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3 Key Questions for Improving Your Web Marketing Performance

Improve web marketing performanceA couple of months ago, the incomparable Avinash Kaushik wrote a great post outlining best practices for beginning to do web analysis. As with many of Avinash’s posts, it is capital-A awesome.

I’d like to add to it just a bit and show you one approach for looking at your website from a strategic point of view.

Fundamentally, there are three things I always want to know when looking at any site:

  1. Where does the traffic come from?
  2. Where do the sales (sign-ups, subscriptions, leads, what-have-you) come from? Remember, these may be different than traffic.
  3. Where do the profits come from? As with item #2, the source of profits may be different than the items that precede it.

Typically, traffic leads to sales which leads to profits. But not always. For instance, paid search can generate tons of traffic for some businesses but have very low margins. SEO or email may rake in the profits, but, depending on the popularity of your keywords or the size of your email list, not produce much in the way of traffic or sales volume. Which is a bummer.

The more you understand the answers to these three questions, the more you’ll be able to understand the best online strategy for your business. Just beware the temptation to take one look and say, “Eureka! My online marketing strategy must be x!” Why? Well, for one thing, nobody actually says “Eureka!” anymore.

Secondly, the key is to use these data points in conjunction with your other key business metrics to outline what works for your business, how your different traffic sources complement one another and how you can optimize low-margin traffic while maximizing the low-volume/high-profit traffic. Assuming you have some. If you can only get your hands one of these numbers, you want to know #3. But, in practice, you probably need numbers 1 and 2 to get there.

Ultimately, improving your web marketing performance depends upon the answers to a number of questions. But these three should start you moving in the right direction.

Are there other questions you find useful when looking at your site? Tell us all about them in the comments.


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Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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