We measure a lot with analytics, but we don't often put a value on each of the actions a visitor takes when they connect with us online. It's important that companies pay attention to more than visits and conversions... there are a ton of interactions in between and after that provide value.
In the above chart I have two axis... impact and value. As visitors like, retweet, fan and follow you or your business... there's impact, not simply because the visitor may be closer to making a purchase, but because they actually amplified their intent and their endorsement to their networks. They may not even make a purchase, but if they have a lot of influence, their influence can push many others to make a purchase.
Other actions that your visitors take are also valuable... subscribing to email or RSS, a webinar, calling your sales department... these are all actions move the prospect closer to becoming a customer. Businesses that have automated programs that remarket to shoppers who abandon their shopping cart understand how valuable that segment is. Since they were so very close to purchasing, they may simply need a small push or reminder... or even time to save up the necessary funds to make the purchase.
After the actual purchase or renewal, there are other actions that increase the impact of the sale - ratings and endorsements of the products purchased. Ratings have a strong impact on whether or not a prospect makes a purchase. A personal endorsement or review of the product weighs even heavier.
As you plot out your online marketing strategy, be sure to track each action that a visitor might take. Provide interactions and remarketing campaigns to move them from one action to another efficiently. It's all to often that a prospect leaves your site and you lose the sale because it wasn't clear how they moved from one action to the next on your site. Provide a clear path for your visitors to engage with you. Provide multiple paths for even better results.
This post was written by Douglas Karr
Douglas Karr is the founder of The Marketing Technology Blog. Doug is President and CEO of DK New Media, an online marketing company specializing in social media, blogging and search engine optimization. Their clients include Webtrends, ChaCha and many more. Douglas is also the author of Corporate Blogging for Dummies. Follow him on Twitter @douglaskarr.