Small business owners know that their customers are headed online. That’s why you’re working hard to create a Web site that attracts customers, understands their problems, and sets your business up as the answer to that problem. But how do you know if your site is working? If it’s meeting the objectives you originally set out and if you’re connecting with your customers?
You could guess or you use Web Analytics to help you understand exactly what is happening on your Web site.
If you’re a site owner and you don’t have an analytics platform running (Google Analytics is powerful and free), you’re missing out on all the ways analytics can help grow your business. How can it do that?
Below are just a few examples.
- Understand Your Keywords BetterWe all thinkwe understand the words and phrases that are driving people to our site. However, your analytics will actually tell you. You’ll be able to dig into your organic search traffic to see which phrases are most powerful in helping people to find your Web site. You’ll also be able to take a big step forward to see not only the rate at which people search a term, but how searchers looking for [keyword x] perform on your site.For example, how many pages do users looking for [custom cowboy boots] look at per visit? How long do they stay? Are they new or returning visitors? Does that search term lead to a visit or a conversion? Once you understand this information you can cross-reference it with other data to help make important site tweaks and segment keywords.
- Understand CustomersOf course, by understanding your keywords better, you’re also working to understand your customers better, as well. You start to see patterns in their behavior and can segment them the same way you’re segmenting your keywords. You may find that users who come to your site after reading reviews about you on Yelp are more likely to convert, even though they view fewer pages. Or you may find that users are taking a different funnel through your site than you had anticipated. Maybe you’re finding they need more information-heavy pages before they’re ready to make a purchase or they need more trust factors. By looking at your analytics and becoming familiar with the path and the activities your visitors take, you set yourself up better to target them and improve their experience on your site.
- Understand Social ActivityBack in May I outlined the new Google Social reports designed to help business owners better understand the social activity on their website. If you missed that post, give it a read now. I truly believe these social reports offer SMBs some of the biggest bang for their buck. They allow SMBs to tie social engagement to real dollar conversions, find conversations on the Web to participate in, show how users from certain social networks behave on their site, and more. If you’ve stayed away from social media because you weren’t sure how to track social ROI, these reports help you to accomplish that.
- Understand Page QualityBy tapping into your analytics you’ll also be able to find which pages are helping users complete their goals…and which are maybe sending them off track. The Visitor Flow visualizations in Google Analytics are really helpful in showing you how your pages are performing and where they’re sending (or not sending) users. Pages that are found to NOT be sending users deeper into the conversion path should be rewritten to better address goals. By highlighting problem areas on your site, it allows you to fix and handle them.
- Understand Offline SuccessesSo not everything related to your business is happening online. You’re participating in events in your community, you’re speaking at local workshops, and you’re constantly creating new brochures or commercials for local television. Your Web analytics can help you measure these successes as well, and it can help you do it in a number of ways.For example, maybe you decide to set up different URLs for radio and print ads to allow you to track which advertising method was more successful. Or you can use radio advertising to encourage people to search for specific search term and monitor that activity. Or you can skulk which terms visitors are using to find you and match them to offline actions. Just because something originates offline, doesn’t mean it won’t end up back on your Web site. Your analytics can help you track it.
Studying your Web analytics allows you to see exactly what is happening on your site, allowing you to respond to it and your customers. Over time, these insights can help SMBs create stronger businesses that are more focused on the needs and wants of their customers.
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#2 is pivotal. The best businesses know their customers inside and out. They know what makes them tick. Analytics provides great data to direct marketing budget, but the overarching insights that you can gain about your customers is far more valuable.
Thanks for the post, we use analytics all the time. It is a great tool for everything you mentioned above. The most basic reason we use analytics is to track the amount of traffic we have and average time on the site.
Thank so much for sharing such a vital lesson. I think that’s where bloggers miss it. It is important that one do a good search for the keyword that go with the content he/she writes about to draw the most likely lead that converts.The great revelation there is that it is FREE! Just for the reachout.
This article was highlighted in a most recent email from analytics and drew me toward it.
Have to agree with the points, albeit point One, is far less effective today than it was 9-10 months ago when google started masking keywords for people who have signed into google. In fact that seriously hampers point One, and requires a lot of sophisticated work arounds to grasp this critical point. Unfortunately it will continue to get worse over time.
We definitely focus on point 5 for a critical point. The above referenced business and some of our others are very attached to search and because of that naturally google. We work all the time to review how our off line efforts reflect bottom line results.
Just reviewed a business re: August results this year and last. Noticed a marked difference and one reflection had to do with some offline advertising which may or may not have contributed to a significant change in revenues.
Now here is a different perspective that we had using–not only analytics, but our in house analysis of results and adwords along with analytics.
The business is local and regional. We noticed “impressions” was way down for a critical geo portion of the market in adwords. Other locations were consistent.
We checked analytics for the two comparative time periods …and yep not only less people thinking about the topic via adwords…but the geo portion of analytics told us less visits to the site.
We had less sales that corresponding month from that target geo region.
Meanwhile in the comparative month…we had run a newspaper campaign. Definitely insights that helped us with regard to understanding off line results.
thanks for the article.
Thank you very much for the post, I use analytics to see how my website is progressing, and in a period of time, I have learnt a lot from it. Great stuff !! 🙂
Careful of the “do no evil” company as they attempt to own the internet!
Thank you very much for the post…May Be I will apply some of the above options to increase visibility of my business…. 🙂
Thanks for the post, we are a start up online retail business about to start marketing, we will definitely be adding Google Analytics to monitor our results after reading your post.
I am from Montreal Canada where I have a lot of friends with the name of Barone, I was wondering, are you related to any of them?
Lisa I need your advice, I am a 74 years old Man, who is starting a new business and would like to get a simple, but attractive webpage, I do not want to build my own, I am not good enough for that, even when they say that it is very easy.
I was wondering, do you have any sugestins, keep in mind, that I do not have a lot of money, I have a new and original product, which I am sure, that it would sell very well on line.
Thanks in advance.