Freespee at Uppstart: Carl participating in the Founders Stories panel

Last Friday our Uppsala team attended the second Uppstart gathering. Held in the Katalin Bar, the event gathered entrepreneurs, innovators and all of those hungry to hear the Founder Stories by speakers Siavash Ghorbani from Tictail, Arvid Jansson from Vint and our own CEO and Co-founder Carl.

The three founders gathered in a discussion led by host Jason Dainter around growing, VCs and investment rounds, giving examples of their experience in establishing a successful business.
From growth hacking techniques, to recruiting good talent, branding and pivoting, if you’re interested to hear the Founders’ discussion and you didn’t get a chance to be in Uppsala, our friend @johannesl from 46elks filmed it all!
Founders Panel at Uppstart: Freespee, Tictail and Vint

Guest post: Eoghan Henn on Universal Analytics in B2B Online Marketing (Part II)

A week ago we shared with you the first part of Eoghan Henn’s piece on Universal Analytics in B2B Online Marketing, where is was looking into the first three stages of the B2B Marketing circle: 

  • Definition and delimitation of “B2B online marketing”: online sales vs. lead generation
  • Challenges for web analysts in B2B online marketing
  • Use lead management tools to track conversion from lead to customer

We know you’ve been anticipating the second part of this great blog post, so without any further ado, here it is! This week Eoghan is leading us on a journey into the last four stages of the B2B Marketing circle:

  • Tracking of inbound phone calls: an important factor in the online path-to-purchase for B2B companies
  • Trilateral exchange of data between Google Analytics, call data and lead management
  • Analysis of the collected data: multi-channel ROI reporting with Google Analytics
  • Web analytics for B2B companies: conclusion and outlook

Please don’t forget that both Eoghan and ourselves would love to hear your thoughts – do not hesitate to leave your comments in the form below!

Universal Analytics in B2B Online Marketing, Pt. II by Eoghan Henn
Tracking of inbound phone calls: an important factor in the online path-to-purchase for B2B companies

Many B2B companies display phone numbers very prominently on their websites alongside their yard-long contact forms. Their online marketing activities often give very poor results according to their reporting. Marketers’ gut feeling is that many of the inbound phone calls the business is receiving come from the online marketing efforts, but lack of measurability makes it total guesswork.

Historically, the obvious solution for metrics-driven marketers has been to remove the inbound call opportunity from the website, to ensure maximum measurability. Hence, by removing one line in your HTML code, you close the preferred call-to-action among many of your online visitors. Should that really be an option here? The online path-to-purchase is not linear, customers more and more often jump from online to offline. Many of your visitors want to talk to you to make their decision, and they want to do this when it suits them, not when it suits you. Others find it more convenient that you choose when to talk to them, so they complete the call back form. Online chat with a sales representative is also popular, but should only be used if you have staffed it properly.

That being said, it’s smarter to make how to contact you a choice for the visitor, not your choice. Inbound phone calls used to create a huge headache for anyone doing web analytics, since these events weren’t captured by our favourite tools like Google Analytics and its peers. Visitors who chose to talk to companies as part of the path-to-purchase were treated as drop offs by these standard analytics tools. Therefore even if you document this sale in your lead management tool, you will not be able to connect it with the online visitor journey that was behind that sale. Hence, there is no way to attribute the sale back to your online marketing efforts. But happily enough, there is technology available to capture all contact events today, not just the completed online forms.

Call tracking providers such as Freespee, that are able to serve each visitor with a unique phone number, have the remedy for this pain. From the visitor perspective, there is no difference in the user experience. They simply see a phone number being displayed that they can choose to call in case they want a consultation. In the background, however, things happen that are amazingly interesting from a web analytics perspective. If the visitor chooses to call you, it will be possible to associate the inbound phone call with a visitor and his path-to-purchase.

If you work with a call tracking technology that already supports Universal Analytics, you will have the possibility to associate the inbound phone call with Google’s visitor protocols, meaning that inbound phone calls can be treated on an equal basis with completed contact forms.

Trilateral exchange of data between Google Analytics, call data and lead management.

Now that you are capturing inbound phone calls on an equal basis with completed contact forms, the inbound phone calls data is pushed into Google Analytics making sure all contact events are captured and attributed to the correct visitor. But to close the cycle, the call tracking tool also needs to push data into your lead management tool, and have a lead record created that is associated with a Google visitor protocol.

When you receive an inbound call, the call tracking software captures the information that Google Analytics needs to recognise the visitor when it receives a sales data feed. This information also has to be pushed into the lead management tool where the lead can be taken through the entire sales cycle until it ends with a successful sale. After successful completion, your lead management tool can now, as described in part 1 of this article, send an event with a sales value to Google Analytics, which in turn can be associated with the call and the previous site visits of the user.

Analysis of the collected data: multi-channel sales reporting with Google Analytics

In the closed loop described above​​, the important questions an online B2B marketer should be asking himself can be answered. The discovery and research process in the B2B sector often results in a potential customer visiting your web site several times through various channels, before the first personal contact is made. Now you can centralise your collection of web data, contacts and sales ​​in Google Analytics. You get a holistic view and meaningful multi-channel reports available for you in Google Universal Analytics. The data that you possess can, for example, provide answers to the following questions:

–                How is our corporate blog contributing to our sales?
–                What are the results of our tireless activities on Linkedin?
–                Did our April newsletter in which we announced our newest product lead to more sales?
–                What’s the ROI on our AdWords spend? Can we make more sales with more AdWords budget?
–                Is our SEO budget carrying its part of the total online revenue?
–                What areas of my website play an important role in the purchase decision and could be further optimised or better advertised to drive more sales?

These and many other questions can now be answered with the help of the data collected in Google Analytics. Thus, past campaigns can be better evaluated and future actions and budgets can be planned in a more data-driven way.

Web analytics for B2B companies: conclusion and outlook

The new technical possibilities that Universal Analytics offers provide relatively simple and affordable solutions for B2B companies to take a huge step forward in their online marketing activities. Using Google Analytics, call tracking and data automation with a lead management tool will provide the important insights you have lacked. Maybe you will learn that your online marketing is generating far more sales than you currently see in your reports. By acting on these new insights, you will be able to grow your business.

Freespee product update: DC Storm plugin, Support for Universal Analytics and Call back widget in French and Spanish

As you already know, the Freespee engineering team is working tirelessly to both streamline the Freespee platform and boost it with great new features and plugins. In our product update two weeks ago we shared with you that Freespee can now feed data into the Criteo platform via a Criteo plugin, told you about the improvements in the performance of the Freespee script, as well as the advances in our GA and DoubleClick plugins.
Here’s a list of the updates this week. Don’t forget we’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

Call back widget now available in French and Spanish

DC Storm plugin

Freespee premium accounts can now send call data metrics into DC Storm. Simply enable the Freespee plugin for DC Storm to get started. This works similar to the Google Analytics Premium plugin.
Universal Analytics support for GA plugin 
The Freespee JavaScript will now automatically detect if you are using Google Analytics or Universal Analytics on a page, and report call metrics directly into the right platform when the Premium Google Analytics plugin is enabled on your account. Freespee uses the new Measurement Protocol to feed data into Universal Analytics.
General performance enhancements
The Freespee Engineering team have made several platforms optimisations. The number replacement should now work even faster.
 

Guest post: Eoghan Henn on Universal Analytics in B2B Online Marketing (Part I)

Last week we proudly shared with you the first guest post on the Freespee blog by one of of our brilliant customers, Bob Moree from Propeller IM. Bob wrote an amazing article on Mastering path-to-purchase, focusing on the importance of making inbound phone calls part of the equation when making decisions about ad spend and placement.

This week, we are continuing to shed light on our customers’ excellence. One of our most advanced customers, Eoghan Henn , shared this piece on Universal Analytics in B2B online marketing that he posted on the rankingCHECK blog, and we must admit this is, hands down, one of the best articles we’ve read recently.

In his post, Eoghan is taking a 360 degree overview of B2B online marketing, looking into the following aspects:

  • Definition and delimitation of “B2B online marketing”: online sales vs. lead generation
  • Challenges for web analysts in B2B online marketing
  • Use lead management tools to track conversion from lead to customer
  • Tracking of inbound phone calls: an important factor in the online path-to-purchase for B2B companies
  • Trilateral exchange of data between Google Analytics, call data and lead management
  • Analysis of the collected data: multi-channel ROI reporting with Google Analytics
  • Web analytics for B2B companies: conclusion and outlook

In this instalment, we will look into the first three stages of the B2B Online Marketing circle:

  • Definition and delimitation of “B2B online marketing”: online sales vs. lead generation
  • Challenges for web analysts in B2B online marketing
  • Use lead management tools to track conversion from lead to customer


Universal Analytics in B2B online marketing by Eoghan Henn 

Universal Analytics provides new opportunities for B2B companies that do not sell their products and services directly online, but rather use their websites to generate leads that are passed on to the sales team for further communication.

Before the introduction of Universal Analytics, it was very difficult for companies of this type to collect meaningful data about the ROI (return on investment) of various online marketing channels.

With Universal Analytics, it is now much easier for B2B companies to apply data-driven marketing decision-making. I would like to show in this article how the linking of Google Analytics, the tracking of inbound calls and lead management can help B2B companies  evaluate their marketing campaigns in more detail and make better budget decisions for the future.

Definition and delimitation of “B2B Online Marketing”: online sales vs. lead generation

First of all, it is important to outline the concept of “B2B online marketing“ in more detail. Every reader will certainly have a slightly different idea of ​​what B2B (business to business) is, and what it is not.

If you look at the mere meaning of the words, “B2B online marketing” is the sum of all online marketing activities of companies selling services and products to other companies. These companies are thus distinguished from companies that offer services and products to consumers (B2C, business to consumer). In the B2C sector we mainly find ”off the shelf” products, while in the B2B sector, customised solutions that meet individual requirements are distributed. Amazon, for example, is a classic B2C player that sells a variety of standardised products for consumers. The entire purchasing process takes place online.

On the other hand, we see companies like ourselves, rankingCHECK. We are a B2B service provider and our services are far from being standardised. Most importantly, the “buying process” never takes place online. However, the discovery process does, meaning that our clients turn to the Internet to do their research before selecting a service provider like rankingCHECK. Hence, the first contact is the result of an ​​online visit to our website, although the purchase decision takes place offline, after several conversations between the prospective customer and our sales team. The entire sales cycle, from the first contact until the deal is closed, often takes weeks. This is much longer than it is normally in the B2C sector.

Here I would like to draw the line between B2B and B2C online marketing. In the B2C segment, online sales are the primary goal of most online marketing activities. In B2B, sales come primarily from lead generation with subsequent sales and consultative interviews. The services that are offered in the B2B sector are often tailored for each and every customer. If nothing else, the price is tailored and the buying decision process is supported by intensive consultation. The primary goal of online marketing activities in the B2B area is thus the generation of leads.

There are grey areas in between. An online shop for office supplies, that only sells goods in large quantities to business clients, is a pure B2B player, but uses similar online marketing just like most B2C companies. An eye clinic that performs highly specialised laser treatments on patients, is clearly to be classified within the B2C sector, but has more in common with B2B companies, as every purchase decision often comes with consultative support.

In this article, “B2B online marketing” refers to online marketing efforts of companies whose primary goal is to generate inbound leads for the sales and marketing team. This team helps the lead through the decision process with a clear goal – to close a deal. The sales process is more likely to take weeks than days, hours or even minutes.

Challenges for web analysts in B2B online marketing

For anybody who operates an online store, it is fairly easy to capture sales in Google Analytics and then attribute them to different online marketing channels such as SEM, SEO, newsletter or display. Once your ecommerce tracking is set up correctly, you can gain wonderful insights using the multichannel reports from Google Analytics. Based on these insights, you can make important decisions for your future marketing planning.

For B2B companies that mainly generate inbound leads on their websites, which are then passed on to the sales department, online marketing is often guesswork. The standard solution for this kind of website is often to track completed contact forms as conversions. However, this inevitably leads to some awkward questions:

–                How much is a completed contact form worth? Was my AdWords campaign a success if it cost 5000 euros and 25 of the AdWords visitors filled out my contact form?
–                I receive a number of inbound phone calls every day, but where do these leads come from? Is that the result of my recent newsletter, or is it my current AdWords campaign?
–                Who actually fills out my contact form? Are they really all potential customers? Does it make sense to track every contact form as a conversion?
–                How long is my sales cycle from the moment I receive a lead through an online form? For a sale that takes place 60 days after an online form is completed, can I track that back to the online form?

You will quickly realise that simply tracking completed contact forms as conversions provides data that is far from meaningful. As a B2B company, if you want to evaluate and plan your online marketing efforts properly, you must be able to capture sales in Google Analytics, just like the online store I previously described. To ensure this, a lead management tool can help you identify leads that turn into sales, and then push this data back into Google Analytics.

Use lead management tools to track the conversion from lead to customer

Using a lead management tool, you can classify leads, assign the right sales people to the lead to nurture the sales process, and finally convert the leads into paying customers. Many companies already use a variety of tools that satisfy these purposes.

If you want to collect sales in Google Analytics as a B2B company, data has to be exchanged between Google Analytics and the lead management tool. First, the lead has to be entered into the lead management tool. Many tools come with an integrated online form that you can place as a widget on your site, but the information that Google Analytics requires to identify the visitor also needs to be passed on to the lead management tool.

After the lead process ends with a successful sale, this event has to be pushed back from the lead management tool to Google Analytics. This data push includes the sales value, and the Google visitor identification protocol. This event is recorded in Google Analytics as an actual conversion, ideally also with a corresponding order value. This approach provides far more insights than just tracking the simple number of leads.

Implementing the process described above should not be an impossible challenge for most of the manufacturers of lead management or CRM tools. If your system does not support this and the manufacturer is not willing or able to implement it, looking for a better supplier might be a good idea.
The main requirement to capture true sales in Google Analytics is thus established. The next thing to do is to ensure that all leads that are generated through the site are correctly captured and registered in the lead management tool, otherwise you would risk having a huge tracking leakage. Time for the next important building block for successful B2B online marketing: Tracking and attribution of inbound phone calls.

Stay tuned with us next week when we post Part II of Eoghan’s article here!

Freespee on stage at Uppstart

We are very excited to confirm that our Co-Founder and CEO Carl will be joining Tictail and Vint on stage at the Uppstart event this Thursday in Uppsala!
Carl will talk about growing a successful business from the ground up and expanding it to several European countries.
Uppsart is held at the Katalin bar in Uppsala on Thursday, May 22, and it aims at gathering all those interested in tech, startups and those fascinated by the new wave of entrepreneurs.
Carl and the rest of the Freespee team will love to see you there, so come and say hi!
 

Guest post: Mastering path-to-purchase by Bob Moree

At Freespee, we’ve always been looking for ways to empower our customers. Whether it’s by giving them the right set of data that they need to make better ad placement and optimisation decisions, or helping them understand what their reports say, our aim has been to support them and work with them to polish Freespee, so it serves their business even better. That’s why it’s amazing to see our customers perform exceptionally well and, most importantly, become thought leaders. We are very proud to introduce our first guest blog post by one of those customers, Bob Moree. Bob is the Marketing Manager over at Propeller Internet Marketing, a Dutch IM agency, based in Schiedam. Propeller is a little boutique agency that happens to be behind the success of one of our clients, Leobellen

Bob is, without any doubt, a marketer of the future: he’s on top of the Mad Men vs. Math Men game, knowing both the essence of traditional marketing, and the importance of granular data. He’s written an article on his blog about the benefits of Freespee with regards to understanding the complete customer path-to-purchase, that we would really like to share with you.
Read the full text below, and please, do let us know your thoughts

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Should we make inbound phone calls part of the path-to-purchase data when making decisions about our ad spend and placements?
Have you heard that before?
If you have, chances are that you’ve also asked yourself if you’re only credited for half of the work and value you create.
A whopping 76 % of all online visitors choose to complete their purchase over the phone, but because most advertisers have no way to collect this data and associate it with the online Ads, they have no idea what their marketing spend is generating in terms of value. They can just guess.
If we don’t take call data into account, it is extremely difficult to assess which marketing efforts are worth our time. A keyword may not have had a single conversion online, but what if it generated five calls? I guess you will regret pausing it if you’ve already done that. There are probably several efforts that you’re making to optimise your website that are not generating the value you’d expect they would.
Complete data sets when looking into Conversion Optimisation
Apart from measuring the effectiveness of different keywords, messages and reallocating resources, having the full set of data also helps you optimise your overall conversion rate, and much quicker if you are using A/B testing tools or similar. The tool has much more data to act on.
Perhaps an example will help to explain this:

Imagine you have a page that you are A/B testing. Test A gets 50% of the visitors, and Test B, the other half.
MarketingSherpa, one of the largest research programs in marketing, has recently posted a study with the following results: After a company started taking into account phone calls made to the business, they found out that the marketing cost per acquisition was significantly lower than expected. Half lower than expected. This allowed them to refocus on keywords and ads that seemed rather unprofitable. The result? After one year there were nearly two times as many highly valuable sales opportunies for the business (98 % increase!).
So are you …? Tired of the eternal debate over ‘ free visitors ‘ via SEO versus paid visitors with AdWords? – Make sure you posses the full set of data. Eager to show your boss that your marketing efforts are really working? Make sure you posses the full set of data. Need to save money on AdWords ? Make sure you posses the full set of data by including phone call data into your customers online path-to-purchase!
No, we’re not crazy. We’re just trying to help you make more informed decisions.
 

Freespee Heroes: How Leobellen improved online conversion by 67%, armed with better data

Freespee has always been committed to providing a top-notch, customisable solution that’s suitable to a variety of businesses. Since we started with the Freespee Heroes series, we’ve looked into how SEM agencies, a physical therapy practice and even an online bank use Freespee.

Their results have shown the remarkable impact that possessing the full set of data has on marketers’ ability to make better decisions.  A very concrete example of the latter is the Dutch construction, infrastructure and building equipment company Leobellen

“Previously, one in five of the calls to Leobellen converted into sales, but with Freespee data we managed to improve targeting and now 1 in 3 calls result in sales, representing a 67% increase in SEO conversions. Our decision to spend more on SEO would have never been as drastic without your solution to prove the worth of our SEO traffic. shared

Bob Moree, the marketer behind Leobellen’s success.

Read Leobellen’s full story here

Meet Julia and Niclas, The Newest Members Of The Freespee Family

Two new members have recently joined the Freespee family and we are very happy to officially introduce them to you! The addition of Julia Gentsch and Niclas Staberg make the Freespee family bigger than it has ever been, and we are very excited to see what’s there for us as a team.

Julia, who comes to Freespee with a very strong experience in online business, will be heading our operations in Germany. Niclas, who is responsible for the recent great articles you’re reading here, on our blog, is the new and shiny addition to our Account Management team. You’ll find more about both of them below.

Welcome on board, Julia and Niclas!

Julia Gentsch | Country Manager, Germany

Julia has been in online business since 1997 when she started with student jobs for different digital agencies and her university. Online Marketing played a big role in her Master thesis where she compared different marketing activities for NIVEA. She stayed in the sector and worked for two product and price comparison solutions, first at Lycos-Europe, second at eBay where she was mainly responsible for developing the french and German market and driving high and qualified traffic to e-commerce shops.In addition Julia ran the business development department at MyHammer, a tradesmen directory platform where amongst others she developed a new service as addition product.

Lately she was responsible for the internationalization of the danish mobile payment and ticketing provider Unwire and participated in tenders of big public transportation unions for mobile ticket solutions.

Overall, Julia was mainly in charge of the acquisition and key account management of clients and strategic partners. She has been successful in selling complex services and technology to companies, negotiating contracts at senior management level, and optimising implemented solutions with existing customers.

Niclas Staberg | Account Manager

Niclas has experience in online marketing and web production joining Freespee directly from one of Sweden’s largest media groups  – Marknadsmedia. He’s experienced in both account management working for their media agency MediaView, as well as web production management for the their web agency, MXM Com. Coming from that side of the table, Niclas brings a new perspective to Freespee with the familiarity to the challanges both online marketers and media agencies face on a daily basis.

Freespee Tips and Tricks: Top five tips to increase your online marketing success

The focus of online marketing is pretty straight forward: it’s all about creating new opportunities and continuously improving the results of all of our ad placement and online efforts. In fact, if we want to make it to the top we must think about getting the most out of what we spend in order to succeed which is to increase our percentages when it comes to converting online visitors to a qualified leads.

In this article, we want to share 5 tips & tricks we have learnt from our brilliant users. They have many different approaches to their online marketing, but we’ve noticed there are some that work remarkably well. Here’s a list of five great tips on how to increase the overall engagement of your online visitors without having to increase your ad spend by a penny.

1. Make sure all your website’s numbers are trackable.

If you are receiving inbound phone calls today, make sure these are part of your online path-to-purchase insights. Stop treating visitors who call you as drop-offs. It’s pretty simple – drop a script on your web pages that serves every visitor with a unique phone number. If you provide different numbers for different offices, make sure they’re all being replaced with unique phone numbers for every visitor, to avoid leakage in your data.

2. Responsive Website – Click to call

Responsive websites are no longer optional. If your goal is to compete with the players on top of your industry, you need to make sure your website is responsive today. A study made by Nielsen in late 2013 showed that 74% of people search on mobile using a search engine in the process of purchase. Adding this to the fact that a study made by Ipsos showed that 61% of the people valued click to call as extremely important when it comes to the actual purchase, it’s needless to say that if you haven’t already, you need to make sure your website’s design is resposive as soon as possible. Not only will the information on your website be accessible in a more user friendly format, but in combination with a provided click to call option, it will also make it easier for your customer to complete their path-to-purchase by talking to you.

3. Floating menu with provided number

Taking the responsive website user experience one step further, we’d  recommend adding a floating menu to your website. Floating menus have proven to be very UX friendly for site navigation. Many of our top performing customers with highest overall conversion rate use floating menus.

4. Phone number placement

You have surely heard about the proven concepts of the Z- and F-design patterns which are based on scientific studies on how we read information, presented on a website. We covered these specifics in a recent blog post and this is highly relevant to you if you’re thinking of re-designing your website and thinking of where to place your call-to-action button to make it easy for the visitor to complete a purchase.

5. Inbound phone calls are part of the user journey

Some of your visitors prefer the DIY way, others want your assistance and consultation to complete their purchase. Make sure you embrace both these customers by making these two conversion methods equally simple.
Having a clear call to action for your phone number on your website could massively boost your sales. Think of yourself when you enter into a store and you want personal assistance to buy a pair of jeans. If no one is showing up to help, you will leave. You will not start to look for your model, your size, your colour by yourself. Not today, because you only have 5 minutes. It’s the same for your online audience. Depending on their mood, time of day, etc. they choose either to talk to you or take the DIY route. Think about what you are offering, what you want your visitor to do and then write an inviting line along with your number as clearly as you can. Example, if you run an automotive service center and you want your website visitors to book an appointment – invite them to do so by providing the sentence, “Book an appointment” along with your phone number. This tiny little change could in fact make a huge difference.

Remember – Keep it simple, stupid (KISS)!

Freespee product update

The feedback we received after we published the last update from our engineering team was superb – we’ve never felt more eager to share details about the progress we are making. We think it will be great to share these updates with you on a regular basis, so keep an eye on our blog, as there are more of these to come.
As you already know, as part of our ongoing efforts to make Freespee invincible, our outstanding team of engineers has held down the serious job of streamlining the Freespee platform. In the past two weeks, there have been a couple of improvements we made that are opening up new possibilities for our customers.
Here’s a list of the updates:
We’ve added a Criteo plugin to our Plugin section. This means that Freespee can now feed call data to the performance advertising platform Criteo. The Criteo platform will use this data to calculate cost of sales and ROI. For Criteo accounts with many conversions, Criteo can activate the conversion rate optimiser. This optimises spending in the Criteo bidding algorithm.

 

 

 Improvements made to the Freespee script. The Freespee script is now even faster to load.

 

Support for multiple GA UA IDs. Freespee can now feed call data into several Google analytics accounts. This is useful for businesses that have a private and a business side of their offering and they monitor these using two separate GA accounts.

 

DoubleClick Search plugin improvement. The Freespee platform can now include estimated value of a call in the data Freespee feeds to your DoubleClick Search account. The estimated value of calls are configured using the pricing model settings in the Freespee platform.
We’d love to get your feedback on these updates, so give them a try and let us know your thoughts!