Posted on July 18, 2008

When it comes to measuring the success of their web sites, Business-to-Business marketers must confront a diverse range of analytics in order to arrive at actionable recommendations. Why? With B-to-B sites, it’s much more difficult to measure typical core metrics and glean valuable strategic conclusions.

But when done correctly, smart marketers can use web analytics to gain insight into brand building activities, prospect interest, and more.

So where do you start? The initial step that forms the foundation of any successful campaign, whether Denver SEO or direct mail, is to define your goals.

Do you want users to fill out a contact form, view specific white papers, or register for a webinar? Should users download your podcast or comment on your company blog?

No matter what the goals are, these events are “desired actions” that result in a “conversion” when completed. With this in hand, you’ll want to measure not only your desired action(s) but all steps leading up to it.

So what’s next? Test, test, test, then optimize and refine. Testing is an essential step to optimizing web site performance. Do more visitors click through to a desired action when the link is an image, text, or button? How does the placement of the link on the page affect the number of conversions? Do users spend more time viewing specific content segments? If so, which ones and why?

Try using different combinations, strategies, and moving elements around the page. Then use web analytics to determine which of these combinations fueled the most conversions.

Web analytics is key to finding the right mix for your website. A little A/B testing goes a long way.

Testing doesn’t have to be confined to “on-site” elements. Many savvy B-to-B marketers are now comparing their online ad data (Pay-Per-Click) with web analytics data to better understand user motivations. How did they find your site? What keywords were used? Which keyword searches led to the most conversions?

Marketers can use all of this data to focus their content and ad spend on words that convert while eliminating ineffective options in a process of continuous refinement.

Ensure that the copy on your site aligns with your target audience’s focus. Customized landing pages with links that are important to visitors exhibit far greater conversion rates.

Web analytics also grants marketers the opportunity to measure brand exposure and specific customer activity through “metrics of engagement”. By looking at page views per session, time spent on the site and on certain pages, you can infer the level of user engagement that creates return visitors and user loyalty.

The addition of Web 2.0 features can help give your site a “stickier” user experience. The longer users spend on your site interacting with content, the more brand exposure you’ll receive along the way.