Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Helpful Tips and Headaches for Capturing and Tracking Classified Leads

Placing an ad on a classified directory website like Craigslist or Backpage is a good idea for most businesses, particularly if you go through the categories and find your product or service listed. You’re going to get a number of direct hits just because those sites get a lot of traffic, but you’ll also get a lot of people reading your ad who will click the link, browse your site briefly, and then move on. How do you go about capturing those visitors who don’t make a purchase? That traffic is valuable to you, but if you don’t find out who they are, you’ll never be able to do business with them.

Capturing classified leads is a tricky process. One of the best ways is to have a sign-up box somewhere on your site with an attractive offer for new visitors. Retailers often use the “Sign up Here for Discounts and Coupons” approach. If a shopper thinks they can save money, he or she is more likely to enter their name and email into that sign-up box. If you use the standard “Enter Email Here for Updates”, your email list won’t build up very quickly. In most cases, you’ll be lucky to get any opt-ins at all, unless you’re running an information site where everything is free.

Other elements you need to look at when setting up a capture box are the position of the box, the colors, and the style. Top right is universally recommended for any call-to-action commands, but it cannot appear that your main purpose is to capture the visitor. Like a hunted animal in the wild, a consumer who feels they’re being trapped will run away and not come back. The sign-up feature needs to be warm and inviting, blending in with the overall site design, but standing out at the same time. If your website has a dark background, a lighter shade is recommended for the box. If a lighter background, choose an off color. Darker boxes tend to be more threatening.

Most businesses utilizing ecommerce and online classifieds run multiple sites with multiple sign-up boxes to capture leads. In most cases, all of those leads go onto one list, so how do you know where they come from? The answer is in classified ad tracking analytics. Your sign-up functions, like your ads themselves, should have HTML code installed in them to track the characteristics and logistics of your visitors. Knowing where they come from and what their tendencies are can help you better market your product or service. Make tracking a priority when you set up your capture feature.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Do you have an analytics program to track classifieds?

Most analytics programs will tell you where your hits are coming from, how many of them are new, and how much time those visitors spend on your site. They tell you if a conversion happened, provided that you set up the code on the proper page, and what your bounce rate is, so you know when to modify your website to make it more attractive and interesting. What they do not do is tell you exactly which ad you’re getting classified hits from. The typical analytics program will give you a line item telling you which site a visit comes from, but not specifically which ad.

If you advertise on classified sites like Craigslist or Backpage, you know how frustrating it can be to figure out which ads are the ones that are actually generating for you. Like most small business owners, you have probably set up a spreadsheet to track hits and you might even be asking your customers how they found out about you, but are those tactics giving you accurate numbers on the situation? Without actual tracking code in the ads themselves, your calculations are subject to human error. If you’re running a large campaign and trying to keep track with manual entries, you’re not getting the data you need to make good decisions on your next set of ads.

Another problem with standard analytics programs is that you can’t view results in real time. Waiting until the next day to see if you are getting any traffic on your ads may seem okay, but what if you find out that next day that you got zero hits because of an error in the URL posting or a flag by the classified site? You just lost an entire day’s worth of classified advertising that could have brought you new customers. How much does that translate into in dollars and cents? If you do the math, you’ll see clearly that real time tracking is a must if you’re running classified campaigns.

The more factors that an analytics program is designed to track, the more information you will have to make informed decisions with. A basic analytics program will give you a number for hits per page, but how much of that traffic was from one visitor browsing through your site? If internal traffic isn’t measured and filtered out, your stats will be skewed. Classified ad tracker analytics are more detailed. They give you the comprehensive information you need to decide what works and what doesn’t. They can also tell you a lot about your customers, such as where they come from and when they’re visiting. Those two variables are pretty helpful when you’re running classifieds.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Measure and track visitor traffic to your listings. Track Craigslist, Backpage, Oodle, Postlets, and other classified ad networks.

Tracking your Craigslist Ads just got easier with CraigslistAdTracker.com! Serious advertisers know the importance of tracking their online effort and marketing campaigns. This tool makes it easy to do just that. You will be able to measure the effectiveness of your ads and know what works and what doesn't.