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Measuring Website Return on Investment

October 17, 2016

If you’ve owned or managed a shop for more than ten minutes, you’ve probably had a salesperson call you and tell you how much business they can get you with one of their websites.  It’s a fair point – if a person doesn’t already have a shop picked out, most people look online to find shops these days.  But a few minutes into the conversation, they start telling you how they’re going to prove results – website ‘hits’.  They offer to show you regularly just how many people are visiting your website.  If this is their idea of return on investment, this is a red flag.

Why?  Let’s take a look at the value of a website ‘hit’.

They may call it a ‘visit’ but that’s not entirely accurate.  That’s because, half of all ‘visits’ to your website are just other computers that are taking a look at the material.  Search engines like Google must visit your website often, for instance, to make sure they know what content is there and can direct their users to your site. Furthermore, if you run a shop in Wisconsin, how useful is it really that someone in South Carolina visited your site?  In most cases, not at all.  Unfortunately, the majority of ‘hits’ your website gets provide no value to you at all.

A website cannot prove a return on investment based on how many visits the site gets.  True ROI comes from a customer visiting your shop.  Here are a few ways to know your site is providing a good return.

Coupons – Some shop owners prefer not to use coupons, but if you do, it’s a great barometer for where your business is coming from.  Collecting the coupons used by your customers, and matching them up with where they found the coupon, is a great way to measure what’s bringing in business.

Phone Calls – One of our website packages includes Call Analytics – a special phone number only located on your website that is tracked and recorded.  In addition to allowing you to analyze your customer service, this also enables you to see how many customers are going to your website and calling your shop each month.  By listening to the calls, you can even figure out exactly how much money those calls brought into your shop!

Online Quote Requests – Although our sites are designed to encourage customers to contact you via phone (as that leads to a higher close rate) we also provide online forms for customers who prefer to make requests this way.  Much like the phone calls, each of these forms tells you what service the customer is seeking, allowing an easy calculation of ROI.

Asking Your Customers – One way to figure out where customers heard about you is to ask!  Be careful with this one, though.  They may have gotten your name from a friend, but then gone online to learn more about you and find out your location.  Without the site, it’s possible they would have never found you.  So, in addition to asking how they heard about you, make sure to ask if they visited your website for directions or to learn more.

To learn more about how to measure your website ROI, call us at 1-866-665-1605 or email

SEO Vs SEM: Deconstructing the Jargon

October 7, 2016

It’s easy to get lost in all of the jargon in digital marketing.  One good example: there are two different ways to “search well” on Google.  Like many choices in life, one works quickly, and one works well.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM), also called Pay-Per-Click (PPC), can put you at the very top of Google, very quickly.  As that second name implies, however, you pay Google each time someone clicks on that link to your website.  If you need to get some website visitors fast, SEM will probably get that for you.  But it’s not as great as it sounds.  Consider these facts:

  • This gets very expensive, very quickly: In addition to bidding on keywords, you set a daily or weekly campaign limit.  When you spend that amount, your links disappear.  It’s very easy to spend many thousands of dollars of month if you’re not careful.
  • Someone needs to manage this campaign at least once a week: With SEM, you’re bidding for your position on Google – the highest bidder wins. Like any marketplace, you’re competing against other people, who change their prices each day.  If you don’t manage your bids, you can disappear quickly.
  • Website traffic isn’t repair shop traffic: You’ll pay every time someone clicks the advertising link on Google – probably several dollars per click.  But just because they visit your website doesn’t mean they’ll call your shop.  For that, you’ll need a great website.
  • You pay for all clicks on the advertising link. Half of all clicks on mobile phones are accidental. If you have a smart phone, you’ve probably tried to scroll and clicked on an ad yourself – and someone paid for that click.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is different from Search Engine Marketing.  With SEO, you’re simply building a site that provides information Google thinks will be valuable to its users.  Over a matter several weeks, Google will see that you site has useful material, and your site will move towards the top of results.

You’ll never get to the very top of the results – that’s reserved for ads – but most people scroll past these results anyway.  That’s not surprising when you think about it; who doesn’t fast forward through advertisements in this day and age?

Instead, your page will show up just below the map section of Google – where most people instinctively scroll to find Google’s best results.  And if you’ve got some great shop reviews on Google, you may even show up on the map as well!

Although it does take a few weeks to grow into great results with SEO, it has several advantages.  Among them:

  • You’re not paying for every visit: Google isn’t showing your site to collect money. It’s showing your site because it’s what its users want to see.  That means you won’t pay Google every time someone visits you.
  • SEO has long-term results: With Search Engine Marketing, your site disappears as soon as you stop paying for every single visit. With Search Engine Optimization, your site will stay near the top of the results as long as it’s providing good information for Google users.
  • SEO has better results: While Search Engine Marketing can provide some quick results, you’ll get more results overall from Search Engine Optimization. Nine out of ten clicks on the first page in Google are outside of the ads section – those are all going to Search Engine Optimization.

Ultimately, the internet is not any different than Television, Newspaper, or any other media, when it comes to advertising.  You’ll get much better results from being in the news than you will from being in an advertisement between the news stories.

To learn more about what your shop needs to be successful online, call us at 1-866-665-1605 or email us at

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