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Enterprise search vendor uses keywords, analytics to drive marketing

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Challenge: Denver-based ISYS Search Software markets an enterprise-level search engine software application used on networks, desktops and laptops. Its biggest challenge? Getting prospective buyers to evaluate the tool.

“In enterprise software, your business is dependent on getting people to evaluate your software. The best way to do that is direct them to your Web site so that they can download the software and evaluate it on their own time,” said Dave Haucke, VP-global marketing at ISYS. “From our standpoint, all the cold calling in the world doesn’t always work. We need to get people to try it.”

ISYS deals with the midtier customers. Low-end tools to search the desktop can be had for as low as $100; high-end offerings can run a quarter of a million dollars. A typical sale for ISYS is about $25,000. “It’s still a considered purchase,” Haucke said, adding the company faces stiff competition.

“Getting people to understand the landscape of this market in general and how we fit into it and the value we provide is a challenge,” he said. “That challenge increases as Google plays more in the enterprise space.”

Solution: Haucke implemented a couple of solutions that have worked in tandem to raise the company’s visibility. One big push has been to use competition to its greatest advantage by buying keywords from Google.

“Ironically, we use Google AdWords,” Haucke said, calling the purchase of AdWords his No. 1 marketing activity.

“We pay them to help us make money. AdWords is pretty critical because one challenge of enterprise software is making sure people have you in mind the minute they need you, because you never convince someone to buy search unless they are looking for it,” he said. ISYS buys more than 100 keywords, and AdWords represents 25% to 30% of its total marketing budget.

The search vendor’s other major strategy was to deploy ClickTracks Web analytics. Haucke said the company had been “underinvesting” in the analytics piece. “We were getting them to the site but we didn’t know what they were doing once they got there,” he said. “We’re using ClickTracks to help measure what’s going on with those people coming from Google.”

ClickTracks reports on the top pages people on the site are looking at and, more important, where they are dropping off. “We’re concerned with getting that number to decrease,” Haucke said, noting that he has used the analytics tool to make ongoing adjustments to the Web site and its content.

“We did things like made the download option more prominent on the home page,” Haucke said. “We made sure we were changing up the content enough. We might push a certain product for a certain amount of time, for example.”

While there’s quite a bit of granularity to ClickTracks, Haucke said, “at the end of the day, we’re more interested in the trends [vs. high granularity] in terms of number of visitors, number of downloads, decreasing exits and increasing conversion rates of visitors to downloads.”

Results: ISYS is up to an average of 7,500 to 8,000 Web visits a week, double the number compared with a year ago. At least part of that can be attributed to the application of Google AdWords, Haucke said.

Moreover, the average time visitors spend on the site has increased by almost 15% over the past year, and the number of newsletter subscriptions has more than quadrupled. Software evaluations requests and leads received have also increased significantly. “Evaluation requests have risen on an average of 20%, while direct e-mail leads that we receive directly from our site have doubled,” Haucke said. “You spend all this time and money on certain activities, and the end goal in marketing is to find what works and weed out what doesn’t. We’ve been able to do that because we have these tools at our fingertips.”

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