Patching over your website’s failings

Many of our clients ask for my opinion on various online services which they’re being sold aggressively, and there is one which comes up all the time: services which claim to tell you who’s been visiting your website. Companies I’ve been asked about include Lead Forensics and Web Forensics, who I assume are competitors to each other. Although I’m sure their services seem quite professional and potentially useful, I suspect the reason I get asked about them so often is because they have large and active sales teams.

So, what do these companies do, and is it worth it? I think their technology is clever, and their idea quite sound. What they do is to record the “IP address” of every visitor to your website, look it up against a database, and produce a constantly-running report on where the visitors came from, in many cases including specific company details. Fascinating, right?

Well, up to a point. I know plenty of marketing managers whose job appears to be to provide as many reports as possible to the MD or sales director (most of which are designed to prove how busy they are). Add another report to the pile then. For those marketing managers whose role is about generating sales enquiries rather than management reports, is this insight into website visitors actually going to help?

Firstly, you need to disregard the wow factor. Look! Someone from Big Pharma down the road has just looked at your website! Very exciting, I’m sure. But what are you exactly going to do with this information? Task someone on sales to identify and ring everyone at that company, and find out who was the person who’s just looked at your website? You could do. But what happens if you find them? What next?

– “Hello, I’m from the Blue Widget Company and I was wondering if you’ve been looking at our website recently?”
– “No.”
– “Hello, I’m from the Blue Widget Company and I was wondering if you’ve been looking at our website recently?”
– “No.”
– “Hello, I’m from the Blue Widget Company and I was wondering if you’ve been looking at our website recently?”
– “No.”
– “Hello, I’m from the Blue Widget Company and I was wondering if you’ve been looking at our website recently?”
– “Er.. yes, just yesterday, in fact.”
– “Oh great. Can we help you?”
– “No. If you could, I’d have been in touch by now”.

I think what this whole thing is about is the fear that genuine prospects are visiting your website but not realising that you have what they want, and not getting in touch. You’re just meekly accepting that this is happening, and not addressing why. Furthermore, you’re assuming that if you can just get a salesman in there to talk to the prospect, they’ll realise they were mistaken and that they should be doing business with you after all.

Well, if that’s the case, maybe what’s needed is a website which “converts” interest to an enquiry in the first place. And in this day and age, where people want to do their own research and don’t want to be sold to, face to face, that shouldn’t be difficult. Your prospects want your website to sell the product. Get that right with an investment in great copywriting and design before you start investing thousands in reports which might patch over the website’s deficiency in its primary task.

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