Monday October 28, 2013

Create a Plan to get the Most from Your Analytics

If you’re in any way involved in the management of your business’ website, it’s a given that you’re familiar with website analytics. Odds are that you’re using Google Analytics (or a plugin for it), and depending on your role in the business, you’re either being given reports from analytics or you’re pulling the data yourself.

It’s always good to know how much traffic your site is getting and how that changes month to month, but this is really just the tip of the data iceberg, and learning how to create a plan to better harness the power of website analytics is a crucial way to make the most of your digital marketing efforts.

Start with Objectives

You have a website and you want to increase traffic – that much we’ll assume is true. But beyond that, what interactions and relationships do you want to foster with your site?  Are you trying to create awareness and grow sales of your amazing hair removal product? Build trust and grow leads as a legal support provider? Define these objectives as clearly as possible. This is a critical step not just for your analytic planning, but for the marketing and growth of your business in general. 

Define Your Strategy and Tactics

Analytics Plan

If you’ve already developed a marketing plan, this piece should be in place. What strategy will help you achieve your business goals, and what tactics best support that strategy? Your tactics can include things like a blog, social media execution, direct mail, PPC advertising, email marketing and so on.

Identify the Most Important Performance Metrics

For each tactic being used, identify which desired actions you want visitors to take and which behaviors you wish to improve. For example, if one of your tactics is a newsletter, a completed newsletter signup form on the website will be one desired action you’ll definitely want to track. Platforms like Google Anlaytics allow you to set up macro and micro conversions so you can track both the most important actions (macro) and the indicators that users are moving toward a macro conversion (micro).

Create Relevant Segments

Depending on the type of business you have and visitors you’re attracting, it will be valuable to segment visitors by certain dimensions and track their behavior in isolation and compared to each other. If you have two locations of physical stores and an e-commerce, you might want to segment visitors be geography – visitors near store A, visitors near store B and visitors not close to either.

Determine Targets

To give your performance data context, look to external data and any historical data to determine targets for your website. What overall traffic volumes and conversion rates are leaders in your industry seeing? What conversion rate do you need to hit for your marketing channels to be profitable? These types of indicators should be used to set realistic goals, and from there your analytics will help drive tactical decisions.

Over to you – how have analytics influenced your business’ strategy? Let us know in the comments!

Charlie Nadler
Simple Machines Marketing

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