Do You Know the ROI of Your Website?

For a great deal of your website, much like public relations (PR), the return on investment (ROI) is not easily quantified. Metrics do exist, but for the most part they provide erroneous data.

PR should tell a story, lots of stories, ideally stories that are told and shared by one potential customer to another or by one satisfied customer to a potential customer. The value and credibility when one person provides information about your practice to someone else is immeasurable.

It is possible to use a page on your company website that replicates conventional “call to action” marketing pieces. The ROI of these pieces can be measured.

However, a portion of your company’s website pages should serve to replace and/or replicate your outbound marketing systems, for example:

Yellow Pages – “Googling” a business for their address and/or phone number has replaced the old yellow pages book as a source for directory information.
Brochure – Your website is an opportunity to provide information about your practice with the advantage of being able to present considerably more information than the average office brochure with the added ability of frequent updates and edits as your company evolves.
A customer’s first impression of you and your business used to be via the yellow pages. Their expectations were fairly low and they were never really able to form an impression about your business. The Internet has changed the potential customers “first impression” experience and more importantly it has changed their “first impression” expectations.

We also suggest that clients use their website to reinforce a sale after the sale has been made to prevent buyer’s remorse. You’ve just spent 60 – 90 minutes with your patient. Hopefully, but not realistically, you’ve answered every question they have and allayed every fear they may have after they leave your business. Your website can help to answer unasked questions and allay latent fears that any consumer, who just spent thousands of dollars, is bound to have.

What is an Ad Impression?

In simplest terms, an ad impression is an ad view and refers to the point at which an ad is viewed or displayed on a web page. The Interactive Advertising Bureau defines an ad impression as “a measurement of responses from an ad delivery system to an ad request from the user’s browser.”

An impression is an estimate of the number of people a particular ad is reaching, and may be counted in different ways. The number of impressions of an ad can be determined by the number of times the particular page is located and loaded, or, if the ad is randomly generated, then the number of impressions is the number of times the ad appears from the random generator. There are many different ways to count impressions, and there are also many discrepancies that can arise when counting impressions, but this does not mean impressions should be completely discounted.

Why are ad impressions important?

It’s important to track the number of ad impressions as one facet of judging whether an ad campaign is working or not. An effective campaign will have both a high number of ad impressions and a high conversion rate (how many people took the desired action of your ad). A high number of impressions is an integral part of an effective campaign, since how can your ad be effective if it’s not being seen? If an ad campaign is not garnering as many impressions as you predicted, you need to step back and think about why it is not being seen. Low ad impression rates show the particular advertisement may need to be re-evaluated and run again or cut from your marketing plan.

Ad impressions let you determine which of your ads are being seen the most, and thus have the most conversion potential. They are necessary for calculating Conversion per Impression and also to calculate Click Through Rate. While ad impressions are not the only metric you want to be using to determine the success of your ad campaigns, it is a great place to start.

Where Should You Advertise?

The question, “Where should I advertise.” comes up a lot. Everywhere is obviously an unachievable goal, even if you had the advertising and marketing budget of Proctor and Gamble.

But everywhere is sort of the answer, at least in the beginning. Keeping in mind your budgetary restrictions, nothing should be eliminated from your advertising portfolio until you assess its viability.

Start With the Obvious

Offline (Traditional) Advertising

  • Newspaper
  • Radio
  • Direct Mail

Online (Digital)

  • Social Media Marketing
  • Social Media Advertising
  • Pay Per Click
  • Remarketing

Where to Start

If you have no historical information, use your budget as a guide and split it down the middle.

  • Spend half of your money online and half of your money offline.
  • Assess your cost per lead (CPL) and your return on investment.
  • Keep the top 80% of campaigns based on performance.
  • Replace the bottom 20% with new campaigns (new venues).

If you have some historical data take a long, hard look at each campaign. I’d suggest still starting by splitting your budget between online and offline campaigns. The historical data should provide you with a better starting point in terms of CPL and ROI. Ideally utilize the message from a successful campaign in another venue. You may find that the message works much differently based on the format in which it’s presented.

Each month the 20% culled from the bottom will allow you to venture into uncharted territory. If you find a campaign you’d like to try but it exceeds 20% of your budget, save your money and wait until you can experiment safely.  The goal should be to find a mix (somewhere between “all your eggs in one basket” and “too many irons in the fire”) that provides the lowest CPL with the highest ROI spread over a range of marketing venues.

Reasons to Track Your Return on Investment

Here’s how the conversation went, “Have you tried any direct mail or newspaper inserts lately?”  The answer, “We tried both, they didn’t work.”  Next question, “What was the (return on investment) ROI for each?”  The answer?  “I don’t know.”

If you don’t know where your patients are coming from and how much it cost you to get them in your door, then you have no idea if your advertising and marketing campaigns are worth repeating.

Advertising and Marketing tend to be costly items in everyone’s P&L. Ideally you want to spend as little as possible to get the number of patients needed on a monthly basis.  Too often you run ads, inserts, email campaigns, open houses, etc. with little thought as to why a prior ad piece or event was or wasn’t successful.

Experience may teach you how to better manage the event, but tracking the results in as many ways as possible will allow you to make better decisions about where to put your marketing dollars.

A minor change to an ad piece can significantly impact the ROI of any ad.   For example, the same ad run on a Monday may have a better or worse response from the public than an identical ad run on a Friday. Another example might be an ad that you ran in color.  You may end up with a lower cost per lead even though the ad was more expensive.

Investing time in establishing a tracking system will pay dividends in the long run in other ways.  Each month when you start putting your advertising and marketing plan together you’ll have historical information that will make planning your marketing and advertising strategies quicker without sacrificing quality.

Patterns will develop if you carefully cultivate and store information from the patients who respond to your advertising and marketing, particularly those who purchase.  After all, they’re the ones you want to make sure keep coming in your door.