Web analysis in most cases has always been about analyzing the web data. You can have all the powerful enterprise analytics tools you want and still be limited by the boundaries of most widely used analysis such as clickstream analytics, pathing analysis, and funnel visualization.
It’s time for the web analyst to think beyond the readily available web analytics reports, segments and path to conversions. One such analysis is understanding the online journey of your customers and accelerating the sales cycle. In short, enabling the customers to make fast purchase decisions.
Source: John Lovett, Web Analytics Demystified
Prospect to customer life cycle:
We all know the prospects will not buy a product or service on the first visit to a website. The purchase process can be longer than a week or even months in several cases depending on the products or services.
Let’s look into the various stages on sales cycle and how it relates to online marketing campaigns.
Exposure – This is the first stage of the sales conversion process where the prospect is exposed to the marketing message. Generally, this is a synchronization stage where the prospects needs are getting synchronized with market offering. Display and direct email play an important role in making the customers aware of the market. Social media also adds value by allowing brands to tap into to the massive volume of social users.
Awareness – Awareness stage occurs immediately after the prospect is exposed to multiple brand exposure campaigns. The prospect now becomes aware of what is available in the market and follows through a phase of understanding the players in the market. In certain cases, this stage also allows the prospect to manifest their needs and wants to a tangible object.
For example, a prospect that is looking for a solution to improve the speed of their pc is unaware of the exact solution. Awareness stage will educate the prospect about several options to improve pc speed such as page speed optimization, registry cleaner, temporary file cleaner, virus and malware removal and more.
Interaction / Research – The prospect starts interacting with ads, websites, emails and spends time researching multiple products and services. Search marketing plays a crucial role in this stage as the prospects runs long tail search queries looking for reviews, alternatives, feature comparison and pricing information. Ultimately, the prospect short lists 2-3 products and services based on reviews, features and pricing.
Trust – Trust is a critical stage in the sales cycle. Prospect needs a psychological assurance before they can shell out their credit card or bank account details. The assurance can come in the form of the brand popularity, social recommendations, secure payment options and / or existing relationship with the brand.
Prospects typically visit the website directly by typing the URL in the browser or using brand keyword search. This is of the reasons for high direct traffic conversion attribution.
Advocacy – The prospect may become a customer in the trust stage but the journey of the customer never ends. Smart companies leverage the relationship with their existing customers and turn them to brand evangelist / advocates. Brand advocates continue to buy products and services while marketing the company product and services for free.
These five stages are the core of the online marketing and are applicable to most if not all products and services. Besides the five stages of customer journey, it is equally important to understand the web analytics life cycle of customers.
Web analytics life cycle involves the interaction of the prospects with various elements of the website before making a purchase. As the prospect becomes familiar with the website, he/she may spend more time and browse through multiple pages with each returning visit. They may download white papers, view on-demand views, attend webinars and participate in online chat. The interactions can be broken down to multiple micro-conversions instead of one major conversion.
Path to conversion can sometime present challenges and delay the conversion process. If you think about it, the interaction of a visitor with the website is an encrypted code, and it is the responsibility of a web analyst to decipher the code and provide insights.
Advanced analysis like these allows an average web analyst to become a web analytics ninja within their organization.
Hope you enjoyed this post. Subscribe to the RSS feed so you don’t miss out the Part II of the Life Cycle Analytics post. In the part 2 of this post we will learn how to crack the code of customer journey analysis and enable customers to make faster purchase decisions. We will also learn the mechanics of the path to conversion analysis as it relates to online sales.
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