Got marketing questions?
Have you ever wondered how well your marketing efforts have been performing? Have you ever wondered if the Twitter posts are producing new business? Or if the content you are writing is getting people to submit forms on your website? Or how people who read your posts interact with the rest of your website?
There are millions of other questions that can be asked about one’s marketing efforts. There is neither the time nor the space to get into them all. The point is…we all have a lot of questions.
Data can answer them!
10 years ago it would have been virtually impossible to answer those questions. If you were advertising in newspapers or other print outlets or on TV and radio, you could get statistics that gave you insight in the demographics available through that advertising vehicle.
Nothing was predictable, though. And it sure as hell didn’t answer your questions. Fast forward to today and now we have so much data at our disposal we don’t know what to do with it.
Heck, our current president of the United States, love him or hate him, used analytics during the elections to make decisions. His team even predicted the outcome. In the end, he won…TWICE! A big part of the victory was using the data points to make educated decisions on tactics that would work and the demographics to focus. He gave people what they wanted, where they wanted it, when they wanted it based on the data they possessed.
Data predicts some amazing things
Amazing things can be predicted or “assumed” with the data we have. You probably remember the story of the 16 year old girl’s dad who threaten target for sending his daughter coupons for baby items. Until he found out that she was pregnant. Target knew before her dad because of her behavior and the data.
Credit card companies can predict who is about to get a divorce before it is about to happen based on the person’s spending habits. It’s crazy on what we can predict, assume, and come to decisions with the data available to us.
The power is there. And it’s there for everyone. Big or small. You just need to know how to use the data. The best part of all it is that the majority of the information available to us for marketing and business decisions are FREE.
All of the questions we asked at the beginning of this post, and then some, can be answered by using plain old sweat and effort. No money has to be invested.
Since that is the case, then how does one access the information? Glad you asked. I will answer that question along with other tangible nuggets in the lines below.
Before we begin, there are 3 prerequisites for extracting the data:
1. A website
2. Google Analytics implemented on your website
3. Questions about your marketing efforts
If you have a POS or a CRM, you can also use that information along with the analytics to get even deeper into the data, but that’s more advanced and better suited for another conversation.
Let’s take a look at the actions and reports within Google Analytics that you need to use to answer your marketing questions.
Make a goal
The first step in the process is that you need to create Goals within Google Analytics. GA allows you to set up goals that will help you measure your efforts. They don’t need to be monetary goals, although you can track e-commerce. And even if you have a service based business, the goals in Google Analytics allow you create a value to them. Think of that like dialing for dollars for the ex-cold callers out there.
It a simple math equation. Figure out the average sale, let’s say $1,000. Then you figure for every 100 people that visit your contact page, one will actually convert to a sale. Or for every 100 people who visits your product page, one converts to a sale. Then you know that each visit is worth $10. You can drill out even further, but we are keeping it simple.
The goals you set up in Google Analytics should be broken down into two categories:
1. Macro – large goals linked to the overall goals of the business
2. Micro goals – that help lead to the macro goals
Need an example?
Quick examples –
• Macro Goal 1 – Sell more
• Macro Goal 2 – Increase web traffic by 75%
• Micro Goal 1 – Get people to sign up for emails
• Micro Goal 2 – Get people to sign up for a sales demo
• Micro Goal 3 – Get more people to spend more time on the site
• Micro Goal 4 – Increase referral traffic from social media
If you sell online, you need to turn on your e-commerce tracking. It’s a flip of the switch in the Admin section of Google Analytics.
Know your audience
To answer any questions you have regarding the type of people your website is attracting such as age, gender, location, frequency vs. recency, new vs. returning users, where people view your website – on a desktop or mobile device, even what device they use – android or iOS, and much more from a user standpoint…you will look under the Audience report in Google Analytics. That’s where you can pull all that information from.
To answer your questions about how people get to your website, you have the Acquisition report. That is the area where you can answer such questions as:
Where do people come from? Do most people come from organic traffic? Do they come directly to your site? Which sites link to your site? Are people visiting your site from links on social media? And more.
Know what your audience is doing
If you are using AdWords, you will be able to see all the data from those marketing efforts in that report. You are able to see keywords in the Acquisitions reports, but they are only for the paid ads. All organic keywords are blocked by Google for reasons we will not get into at this time. That’s a whole other can of worms.
To answer your questions about what people do when they get to your website, all of that information is found under the Behavior reports. For example, if you want to find out what is your most popular blog post, you look in the Site Content report under the Behavior section.
If you want to know which page has the highest bounce rate, you turn to the Site Content report under Behavior and look at the bounce rate metric at the top. You are also able to see how fast or slow your pages load, which helps your SEO rankings.
Know what your audience wants
You are also able to see how people search within your site. For example, what product do people most commonly search for? Or what topic do they commonly look for?
That will bring up insights that you can act on, like making XYZ product more prominent in the homepage or product page. Or realizing that you need develop more content around the topic that most people search for inside your site.
Most importantly: know if your audience is doing what you want them to do
The last report section, Conversion, is where you get to see if people are doing what you want them to do when they get to your site and how they do it.
Are people submitting a contact form? Are they purchasing your products? And which products are they buying more of?
Does social media drive sales or does it assist in sales? Which channel contributes the most to direct sales?
The information is there. Probably more than you realize. Use it.
Give it a shot!
There is a lot of information to cover and so little space. But having a general overview of where to find this information along with questions you want and need answers to is a great place to start.
Accessing the data will open up insights in which you are capable of taking actions that will ultimately lead to better decisions and better results.