A total stranger casually entered our shop the other day, and without saying a word, poked around and looked at everything. You’d have thought he owned the place. In spite of several “Can we help you?” offers, the stranger just kept looking around, ignoring our requests for him to identify himself or give indication of his reasons for being there. Eventually, he just left, never saying so much as a “thank you.”
A little creepy? Yeah, maybe. And a few days later, it happened again. The stranger wandered around, looked at things we had on display, opened documents and started reading them, and then simply left without saying who he was or what he wanted.
The next time it happened we were ready for him. When he walked in the door, we greeted him warmly. “Hi John! It’s nice to see you again. How are things over at Acme, Inc.? It seemed like the last time you were here you were interested in our latest case study. Can we elaborate on that a bit for you?”
John was flabbergasted! After recovering from his initial shock, he bellowed, “Now that’s just CREEPY! How do you know my name? How do you know where I work?”
Marketing automation presents precisely this opportunity to level the playing field. It can tell you who it is that is visiting your website (the company, and in the case of returning visitors who’ve previously identified themselves, the individual), when and where they went, and how long they stayed. And it can do this in real time, sending you notifications, for example, that John just landed on your blog page and is now reading a particular post.
While I will admit that I am completely enamored with this amazing technology (HubSpot is our system of choice), I will also confess that I have occasionally shared the “Oh, that’s just creepy!” sentiment, in large part because I’ve bought into the notion of the “right to anonymity.” But when put into its proper perspective, how is it any more creepy to know who is visiting your website than it is for someone to prowl around it, consume your content for free, and never identify him/herself?
If that’s not creepy, then I guess it’s okay for someone to stop by Acme, Inc., help themselves to a cup of coffee, poke around in the break room refrigerator, sit in on a couple meetings, and then hit the road without ever uttering a word. Sure, that’s a stretch. But my point is, if your intention in monitoring your website traffic is so that you can produce a more amazing customer experience that is based upon the needs of your prospects/visitors (and it should be), then a marketing automation tool can enable you to be a better host. That’s not creepy, it’s just courteous.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.