Can your web site really find new clients?

The challenge of non e-commerce sites in the Google era.

Part 1 in a 3 part series.

“Can my web site really find me new clients?” This is the most common question I receive as head of the NSR web presence management department. More often I hear the statement, “our web site can’t find us new clients”. I have heard this many times from many industries. The common feeling is that unless you sell a product directly to a consumer you have no business running pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements, employing a social media campaign, or even focusing on naturalized search optimization (SEO).

Before you read on, if you are not familiar with PPC, SEO, SERPS, Heat Mapping,Conversion Tracking, or other web advertising buzz words click hear to get caught up.

Now, I am a big believer in numbers, in fact, many NSR consulting services are based and measured on statistics. Whether it be measuring your networks up time, the number of conversions per 1000 visitors to your web site, or the average response time by our wonderful help desk team, we pride ourselves on using numbers to track performance and make decisions.

I also learn by seeing things done.

So, its with the question of “can we create new clients with a non e-commerce web site?” on my mind that I set out on this multi-part blogging experiment. Together we will review some interesting numbers. Then we will lay out an experiment to answer the question in the title of this article. Finally, after 30 days I will report back with the numbers behind our experiment and we will discuss the outcome.

Let’s start with some interesting numbers…

I have been told by countless prospective clients that their business model does not lend itself to finding new clients on the web. Let’s pick on a couple of industry examples to see if this is true: a long-term care facility, and a certified public accountant specializing in B2B services.

Long Term Care Facility

I have been told that people do not find a nursing home for their parents by looking on the Internet. However, I don’t know if I believe this. My guess is that most children struggling with this decision turn to the Internet for help and advice. Let’s see what Google says:

●     The top ten general nursing home related keywords net 4.2 Million searches a month on Google! However, PPC competition is low to average.

●     The top ten localized search phrases for nursing homes in the Milwaukee area top 10,000 per month. Again, PPC competition is low to average.

●     The average annual income from a long term care patient in the US is over $50,000 per year with most staying for multiple years.

These numbers tell us that people ARE looking for information on nursing homes online. However, the nursing home industry just hasn’t caught up. They subscribe to the belief that they cannot sell their services on the Internet.

Certified Public Accountant

Financial services companies are another group that believe that their services cannot be sold online. However, how many growing companies in the US are looking for help at the CFO position every year? How many small businesses need a part time CFO. How many businesses receive sales tax and corporate tax return audits from the IRS? The answer is a lot!

●     Interim and Outsourced CFO services alone net over 100,000 monthly searches on Google yet the competition on these AdWords are some of the lowest I have seen.

●     Any company engaging an outsourced CFO or B2B accounting services would certainly generate income measured in the tens of thousands each year.

Again, these numbers show us that there exist many high dollar professional services which the providers feel do not sell well in the Internet space.

What does this tell us?

These numbers and experiences tell me that many B2B companies are short sited in their adoption of the web site as a primary sales tool.

Consider the following.  In 2010 alone Google’s AdWords revenue grew by an astonishing 23% over 2009 to a total of $28 billion dollars. (See other details about Google’s growth on their financial tables at http://investor.google.com/financial/tables.html). This tells us that the demand to be found on Google is increasing by close to 25% year over year. This demand is fueled by the number of searches being performed by potential customers, both business and consumer.

Between Google, Yahoo, and Bing searches, Facebook status updates, and twitter postings, the Internet is handling 394,482 interactions PER SECOND and growing at a frantic pace. For you math geeks that is a total of 20,751,739,200 or 20 TRILLION Internet interactions per year.

I feel safe in saying that some percentage of that 20 trillion transactions involves B2B services.

The Experiment

So, now that we have seen some numbers, how do we jump in and do some actual hands on learning? Here is what I am thinking. Rather than just give you recent numbers from our clients and sound like a salesman, I thought we would run a small Facebook and Google PPC campaign for 60 days together. To keep it B2B we will pick a specific NSR service, a brand new one, and advertise it only through our small PPC campaign.

NSR recently launched a new service developing Interactive Sales Brochures for the iPad and other devices (Click Here). These services can cost around $20,000 and up per engagement. Considering a 2.5% new product marketing budget we will set our total PPC spend at $1,000 for our 60 day trial.

We have a bit of a head start as our design team has already created an initial landing page. We left some things out of the page to give us something to talk about next month.

For the next 60 days we will be our own client. We will tweak our ad campaigns and our web site to increase our conversion potential and land a new client.

When I return I will report the gory details of our little experiment. We will discuss some of the tactics we employed, what worked and what didn’t, and by part three of this blog I hope to show why ignoring PPC, SEO, and Social Media, because a business model may not appear to fit the “Googleverse” is short sighted.

See you in about 30 days for part 2! And, if you are interested in learning how NSR can help your organization benefit from PPC, SEO, and other Internet opportunities just click here to contact one of our amazing team members.

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