On Word-of-Mouth, Online Recruiting & Measuring Web Site Stats

Rarely do I talk about our clients and their campaigns in this space. That silence is purposeful for a lot of reasons, chief of which is that often I’m not allowed to speak about their campaigns. Not so today. We launched a new site job recruiting site for the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia and Upper Ohio Valley Tuesday and there are 2 powerful points you can take away from this post, which you can use to improve your marketing today.

Background: TakeMeHomeOhioValley.com

Over a year ago our local economic development agency approached us about ways we could attract folks from the Ohio Valley that had moved away to come back. Local employers were having trouble filling good quality positions with skilled workers with previous relevant experience. In addition, companies were expressing an interest in moving here, but sometimes were held back by a lack of [fill in the blank] positions because of a lack of workers in the area with [fill in the blank] skills.

Our mission – to get a list of workers with various marketable skills that are currently in the area or would move back if the right job was available. Tuesday, our efforts finally saw the light of day and TakeMeHomeOhioValley.com was launched.

Early Results are In

It’s still early and we have a lot of features that will be added to the site over the coming weeks and months, including a blog (coming very, very soon), videos, pictures, and especially more employers and opportunities.

Update – A beta version of the WV Jobs blog is up now.  Check it out.

Even after less than 3 full days, the data is impressive if I do say so myself, which I do. [rummages in desk, finds horn, honks it]

Take a look at this map which I screenshotted, screenshot, took a picture of from Google Analytics with a little photoshop help and click on it to see a larger image with more information:

Takeaway #1: Measure your Web Site Traffic

There’s no reason today for you not to know how many people are hitting your site, where they’re coming from, what search phrases visitors are using and several other dozen statistics which may or may not be of importance to you.

If you don’t already have the ability to measure your traffic or aren’t getting the stats you need, go to Google Analytics and set up a free account with haste. The only possible downside to not doing it is if you have concerns that Google’s getting a little too Big Brother-ish (which would be valid, but that’s a subject for another post).

Google Analytics free, easy to use, quick to install via some code to add to your site, and remarkably robust for something that’s free. Big boys will use something more advanced like WebTrends and get even more information, but that’s going to cost you a little. If you do go that route, I suggest you contact Steve Colon. I also want to experiment with Microsoft’s new analytics software – still in beta – but haven’t and can’t report on it.

The bottom line – start getting analytic data today and read your reports regularly. Most services will allow you to choose just the information most valuable to you and have it emailed to you on a regular basis.

Takeaway #2: Buzz Like a Bee

Word-of-mouth is my favorite set of three words bound by hyphens.

Take a look at that picture of the United States again. That tells you where visitors to TakeMeHomeOhioValley.com have come from between noon on Tuesday and midnight Thursday. The darker the color, the more visitors. Obviously we’re getting the most traffic from Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania (in that order).

But if you look at the other states, you’ll notice many of them are some shade of green as well. In that span, we’ve had visitors from 35 states and the District of Columbia. There are only three states that don’t border any state that’s had someone visit the careers site and one of those is Alaska. Not only that, we’ve had real visitors (meaning not someone jumping on and off immediately) from other countries. Places like Germany, Belgium, Qatar, and Malaysia. Our Belgium friend comes from Mons and spent more than a half hour on the site looking at 14 different pages.

I’ll risk boring the non-numbers folks out there by providing just three more stats. In the first 60 hours, we’ve had

  • 1,375 unique visitors
  • 23,486 pageviews
  • an average of 5:34 spent on the site by each visitor

Those numbers should pop out at you. But you know what’s really amazing? That’s without any advertising – not even search engine optimization or social networking yet. We did a press launch, which resulted in WTRF and WTOV running segments on their local news broadcasts and WKKX do a radio interview with me. Plus one of our educational partners, Wheeling Jesuit University, put a notice about it on their Web site. That’s it – nothing else.

That means all the traffic came through what we call the mom network around here. People who have seen their sons and daughters (or sisters, brothers, friends, cousins…) move away and still send them clips about the Ohio Valley.

So how did this become so viral so quickly (is that redundant?)? Not only is this news information about the Ohio Valley, it’s about ways residents can get their friends and loved ones to come home and ways those people can actually move home. There’s strong desire on both ends of the equation. When you can build content that people will have a deep emotional attachment or reaction to, there’s no limit to this ‘free’ advertising, which is often the best converting.

This emotional desire by both senders and recipients is why this careers site started getting listed in places like a WVU athletics forum that sends 177 people to the site within a matter of hours with posts like this:

new website takemehomeohiovalley.com just went live yesterday and


it is being used to promote jobs in the Northern Panhandle with the goal of bring bringing West Virginians back home. i am listening to the web designer on WKKX. eventually it will have a lot job listings. check it out. i know i will.

Thanks goxbyr, whoever you are.

Justin Seibert

About The Author

Justin Seibert is the President of Direct Online Marketing. Justin holds a Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University. He contributes a wide range of online business-oriented topics, including the subject of exporting. His contributions can be found on publications such as the Pittsburgh Business Times, Advertising Age, SES Magazine, and La Voz del interior. Justin and his family enjoy learning about new cultures during their travels.

View Justin's full bio.
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