Selling Web Analytics

How to Sell Web Analytics

While I was at the Google Analytics Certified Partner summit this year, someone came up to me and asked:

How do you sell web analytics?

This is a question I deal with quite often, both internally within the agency I work for and when trying to convey the value of web analytics to clients.

The short answer is that you shouldn’t be trying to sell web analytics.

Web analytics is a tool, a means to an ends.

It has no inherent value by itself. It’s only through the analysis of data and providing actionable insights that it creates value.

You should be selling the value that can be gained by a proper web analytics implementation and actionable analysis.

Marketing people talk about selling the benefits, not the features.

Web analytics is a feature.
Improving the bottom line is a benefit.

A simple analogy is HTML (the code used to create web pages).
Imagine if you tried to pitch HTML services to a business. They would probably be scratching their heads as to why they need your services.

Now imagine pitching web site creation services, providing real world examples on how businesses have improved their bottom live with their web site.
Now they’re listening.

When selling services that include web analytics, try starting with the end result and then work your way backwards. If you start with the prize, people will usually pay more attention.

Here’s an example:

  1. I can help you make an additional $80,000 a year
  2. It will cost you a one time investment of $25,000 investment and $1,000 a month
  3. You’re currently doing 3,000 sales a year
  4. I will get you 400 additional sales a year (average sale value is $200)
  5. The additional sales will come from improving your overall conversion rate by 13.3%
  6. Improving the overall conversion rate will coming from decreasing bounce rates, increasing “add to cart” rates and decreasing cart abandonment.
  7. The above improvements will come from making changes on the web site
  8. We’ll test a few options until we find something that works (split testing)
  9. We’ll know what changes to test based on data that tells us what people are doing on your web site
  10. In order to get the data that we need, we have to install web analytics on the site and then analyze the data

The problem is that many web analytics businesses start their pitch with step 10 and then work their way to step 1.

When people ask me what I do for a living, the answers have changed over the years, but now I usually answer along the lines of:

I help web sites do better at whatever they’re try to do.
Specifically, I learn the business objectives and then do some detective work, finding issues that can be improved and then I improve them.

As always, comments and suggestions are appreciated.

Ophir

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12 thoughts on “Selling Web Analytics

  1. Hi Ophir,

    To me, your example suggests that you would price your service at $25k based on the $80K potential extra revenue for the client. Am I misreading this or are you saying that you should price your service based on the value you create? I think it would be a challenge to prove that what YOU did directly caused the client to make more money. Furthermore, the client has to also agree to implement your recommendations. Would you charge a different price for the same amount of work if the potential is different?

    To me it’s more about the “journey”, or being a detective as you put it. We may not know if there will be few or many smoking guns until we actually start looking. Hence the potential will be different.

    Maybe the pricing should be based on a certain timeframe? You will do your best to find as much value for your client during a period of 3 months for example, but your mileage may vary.

    Best,
    Michael

    • Hi Michael,

      I did not mean to imply that the fee for your services should be related to the potential increase in revenue. The point was simply to show the client a very good ROI and relatively short time frame to recoup the investment. I worked in-house for many years and personally I’m against value based pricing.

      My thinking behind the $25k fee is: Thorough site audit, implementation of custom analytics tracking plus possibly session recording (ClickTale), data analysis after enough data has been collected and then starting to do some split testing which would include design + HTML work.

      In terms of proving that the increase came from ME – I find standard split testing pretty convincing in terms of cause and effect.

      I think the 13% increase in conversion is obtainable for most clients given they were to spend $25k + $1k monthly.

      I really don’t want to go into the specifics of pricing in this conversation, but I totally agree that it makes more sense to start small, prove yourself with some low hanging fruit and then try to get the client to commit to larger projects once you’ve built a relationship and they truly understand the value of analyzing web analytics data.

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  3. Excellent post! I work WITH web analytics every day and have always wondered what a web analyst does because I viewed analytics as a means to an end. One thing I would like to address is that web analysts should partner with online marketers to not only improve the website but to improve the marketing campaigns as well.

    I help web sites do better at whatever they’re try to do.
    And I help marketing campaigns do better at whatever they’re trying to do. I do end up making high level recommendations for website changes as part of this process and it would be great if web analysts could also make marketing campaign recommendations.

    Specifically, I learn the business objectives and then do some detective work, finding issues that can be improved and then I improve them.

    Bingo. Ditto.

    Great post, thank you.

  4. I think you both make valid points. I do agree with Michael that it can be a challenge to know how much of an improvement you can make until you have spent some time with the site and reviewed the data.

    I know it’s just an example, but I would be very hesitant to throw out a ‘I can increase your revenue by 80 grand in one year’ without having a solid grasp of their industry, current website performance (including ranking and other marketing efforts), in addition to their actual products/service.

    Having said that, I DO agree that many businesses could significantly increase their website conversions by upwards of 5,10,20% or more.

    I would go more the route of the 1k/monthly (+ setup fees if you can get them) with contracted bonuses that occur based on desired performance levels – I increase your business revenue x% over the same period as last year/ quarter , they pay the agreed upon bonus.

    • David,

      I totally agree that you shouldn’t throw around any numbers before doing at least a preliminary review of the site, site stats and business numbers.

      Another (possibly better) way to start the conversion would be talking about results you’ve achieved for other clients.

      For example, “last year we increased the conversion rate for Ophir’s Shoes by 21%. Their annual revenue is 1.4 million. You do the math” :)

      This proves to the potential client that you know how to deliver the goods.

      Additionally, it really depends on who you’re pitching to within the organization. If it’s mostly marketing / IT folks then focusing on conversion rates and not the bottom line is fine.

      If it’s upper management (the person who’s going to give the final approval for project budget) then I think throwing in some theoretical numbers is OK, as long as you position it correctly.

      Hiring you isn’t just a question of profitability. The origination’s resources are limited and you’re competing against a zillion other possible projects.

      Starting the discussion with the (possible) results just helps make sure they’re listening :)

  5. Great article! This was something we had internally debated quite a bit earlier this year and the solution we came up with was a package called “Analytics Configurator”. Essentially a diagnostic service to see how the sites analytics setup is. And once we acquired customers through this – we pitched the other benefits that you have listed.

    Ravi, Position2

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