The 2 Harshest Truths about Data-Driven Websites
Here at Kayak, we are big believers in the value of content creation and advanced CMS’s like HubSpot. We talk about them enthusiastically, and share the results we see from our own campaigns as well as the ones we deploy for our clients.
That, in turn, gets other marketers excited about them.
Business owners and marketers who come to us after reading our blogs and snapping up our downloads can’t wait to get started. We love seeing how pumped up they are to get going on inbound marketing plans, but we have to introduce them to one of the harshest truths of all first…
When you create a data-driven website, it’s never truly finished.
We can create a layout, teach the client team about the fundamentals of SEO and lead generation, and put their new site online. But, we can’t deliver a complete job for them. That’s because, even at the point that leads start coming in, the project is really just getting started.
This is something any company looking to replicate our success should understand. So, today I want to explain why it is that data-driven websites are never finished, and what that really means in the long run.
Truth #1: You Can’t Ever Finish a Data-Website
Because my firm focuses on inbound marketing and quality lead generation, our plans and campaigns are content-heavy, measured, and refined. They require ongoing activities and resources like time, attention, and fresh content to keep them running and refining.
At the same time, even (or especially) when you have lots of traffic coming your way, there is more to do than adding new content.
Data-driven websites are never finished.
We want to watch our analytics to see who was arriving on our website, how long they are staying, which CTAs and content they are responding to, and more importantly, how or where they’re exiting your website while maintaining an “always helping” perspective that leads to greater trust and more solid sales.
Each of these activities and mechanisms creates data points representing an opportunity to get smarter and more efficient. So, it’s easy to find yourself continually tinkering with your site to capture more traffic in the form of leads or subscribers. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.
In one example, we recently noticed that one of our clients was receiving more than 4,000 unique monthly visits to three blog posts. However, they weren’t capturing many leads from that traffic. Understanding there was real interest in the topic, we investigated and saw a connection to one of the services the company offered, worked to tweak the post’s content and link/lead capture strategy to better engage and convert those visitors. If we weren’t watching the data, we would have missed that opportunity.
None of this would have come into play had the client used a traditional static website or foregone the use of advanced analytics like the type we deploy via HubSpot and Google. They would have (maybe) simply noticed good traffic but poor conversions.
Having those data insights paired with a well-defined persona compelled them into action and actually created more work for their team and ours.
The point to be made here is that data-driven websites require more work and attention than some businesses are used to, simply because marketers are more aware of challenges and opportunities revealed by the data.
Truth #2: Evolving Campaigns are Near Impossible to Plan and Quote
Until a site is up and running for a bit, we won’t have any concrete data to tell us if a client’s marketing personas or messages are 100% on target, or require a tweak. We also can’t predict how diligent a client will be at creating content, engaging prospects and colleagues on social, developing their online reputation, or working to convert the leads that come in.
So much of what we do, and a big part of the eye-popping results that attract clients in the first place, has to do with adjusting plans to seize opportunities that the data reveals.
Of course, the flip side to this is that business owners and executives are happy to keep working with us when they find a new source of sales opportunities. But in the beginning of the process, it can be tough to commit to going forward when they don’t know exactly what the campaigns are going to yield.
Is it Worth the Time and Money to Have an Evolving Website?
If you aren’t already a client and haven’t used a data-driven model for your online marketing campaigns in the past, then you’re probably wondering about the bottom line. What you really want to know is: is it actually worth it to follow this kind of approach?
We can tell you definitively that it is, but only if you recognize that getting bigger results means more effort and patience to set it up and maintain it. If you don’t accept that from the outset, you’re likely to get frustrated and give up too soon.
The real secret here is that adding good content to your website is a great way to generate activity, and start conversations. Once that happens, you start analyzing the results more closely and are very likely to find yourself looking for ways to keep the flow of traffic coming and generate even more conversions.
You’ll start to think about new offers, informative pages to add, and ways to tweak your landing pages and emails to improve conversion ratios. That will naturally lead to more visits, more data points, and more opportunities to keep growing.
The cycle I just described is full of positives, but on a more practical side, it can take much more of your time and effort than having your developer maintain a static website. But, like all things in life or business, there is a price to success, and one victory or plateau gets you working towards the next.
Learn how we apply behavioural insights into lead conversion optimization using HubSpot Software.