Recently, while I signed up for a relatively pricey software package, the sales person insisted that I sign up with an email address I hadn’t used before when dealing with them.
It seemed like a funny request, but I gave him one of my nickname emails and went ahead with the purchase.
It wasn’t until afterward that I realised the truth about why he had asked this.
By using a unique email, he was able to claim the referral fee for my sale – rather than have it count to one of the previous salespeople I’d dealt with in my winding journey of demonstrations and questions before getting to this point.
It didn’t annoy me, rather I found it a little amusing.
But it made me think about something we don’t talk about much with statistics online: we’re not very good at tracking the pathway that leads to a sale.
Our Google Analytics referral tracking only show us the place a visitor has been to immediately prior to clicking through to our page. It doesn’t show what history they’ve had with us before, or how often they interact, or whether they’re a current client, or social media follower, or not.
This can distort our understanding of what is working for us, as the action immediately prior to someone hitting our website and getting in touch, is the one most prominently shown to us in the stats.
Earlier steps in a campaign, if they are tracked at all, are often aggregated statistically.
How can we stop the last touch getting all the glory?
The answer is two-fold.
Yes, there is software that helps. CRM and marketing automation software like Infusionsoft can help you track individual people who respond to your messages in different places.
But a better way to understand your audience is through getting to know them personally.
If you talk with enough members of your audience, often enough, you’ll hear them tell you about what they do and why they are seeing you.
Pay attention to who interacts with you in different places, and find the similarities. Watch how they talk and what they are looking for.
Above all, ask. Then listen for the story of the entire journey.