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Traffic Report Tables
Row 1 - Visits from Direct Entries

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Ideal is between 55% to 60% of total visits. Direct Entries should be your most productive metric. Normal range is 50% to 65%. If below 50% then your offline advertising and/or email response is weak. If higher than 65% it is likely you are depending too much on one advertising source and therefore missing out on additional readership. This is the metric you have the most control over. For 15 years running it has been the most productive of ALL metrics for our customers.


What Is A "Direct Entry?"
A Direct Entry (DE) occurs two ways: 1) People typing in your URL (Uniform Resource Locator, the thing) directly into their browser address cell; 2) People click the link in your email responses to your Web. DEs do not result from a click on a link or a banner. DEs do not come from search engines.

Where Do Direct Entries Come From?
When you get the idea and then think it through, you'll many more ways for Directs to manifest, but here are the most common. Notice that we are relying on human nature here, not technology. As we all know, word of mouth is the best advertising there is. Here they are:
1. People see your URL in print, on a billboard, or other offline advertisement. They then type it directly into their browser to land on your site.
2. Email response clicks - they like your email response and click into your site from it
4. Your repeat guests type in your URL
5. Word of mouth to people from repeat guests who type in your URL
6. Word of mouth from fishing guides and other locals who tell people about you who then type in your URL
7. Favorites - People mark your site as a Favorite or Bookmark, and return to it by clicking that Favorite.

Those are the most common sources. There are many others.

What Do Direct Entries Show?
The Direct Entries metric is the effectiveness measure of all your advertising - both online and offline. It tells you what needs fine tuning about your entire advertising effort. If DE is either too high or too low, then you need to improve something in your offline advertising, or email responses, or both.

What To Do If Low
A low Direct Entries metric shows that not enough people are responding to your email leads by clicking into your Web. Or it could be that your offline advertising is not compelling enough. Or it could be a combination of both. You need to improve one or both, not add more advertising. More details are given below.

What To Do If High
A high Direct Entries metric indicates you are relying on just one or two good offline advertising sources for all your site visits. Chances are you have very little offline advertising, but what you have is working well. If you are happy with your gross annual sales there is no need to change this condition. But if you want more business the too high DE condition indicates you need to diversify your offline advertising. If you are not responding to emails you need to start, and the responses need to be answered well.


How Do People Make A Direct Entry?
Look at the top of your Web browser application. Whether you use Internet Explorer (Windows) or Safari (Mac) or Netscape, or FireFox, or any other browser, the ADDRESS BAR is that long white cell at the upper left top of the browser screen next to the menu icons.

The address bar is where you physically type in Web site URLs. If you do not know where the address bar is, or how to use it, get someone to show you. Don't feel bad, I run into customers every year who do not know what an address bar is, let alone know how to use it. ( If you are using search engines to type in Web site addresses you don't know what an address bar is.) Since your Web site visitors know what the address bar is, and will be using it, you too need to know what it is and how to use it.

Why Direct Entry Is Important
In today's world traveling consumers are very demanding as all of you have experienced. They expect a ton of details and information for every trip they plan. There is not enough room in print advertising to give this level of detail. There is not enough time in a radio or TV commercial to give this much detail. It is expensive to pack this much detail in a print brochure.

But a Web site can handle it all !

This is why effective advertising today strives to drive people to the company Web site for details. Almost all advertising today depends on a three-step process; 1) advertising that drives people to a Web site; 2) people get details at the Web site; 3) people then either phone the company from the Web site or buy the product or service online.

All offline advertising should include your Web site URL. If your offline advertising is compelling people will look at your Web site. Weak offline advertising shows up as a low percentage of Direct Entries in your traffic report.

A diverse offline advertising program may include print ads, radio spots, TV commercials, brochures, rack cards, business cards, clothing, coffee mugs, and a long list of other things that can display your URL. I am surprised on a regular basis at how many of our customers do not have their URL displayed in a wide range of offline advertising. Not including your URL is wasting good opportunities!

Is The Culprit Email Or Offline?
I've found that in most cases of low Direct Entries email responses are largely to blame. The whole purpose of the email response is to get people to click to your Web site. Email response is NOT for a sales effort! Again, the goal of your email response should be to create enough curiosity to compel the reader to click to your Web site. Here are the common problems with email responses.

If the email response does not have a good subject line it will not be opened. Since people get so many emails they decide what to open and what to delete entirely by the subject line. For this reason you need to be a master at writing good subject lines. If you can't, or won't, take the time to write GOOD subject lines stop wasting your time answering email leads.

If your email response gets opened but is too long, or not well written, then click through rates drop, which causes a low Direct Entries metric. Over the years we have polled our email leads senders asking them how helpful the experience of getting email responses was in making travel plans. The biggest complaints were "canned responses" that did not answer their questions, and responses that were way too long.

Our goal in polling our email lead senders was to get feedback from 1,000 of them. We got those 1,000 responses, but it took three years. These folks could call us toll free, or email. This is why we can say what people really want and expect in email replys from you.

Many customers forget that there will be at least 50 other competitors answering those email leads. People DO NOT have the time to read long email responses! Contain your urge to write more than a paragraph or two at the most. Yes, short compelling emails can be written. DO NOT send your whole web site, DO NOT send a bunch of photos. It is NOT what people want.

Regarding offline advertising, it all depends on what you are using. I can tell at a glance what the problem with offline advertising is. But that is a long subject for now. Call if you think this is the problem.

Why Do Email Clicks Show As Direct Entries?
This is because the computer protocols for Web sites and email transmission over the Internet are two different things. Without spending a lot of money it is not possible to set up a traffic log that will distinguish the difference between someone just typing in your URL or clicking that link in your email response. Such a system runs about $500 per month. By using a "tracking image" it is possible to track email open rates.

Written August 2008 by Gary Cooley

Metrics Values | 1 thru 10 | 11 thru 20 | 21 thru 30 | 31 thru 40 | 41 thru 50 | 51 thru 60 | Main Traffic Page