also take a look at how your website's information architecture can better meet the needs of your website visitors (and better meet your business needs, as well). Other things that impact leads and sales include usability and user-experience design techniques, landing page design, and keyword analysis.
The entire Internet marketing package (everything mentioned so far) needs to be measured. You need to define which data you want to track and how, track it, and then analyze it to see what works (and what doesn't).
That is how to apply the online sales engine in your business to get tangible results.