Not so at Overland Storage. After spending the past 18 months working hard to perfect what visitors experience once they click through to the companyâs site, the b-to-b data storage and backup company has been able to increase its conversions and leads dramatically.
Overland, based in San Diego, sells its solutions directly as well as through its partners, and like many other companies seeks leads via search results. (Its search budget constitutes about 2% of its marketing spending.)
But Overland had a problem: After it launched its paid-search efforts about two years ago, it saw that click-throughs were coming in but they werenât converting at the rate Gary Ware, the companyâs Web marketing manager, wanted.
âWe were having low conversion performance overall,â Ware said. âWe found that a lot of people were coming in early in the sales funnel but didnât want a quote; they were just looking for some sort of solution.â
Instead of inviting visitors to request a quote, Ware switched to a registration process for white papers. Even then, conversion was less than 1% compared with an industry average of up to 3%.
âWe decided to start from scratch,â Ware said. âWe said that if we were spending money on paid search, we had to make sure we were driving the user to what we wanted as an end result.â
In mid 2007, Overland tapped ion interactive, whose on-demand LiveBall product aids the creation, testing and analyzing of Web pages to inspire conversions.
âOverlandâs problem was a common one,â said Anna Talerico, exec VP at ion. âWhen paid search is just getting up and running, companies often focus on the keywords theyâre buying but not much on where theyâre driving the traffic.â
Talerico said Overlandâs most glaring problem was sending viewers to a âdeep link,â a purportedly relevant page or form buried within its site, but one offering a confusing abundance of content and features without relevance to the searchersâ specific needs.
âIt was clear from looking at our bounce rate that visitors who were searching for âbusiness continuityâ or some similar pain point were being directed to a product page that didnât necessarily speak to that,â Ware said. âWe needed to speak in a way that matched our ads to our landing pages.â
As part of Overlandâs post-click optimization program, landing pages were vastly simplified with attractive graphics and designed to address logical prospect segments. Primary landing pages invited visitors to self-segmentâfor example, defining themselves as having small storage needs versus large storage needs, or with C-level interest as opposed to midlevel manager needs.
âWe really focused on this segmentation idea,â Ware said. âWe wanted to make sure that the landing pages visitors wound up on were speaking in ways they understood.â
Those visitors who defined themselves as having small or large storage needs were directed to Overland pages focusing on solutions tailored to their needs. Similarly, those âlooking for a solutionâ were directed to an offer for a free Overland white paper and short lead-gen conversion form. From here respondents could initiate sales contacts or request a fast quote, to shorten the distance between marketing, sales and the close.
âWe found that searches for brand terms were from people further along in the sales process,â Ware said. âAnd these were more apt to request a quote. Weâd asked the segmentation question, and then presented the viewer with a fulfillment form that catered to that segment.â
The new post-click program also separated the wheat from the chaff. Those visitors looking for solutions to data loss recovery, which Overland does not provide, were directed in a helpful way to third-party resources.
All the new landing pages were revised with solution-oriented copy and simple graphics, bulleted text and photos of smiling, helpful-looking people.
More, and better, leads
Ware is pleased with the performance of his post-click campaign. He said Overlandâs conversion rate is now averaging as much as 5%, with some segments performing as high as 13%.
âAs a result, our amount of leads now is tremendous,â Ware said. âBut we donât want to get too high. These are valuable prospects, and we donât want any of them to go cold.â
Interestingly, Overlandâs cost per conversion has increased by 60%, but Ware said this was due to the inherent competitiveness of various keywords.
âIf [we] can get people to convert, weâre willing to pay more,â he said.
For the future, Overland plans to experiment with more sophisticated landing pages and conversion offers, perhaps inviting the viewer to a video demonstration or an on-demand webinar. Adding the option to join a social network on data storage is also being considered.
âWeâre still optimizing and improving things, and as long as weâre staying above the industry average going forward, itâs good,â Ware said. âWeâre excited.â