Part 1 on how to justify your Web
efforts offered ways to calculate the direct value
of your Web site. But direct value measurements like
sales, lead generation, and customer service efficiencies,
are only part of the story. Time now to focus on the
indirect value a site can add and how to claim credit
where credit's due.
Granted, charting indirect value means
focusing on visitor behaviours that are harder to
track, value and quantify. Many site owners don't
even try. They often say, "Oh, we don't sell
products on our site, so we can't really come up with
a dollar value for our website." Or they do sell
online, but only take credit for the direct revenue
dollars they generate, not taking into account the
influence they likely had on purchases made via other
They're short-changing themselves.
If direct value is the only valid value, what's the
point of all those glossy car sites? They don't sell
cars, they only display them. Bettycrocker.com doesn't
sell cake mix. Pampers.com doesn't sell nappies, but
it does generate high value in the business-to-consumer
(B2C) world. Even when you're not selling or capturing
leads online you can still quantify your site's indirect
value. Here are three ways to start:
Referrals. Many organisations
use their sites to steer referrals to stockists or
resellers who will handle the ultimate transaction.
(That is actually what all those car sites are up
to.) Are you getting credit? Site managers often tell
me, "Our site is there to educate potential customers
about our products and answer any questions."
On further examination, the site's real role is to
propel people to partner sites.
Track this action through redirects,
count handoffs to stockists/resellers sites, then
work with those partners to learn what percentage
of those leads end up buying. That's revenue driven
by your site.
Offline sales. People
regularly use websites to research products or services,
whether they buy them online or not. (Many businesses
that conduct a very low percentage of sales online
gain a large percent of new customers who conduct
online research before making a purchase) A persuasive
website obviously helps your business well beyond
the "web". Your job is to find out how much.
Ways to track your site's true influence:
Dedicated email. Perhaps
you promote email contact in numerous channels, including
stationery and advertising. The address you provide
on your website shouldn't appear anywhere else, so
that you can separate website leads from the others.
Dedicated phone number. Same
tactic. Consider offering a special toll-free number
on your site. That, too, breaks out website leads.
Businesses are often surprised at how many phone leads
really originated online.
Web-only offer codes or coupons.
Give customers an exclusive, nominal premium offer
and see how often it's redeemed in other channels.
A good website can help improve overall satisfaction
with your organisation. A bad one can throw satisfaction
scores into a nosedive. If you regularly conduct customer
satisfaction surveys after the sale, add a couple
of website specific queries. Consider running surveys
or questionnaires on the site itself, although the
data won't be as accurate with self-selected respondents.
Combined with the direct-value metrics
offered in Part 1, these simple tactics should help
you to add up the real, total value of your website.