Too many business owners are “doing” online marketing without knowing what’s actually working for them and which campaigns or activities are producing little result. That can be a problem. If your website is doing well, then figuring out which ideas are winners can help you get an even higher return for your investment of time and money; if your website isn’t performing the way you would like, then it’s even more crucial to make sure you’re not throwing good money after bad.
In the web design industry, the process of making every campaign and activity more and more efficient is called optimization. And if you aren’t using it, then you’re losing money in places you can’t even see.
To determine how well your website and internet marketing plans are optimized, you can…
Study Web Analytics
Before you can optimize your campaigns, you have to know who your customers are, where they’re coming from, and what they have on their minds when they visit your website. These are all pieces of information you can gain (more or less) by studying your web analytics package. You can also get insights into which pieces of content are popular, and where prospects are exiting your site. That way, you can give them more of what they want and less of what they don’t.
Talk to Buyers
The numbers from your website are important, and should probably be your first guide when it comes to optimization. But don’t discount the value in speaking to real, live human beings. If you have a handful of good customers, or new ones you can get in contact with, consider asking them how they found you. Let them know you’d like feedback on what they do or don’t like from your website, and why they would or wouldn’t return in the future. Obviously, that kind of straight-from-the-source insight can be great for squeezing more from every campaign.
Your competitors probably aren’t going to tell you what’s working for them, and they certainly aren’t going to be open about their failures. However, by paying attention to which ads, content themes, and offers they repeat again and again, you can start to make some educated guesses about where they are and aren’t finding profitable sources of business. It goes without saying that you only want to study your best competitors if you’re looking for a sense of what works.
A big part of optimization is simply experimenting and seeing whether an idea will fly. Don’t be afraid to try new things, tinker with your campaigns, or split-test pages that are already profitable. Best case, you’ll figure out more about your customers and market while discovering a new way to reach buyers. Worst case, you’ll get a little more information and come out wiser for the experience.
At its heart, internet marketing optimization is all about doubling down on your most successful ideas or efforts while avoiding waste on the things that aren’t helping you get ahead.