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Within every Great Online Marketer there is a McDonald’s Restaurateur Waiting to Get Out

April 7, 2009 ark-com

Within every Great Online Marketer there is a McDonald’s Restaurateur Waiting to Get Out

It still amazes me how a bunch of pimply adolescents can successfully run a bustling burger store whether it is in Tokyo, Los Angeles or Masterton. Orders are correctly filled, fries are properly cooked and only a small proportion of the patrons are poisoned in the process! It’s a testament to the strength of the business system that supports McDonalds’s, which ensures that all this happens while a maelstrom of hormones are rushing through the place as fast as cars arrive in the drive through.

Of course, burgers are not the only products that survive on the strength of a great system. Car manufacturing has its own wonder system. For instance, Toyota is a worldwide practitioner of Kaizen (Japanese for continuous improvement). Each year tens of thousands of small improvements are made to their manufacturing process as a result of small changes being made under the Kaizen system. Some claim this is the main reason why they are the most profitable car manufacturer on the planet.

Great systems can produce great things, so how can we harness this theory for our own online marketing efforts?

Well, I think that Online Lead Generation is a sitter for a system or two. The obvious one would be the Kaizen approach to gradual improvement, but to make this work you need to have a complete system to start with. This is where a large proportion of lead-generation websites are lacking.

Each month we manage dozens of lead-generation websites on behalf of clients. Each site we look after has its own system of turning new website visitors into sales leads. Some of these lead-generation systems follow a path similar to one that others selling products of the same level of complexity have used before.

The rest use a process that is as unique to them as the markets they work within. Nevertheless, each has its own lead-generation methodology to follow that is built to attract, persuade and then nurture their online prospects.

Once a winning system such as this is established then our work follows the standard Kaizen formula of continuous improvement. Analytics tools tell us where any improvements can be found, while our testing tools allow us to deploy and monitor the success of any changes that are required. However, while any improvements to Toyota’s production line will be assessed in terms of reduced defects, the elimination of waste or the speeding up of production, our changes are aligned to just two goals – improving our customer’s lead quality and quantity.

This work of continuous improvement would fail miserably is there wasn’t a complete system to work with or, even worse, no system in place at all. Fortunately, not many new customers arrive at Permission with no system; however, most marketers have issues in developing a complete system. Yes, they will have a website and some idea of what they want it to do but, no, they haven’t fully documented the complete ‘system’ the website needs to follow to help them achieve their goals.

For instance, I had a call a few weeks ago from a business manager who wanted some advice on how to use their website to sell their mortgage broking services (currently not a market for the faint hearted.) But, while demand may be down, this is still a rather cluttered market of similar service offerings. Just Google “Mortgage Broker”, look at the AdWords ads and see what I mean – they all look very similar.

When I first spoke with them, they commented on how they saw their website’s role in their lead-generation system as taking just two steps. Step one involved it receiving paid traffic from Google AdWords, and step two encompassed the site accepting this traffic and convincing the prospect to pick up the phone and call them. From here the steps went offline – they accepted the call, booked an appointment and then visited the prospect to sell their services. A phone ringing was a sign that the website part of the system was working. Needless to say, things were quiet around the office.

We started optimizing the website process by breaking it down into more measureable and manageable steps. Installing Google Analytics on the website helped us here. Using this tool, we could see what AdWords keywords delivered website visitors who stayed long enough to read any content on the site (there was a reasonable proportion that left within 3 seconds – for the moment these were paused).

Then, from all those who stayed on the site long enough, we tracked those who visited the actual appointment request page. Finally, we looked at the behaviours of those who actually completed the form: where they looked on the page, how long they spent reading, and the problems they were experiencing in filling in their details.

By now our system was looking like this. Step one, attract people who are searching for certain keywords in Google; step two, entice them to a specific page on the website; step three, have them stay long enough to read the copy on the web page; and step four, convince them to fill in the form and request an appointment.

So, where there had been two steps we now had four, and we had a clearer understanding of what needed to be done at each step to achieve improvements. From here, the whole system will get better and better. From what we have seen, the more detail you can add to the steps your website needs to achieve, the easier it is to work on any changes you want to apply. For instance, some of our clients have over a dozen steps to their online lead-generation system, each of which we monitor and manage for them on their website.

And that’s why every part of your McDonald hamburger’s life is fully documented and learnt BEFORE anyone anywhere turns on a hob or fryer to create your next Big Mac. It’s not step one, turn on hob; step two, deliver finished burger. I would imagine there are probably twenty or more steps to be completed before the job is done and your hamburger is ready.

So why not spend some time today to break down your online lead-generation system into at least twice as many steps as you have now? Then you should begin to see how this makes your own Kaizen experience of continuous website improvement an easier job. Or failing that, call us on 09 929 9130 and we can talk you through some of our proven lead-generation systems that may suit your needs.

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