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Identifying the four routes to enquiry

Yesterday I discussed the “enquiry journey” which your prospects take, and how Google’s role might be overestimated in this. Here’s a visualisation of what’s going on (click for larger PDF version, which you’re welcome to use yourself elsewhere):

The information chain

The leftmost of the four arrows represents people who are looking for a supplier of blue widgets, try Google search, and end up at your website. These people are why you put in so much effort to come top in Google for “blue widgets”. For a very small number of companies, it’s a significant source of enquiries, but for the majority, it’s disappointingly small. If you have Google Analytics, you’ll be able to see its importance.

The next path, reading left to right, is the one taken by people who see your advertising or PR, or find out about you by word of mouth, and who then type your company name into Google (even though they probably have your website address in front of them). Your company comes up first in the Google results – I hope – and they click through to your website. Google was just an easier way of reaching you than typing in all that “www” stuff. That’s all the search engine does, although the appearance of that result in Google can play a critical role in shaping the prospect’s perception of your company. I reckon that this information path is possibly the largest, and certainly the most underestimated, one of all.

The third column of arrows represents enquiries which start with advertising, PR, promotions or personal contact, and result in the prospect typing in your website address or clicking on a direct link, such as in an email …or on an online advert. Many of these people (e.g. Google AdWords traffic) can be identified in your website visitor analytics, but for some (the website address typers), their original source may remain a mystery. These will be the visits labelled “direct” in your analytics.

The final path, on the right, is the route taken by the people who don’t come via your website at all. I believe that a dwindling number do this nowadays; how often do you call or email a company direct after seeing an advert or seeing some printed sales literature? However, like the other three routes, it’s important to put yourself in the position of the prospect who takes that path, and ensure you make their journey as easy as possible. I’ll talk about this next week.

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