Let's face it, marketing today is complicated. Someone on your team will tell you need to kick up your email marketing efforts while you just read a report that says email marketing is dying. So who do you believe, and where should you spend your marketing dollars? Enter marketing analytics.
Making Data Digestible
Imagine you had 5,000 visitors to your site this month; 1,900 of them spent less than 30 seconds on your site; 2,000 spent less than 60 seconds; and 1,100 spend longer than a minute on your site. Along with that, you know that 2,100 visitors made it to your Services page, but only 200 made it to your Contact page. What does that all mean?!
Today, we have the capability to collect data upon data upon data from your website, but good analytics software helps make all of this data understandable. Instead of trying to sort your piles of raw data into something you can make sense of, analytics software, or an analytics service will do this for you so numbers like Average Session Length, Average Number of Pages Viewed, and Bounce Rate (how often a visitor leaves your site without visiting a second page) actually mean something. These metrics allow you to quickly identify patterns and make decisions based on digestible facts.
Analytics Tell the True Story
Marketing strategies for so long have been based on best guesses, gut feelings, or data collected from customer feedback and general sales performance. While we will always have to somewhat rely on these sources, we can paint a much clearer picture of what is working and what isn't by setting tracking visitor behavior on a website.
Let's say you are a sporting goods store and you just put out an ad promoting your new tennis racket restringing service in the local newspaper. Then suddenly you notice your website "Contact Us" form submissions have tripled from the previous week. It may seem clear that this traffic is from your newspaper ad, but how do you know it wasn't due to your sales team making an extra cold call and networking push to hit their sales quota before the end of the quarter? Or could it be because general site visitors are finding your new racket restringing service page by simply exploring your site navigation?
With analytics you can look deeper and find the true story. Are the leads coming from organic search or direct traffic (people just typing in your URL)? If these visitors are coming from direct traffic, are they immediately hitting the landing page you specifically advertised in the newspaper, or are they just landing on your general homepage?
If most of your leads are coming from the specific tennis racket restringing landing page, this increase in contact form submissions is almost definitely from your newspaper ad; but if these leads are coming in via social media or organic search, you have to use more detective work to understand what's really drawing them in.
Analytics Point Out the Holes in Your Website
Following data trends and visitor behavior on your site is key in understanding whether your site is performing at a high level or not. You could be attracting thousands of visitors to your site each month, but if you are only collecting 5 to 10 potential customers, you may have some holes to fill. Studying the data allows you to see where potential leads are falling through the cracks. See the following example:
Danny is searching for custom printed candy for his wedding in 4 months, and he stumbles upon your website via organic search. Your company provides exactly what Danny is looking for plus custom designed candy sculptures. As Danny browses your site, he clicks into your "Printed Candy" page. He scrolls to the bottom of the page and finds your order form, but he isn't ready to commit yet. Instead he bounces out of your site and starts looking at your competitors. Since he never entered his information, you have no way to truly reach out to him.
When you look at the analytics of this page, you see that 800 visitors like Danny have seen this page this month, but only 5 people have submitted your order form. This is a huge opportunity for you to convert more visitors into leads, so you decide to offer a free sample of your printed candy to visitors if they submit their name, email, and phone number. With this information, you can now market your services to customers like Danny and offer them something small in exchange for their information. Information that allows YOU to follow up with a personal touch that helps you seal the deal.
Without studying the analytics, you may never know that you have so many visits to your Printed Candy page. By understanding where your site traffic is flowing, you will be able to identify exactly where you are missing your conversion opportunities.
Analytics Uncover Hidden Revenue Opportunities
As you review your analytics to find holes in your site, you will also find hidden revenue opportunities. Often you will notice that people are flowing to a general section or page on your website. If this is the area you are purposely funneling people to, great! If it is part of your site that people naturally gravitate towards without your influence, then you may have uncovered new opportunities.
In the example above, you may find that visitors like Danny are settling on your bulk custom printed chocolates even though you are promoting and funneling visitors towards your generic candy wedding favors. This may mean you should be promoting the custom chocolate candies and offering specials or discounts for them instead of focusing so much effort on your wedding favors. With this increased focus on the printed chocolates on your home page and social media promotions, you will be able to capitalize on this interest right away rather than forcing your visitors to dig deeper into your website to find the gem they really want.
So how do I start tracking visitors and their site behavior? The first place to start, if you haven't already done so, is to set up Google Analytics for your site. There are plenty of other tools you can implement on your site, but Google Analytics is a great place to start.
We would be lying to you if we said that understanding everything on Google Analytics is easy. There are a ton of video tutorials out there on YouTube, but if you aren't especially tech savvy, or if you are just short on time, it is wise to invest in a consulting package. For many companies an investment in a marketing consulting package that includes analytics research is all that they need to become a powerhouse in their industry.