Measure Website Return on Investment (ROI)

While tuned into BFM’s Open for Business, one of the Pink Sage restaurant’s partner asked about the ROI for their website. The answers were lead only towards the website traffic and nobody corrected the question. Seated on my couch, I was thinking, shouldn’t they have explained the ROI for the website depends on what you’re aiming to measure in the first place?

screenshot of graph
Traffic schmaffic

ROI is not online traffic only

Today, I’ve noticed website traffic doesn’t necessarily bring you an investment. Yes, it brings you awareness but is that what you’re measuring in the first place?

It’s not even right to say website traffic will give you sales because social media is heading this right now. We eat at places friends have tried – Facebook. We eat at places our friends have checked out – Foursquare. We eat at places others have wrote about – blogs or media. So, only as a last resort, we visit the unknown.

picture of doors
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/daviderwin/

Which ROI are you measuring?

Based on above, you can already tell there are many channels to measure your ROI. Hence, what is the ROI do you want to measure for your business?

If you haven’t heard, these were some ways ROI was measured for some platforms.

Facebook

Invited events to fans only or special promotions only attainable by your fans.

Foursquare

Check-in to get a free mud pie. Or, overthrow the current mayor and get a free beer.

Blogs and Twitter

Bloggers write everything from the environment, quality of food to how well your services is at the restaurant. Not to mention, bloggers who know the meaning of a food blogger would have really great photos and honest write-ups. Twitter is a great tool to find out instantly, how good of a service have you delivered to your customers. But it can also be your worst nightmare if overlooked.

Media Write-ups

I categorized this outside of blogs because there are media reviews which are paid, mostly. This awareness exercise still works among those who still read newspapers. However, I can’t say for its future in 5-10 years. Especially if the news continues to be repetitive and uninteresting.

goal post
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11962077@N04/

What is your ROI objective?

In the world of marketing and sales, I’d believe ROI is about:

  • Numbers (sales)
  • Popularity (awareness)

And now, emotions – social activity.

So before you start to ask what’s the expected ROI from your website, pause.

Ask yourself, what ROI do you want measured and achieved? ROI alone is a 3-letter word as vague and plentiful of opportunities.

Where do blogs fit into your web strategy?

The web has grown up very quickly. From using blogs as a marketing communication tool, SEO to boost awareness to now, social media as your reach to the masses. But among all this talk now, I wonder where  and how does the blog fit into your online strategy?

Let’s have a look at some popular platforms online and how they’re used right now.

Telling it in 140 characters with Twitter

twitter birdAs much as some still question its feasibility, it’s here to stay – for now. It’s addictive because no long grandmother stories but simple, shortened personal thoughts. In addition, it gets the word out very quickly and this is important for live reporting or public announcements. Many Twitter applications have made retweeting easier and faster.

And Twitter is a micro-blogging platform. Similar to Plurk and others.

Facebook isn’t only about friends anymore

facebook imageWhat the bunch of college kids thought as a communication platform, has grown into a fan worship and brand evangelist platform. My friends on Facebook are demanding more than friendship today. They invite me to like their fan pages. Some of which are blogs, businesses, brands and well, attractive ladies.

Similarly but more viral than Twitter, this platform uses your 6-degrees of separation. You’re more likely to support a friend whom you know than an avatar on Twitter.

In short, Facebook is a social networking site.

Check-in to Foursquare for your reward

foursquare logoThough relatively new, it’s growing quickly from friend to friend. Plus, it was thought with a commercial offer in mind. A platform to help physical businesses boost their traffic and sales. Simply checking into a venue is but an introduction to this tool.

Its benefit lie inside its reward system from mayorships to other promotional specials. At the same time, it builds community and team effort between users. For example, you need the help of 50 people to achieve a Swarm badge.

By the way, what’s great about Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook is they can be interlinked.

  • Updates on Foursquare can be channeled to Twitter and Facebook.
  • Updates on Twitter can be published to your Facebook wall, not your status anymore.
  • And Facebook, well, it becomes the platform to consolidate all your personal activity.

So, are blogs still a marketing communication tool?

When the wave came, it was regarded as nothing but an online journal to now, a platform for advertising and self-fulfillment. Besides the SEO benefit, what objectives can businesses achieve by publishing a blog now? How does it fit into their web strategy?

Service oriented companies who write blogs may still use it as a marketing communication tool. Like this blog is used for me to share my insight in relation to my industry and services offered under Simpleet.

But what is to become of product related companies who publish blogs? Will it be used more as a feedback tool than a marketing communications tool?

This was a thought I’ve been pondering past few days.