In the customer lifecycle, we know that there is:
- Acquisition (driving traffic to the site),
- Conversion (getting your visitors to do something valuable), and
- Retention (getting your visitors to repeat those actions).
In each marketing phase of the lifecycle, we have metrics such as click through rate, and bounce rate to help quantify the success of our marketing efforts. However, these metrics do not tell a complete story as far as campaign performance is concerned.
In an article titled “Is it Acquisition or Is it Retention?” by Neil Mason, he delves deeper into the bounce rate metric which helps marketers measure acquisition and conversion. This metric is both difficult to interpret as well as act upon. Some questions we often ask include:
- What’s an acceptable bounce rate for a campaign?
- If there is a high bounce rate:
- Is the campaign poorly targeted therefore attracting the wrong visitors?
- Is the user experience so poor causing visitors to leave the site immediately?
As we can see, the lines between acquisition and conversion are easily blurred. The same idea applies to acquisition and retention, making them really just two sides of the same coin. While there are many definitions of retention, we can agree that this is the process of turning first time customers into long term customers, which is essentially one of the goals of many online marketing campaigns. So after a customer has visited the website once (likely via PPC), how do we get them to come back and convert again?
While Mason does not get into the specifics of this, we believe that through the use of SEO, local search, Online Reputation Management (ORM) services and social media management businesses can better retain their customers. Having a user friendly web site is an essential component to the user experience and having a good reputation certainly doesn’t hurt. By understanding that your business needs to retain customers in addition to acquisition and conversion them, the argument can be made that the value of our services – SEO, local search, Online Reputation Management (ORM) services and social media management and the campaigns we implement should be evaluated beyond terms of the initial conversions. Our services then translate to the contribution of overall lifetime value for your businesses.