With the hype of the 2010 World Cup in full gear, here is an analogy of how the steps to scoring a goal in a soccer game are similar to making a visitor react a desired way on your website.

When it comes to soccer, the goal of the game sounds pretty simple– you need to put the ball in the back of the net. When this happens it is usually the goal scorer who gets the most credit, but what about the defense who got the play rolling? In reality, there is far more to a soccer team’s scoring strategy than the person who gets the ball into the back of the net; in fact, a system has been devised to track the contribution of each individual player. Created by Paul Tomkins, this system creates a value of how each player contributes to the team over a number of games.

“When turning soccer into numbers, there will always be problems. And when it comes to assists, this is especially true. How can you reward someone who rolls the ball eight inches from an indirect free-kick as highly as someone who beats seven men and puts the ball in the striker’s path in the six-yard box?”

Those in the Internet marketing industry can relate Tomkins’ soccer player contribution strategy to their website conversion attribution. When it comes to website conversion, each keyword searched, link from Twitter or direct visit, which ultimately results in a conversion, is in most cases a hit from a repeat visitor or from a visitor who is familiar with your brand name. Each step of your search engine marketing strategy can be seen as an assist that kicked that conversion goal to your website, and that is why a web analytics strategy should be in place for all of your online marketing efforts. All marketing campaigns should be custom fit to your business objectives and consistently monitored, analyzed and adjusted to optimize revenue.

Looking at every step of your marketing strategy, rather than just the end result, will tell you which components of your overall efforts are effective and which ones could use some extra attention.

Keyword Research= Defensive Build Up: Who got the ball rolling in the first place? In the case of a soccer game, it may start with a key pass by the goalkeeper. When online, perhaps it was a particular keyword search at the early stage of the searching process. After this happens there is still a huge amount of work to do in order to grab that conversion, but you need to start somewhere!

Linking= Midfield Pass : In soccer, midfielders are the link between the defense and attack and must possess excellent passing skills. Just as it is difficult for forwards to have good shots on goal with having the ball being strategically set-up by the midfield, it is difficult for websites to ascend in search engines without substantial use of a linking program. Search engines consider quality linking to be one of the main criterions for website ranking on keyword searches.

Social Media Efforts= Assist: If Liverpool scored a goal last season, there’s a good chance Xabi Alonso (player known for his high number of assist) was involved at some point during that move. This may not have a huge importance to the overall outcome, but if involved more often than not, then he is clearly having a positive impact on the team. This could relate to an email marketing campaign, social media campaign, a guest blog post on an industry related blog or an optimized press release. If you take these small efforts away, you may start to see a noticeable drop in conversions.

Website Conversion = Goal: You found a visitor who is interested enough in your well-designed and user-friendly website to complete a sale, give you a call or whatever your conversion goal may be. This is the same as giving a player a free shot with just the keeper to beat. You won’t always get a 100 percent conversion rate – but in both cases there is a very good chance it will end up with a goal.

So in which stage does the most importance lie? In tracking the performance at all stages you can really get a strong idea about how every aspect of an online marketing campaign (or soccer team) is performing. With this valuable feedback from web analytics, you can make an informative and successful decision – whether that decision is to change up your keywords, improve your email marketing efforts or to trade your center midfielder – based on the actual facts and figures.

Just like a winning soccer strategy, successful Internet marketing happens only with careful planning, timely execution, persistent monitoring and ongoing improvement of the results you achieve.  With each online solution completely customized to fit the specific needs of your individual company, The Net Impact combines web design, development, marketing and consulting to complete your online strategy. Based on your individual objectives, we develop a campaign plan that is designed from the ground up to not only drive your targeted audience to your site, but to score a conversion goal.

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