As a business owner or marketing manager, you have more than likely had a call or two from an IP Lookup provider over the last year. Here at Auburn, we have had several companies contact us too, and we were unsure as to whether the services were really as good as they claim to be. So, in the interest of both our own business and that of of our valued clients we decided to take the plunge with the leading IP Lookup provider.
The principle behind the service is that the IP Lookup provider has a database of companies who have fixed IP addresses. An IP address is the unique identifier of a computer or a company network. Smaller companies, home workers or businesses sharing a leased line will most likely not have a fixed IP address, but larger companies will be instantly traceable as soon as they click on to your site.
The service offered by the most well known provider was compelling (I mention no names here, but they use telesales a lot, so no doubt you’ll have had a call from them). Basically after a few days of installing the script on your website, you will receive a demo and the sales rep will show you a list of all the companies that have visited your website. This information is not available through Google Analytics, so it can give valuable insight into whether the right kind of businesses, i.e. your target audience, are finding you online. We trialled the software and installed the script on lots of customer websites as well, and then waited for the information to come flooding in.
Sound too good to be true? Well, that it may be, as there are a number of hidden factors to consider. Firstly, the database that the first provider uses gives a named contact within each organisation, so whenever someone clicks onto your site you will be notified of a specific individual. This sounds great, but is actually highly misleading, because it is impossible to track which person in a company has been on your website. So don’t get too excited when you see the Sales Director of Rolls Royce in the list of contacts that have been surveying your website.
The second thing that we found rather misleading when we had our demo was that there appeared to be quite a few potential customers looking at our site. At first glance this looked great, especially as one of them was a local conference centre, however the IP Lookup includes all hits to our website, including people trying to sell to us not just those wanting to work with us. We did go on to receive a call from the conference centre, but it was indeed a marketing call, so not quite the warm lead that we had in mind!
Pros of using an IP Lookup Service
- The most useful aspect of this service is seeing who has been on your website, so that you can then follow up. You will need some telesales resource to gently follow up the leads and find out if there is genuine interest.
- The service gives good insight into whether you are attracting the right kind of clients. We have certainly seen a correlation between our marketing efforts and new customers visiting our site, allowing us to see if they are the right size and sectors.
- If you are targeting specific businesses through offline marketing and direct mail, it is quite handy to see if a company has taken the time to visit your website. If they have, it is worth prioritising a follow up.
Cons of using an IP Lookup Service
- The named contacts that appear to have been on your website, almost definitely have not. There is no way for the IP Lookup provider to know exactly which person at “Rolls Royce” has visited your site, so you have to do the investigation work yourself.
- Don’t ignore the fact that around 50% of the companies who have been on your site are there to find out your contact details so they can sell to you. The first provider we tried certainly didn’t inform us of this during their sales pitch.
- Be wary of signing up to long contracts. Friends of ours managed to get a short deal just because he negotiated hard and they wanted to hit their sales targets for the end of the month.
- Don’t sign up unless you have the resource to follow up, this takes dedicated time and effort and quite a few calls. Rooting out the real opportunity in a large organisation is very hard to do, especially as you have no idea who it was within the company that visited your site.
- There are lots of other IP Lookup providers that offer the same services but with more efficient processes, better software and competitive rates, so do your homework before you commit.
We have recently signed up on a monthly contract with a company called IP Fingerprint. Their approach has been a breath of fresh air compared with the sales patter of our former provider. The software and data is markedly improved as it filters out the wheat from the chaff. They also let you have a trial of the full software so you can really see if it is right for you before you commit, the monthly plans are affordable and you can cancel at any time with 30 days notice.
At Auburn, we always try services for ourselves to see it they are worth the investment before recommending them to our customers. Have we won any business off the back of it yet? Well the short answer is no, but we are playing the long game and have dedicated some time each week to follow up with calls and investigate the companies that may well be future leads, so we will let you know. If you would like to try IP Fingerprint please get in touch as we can secure a small discount for any customers we recommend and we will happily pass this discount onto you directly. After all, successful clients are happy clients!