analytics

Data (in Context) drove site redesign

In The Woo by Jeff PeytonLeave a Comment

Jeff: By now, I’m sure you’ve noticed a few slight differences in the website – starting with the fact that the post you’re reading isn’t actually located at TinCansUnlimited.com. We’ll talk plenty about the blog’s new home – Pitching Woo – elsewhere. For now, I’d like to take a few minutes and talk about why we made the changes.

I can sum it up in a single word:

Analytics.

Don’t get me wrong – the site did a lot of things extremely well. The old site was attractive, mobile-friendly, and well-optimized for search. Blog readers had no trouble finding the content they wanted. Clients opting to pay their bills online did so with relative ease. In short, the site pretty much did its job.

Except that it utterly failed the Analytics test.

As Laura is fond of saying, “Measurement counts.” At Tin Cans, if we can’t measure it, we don’t do it. Not for our clients, and not for ourselves. This isn’t a revelation – everyone measures something, sometimes. Heck, I know folks in this business who measure everything, and then measure their measurements.

We take a slightly different approach.

Sure, we look at all the data available. But we’ve discovered that data, by itself, often means diddily squat.

For instance, when we look at web traffic, we glean decent information from the number of unique visits. But based on that information, we never would have reworked the Tin Cans site. Traffic was actually pretty good. Based on bounce rates, identified exit pages, even the typical visitor’s click-path across the site, our old site performed admirably. But our analytics weren’t tracking those data points in a vacuum.

Imagine 1 million unique visits every day. Sounds like an awesome datapoint, right? But standing alone, it’s practically worthless. That number might as well be 147, 12, or 2, if the measurement stops there. Adding in dozens of other datapoints – bounce rate, click-thru rate, etc. – gives you a different picture. But it’s still pretty fuzzy. For the data to have any relevance, you have to look at it in context.

What’s context? It’s the reason why you’re doing something. It’s the benchmark. It’s the one thing that actually matters.

At Tin Cans, we assign a context to just about everything we do.  X number of sales calls every month. X percentage reduction in costs against last quarter. X number of prospective clients from the website. It’s how we grow as a company. It’s how we define success.

In the very specific context of lead generation, our attractive, mobile-friendly, search-optimized, well-designed website generating plenty of regular traffic wasn’t actually getting the job done.

To be fair, the site’s original purpose was NOT lead generation. Most Tin Cans business – we’re talking 90% – comes from referrals. Happy clients sharing us with their friends. But “original purpose” is not the context we assigned to the website. Some changes were needed.

The first change – the most obvious change to anyone reading this post – meant separating the blog from the website.

We realized that our blog’s editorial focus on relationship marketing is not the same as our company’s value proposition – results-driven marketing. It doesn’t matter that building long-term relationships is the most-valuable building block in results-driven marketing. These are two very different messages.

So the blog was rebranded Pitching Woo™, and the main site became a landing page devoted to the message that Tin Cans is a SOLUTIONS-BASED, CLIENT FOCUSED full-service strategic marketing agency that gets results.

Next time, we’ll talk about some of the less-obvious changes.

Jeff Peyton
Don’t be fooled by Jeff’s accomplishments in communications, crisis and business management. He also wing-walked on an airplane at 700 feet, co-piloted the Goodyear Blimp and swam with sharks – and still managed to obtain paperwork officially declaring him “legally sane.” Really.

Leave a Comment