For most business owners, their online presence is simply another form of advertising. They keep throwing money at it, hoping that they will get some returns along the way – without paying much attention to the specifics…
Any decent manager or managing owner knows that your profits or losses are the compounding mathematical outcome of a number of compounding factors. Just how big this profit or loss will be, depends on how well the business is managed.
Once your prospect decides to contact you, the focus shifts – from online to offline. From that point, normal business techniques like offering value, service, and backup service come into play. However, right up to that point there are a number of things to be taken into account – and which can used to improve:
1. Where do your visitors come from? Do they primarily come from search engines like Google and Yahoo, or do they also come from other websites, social networks, etc? Assuming of course that we are talking about free traffic – your paid advertising is a different matter again. Pay more attention to sources that work – and get even more visitors from them.
2. If you are paying for your visitors (advertising), how much does it cost you for each visitor to your website? How many of these people convert into paying customers, and at what final cost? Are you supporting marginally profitable campaigns, while you should be shifting the focus of your spending?
3. How long does each visitor stay on your website? The sooner they leave, or the higher the percentage of people that leave right off the page they landed on, the less effective your small business website is.
4. If you are running an email campaign, do you know how efficient it is? Do you know how regularly people sign up to your list (and how many visitors it takes to your website for each new sign-up), and how many open and read your emails? Do you know how many emails it takes to result in one sale? Have you experimented with different headlines, different mailing frequencies, and mailing at different times of day?
If this sounds like too much trouble, you may want to go back and calculate the total worth of the typical customer. How much do you make one an average transaction, how regularly do you do business with any one client, and over what period of (retention) time?
Given this total figure, consider the fact that making a number of seemingly small changes to your online efforts could result in huge differences (percentage wise), how much money could you be throwing away because you are not properly managing your online marketing?
It might be virtual, but the clients, and the revenue, are not.
Manage it – just like you would manage any other portion of your business (where you would keep track of every penny, every stock item, and every man-hour worked).