Enhanced technology offers window into keyword strategy

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Littleton, Colo.-based NetFactor Corp., a b-to-b marketing technology company, announced Monday it has released a new version of its VisitorTrack technology. The latest release includes real-time e-mail alerts and customization capabilities, which NetFactor says can help sales and marketing professionals pinpoint leads and provide insight for their search keyword strategies.

Among other detailed information, VisitorTrack provides actual words and phrases used on search engines that bring the searcher to a Web site. That intelligence could change the way marketers approach keyword bidding. While the current common practice among marketers involves divining the words and phrases used by search engine visitors, NetFactor's system uses customer and prospects' actual search terms.  

"The cost for participating in paid search is going up and effectiveness is going down," said M. Christopher Jeffers, CEO and general partner of NetFactor.

 "We want to enable companies who are focused on b-to-b with a new mechanism to leverage greater effectiveness from their marketing and advertising."

Information about what words and phrases a user is searching for paints a picture of their interests and where they are in the buying cycle.

"We don't know why they're on our site, but we do know the keyword they've entered," said Bill Pisani, director of marketing for Connolly Consulting, a recovery audit firm that is using VisitorTrack. "It gives us a little bit of insight into the intent and motivation." That insight, coupled with the software's new real-time capability, allows Connolly to react quickly and adapt its sales strategy.  

"We'll see a company hit our Web site and browse around prior to releasing an RFP," he said. "We may call and speak to them if we can, prior to a proposal coming out."

Another marketer agreed. "It allows us to qualify people coming in, searching our Web site," said J.T. Gillett, marketing manager for Plexis Healthcare Systems, a healthcare benefits administration software company. "We can determine an awful lot about that prospect," he said.

"If they type 'medical billing software,' they are looking for a smaller package than our more robust system provides. But if they type in something very specific like "re-pricing claims software," we know they are a PPO and we know they will need an EDI [electronic data interchange] product."

Armed with this information, Gillett said, the company can offer very specific information, such as a free whitepaper, in order to introduce them to the Plexis and show them benefits. This is better than "calling them up and saying, 'Wanna buy some software?'" Gillett said.

The keyword information also informs his search engine optimization strategy, Gillett said.

"When we find a term that is a very good term and repeating a lot through VisitorTrack, we'll create content around that," he said. "We try to buy the keywords we can buy inexpensively, like the ones we can buy for 10 cents and under. We'll buy them rather than optimize them organically." Expensive terms, such as "benefits administration software," for example, are typically $6 a keyword—Plexis optimizes that word organically.

The VisitorTrack technology, which NetFactor likens to "caller ID for Web sites," automatically captures details on business visitors to a Web site without requiring registration. It also pinpoints things like when a specific company visits a Web site, how many pages they view per session, and keeps track of when they return to the site.

Web analytics providers supply deep intelligence into Web traffic and user behavior, but Jeffers said VisitorTrack drills down on a far more granular level.

He offers an analogy: Web analytics companies like Webtrends and Urchin are like traffic helicopters flying over the city, reporting traffic jams and travel patterns.

"It's powerful information from a Web marketer's and a Webmaster's perspective. We're not interested in aggregates and pods of traffic," Jeffers said. "We're down on the street level. We're interested in telling marketers who's driving the cars."

Jeffers noted that that the vast majority of site visitor—"99 out of 100"—do not identify themselves. "That's the pain point this technology is looking to address," he said.

While there are companies that do reverse-IP lookups, a manual process of taking the IP address of a visitor and reverse-appending it to identify the company behind the IP address, NetFactor has automated that process, making it scaleable.

While the data provided by VisitorTrack does not reveal information about the individual searcher, it does pinpoint the company, including the specific branch location in some cases, where that search is originating.

In addition to powerful search intelligence, the real-time enhancements to VisitorTrack make all the difference for Bill Pisani, director of marketing for Connolly Consulting, a recovery audit firm.

"For our sales organization, business timing is crucial," said .Pisani. "In the past, we received static monthly reports [from NetFactor] and that is great information. But if someone visits your site, you aren't finding out until 30 days later." That's a long time to wait for leads, he said, adding: "VisitorTrack gives us that information almost immediately."

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