Why the web doesn’t cause the phone to ring as much as you’d think

I was asked recently: “What’s a good way of explaining to my MD why I want our website to improve further on its 500 visits a week, when we already get more visits each week than there are potential customers in the whole country?”. I assumed therefore that the problem was that the MD was looking at those numbers and concluding that the entire concept of web marketing was suspicious.

Funnily enough, I once heard a completely different but related question, which was: “What’s a good way of explaining why we don’t get hundreds of enquiries a month from our website, when thousands of people have made their way there, presumably for a reason?”

These are the sorts of questions which we all have to get used to in marketing. It’s not easy. For every visit to your website, only a small number will be potential new customers. There’ll be existing customers, staff, people arriving by mistake, people looking up your address, people using your content for information …all sorts. Many of these folks would have done other things in the past, such as referred to the manual in their drawer somewhere, or looked up your phone number in a directory. Now they use your website. Bundled in with all these visitors, somewhere, are the new business prospects. We need to measure these separately (perhaps as first-time visitors who actually spend some time on the site, for example) and not get distracted by the overall visitor totals. Do we count the number of times the company phone rings each day as an indicator of how many enquiries we’re getting? Of course not. The vast majority of calls aren’t new business enquiries, however much we hope they are.

As to why you used to get 10 enquiries a week, and now in the age of the internet you don’t get any more, despite 1000 people visiting your website, think about how many people in the past read your magazine articles or picked up a brochure at an exhibition without going on to make an enquiry. The web is just a new way of doing things, but there’s still only the same number of enquiries to go round. Probably fewer, actually, as many people can now do all their research without even talking to you.

Discussion

  1. AndyGold

    I agree Chris Rand, the phone doesn’t ring as often as we’d like it to. But, I only realised something after reading your post, (its only my own opinion of course), but ‘like my own website I see I have the same problem’, yours does not have a clear call to action or enticing offer for a visitor. i.e. ‘Search engine marketing for industrial and scientific companies 2013’! It doesn’t inspire me or make me want to click to get the report!

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