HitTail is Real-time, Easy and Actionable.

HitTail Best Practices Mar 18, 2007

With HitTail premium here, and a unique chance to get grandfathered into our “thank-you” introductory pricing, I pause to think about why our non-analytics package has received such unilateral praise. We don’t track conversions. We don’t tell you whose online now. We don’t do A/B switch multivariate testing. We don’t do site visitor geo-dexing. So then why is everyone jumping onto the HitTail bandwagon?

By boss, Connie Connors, would remind me that we’re real-time, easy and actionable. But these are buzzwords to my ears, and I think people have to have the “I get it” moment. Before that, there’s no amount of explanation that will suffice. Sure, we’ve tried, with our snazzy flash demo, personal appeal, live login, and collecting the tons of spontaneous endorsements around the Internet. And now we’re about to demonstrate that it has legs as a paid service. But what does real-time, easy and actionable really mean?

Deep down in every marketer’s heart is the desire to watch a website’s raw log files and understand what they’re seeing. At some point in their marketing career, someone loads it into Notepad.exe to demonstrate to them the futility, and they are crestfallen, spending the rest of their marketing careers looking for second-best. What they discover is highly evolved and complex software that goes way beyond log files in the ability to ferret out every little fact about the site. But with this capability, comes complexity, and to really pursue this path, you have to become a career analytics person–or worse yet, rely on someone who is. It’s still not as good as just watching your log files.

HitTail’s “real-time” capability is about satisfying that basic marketing need–finally. Massively powerful databases, stunningly fast parallel processing, new programming techniques (AJAX), and a new way of thinking about the problem were required to make this happen. But when marketers finally see it, they get that at long last, they’re getting a real-time view of their log files. Better yet, it’s distilling the list to just what they want to see–sources of initial referrers. Because, in the end, when you’re just sitting there watching traffic, who cares about page-to-page internal page-loads. What’s most interesting is how people are getting to your site, and why. And that’s exactly what HitTail shows you in real-time. No more. No less. And as the icing on top, it’s also extracting the keywords and evaluating writing suggestions right there as you watch. There’s no one-day wait. A one-day wait for site activity data is so 1990’s.

So, how about when we say “easy”? Well, that’s always a loaded term. One person’s easy is another person’s puzzle. HitTail’s “easy” means that there are just 4 tabs to our user interface and the activities under each tab are fundamentally the same. We don’t make you play “drill-down-surprise” and we don’t make you play “expand and explain”. Instead, we make you play “pair down the list”. Every list is addictively interesting, and this addictive nature of HitTail enhances the “easy”. Everything remains in fixed positions on the screen, and we correspondingly let you “get into the zone”. When you’re HitTailing best, you’re thinking least. Things just sort of run on automatic, until it comes time to write. THEN you think.

Contrast that with the labor-intensive keyword research processes of the alternatives. Worse yet, contrast that to the complexity of trying to do complex things, like user path analysis.

The sad truth is that when you try to do complex things, you have to do complex things.

“Duhhh”, you say? Well, not really, when you think about the state of analytics today. Sometimes just getting to your list of initial referrers is a complex thing. Forget about serious keyword analysis. Analytics software loses most people at “Hello”. In contrast, HitTail inspires a surprisingly enthusiastic following. Never before on the Internet has the formula for systematically drawing in more and more potential customers… been… so… EASY!

And finally, how about the term “actionable”? What exactly does that mean, anyway? Isn’t analytics software actionable? When I pull up those charts and graphs, can’t I turn around to my website and know exactly what to do?

Well, no.

First, you need to know what questions to ask, so your analytics software is telling you the right things. Once you have that, you need to interpret the raw data. Are you dealing with usability adjustments? Are you dealing with a deficit of referring sources? Are you dealing with flawed sales-flow and conversion? And once you have your answers, who do you turn to, to do the work? Your webmaster? Your marketing team? Your programmers? Or how about you yourself? Are you personally a candidate to carry out the work that your interpreter of analytics data says needs to be done?

With HitTail, you are.

With HitTail, you receive explicit instructions, you need to write about this, or you need to write about that. And we strongly encourage you to use best-of-breed blogging software, so all publishing friction is eliminated. You don’t need to go to webmaster, marketing team, or even programmers. You just go to Blogger, TypePad or WordPress (not the hosted version), and type in a few words to the title field, and write as well as you can about that topic. Press “publish”, and within a few day or weeks, you will be attracting more visitors to your site on that term. So, with “actionable”, we mean that we tell you precisely what to do with the data that we provide.

It is a demonstrate-able and reliably reproducible effect, making HitTailing a delightfully scientific natural search marketing technique. And it is indeed a technique, rather than a mere tool, exactly because it is actionable.

So, there you have it. HitTail is different from competitive marketing tools, because it is real-time, fulfilling the hidden desires of marketers worldwide. HitTail is easy, in that you can figure out everything you need to know within a few minutes. And HitTail is actionable, in that you are explicitly instructed to take specific actions on your website… repeatedly.

And when you do it, you’ll see results.

And that’s HitTail.

  • Real-time
  • Easy
  • Actionable

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