How to See Who’s Visiting Your Website
Selling to customers tends to be easier than selling to businesses because the process is more straightforward with fewer decision-makers. But finding those customers is a challenge. B2C lead generation is just as difficult as generating B2B leads. (That’s probably why so many people turn to lead generation companies.)
It can be tantalizing to look at an analytics report and see all of the visitors to your website who didn’t fill out a form or make a purchase. They were interested enough in your product or service to visit your website, but they’re just out of reach.
At least, they used to be.
Now, you can convert those abstract numbers in your analytics report into real people in your CRM with website visitor identification technology.
Once they’re in your database, you can nurture those contacts as you would any other lead: by email, direct mail, phone, and any other channels you use.
What is Website Visitor Identification Software?
Website visitor identification software captures the data of visitors who leave your site without converting. The software collects your visitors’ names, email addresses, mailing addresses, and more through technology like cookies, digital fingerprinting, and IP tracking.
B2B marketers have a lot of options for website visitor identification. But most of the options available only offer the names of companies whose employees visited their website, so they have to guess who to contact.
And their B2C counterparts have to look even harder. In fact, until a couple of years ago, it wouldn’t matter how hard you looked. There weren’t any.
How Does It Work?
Here’s how to identify anonymous website visitors using software that tracks your visitors.
Website visitor identification software uses different technologies to convert your anonymous web traffic into leads. The primary way is through deterministic matching. Deterministic matching uses a common identifier (e.g., a visitor’s phone number or email address) to match their activity across multiple devices back to a unique data record.
This method relies on cookies, pixels, or both to determine the identity of your website visitors.
Pixel tracking works by installing a bit of code on your website. The code adds a 1×1 image (a pixel) to your website, and when someone visits your website, the image loads.
No one sees it because it’s so tiny, but the pixel collects information about how the visitor interacts with your website.
Most people are familiar with cookies because they’ve encountered a prompt on a website to let them know that the website uses them. Standard cookies generally store information like user settings.
Tracking cookies provide further information, allowing companies to see details like what website pages a visitor views.
Probabilistic matching uses technology like IP tracking and digital fingerprinting to determine who is visiting your website.
In addition to cookies and pixels, some website identification platforms use probabilistic matching. Probabilistic matching is easier to scale because you don’t need personal data to begin matching a visitor to a data record.
These different technologies are the solution to the age-old problem of figuring out how to identify anonymous website visitors and turn bounces into leads.
What Information is Available Through Website Visitor Identification?
Based on deterministic matching, probabilistic matching, or both, visitor identification software matches the visitor to a third-party data record that provides more information.
The data provided by different companies vary, but the best solutions offer data like:
- email address
- mailing address
- phone number
- automotive data
- household income range
- age range
- education level
- homeowner status
- length of residence range
- net worth range
- marital status
- presence of children
The Benefits of Website Visitor Identification Software
When you tell an experienced salesman or marketer that he can flip a switch and reveal the identities of his website visitors, you also flip a switch on that light bulb over his head. He’ll have no shortage of ideas about how to use this new power to convert more of his traffic into sales.
Here are a few of the benefits of website visitor identification tools.
Better Market Research
Most analytics tools offer insights into your traffic. For example, Google Analytics provides demographic and interest data in its Audience report.
But with visitor identification tools, you can add additional data that are relevant to your industry. For example:
- real estate companies can see the homeowner status and length of residence of their visitors
- eCommerce companies can see the household income range and net worth range of their visitors
- universities can see the age range and educational level of their visitors
You can use this data to hone your messaging and improve your ad targeting.
New Channels for Multi-Touch Campaigns
Without website visitor identification software, you can only run multi-touch campaigns to anonymous visitors via retargeting on ad platforms. But when you add website visitor identification capabilities, you can also retarget those visitors by email, direct mail, and phone.
In addition to providing new ways to reach consumers like email retargeting, some data capture platforms also provide robust retargeting functionality. That means you can run all of your retargeting campaigns from one place.
Despite all the advancements made in marketing technology, a survey found that more marketers struggled to personalize their marketing campaigns than the year before. Marketers understand the importance of personalized marketing, but they don’t have the data they need to do it.
Website visitor identification software provides that data so that you can generate the ROI that personalized marketing delivers.
What About Data Sharing and Privacy Laws?
The answer to this question depends on how the visitor identification company you choose collects and manages the data. If you choose a company like LeadPost, the data you receive will be compliant with existing laws.
- The data is for your use only. LeadPost doesn’t share it with third parties.
- LeadPost only collects data from website visitors from the US, so international privacy laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) do not apply.
- From a US perspective, states are beginning to enact state-level privacy laws, like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), so you may need to update your privacy policies accordingly per the guidance provided by LeadPost’s Terms of Service.
- When it comes to using the data, there are no laws in the US that restrict how you collect mailing addresses for direct mail. And the CAN-SPAM Act allows you to send email to anyone as long as you follow certain rules.
How to Choose Website Visitor Identification Software
Here are a few questions to answer for each platform you consider:
- What is the match rate? The match rate is the percentage of your visitors the software will be able to identify. For example, if your website gets 1,000 new visitors per month and your visitor identification software has a match rate of 40 percent, you can expect to generate 400 new leads each month.
- Does the company match your visitors against B2C data? If you need B2C leads, you need to choose a company that works with B2C data providers. Otherwise, you’ll have a lower match rate, and most of the information will be on the person’s company instead of the actual person.
- Does the company provide a contact name and email? If you need real B2B leads, make sure you’re not getting incomplete mystery leads. Lots of B2B website visitor identification tools just give you the company name (e.g., Clearbit). If you’re lucky, they might also provide you with a list of decision-makers at the company (Lead Forensics and Leadfeeder do that). Then they leave it up to you to guess who you should call. Find a tool that actually identifies who you need to reach.
- Can you suppress certain records? To avoid paying for records you already have (e.g., existing customers), you need to find an option that allows you to suppress the records you already have.
- Does it integrate with other platforms? Some visitor identification companies make it easy to push your records to marketing platforms and CRMs for easier lead nurturing. Ideally, you’ll want to find a company that directly integrates with your tool of choice. For example, at the moment, Albacross only integrates with Zapier. That’s better than nothing, but it’s always smoother to connect directly.
- What data do they provide? Many companies only provide names and email addresses. Depending on your needs, that might be enough, but other options offer a fully verified name, address, and email for each record. If the price is the same, opt for the company that provides more data.
- Is the data verified and validated? The company should have measures to ensure they’re providing good data. Names and mailing addresses should be verified using third-party services to confirm that the address is deliverable and that the individual lives at that address. Email addresses should be verified as deliverable.
- How can you use the data? Look for a company that:
- is compliant with existing privacy and data protection laws
- doesn’t share the data with third parties
- gives you the complete records (instead of making the use of the data contingent on using their software)
- provides data that you can use for unlimited marketing purposes
- Will the solution be impacted if cookies are eliminated? There’s some uncertainty around how long tracking cookies will be a viable way to track web users. For example, Google has been talking about phasing out 3rd party cookies for Chrome for some time. Make sure you choose a company that is on top of these changes and updates related to other mainstream browsers. Look to see if they have taken measures to keep their platform running effectively with or without cookies (e.g., layering in highly vetted probabilistic match partners to ensure ongoing quality data collection and coverage).
- Do they offer a free trial? Find a company that provides a good number of free leads so that you can assess the quality of the data before you pay.
How to Identify Anonymous Website Visitors and Use The Data
It’s hard to think of a business that wouldn’t benefit from website visitor identification, but the software is most beneficial to sales and marketing teams looking to generate more leads.
With the market volatility caused by the pandemic, it’s critical to maximize the returns on all of your sales and marketing efforts. Visitor identification software allows you to do that by turning more of your traffic into leads.
Whether you rely on organic search, paid search, organic social, paid social, or some other channel to drive traffic to your website, most of your visitors won’t convert. But now, they can still end up in your database for further marketing and sales initiatives.
Here are a few easy ways to use the data you receive through your visitor identification software. Each of these tactics can be used individually or combined as part of an omnichannel strategy.
Personalized Email Campaigns
Use the data you collect to enrich your current customer data and add detailed profiles of anonymous visitors to your CRM. Then, create list segments to send more relevant information and offers to your database.
For example, a car dealership could use the automotive data provided by website visitor identification to see when each visitor last bought a car.
The dealership can send visitors who are likely to be in the market for a new vehicle offers for multiple body styles (e.g., a truck, an SUV, and a sedan) or send offers based on the body type of the last vehicle they purchased. They can send visitors who purchased a vehicle recently an offer from their service department.
Direct Mail Retargeting
Traditional direct mail is expensive and harder to personalize. You may need to buy a list, and you’ll have to send multiple pieces of mail at once. But with direct mail retargeting, you can send one postcard to one person for as little as $0.72 based on their activity on your website.
For example, the dealership mentioned before can send an offer to a website visitor who looked at a particular vehicle without submitting their information.
“Cold” Calling and Emailing
Website visitor identification software allows your sales reps to contact your anonymous website visitors by phone. Technically, these aren’t cold calls because these leads know your brand and are interested in what you have to offer.
So, the car dealership in our example can have its sales team reach out to these leads to gauge their interest and get them on the lot.
B2B and B2C cold email are also tactics worth exploring. They might not be as effective as direct, personalized outreach. But you can put them on autopilot, so they may still be worth testing.
Suggested B2C Use Cases
Below is a list of use cases for selected B2C industries. The list isn’t exhaustive. Creative marketers are bound to find exciting new ways to use this new data source.
We covered this one in the previous section, but dealerships are prime candidates to use website visitor identification software to convert more website traffic into automobile leads.
They can use the data to target in-market website visitors with direct mail and email campaigns and then have their sales team close deals with follow-ups by phone.
Website visitor identification has a wide range of applications for eCommerce. For instance, it offers an easy and affordable way to supplement your email acquisition strategy. That way, you can target visitors (e.g., people who abandon their carts) with eCommerce email marketing campaigns even if they don’t convert.
Better yet, if your visitor identification software provides data like age range, gender, and household income range, you can improve your email campaign performance by segmenting your email list. These list segments will enable you to implement a robust eCommerce personalization program that will increase conversion rates.
Here are some product categories along with some of the data you’ll need to target people who are likely to make a purchase:
- Baby and Child: presence of children
- Luxury: household income range, net worth range
- Appliances: homeowner status, length of residence range
- Clothing: gender, age range, presence of children
- Garden and Outdoor: homeowner status, length of residence range
- Health: gender, age range, presence of children
- Home Improvement: homeowner status, length of residence range, age range
Based on this data and other relevant information you’ve collected, you can supplement your B2C email marketing campaigns with direct mail. For less than the cost of a click on a Google search ad, you can add the visitor to your CRM, send them emails, and deliver relevant offers by direct mail.
Online and print publishers can collect emails through website visitor identification to grow their subscriber base. They can also collect other relevant data to determine which visitors are in their target market to prioritize their marketing efforts.
Whether the focus is gaining more paid subscribers, increasing newsletter ad revenue, or generating more affiliate commissions, visitor identification provides critical data to get the right messaging and offers to the right people at the right time.
Website visitor identification is one of the most cost-effective tools for real estate lead generation. Real estate brokers and agents can use visitor identification to:
- Contact buyers by phone, email, and direct mail
- Contact sellers by phone, email, and direct mail
- Better understand your leads before reaching out to them
In addition to running multi-channel campaigns that target buyers and sellers with relevant information and offers, brokers can provide additional data to their agents so they can adjust their approach based on the prospect’s demographics and other details.
While marketing and advertising agencies rely on B2B data to generate new business, they can use website visitor identification software for their B2C clients. For example, an agency managing SEO or display ads for a client can offer website visitor identification to turn more clicks into leads.
Hotels, cruise lines, and airlines can increase direct bookings by using the software to reach out to website visitors by email, direct mail, and phone to make a direct sale before they purchase through an Online Travel Agency (OTA).
Over 91 percent of internet users read reviews before making a purchase decision. For users older than 54, that number climbs to 97 percent. This is how most people end up in an OTA’s pipeline.
OTAs have large marketing budgets and, based on the person’s behavior on their site, a lot of data on what each person is looking for. They use this data to run multi-channel campaigns that increase the likelihood that the person will book through them instead of directly with the hotel, cruise line, or airline.
But website visitor identification software gives hospitality companies an edge by adding visitors to their database when they come to their website for more information. Armed with this data, a hospitality company can run its own multichannel campaign through email, direct mail, and other channels.
They’ll also get a better ROI from their hospitality advertising campaigns because more clicks will be converted into leads.
How to Use Visitor Identification in B2B Industries
The applications of website visitor identification software in B2B industries are straightforward.
First, you’ll know who’s visiting your site and where they work. Second, you’ll know how to reach them.
So you can target them and other decision-makers and influencers with ads on platforms like LinkedIn.
That means that if you convince the visitor that your company is worth consideration and they tell other stakeholders about it, their team won’t be saying, “Never heard of ’em!”
That builds credibility for your brand.
Of course, most importantly, you’ll be able to contact that visitor in the first place, which you couldn’t do before. Now, you’ll be able to reach out by email and phone to share the value your company provides.
Website Visitor Identification Best Practices
If you’re new to website visitor identification and want to make the most out of your campaigns, here are some best practices to follow. These tips have been shown to increase conversion rates and reduce cost per acquisition.
1. Segment Your Audience
Use behavioral data to determine each visitors’ stage in the customer journey. For example, if a visitor put something in their cart without purchasing it, they’re likely at the bottom of the funnel. So you should serve them with marketing campaigns that are relevant to the decision-making process that happens at the bottom of the funnel.
On the other hand, if someone visits your website without doing much of anything, they’re probably early on in the process, so they should receive campaigns focused on demand generation.
VSP, a nationwide vision insurance provider, target a segment of visitors who didn’t convert on their website. By targeting this segment, the company was able to increase its conversion rate by 43 percent.
2. Personalize Your Campaigns
Personalized campaigns are more likely to convert than generic communications (e.g., email blasts).
Most marketers stop at the first name. But you can also use personalization to make more compelling offers and better product recommendations. LeadPost includes features such as dynamic injection so you can make your campaigns as personalized as you want them to be.
For example, one Virginia auto dealer group used dynamic injection to send each visitor to their website an offer for the exact car they were viewing. The group sold seven cars for an average of $34 each through this campaign.
LeadPost can also help deliver contextually relevant campaigns by collecting details such as:
- age range
- automotive data
- education level
- homeowner status
- household income range
- length of residence range
- net worth range
- marital status
- phone number
- presence of children
Then you will be armed with the data you need to avoid sending a back-to-school campaign to a single college student who doesn’t have children, for example.
You can also use website visitor identification to enrich the data you already have. This is helpful in cases such as when you only have a contact’s first name and an email or you want to add details (e.g., your customers’ net worth range) to your CRM. That way, you can better personalize future campaigns with this additional data.
3. Use Suppression Lists and Filters
Keep costs in check by using suppression lists and filters to restrict the data you receive. For example, if you don’t want to enrich the data you have on current customers, upload those customers as an audience in LeadPost. Then, you can select that audience as a suppression list when building your campaign.
You can use filters to further refine your campaign. If you only want to target visitors who are interested in a certain product, you can filter out traffic that doesn’t view that product page. Or, if you want to focus on high-intent visitors, you might filter out customers who haven’t viewed multiple pages.
4. Offer an Incentive
Include an offer in your campaigns. A compelling, time-bounded offer captures attention and creates a sense of urgency.
It also makes it easier to track the results of your campaigns by using different promo codes or URLs based on creative, marketing channel, or some other variable.
To get the best results, take some time to determine what sort of incentive would be the most enticing. A discount? Free shipping? Free installation? There are many options, and most companies test different offers to find out which converts best.
5. Develop Sequential Messaging
Most customers won’t convert after their first exposure to a campaign. So it’s critical to develop and deliver campaigns that build on each other to reinforce a compelling narrative.
For example, Ryan Homes sold five homes with a six-week drip campaign with different messaging and offers.
You can deliver a time-based sequence, where a visitor receives different messaging at different times depending on when they first visited your website. Or you can use advanced filters to create audiences and deliver messaging based on a customer’s continued website activity.
LeadPost includes built-in drip sequencing so you can quickly implement this step.
6. Take an Omnichannel Approach
The way consumers make purchases has changed. The customer journey twists and turns through social media, direct mail, physical stores, television, email, and countless other touchpoints. That’s why an omnichannel approach is essential.
LeadPost facilitates this approach by allowing you to deliver targeted marketing campaigns through email, direct mail, paid social, and display advertising.
The key to making this approach work is to send a consistent message across all channels. But consistent does not mean identical. Tailor your creative and ad copy to each channel, and, of course, to its intended audience.
7. Test, Test, Test
As with all marketing campaigns, it’s critical to test everything you can to develop an effective campaign. Some variables to consider for your tests include:
- Subject line
- Body copy
And that’s just the beginning. You can also test:
- The sequence of your emails, postcards, and other channels
- Whether the email is more effective with or without a personalized salutation
- Whether a generic or personalized offer is more effective
Most companies should focus on testing one variable at a time. But if you have a team in place to do in-depth data analysis, you may be able to conduct multivariate tests that will improve performance faster.
LeadPost includes built-in A/B testing to make the process easier.
8. Track Your Results
At the end of the campaign, you want to know whether it worked or not. To determine the profitability of your campaigns, make sure you’re using UTM codes, unique promo codes, unique URLs, and conversion tracking.
Try Website Visitor Identification for Free
Based on the use cases we’ve covered here, it should be easy to see how to identify anonymous website users and use the data to remarket customers in any industry. Insurance companies can deliver more leads to their agents, car rental companies can recover sales from abandoned carts, and restaurants can get more diners to join their loyalty programs.
If you need to maximize your marketing investment, visitor identification software can help you do it, whether they fill out a form or not. To see how it works, sign up for a free trial of LeadPost.