Tracking website visits: when does market research become creepy?

By Erika Cannon
[email protected]

I’ve recently been conducting market research, or, I guess you could call it spying on my competitors, but let’s not split hairs.

It is important – to know what your competitors are up to, and what they’re charging for it. I even signed up for an email list. Why not?

Later that day, I received a phone call from a sales guy for that platform, who mentioned that I had spent X number of minutes on the budget page of their website, and asked if we could talk.

Ewwww. That’s creepy, dude.

Don’t call me and read your website activity report over the phone.

I suspect that if you’re not in the business (marketing/sales), you might not know that your movement is being tracked and scored when you come to my website. So I’m not going to call you and recite to you what you’ve done.

We track website behavior quietly because it lets me know who’s interested, and who in my list of 10,000 prospects I should focus my individual attention on. But – that focus shouldn’t be microscopic. Take it easy. Be general.

“Thanks for visiting our website recently. Could we schedule a call to talk about XXXX?”

And before you pick up the phone, make sure you return the favor and visit their website as well. That way, you can have an intelligent conversation about how the two of you can work together.

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Conducting digital market research on your cold prospects or your competitors is perfectly normal.
Just keep in mind that they don’t want to feel like you’re secretly watching them from behind a corner (or lamppost).


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