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How Visitors React To Search Results And Websites

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#1 earlpearl

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 10:34 AM

We are just starting to evaluate leads to 2 different websites/local small businesses that have visibility in overlapping areas and offer the exact same service.  I referenced it earlier in this thread

 

The details are in this post 

 

Simply we have 2 competing smb's (small/medium businesses) that are local /regional.  They provide the Exact same services.  Their service areas or markets overlap.  Both use contact forms to gather leads.  At this point I'm just evaluating form lead overlap.   One of the smb's has been around for a long time and has terrific reputation and word of mouth.  The other is new.  The first has very strong visibility in search, the second one has weak visibility so far.   The older one has enormous geographical reach, the newer one has limited geographical reach.  Both are subject to google and search engines' methods of showing local businesses.  Visibility is somewhat restricted by proximity to the business, borders, etc.

 

But there is considerable opportunity for overlap.  Basically 95% of the leads that come into the newer business via the web forms also provide for visibility to the older firm with stronger web visibility.

 

Additionally this is the 3rd time we've seen data of this sort for this type of industry/vertical.  Over a decade ago the old business "purchased" a competitor that was closing.  With that we gained all their unconverted leads let alone their sales records for leads that the old business might have seen and lost.   They were very significantly geographical competitors.

 

A few years ago in a second region one of our smb's purchased a weak competitor (similar to the situation above).  In that case they overlapped but over a Reasonably large expanded primarily suburban small city kind of landscape.   They were about 30-40 miles apart but the industry is a niche business with very few competitors.  (think the expanded suburbs of East Coast US megaloplises..say something like Suburban NJ or Westchester County NY.)

 

In both of the two cases above we were amazed at how few consumers contacted both businesses.  There was very very little overlap of leads.

 

And now we are doing this live with 2 smb's, both of which we own.  The business names are entirely different.  They look like complete competitors unless one gets into the depth of the websites or in depth conversation.  We let this sit quietly for several months without even looking at it.  Now we are reviewing data.

 

I'm surprised.  There is very little overlap.  It appears in this case consumers are looking for service providers, they find the category and the smb/webiste....and they primarily just contact one.  My data package is small so far, but less than 20% of the consumers who could logically reach out to more than one provider are doing so.   In other words over 80% of the searchers/consumers are only CONTACTING one provider.  They could be investigating more than one provider and only contacting one...but to date we are reacting to only seeing them contact one provider.

 

I could add significantly more observations and ideas but I'm curious to your reactions, experiences or beliefs so far.  (I'll add more data and findings later).



#2 iamlost

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 02:54 PM

Keep in mind that my sites are ad and aff-presell driven not eCom or service/lead - except in so much as aff-presell overlaps, which it does to some degree. I do, however, keep an eye on both commentary and studies for pretty much anything B&M and web marketing related. So, I'm more an observer than a participant. :)

1. testimonials/reviews/WoM/etc all are critical at pointing a potential customer to a site/business.
Note: critical both in how well the testimonial, review et al is produced/presented AND for the resulting traffic.
Note: search query results are simply another form of recommendation, a fact that is often overlooked.

2. search has developed an interesting side effect in that many folks now simply click the first - or first attractive/caught their attention - link and at that point ibecome the site's customer to lose. Yes, many folks are looking for a quick answer and having got that are gone; but they weren't about to buy (unless you can grab them with an easy cheap impulse alternative/addition to 'just the fact' that brought them).

How you receive, guide/direct, assist, entertain, etc. from that initial landing is of paramount importance. The non-quick-fact visitor is, statistically, only going to leave if you mess up the user experience. This can be seen by where and how one sees eCom drop-off. The simple facts need to be obvious and upfront so as to lose the quick-fact-only types asap. The experience from page to page, from copy to sales to shipping (or equivalents) needs to flow without the slightest feeling of 'break'. And similarly within each (the biggest 'break' with most eCom sites is that between cart and checkout; they lose the flow and forget user experience - often because it's outsourced to a third party).

One of the things I work the hardest at is to get my affiliate merchants to allow me to do all the data gathering aka allow me to pre-fill all the merchant's 'required' boxes in a way that flows with my site and works aka converts best for my visitors and then as a last step send both them and their information as a package to the merchant.
Note: before the change to HTTP/2 and it's encrypted data flow customer input data was client side hashed for transmission to maintain privacy/security in transit. That is still done to (somewhat at least) confound ISPs and others with the ability to MITM secure traffic.
Note: customer data is NOT retained on my servers; data input validity is strictly client side, transmission validity is strictly customer <-> merchant; let them have the headaches!

Note: because my customer:data double converts well above most merchants expectations one can enjoy well above most publishers' percentage. Strange how that works. Stranger that so few 'get' it.

From the above, I think you can see why many/most customers are showing up without prior 'shopping'. They were pointed to a particular site and, so long that site satisfies their expectations they become your customer.

In my experience from years of conversations with customers it is those areas where they have the least personal knowledge/experience that they behave as described. However, if they have subject knowledge or they have had a previous 'bad' or uncomfortable experience with a subject purveyor they are more likely to do more comparison shopping. Similarly if they are simply chasing price, of course.

 

Added: or if they are teachers. Even more than realtors I shuddered at teachers as customers. So many years of being the expert authority for children leads far far far too many to think they really are expert authorities. In everything. My most vicious curse to a competitor was: may you have all the teachers!


Edited by iamlost, 04 February 2017 - 03:00 PM.


#3 EGOL

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 04:40 PM

However, if they have subject knowledge or they have had a previous 'bad' or uncomfortable experience with a subject purveyor they are more likely to do more comparison shopping.

 

In addition to doing comparison shopping, they will search high and low for another vendor, any vendor, who - when they have a problem with the item that they purchased - will help them or solve a problem for them.  If they purchased a technical or hobby product from Amazon or another mass merchant, they will descend upon the specialty merchant who has a phone number or an email address - because they can't get help from the mass merchant.  The mass merchant either can't be contacted or they don't know a friggen think about the technical or hobby product.  Then, these same folks who gladly consumed the time of your staff, will go back to that mass merchant for their next purchase, even if they are only ten cents cheaper - or they will ask you to match the price.

 

Some retail experts would advise niche retailers to give generous help to defectors from the mass merchant.  I've not found that to be profitable.  What IS profitable is helping the people who have a purchase history with your company. Give them your time and they will give you their next purchase and tell their friends.

 

From the above, I think you can see why many/most customers are showing up without prior 'shopping'. They were pointed to a particular site and, so long that site satisfies their expectations they become your customer.

 

My comments above, make me agree completely.

 

 

About a year ago, I did some experimenting with Adwords.  I don't like using Adwords because of the cost and prefer to make my sales from the organic SERPs.   However, the profitable thing that I learned was that the average customer made a purchase, 13 days after first visiting the site.  Thirteen days after. 

 

This tells me that people visit some sites and ruminate about their purchase for quite some time.  Then they buy.  This is for customers on sites with extensive content about the products that are sold and are found in the SERPs for how to fix, how to select, how to use the products.   I believe that this type of content is what attracts the person who wants to buy from a vendor who has expertise about the product rather than purchasing from the lowest damn price that he can find.

 

 

A plethora of interests, a paucity of time.

 I bought a new instrument after spending three weeks working at the manufacturer's - not the kind of instrument that makes music - I have not gotten any work done for the past many days.... but the content will start flowing shortly. 


Edited by EGOL, 04 February 2017 - 04:42 PM.


#4 earlpearl

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 12:16 PM

EGol, Iamlost: Thanks. Read and reread your posts. Insightful. We are speaking of 3 different types of sales: affiliates, products on a site sold by that site, and local/regional customers of a service that takes time investment to acquire. But overlap on the topic.

YES. High ranking visibility is a form of referral/testimonial. Well said. Thanks. Never thought of it in that way-- but I believe it from experience and from customers that told us--I saw your site first/ It was the top of Google or something like that.

I find value to the comment about giving continued service to the existing customers. Like you we get referral business because of that. A lot.

Customers take time and ruminate. Damn I've never studied or quantified it but know it to be true in our cases also. Could be a day or five and in our cases sometimes it's years. Don't think I want an average, mean, or ranges--always happy and thankful when they return and purchase.

Gotta think more abt these comments. Thanks.

#5 earlpearl

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 01:18 PM

Slowly expanding my review of this data.  About 85% of the form contacts into the smaller newer business are NOT contacting the other smb.  Of course they could be contacting some other competitors...so Possibly for our data base 75-80% are only contacting one provider.

 

Now I've got to look at something that appears interesting.  Of the folks that contacted more than 1 competitor they are buying at a VERY HIGH RATE.   Far higher than our typical range of conversions.   Got to go through tons more data...but that is interesting. 



#6 earlpearl

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 10:27 AM

[quote name="earlpearl" post="360512"
 
Now I've got to look at something that appears interesting.  Of the folks that contacted more than 1 competitor they are buying at a VERY HIGH RATE.   Far higher than our typical range of conversions.   Got to go through tons more data...but that is interesting. [/quote]

And another contacted 3 smb's in one day and purchased the following day



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