When we build a website or take on website management, we talk with the client about the results they want. Often those results center on increased sales of a product or increased qualified leads. Frequently, those aren’t things we can measure online, but we can build a path to purchase and follow the parts of that path that take place online.
The frustrating part is when everything in the online part of that path looks great, with improvements we can measure and all kinds of apparent good news — but disappointing sales.
One possibility when that happens is that we’ve misunderstood the path to purchase, or the client has, and we’re measuring the wrong things. If that seems to be the case, it’s back to the drawing board and start over.
But there is a physical world out there, and the internet is not immune from things that happen in the world. Walmart has had a disappointing second quarter, consumer spending rose a mere 0.2% last month — and only if you include cars — and the Pew Research Center reports that people still don’t think the economy has recovered from the recession, no matter how many official reports say it has.
Do you think this will affect your website’s performance? Hint: yes. If people are shopping less in general, they’ll probably shop less with you.
So what should you do?
It may make sense to test some changes. If it’s possible to phrase your product’s benefits in terms of value, this could be a good time to do so. Offering free shipping for the holidays should probably be on everyone’s to-do list, and special value bundles could resonate with consumers right now.
It doesn’t make sense to stop your online marketing efforts. The benefits of wise online marketing are cumulative. When consumers are ready to buy, they will still look online as part of their purchase decision. The companies that have stayed the course and continued to strengthen their websites will be in a stronger position than those that gave up.
Now is the time to focus on the actions that are giving you the best ROI. If you don’t know what those are, it’s past time to install analytics and find out. It’s also time to focus on the regular ongoing marketing that leads to strength for your website in the long run.