Custwin do a lot of work with clients who want to know which companies are visiting their websites, what they typed, and what pages they looked at, and for how long. We’ve been doing this for several years, think it’s going to become more in demand from companies (who come to realise there’s more to life than just what Google Analytics can tell them), and in our view, it should be of fundamental importance to any company that sells business to business.
But the concept scares some people, while practically offending others. A common comment we hear is “blimey, that’s a big ‘big brother’ spying on website visitors like that isn’t it?”, usually followed by words to the effect of “I don’t think I’d like it if my company could be identified as having visited various websites”.
Well guess what people …. it’s an essential tool that any business should have in their armoury. There are two types of visitors to any company website:
- Those who make contact.
- Those who don’t make contact.
If website A has 1,000 visitors to it in a given month and 50 of those visitors interact in some way, then that’s a 5% success rate. The rest will be made up of visitors including the following:
1. Visitors who found the website for some reason but would never become business anyway.
2. Search engine robots.
4. People trying to sell you something.
5. People who would have considered what you offer but the website didn’t quite ‘do it’ for them, or they’re not yet ready to make contact.
Taking point 5 above, suppose website A had the ability to identify the names of companies that have visited the website, and end up with a list of, say, 100 companies that have visited, but haven’t made contact. That’s double the number of people who had made contact during the month. The owners of website A now have a choice:
1. Do nothing with that information.
2. Analyse the visitor paths of those identified as being visitors from particular companies, and take action accordingly.
‘Taking action’ can be either of the following:
1. Realising that companies are exiting from the website (because some factors aren’t strong enough) gives the opportunity to strengthen the website and therefore increase the potential for future visiting companies to make contact.
2. Make contact with people in those visiting companies (not always easy, depending on size of companies and the subject of the website), seeing if something can be salvaged from their visit.
If choosing to contact companies who have been identified as having visited your website then it may be a challenge to get through to the right person, and even then, the conversion rate won’t be huge, but some people will respond to that proactivity and even if they originally thought your website was lacking in some way, a dialogue could convert to business. You will, of course, get some people who are freaked out that you know they visited your website but you may have lost them as a potential client in the first place so what is there to lose by making contact?
Above all else, just to know which companies have been visiting your website should really be of interest because it could mean potential business has been lost for some reason. By knowing who those visiting companies were, and how they interacted with your website, can tell you a lot, which provides fuel for further action (usually involving making refinements to the website).
So, in answer to the question about whether identifying companies visiting websites is ‘Big Brother’, the answer is that yes, it may appear to be ‘Big Brother’ but it’s becoming more common practice, has huge benefits, and those who don’t pick up on such information will, over time, become at a disadvantage compared to those who fully understand how potential clients interact with their websites and are making ongoing refinements to increase the chances of conversion from visitors to enquirers.