We're not going to sugar-coat this: if you're not using analytics, you're opting out of a serious game-changing, profit-producing machine.
Yeah, that's a little bold, but our experience backs it up. For one of our clients, Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), analytics-guided website changes boosted total page views a cool 72%.
The outdated approach to web marketing says “I'm going to make decisions about the site based on what competitors are doing or what my personal preferences are.”
The "Analytics" approach is a little different. It says “Yep, I'm going to take my competitors and personal preferences into account, but I'm going to base my decisions on cold, hard data that reveals what my converting customers' preferences are.”
What can you learn through analytics? Read on:
8 game-changing questions that analytics can answer:
- How many visitors do I have per month? One of the most basic questions you probably have is: How many people are showing up to the party? How many of them are new visitors, and how many are repeats? These numbers serve as a helpful starting point as we analyze the “how,” “what,” “where,” “which” questions.
- Where are those visitors are finding me? These days the possibilities are practically endless. Social media like Facebook and YouTube, paid advertising like Google AdWords and banner ads, organic search results, and links on other sites are just a few of the possibilities. The answer to this question will have a big impact on where you focus future efforts. If your expensive ad campaign is producing just a few clicks while your guest blog post is bringing in hundreds of visitors, you know to up the ante on guest blogging and re-evaluate your paid campaign.
- Which visitors are converting? Hold on a tick. Just because a certain source is referring a lot of traffic, that doesn't mean it's referring good traffic. Having a large amount of visitors who don't convert is just as well as having no visitors at all. Through analytics, we can now determine which visitors are really interested in our product or service, and then redouble our efforts on attracting more visitors from those sources.
- What pages are my visitors looking at, and where do they exit from? Maybe you'll find that users are flooding to your FAQ page, and then leaving without converting. Are they not finding answers to important questions soon enough, and leaving to check out a competitor? Or perhaps visitors are pouring into your website's blog page and then leaving. Could you add more calls to action that encourage blog readers to check out your product pages as well?
- What demographic am I attracting? A locally-based caterer would benefit from knowing which surrounding areas are showing the most interest in their website. They might expand into new areas that are showing higher interest than expected, or optimize keywords to bring in more traffic from lower-performing areas. Additionally, analytics show what languages visitors use; perhaps multi-lingual support would be in order for sites with strong international interest.
- Which browsers and devices are my website most viewed on? Cross-browser support can be a headache (Internet Explorer, anyone?), and with mobile devices now on the market, it's even more time-consuming to keep websites looking good on every combination of browser and operating system. Luckily, analytics will show which browsers and devices your visitors use, so you can focus on the ones that matter most. For instance, if you have a large number of visitors from Safari on the iPhone, but practically zero Internet Explorer 7 users, you should spend more time creating a site that responds well to the mobile browser, and less time making it look perfect in the outdated browser.
- What are visitors searching for within my website? If your site is large enough to warrant a search feature, you should be keeping track of what users are searching for. If your furniture store gets a large volume of “platform bed” searches, you could capitalize on this information: offer a sale on platform beds, place them in a featured section on your homepage or a sidebar, and target “platform bed” in your AdWords campaign.
- Are my advertising dollars producing a good ROI? This is what it all comes down to. Are you focusing your time and budget on the right things? Could you be increasing conversions and cutting unnecessary spending by making a few simple changes? You can't hope to answer this question without analytics.
What if my website hasn't been built yet?
If you're in the beginning stages of website design with no previous site to collect data from, you can still benefit from analytics. If you're working with a company that incorporates analytics, the data they've gathered from previous clients will help them make better predictions when it comes to your website campaign. Once your site is live, your site's analytics will fine-tune that strategy.
Whatever stage of the process you're in, we at Hult Marketing will use analytics to create an overall plan based on data, not wild guesses. For more details, email Jim Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 309-673-8191.