Website Conversions & The Missing ROI Metric

Why You’re Not Seeing The Type Of Returns You’d Expect From Your Website, With Research

Money. Cash. Scratch. Dough. Green.

Got your attention? Of course, I did. These days, probably more than ever. With a not-so-robust economy and ad spending still in the doldrums, most of us are preoccupied with money.

On the agency side, we’re scrambling to get more of it from clients, who in turn are adamant they’ll spend less. Look at the whole marketing sector, and online is probably taking more than its fair share of budget cuts.

Why are companies cutting back on digital spending?

“We’ve got a website,” some prospects say when approached about improving their online presence.

“We’re taking it in-house,” reply others, who eagerly snatch up unemployed former internet bubble busters and other layoff victims.

“You’re just too expensive!” complain some, who turn to mom and pops they wouldn’t have given the time of day to three years ago.

We’ve heard every version of no.

Not that there aren’t good reasons for no. The online marketing industry must bear its fair share of the blame. Years of overpricing, overpromising, and underdelivering have taken their toll. “We just feel like we’ve been ripped off,” someone confided recently about an unhappy string of digital vendor relationships.

For one reason or another, many companies are holding back when it comes to spending online, either on advertising or development. They feel they’ve been there and done the ‘online thing.’

They cut online budgets and spend what little is left on traditional media.

Makes sense, right?

Wrong. It makes less sense now than ever.

Why? The internet has become a vital part of American life and buying habits. According to a new study from the Pew Research Center,

only 11 percent of Americans don’t use the Internet.

Of these,

A third of non-internet users (34%) did not go online because they had no interest in doing so or did not think the internet was relevant to their lives.

Another 32% of non-users said the internet was too difficult to use, including 8% of this group who said they were “too old to learn.”

Cost was also a barrier for some adults who were offline – 19% cited the expense of internet service or owning a computer.

We’re talking pretty sophisticated users who have determined cost is not a factor, have made the internet an ongoing part of their lives, and it’s showing no signs of ever slowing down.

“So what?” you may be asking, sweating over another year’s budget. “A lot of people use the internet. We know that. What’s it doing for us?”

Good question.

And one not readily answered, especially using commonly established metrics. For years, we’ve been sold a bill of goods that says if there’s no direct action from the consumer through the site, the site’s not doing its job. If a visitor doesn’t result in a buy or registration or some directly measurable result, it’s not working.

The missing ROI metric

This slavish reliance on direct models may be fatally flawed when applied to the effect a company’s web presence has on visitors. Digging deeper into the new Pew report, it turns out consumers use the internet as a central, primary information source.

Whether hunting for the government, health, news, or product information,

97 percent of users expect to find the information they seek online.

The Web has become so well known as an information source that,

64 percent of nonusers report they’d expect to see the information they need online.

If information about your product or service isn’t available online, it might as well not exist at all.

Why not rely on Direct Response Metrics?

Measuring only direct response limits a company’s understanding of how consumers use its site. They may never buy or register or sign up for email – yet it’s statistically certain if they’re thinking about buying your product or service, they will research it online.

Will this result in a direct online sale? An inquiry? Maybe…but the study also found,

46 percent of consumers surveyed would be more likely to go offline to buy a product if a company had information about it online.

Online information drives offline sales, something not measured by online shopping carts.

Exactly how and when the internet gets worked into the buying decision process may be ultimately unknowable… and ultimately unimportant (at least for now). The point is consumers are going online expecting the information they want will be there.

When you’re working up budgets and considering online cutbacks, remember: The internet is more important to consumer buying decisions than ever.

No matter what you sell — government services, products, healthcare information, or even news — the internet is a central part of consumers’ decision-making process. Neglecting this, thinking you can slide by without compelling experiences and robust stores of information on your site, is a fool’s bargain.

You may save money now. In the long run, you’re crippling one of your most vital sales tools: the connected consumer’s expectation of information.

To learn more about Marqui Management and how we can deliver on your project, call us today to discuss your needs at 888-384-9424. We serve the Allen, Plano, Frisco and entire Dallas Fort-Worth areas.

Taj Ridgeway
Taj Ridgeway is a business development manager at Marqui Management. The Australian native moved to Arlington, Texas in 2007 where he attended The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) and earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Global Business. In his free time, Taj enjoys playing disc golf, cricket, and helping people in his community.

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