I’m going to show you data utilization skills for improving your website and catching customers who make inquiries.
Web personnel / work | Case / interview
Time to read： about 12.5mins
New business development by leveraging the website.
This is a case study of “Fujii metallic mold”, a die-casting mold maker in Fuso town Ehime.
First, let’s explain mold making before introducing the strategy for growing sales. Metal molds are metallic mold for making parts. There are a few different kinds of metal molds – typical ones are pressed metal molds which are punched out metal material. Forging dies deform the material by applying pressure. Casting type molds are cast iron or plastic that is dissolved at the high temperature into a mold, then chilled.
Die cast molds are used to make parts for automobiles, precision machinery and consumer electronics processing aluminum alloys and zinc alloys.
Background：Want to get sales back that were lost in the collapse of Lehman Brothers by using their website.
“Fujii metallic mold” was very slow to establish a website and did so just after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2009. Before that, it had been able to secure sales from existing customers so there was no need new developments. After the collapse of Lehman Brothers, it was difficult to maintain sales with only existing customers so they had to find new customers.
I used their website to break down the pattern of stagnation at the time. The chance to start doing that was when Hirotatsu Fujii stopped working at a big chemical manufacture to take over his family company as director.
A strategically oriented website renewal.
When he set up the website he didn’t have any experience in marketing and didn’t know what content he should include so it was just used to post industry news. In 2012, he decided to renew the website around 5 pillars of strategies.
The biggest problem for the website was the absence of a clear target customer so they couldn’t imagine exactly what the customers needs were.
They started their 5 point web strategy by thinking ‘What are the things that we can do to address this problem?’
- What are the concerns of the companies requesting the “metallic molds”?
- What changes would they like to see?
Strategy 1: Promote their strengths to companies.
Often times businesses catering to other companies, don’t clearly understand why their customers choose them. What they did first was to look back at the reasons why customers selected them. After analyzing their strengths, they created a page titled, “Their 7 strengths”. In order to create this page, they had to analyze the strengths by first doing these two things:
- Get a person who can be the decision-maker (managers or department head) to be involved in the analysis.
Businesses serving commercial customers don’t complete with other websites in the same way retail internet shopping sites do. So when analyzing strengths, it is required to also get management input from outside the website. For example, when redeveloping products, reviewing organizational structure, or reviewing the sales process.
- Gather opinions from all staff involved in the process, from first inquiry to product delivery.
Though the day-to-day operation of each department may be taken for granted, there are some tips for rediscovering company’s strengths and differentiation from other companies, e.g. a sales representative’s talk during negotiations, or the manager dealing directly with questions from customers during phone calls. That is why at “Fujii metallic mold”, they had meetings every second week with input from each department on their strengths with the company reps.
It was also important to think about how to promote their 7 strengths. A result of repeating access analytics was that they could see the process of how customers use the website and how they make choices.
- First, get the features of the companies in the company information sections and strengths.
- Check the manufacturing capacity with equipment assistance and office
- Confirm the human capacity with department and Technology Introduction.
- Check the track record in the Case Studies
- Check the features once again with company information and strengths
- Make inquiries
Some manufactured products take a long time to process ordering, it may take a few months from the first website visit to making inquiry. Most likely it won’t be just one visit to the website, potential customers will visit many times as they compare with other companies. Therefore, this company placed their ‘7 strengths’ on the top page so it stood out, and when customers came to visit the website again, they wanted the customers to think ‘this was important!’
Strategy 2: Organize the assumed customer worries by searching customer’s searching demand of more than 7000 key words
Next, in order to determine the direction of new business development, they narrow down the key words to 500 words using four parameters;
Monthly number of searches × competitive × potential customers probability × importance
Then they found out the demand to be targeted using a search engine.
For the remaining of 6500 keywords, I thoroughly reviewed the summarized list to be familiar with what people are typing in web columns.
- Number of monthly searches：It is a measure that what kind of key words people have been used for searching every month in Japan, or around the world. This can be made available by using either Google keyword planner※1 or Yahoo! keyword suggestion tool※2. For example, using Google; metallic mold has a monthly average of 4400 searches and die casting metallic mold as a monthly average of 210 searches.
※1 requires AdWords account to use
※2 requires a Yahoo! Promotional advertising of account to use
- Competitive nature：The importance of each key word is an indicator of the intensity of competition on the Internet. When you search the key word with Google or Yahoo!, you can view the intensity of competition for each keyword with the “number of hit Page” that is displayed on the top page of the screen on the search result. The more hits there are, the more this increases the degree of difficulty at upper level display of searching engine.For example, if you search ” metallic mold” with Google, it comes up about 2.62 million items and for ” die cast metallic mold”, it comes up about 440,000 items on the page.
- Potential customers probability: It is an indicator of the proportion of potential customers in the search terms used by customers. For example, if a person is using “metallic mold” as a key word, this person might not be looking for metallic mold, this person might be investigating metallic mold industry for the purpose of job hunting and industry analysis. There are some people searching for “die cast metallic mold” and also there might be some people searching for “plastic metallic mold”.This definition is called “Big word” and even though there are many monthly searching numbers, the probability of catching potential customers will be lower. On the other hand, for keywords like ” die cast metallic molding, repair, Aichi prefecture”, there are not many search results so there is a very high possibility that customers who make this search are actually going to become their client. If you simply use the key words that have been evaluated by a ‘total access number’, you have to use SEO where there are many competitors. Because you can’t get “potential customer probability” from outside data, you have to think about it for your own company.
- Degree of importance： This is a measure of how much emphasis you will put on customers who search for keywords related to your own business strategy. If the search frequency is gradually reduced the degree of importance gets lower and, if you want to grow the business in the future, the degree of importance gets higher. You cannot get outside data for the ” degree of importance”, so you have to develop your own.These four indicators need to be fitted into an independently developed formula and articulated as an “aiming index”. This is intended to raise the precision. When you do a demand survey, you see the level of demand in the “monthly search number” and it is possible to gauge competition based on the number of pages that were hit with a given keyword. But there is the secondary effect of getting the “ratio of existing customers” and the “degree of importance”. As I said before, the “ratio of existing customer” and “degree of importance” are useful because you can’t get these using outside data. It is a good opportunity to get a feel for the customer’s real opinion by doing it with all internal staff, not only the production company. This leads to improvements in product awareness in every day business process.It is unusual to search using so many keywords with a general SEO. But manufacturing companies will use industry jargon and internal terminology so it is important research what keywords are used. A keyword that is only used once can lead to a big order. I organized the problems that customer have with this search demand survey data.
Strategy 3:To provide the solution for the problem.
Next, I took full advantage of assumed customer problems by presenting customers’ a solution on the top page of website.
It is good to use language customers can easily relate too to encourage them to click on your website.
When you make website content, the following things need to be considered.
- What problems they are having and what key words are they using?
- What words are familiar for beginners and people who are not used to the industry?
It is wrong to think that if you just make a good product, you will be able to sell it. If your website is hard to understand for anyone but internal workers, you will not get interest from anyone else.
Strategy 4: “Growing customers” with website content.
At this point, you will be able to match the problem and solution to lead to customer inquiries. But to get customers through your website, it is important to always present high quality information.
For building a good working relationship with customers they put out original manga contents to introduce metallic molding once a month.
In the manufacturing sector there is a lot of inside tech knowledge that staff dealing with inquiries may not be familiar with. Initially, they considered putting technical information in a column but after considering the reader’s situation, they decided to use manga as any age group can read it easily.
Another aim was to make work more enjoyable for staff. It cost more than writing a simple column but the president enjoyed doing it.
Through original manga contents, not only do people to get to know Fujii Metallic Molding, but it is also to teach potential customer about the metallic molding process. It has been over a year since the series started and repeat viewers are increasing more and more.
Strategy 5: A/B test on the top page
In addition to these strategies, we will put an A/B test in a key visual on the top page. This is still currently in progress but two of the main images have been displayed. The tendency for now is plan A has better viewing results from new users and plan B has better viewing results for repeaters.
Plan A is more popular for the new users because it clearly shows this company has a solution for their problems. For repeat users, plan B is more popular because they know what they want and this plan has more technical detail.
● Plan A: shows assistance available and equipment photos
●Plan B: appeals to the business advantages, and technical processes
Here is a business support plan to raise negotiation success after an inquiry, not only through the website.
At Fuji Metallic Molding, they have been using this plan and doing web marketing, and even though the market is limited to industry customers, the number of visitors doubled within the two years since the project started.
Apart from the number of visitors, the quality of inquiries has improved a lot. As a result of doing search demand and advantage matching, they started getting inquiries from big well-known companies in the industry which lead to growth in their company.
Therefore, if you can match up a customer’s problem and the advantages you provide to their company in your website content you can get new customers through your website even though it is a limited market. But business-to-business transactions usually need negotiation before ordering so it is important to make sure the quality of negotiation after an inquiry is also of a high standard.
The key technique is “micro analytics”. Micro analytics is a technique of access analytics that focuses on individual customers and then understand the viewing path of the user in the website.
For access analytics, “micro analytics” which understands the trend of visitor traffic generally uses data from the whole website.
But if you use micro analytics, you can derive why customers made an inquiry from a certain page view in the website. This data can be used to improve negotiation.
From this point, I’m going to show you another case study. I will show you exactly how you should analyze the viewing route after you get an inquiry, and how you should use the data.
Business support measures 1: Improve negotiation power for customer inquiry by「analyzing view route」
After you gain customers from website, this is the flow for the sales staff from start to finish.
Once you get “Request for quotation” or “Request Information” via your website form, decide who will be the sales representative in charge of the project and start negotiations.
Usually, the salesperson enters negotiations with only the information from the inquiry form. But users often don’t write their real worries and needs on these.
In these cases, you have to look for their needs as you negotiate. For the company that has a lot of product information material, it can be hard to decide which catalog to show them to and it takes a longer time to prepare a proposal.
If you use micro analytics, you can search how the customer who made inquiry went through pages in the website. And you can make these plans below.
For Google analytics, if you set conversion, you can check the” action and action flow”. But you can only check a tiny amount of information about visitor site behavior leading to an inquiry by using Google analytics.
Using this, you can’t really improve the sales department. For the sales department to have interest and lead to the web analytics, you have to visualize users one by one and need to guess the process of conduct and consideration to see the flow of individual users.
I will describe;
- Which pages did they often look at?
- Which pages of case study did they often look at?
- Which commercial material are they interested in?
by using sibulla.
By referring to residence time data on certain pages and by thinking about the feeling of users visiting the page you can think about the strategy of how to appeal to the users by suggesting these ideas at negotiation time.
After negotiations, it is good to check the negotiation partner’s viewing route when they visit website. Doing this, you can identify the points the client is reconsidering after the first negotiation and you can refer to these when making further proposals or quotes.
Analyzing the viewing routes of potential customers also improves your salesperson’s negotiation skill by showing them what customers care about most.
Business support measures 2: Improving sales technique by analyzing organization name
Micro analysis can be useful for formulating a business strategy.
From the IP addresses included in the access log, you can search “User environment > network” with Google analytics.（Reference：http://web-tan.forum.impressrd.jp/e/2013/02/14/14654）。
But I found this is not enough to improve sales on it’s own.
Even if you put out an industry list;
- you may know which companies are visiting your website but how is this useful?
- What concrete actions can you take?
This is what you need to ask yourself because you can only guess what potential customer’s behavior will be and you can’t guarantee their action will result in sales.
A very useful analytics tool that is excellent for micro analytics. You can follow each user when they access your website, which pages they view, and which pages they move through.
From this data, you can take a lot of useful information.
A company that accessed last month has already purchased product B but it came to see product C’s technical page.
Perhaps they are thinking about developing a new product.
Let’s suggest product C next time when we visit them!
Company D hasn’t started trading with us but sales staff was exchanging his business card at trading show.
Let’s construct a strategy to deal with them drawing on their viewing behavior record of the website!
Because you can also see competitor companies’ behavior it is not only useful for tracking potential customers, you can formulate a competitive differentiation strategy too. Potential customers will be motivated by viewing other big companies websites.
Not just “websites” that can be improved with the access analysis
When you hear “access analytics”, you may think it is just for increasing access number or conversion ratio to improve your website.
But it is not only websites that can be improved with access analytics. If you do access analytics with these point in mind you can also improve your company sales process. And you can use access analytics for increasing business and developing your sales strategy.
Don’t forget, using access analytics and your website is only one of the way to achieve your objectives.
For businesses dealing with other companies, the main means of achieving sales activity is using salespeople. For promoting web marketing that contributes to sales it is important to think about how it supports the salespeople in their work.
It may seem hard to use data on PV number and average time of viewing to directly improve sales. But if you can show the data which contribute the sales activity, the sales department will take interest in the website and the marketing department and website designers can work together to develop new customers.
For developing new customers and to continuing trading with existing customers, it is good to adopt access analytics as part of improvement activities.
Author of this article
COO/director of “A strategic web site construction group AYATORI”.
Web management and strategy support for private businesses to large international companies.
I delivered these results for the purpose of growing businesses as a marketing and management tool.
I am an educator and trainer for web staff in companies as a WACA Web Analytics Master.