Running Google Analytics on your website is a must for any business interested in spending their marketing dollars wisely.
If you are in the habit of just writing checks and not concerned about your return on investment, please feel free to make your next check payable to me and I will be happy to personally oversee a team to put up a billboard for you on Bermuda’s Southampton beach.
Website Analytics for Small Business Websites
But if you are a small business owner, it is important to measure everything you do and make some smart decisions on the most effective advertising for your dollar. Google Analytics is free and still in my opinion, the most robust web analytics tool on the market today. It is also the most underutilized tool used by small business websites. Primarily this is because no one has shown you how yet. Read this for some Google Analytics basics. Once you have the basics covered, here are a few ways to help you generate some actionable information.
Every landing page should have a primary “Call to Action” and perhaps a few secondary conversion goals like “Follow Us on Twitter”, “Like Us on Facebook” or “sign up for our newsletter”. Too much get’s confusing for the visitor so be sure to design your landing pages with a focus on the primary action. All of your advertising should direct traffic to your landing pages, and yes can be your home page if you must.
1) Record all marketing events as a new annotation. Start at the Dashboard visits graph and click on the down arrow at the bottom of the graph. Click “create new annotation” and indicate the date and event you are measuring. Regardless if it is an offline or online marketing initiative, you now indicated when your advertising began and can measure the increase in page views from your targeted segment of visitors. Make sure you have set up a custom segment for your most qualified group as well as one that represents your campaign demographics.
2) Need to set up some advanced segments for a specific groups of visitors? Not a problem. Avinash describes how to be a segmentation maniac in this post “Do or Die Segmentation”. There are so many variations. Most small business owners with a local clientelle just wish to measure the local traffic volume that is qualified to make a buying decision. Check out this video on how to create a custom segmentation in Google Analytics.
3) Measure Conversion Goals. Most new clients I start with never filled out the Goals section of their Analytics account. After rearranging the Dashboard, this is the first area I visit and always start with a few URL destination goals that quantify events like:
Contact form completions
Newsletter sign ups
Click to call, email or chat events
as well as any other obvious conversions. This short video will get you started on setting up some basic goals for your website.
4) Funnel Visualization is good for those that have a buying process or use Bread Crumbs to lead a prospect through a decision making process. The funnel is the URL path a visitor follows to a completed goal. It is inevitable that some visitors will abandon the shopping cart or bread crumb trail and not complete the purchase. Watch this visualization video to learn how and soon you will know what page is causing your visitors to leave and even where they are going. Conversion rate optimization will help create greater “stickiness” and simplify the decision-making process along this funnel.
Optimization Marketing ROI
Web site analytics data is worthless if you do nothing with it. Actionable insights are what you need to continually optimize your marketing efforts. Google analytics can be your ROI calculator for both marketing investments and operational investments if you are using your website to perform services with your clients.