This post is the third and final post in a series of benchmarking articles based on the results of our study into the trends of high-performing agency websites. We looked at our most successful agency clients – the ones that are regularly generating qualified new business opportunities through their website and marketing automation – to help us put together a series of benchmarks based on their websites, email marketing, and thought leadership.
The first set of benchmarks pertained to email list size and mailing frequency. The second article was about email deliverability and list cleanliness. This time, I want to shift the focus away from the email marketing side of things and look at the benchmarks for the website itself.
The three stats I want to focus on are around content creation, website traffic, and conversions.
When we did our study, it affirmed our recommendation. The agencies that were most successful were creating an average of 3,800 words every month.
The reason behind this recommendation is because a strong content marketing strategy that focuses on thought leadership content showing your expertise will help your site bring in traffic through search engines, and it is going to be used to fuel your marketing automation campaigns, providing value to your prospects and customers, drawing them back to your site.
Remember, it shouldn’t just be any content. This needs to be true thought leadership content. And if you want to rank for specific search terms, first do a search for those terms and see what else has already been written about that topic. Can you create new content that is better than anything else there? Are you giving a new perspective that adds added value to the conversation? If so, this is the type of content you should be creating every month. This is a great video to watch for more on this line of thinking around producing expert content for search engines.
If you’re creating a high volume of high-value content, then website traffic should start coming as a result (though it does take time). To state the obvious, it is vitally important that your site have visitors (if a tree falls and no one is around to hear it). If we want any of your digital marketing efforts to work, we need to make sure that there is a critical mass of users on the website.
This is another number that we have been recommending for a long time, based on our anecdotal experiences, and again, the study affirmed what we had long assumed to be true.
Our recommendation is that a marketing agency website should be seeing at least 100 visits every weekday, and the high-performing agencies are seeing an average of 131.
If you are having trouble hitting this benchmark, first make sure you are hitting the content production benchmark and that the content is expertise-based thought leadership content. If you’re hitting that benchmark month-over-month, but still not seeing much website traffic, consider spending some time digging into the search engine optimization of your site, and make sure that you are promoting your content through your email marketing efforts (do you have a list of at least 5,000 contacts, and are you emailing at least once a month?).
This is a difficult benchmark to hit if you are not already hitting the previous benchmarks. Hitting this 100 visits/day mark should come naturally as result of hitting your other benchmarks, assuming you are well-positioned.
Throughout this series of posts, I have referred to our sampling of firms as “high-performing” agencies. But what do I mean by that? It’s not just that they get the most traffic to their website, or send the most email, though that is generally also true. What makes them high-performing is that their online lead development ecosystem (website, CRM, marketing automation) is doing what it is supposed to do – creating new qualified business opportunities.
These high-performing sites are seeing an average of almost 300 new leads created each month. Over 50 of those leads are originating from the website. Each month, these agencies identified an average of 7 new business opportunities, with an average of 1.3 coming from the website. That’s almost 16 new opportunities each year that originate as a result of their web marketing efforts. This does not include other opportunities that may have also been influenced by their online marketing efforts, only those that originated from the web.
Our general benchmark for conversions is 3%. Your site should be converting 3% of all traffic into known leads. This is done by users filling out forms, contacting you, signing up for webinars, downloading whitepapers, signing up to receive your content via email, etc. Of the 100 visitors that come to your site each day, we want to see three new conversions. So that would be a total of roughly 90 new leads each month. This volume of new leads is necessary to have a large enough pool to result in qualified opportunities.
If you are hitting all of the other benchmarks, but are not reaching the 3% conversion rate, this can be tied to a number of issues. Particularly, evaluate your site to make sure each page has clear and relevant calls to action that are easy to find and easy to complete. You’ll also want to make sure you’re driving the right traffic to your site. If you have a well-defined target audience to whom you are providing valuable content, they are more likely to convert.
In summary, what we were able to draw from this research is that agencies that are effectively using their online lead development ecosystem to attract, inform, engage, and nurture new leads are seeing the results, measured by new business opportunities created. We can’t guarantee that if you hit these benchmarks, you will see the same results, but we can see from our data that the likelihood of increasing the number of opportunities is correlated to these benchmarks.
Here’s all of the benchmark numbers that have been discussed in this series, in a simple bulleted list:
- Content Creation = 3,000+ words per month
- Website Visitors = 100 unique visitors per weekday
- Conversions = 3% of all website visitors
- Email List = 5,000+ contacts
- Email Sends = 2+ emails per month
- Email Deliverability = 95% delivered
- Email Sender Reputation = 90+ Sender Score
Lastly, a big shout-out to Lauren McGaha for doing a lot of the information gathering and number crunching to make this report possible. It was many hours spent knee-deep in a giant spreadsheet, but it helped us uncover some truly helpful data.