We know that B2B buyers today are empowered to control the business relationship.
We know that business-to-business buyers are on a journey. They go through stages to solve their problems — from awareness of the problem to information gathering to decision-making.
How do sellers engage with buyers at each stage of their journey?
And how do they organize their analytics to understand the needs of buyers who come to them?
Your buyers flow into and out of your web presence in the same way that customers flow into and out of a retail store. Customers find the store. They visit the store and do things (browse, ask questions, solve problems). They leave the store — with or without a purchase, with or without their questions answered.
It’s the same with your web site. Buyers find your site (through search, referrals, newsletters or other channels). They do things on your site. They leave, sometimes with a measurable outcome.
The range of these activities defines the scope of your Marketing and Measurement Model.
Avinash Kaushik says your buyers’ activities naturally fall into three categories that you can measure: Acquisition, Behavior and Outcomes.
Acquisition: How will you acquire visitors to your website? Are you using a mix of the different media that your buyers use to get information and to communicate with each other? How effective are each of these channels — search, social media, referrals, video, email? How much do they cost?
Behavior: What do you expect people to do when they arrive? How will you make it easy for buyers to find the information they need for their stage in the journey?
Outcomes: What outcomes from interactions with your buyer are significant to your business? Signing up for an email subscription? Downloading an article or e-book? Repeated visits to a particular page? For business buyers, a series of outcomes, both micro- and macro-conversions may be significant.
Metrics for Acquisition, Behavior and Outcomes
To use these categories effectively in your Marketing and Measurement Model, you’ll have to decide which metrics to capture in each category. The most effective metrics will vary from business to business, but here are a few ideas to get you started:
Portfolio of Traffic Sources – Look for a balanced blend of Visits from different sources. (In Google Analytics, Sources includes Search, Referrals, and Direct).
Cost of Acquisition – What is the cost for each or your campaigns to acquire a visitor to your site over a period of time? You’ll need a spreadsheet so you can divide Campaign Conversions by Total Marketing Cost for that campaign. You may be surprised at the range of costs across your campaigns to acquire a visitor!
Bounce Rate on Top Landing Pages – You’ve spent a lot of money to bring people to your site. Look at the bounce rate for your most popular destinations, your Top Landing Pages. If bounce rates are low, excellent. Lots of people are arriving at these pages and moving on to the rest of your site. But if bounce rates are high, time for some investigation.
Recency, Frequency, and Depth – When was the last time your buyers visited your site (recency)? How often do they visit (frequency)? What is the distribution of the time they stay on your site (duration) and the number of pages they view (depth)? These metrics give you an idea of how tightly your visitors are orbiting your web presence.
Checkout Abandonment Rate – Once you’ve set up a funnel for your goals, you want to make it as easy as possible for visitors to stay in the funnel and complete the goal. Whether “checkout” means making a purchase or downloading an e-book, reducing abandonment rate is an easy way to improve conversion rates.
Macro Conversion Rate – On a B2B site, the ultimate goal is typically for a visitor to indicate enough interest in your company that they become a Marketing Qualified Lead. You’ve worked hard to bring buyers to your site and to create value for them. Macro Conversion Rates are an indicator or your success.
Micro Conversion Rates – But Macro Conversion Rates aren’t the only indicator. Most of your visitors are not ready to convert or they visit your site for another purpose — to get support, to research products, to find a job. You can establish many other conversions that will allow these visitors to signal their interests.
When you divide your analytics into your three key marketing activities — acquisition, behavior and outcomes — it becomes much easier to focus on your key metrics. You can refine the specific metrics and segments for each area. You’ll ask better questions about your visitors. You’ll see the pattern of visitors flowing through your marketing system.