This article is originally published on Democrat & Chronicle
A few months ago, I received a letter from a store saying they no longer carry a type of chips. According to their records, I bought two bags of chips in the last two years. So they thought they should let me know and suggested I try a few other chips instead.
About month ago, I visited an industrial services' website by accident. Since then, I get their online ad wherever I go. Not in a million years would I have the need to buy anything remotely like that.
Regardless, I’m under their radar now.
Despite what people say, we don’t have much privacy anymore.
Visiting a store, you leave behind lots of data about yourself when you check out: where you live, what you buy frequently, how much you spend, even your credit score. (Membership card, anyone?)
When you visit a website, you leave even more data behind, it doesn’t matter if you buy something or not. The website knows which pages you’ve been to, everything you clicked, everything you put in your cart and then discarded. If you do buy something, the website knows where you live, where you came from to the website, which ad you are responding to, if you’ve bought anything similar before, etc.
But when you ask a business owner how many website visitors he gets on an average day, how many visitors he is “losing”, astonishingly, he has no record whatsoever.
This is exactly the reason why most website re-design/re-branding fails.
It’s rarely the result of a lack of creativity in the company logo or the catchy phrases in your tagline.
It’s the lack of understanding of what you really want to get out of your website re-design and more importantly, what metrics should be set and tracked to determine its success or failure. The same applies to digital marketing campaigns.
For a small to mid-sized business, the web might be the only space you can do something that was impossible to do in the past:
Competing against businesses that are bigger than you, have more money than you and own more space than you.
Think about it.
You have the same amount of “real estate” space as the “big guys.” Your web page is the same size as theirs, you have the same amount of ad space on Google or Facebook. The web doesn't care if they’re 10 times bigger than you, you “own” the same amount of space as them.
For those of you who have a website. Here’s what you can do NOW to make the most of it:
Start tracking your web data if you haven’t already.
Google Analytics is a good place to start. It might be the most sophisticated web analytics tool by far. (Did I mention it’s FREE?)
Pro tip: Don’t let your ad/marketing agency or web developer do that for you. Here’s why:
It’s tempting to delegate that to someone else. But judging from the projects I’ve worked on, tragedy happens when you “break up” with your agency or web developer.
Nine times out of ten, when they offered to set up your Analytics account, it was set it up in a way that’s OWNED by them, not you. So when they leave, they can take all of your data with them, leaving you to start over. (Sorry, it is just how Web Analytics works. Once you lose that kind of data, it’s irreversible.)
Can you really afford to start all over again?
Let me know what you think in the comments below.