I thought about starting this article with the statement, “I don’t know how marketers managed to be successful in the old days before online measurement tools.” But the fact is, I DO know how they managed it, just maybe not how they were successful. It’s not hard to figure out because a good portion of the marketing community still does it the way they’ve always done it:
- What worked before?
- What small thing can we change to try and hopefully make it better?
- That worked! Keep doing it!
- That didn’t work – go back to the start!
- We’re only showing the boss what worked.
Essentially, the “proven” method is — throw everything at the wall, see what sticks and hope we get lucky. And if you’re really lucky, you’re considered an expert at predicting things. Luck is not a successful business strategy in any other industry, so why is it acceptable for sales and marketing?
And why are we still doing it this way when there are powerful analytical tools that are free to use? A tool that gives you insight into hundreds of business data points. How many people visited your website? Who are they, with detailed demographics? Where did they come from? How long did they stay? Did they visit from a laptop, tablet, or cell phone?
Which pages got the most traffic – and why? How engaged were the visitors? Did they finish reading the blog? For how long did they watch your video ? Did they download anything? Was there an action that led them to your sales funnel? Did they find you on Google, from a direct mailer, a commercial, a billboard?
Actual real-time analysis of your marketing and sales efforts.
Why would you want to keep guessing?
A Learning Curve
Yes, I get it, there’s a bit of a work up front to get everything organized. But you’re entrepreneurs and small business owners, right? If you just wanted to focus solely on sales, you could work for someone else. But you want to change the world – at least most entrepreneurs I talk to do. And the best way to do that is by knowing your efforts are working.
That requires measurement. And the beauty is you don’t have to make educated guesses – or if you start there, it’s quick and easy to see if that guess was right. Remember back in high school, you were taught the scientific method, Hegelian dialectic, to be specific. You start with a hypothesis – find a counter antithesis – compare them and get synthesis – the best answer. And then repeat the process.
With Google Analytics, you can plug those variables in and let them analyze the immense amounts of data to give you the answers you need. It’s the ultimate strategic shortcut. Access to more information than you need – but giving you a true picture of who’s finding your business/website and why. You can even do a lifetime value calculation within the tool – showing which potential customers are worth investing in.
Setting the Goal Posts
I’m not going to take the time to explain how to set up Google Analytics. Alphabet has their own tutorial for that. What we’re going to walk through is something that should probably be done on paper first anyway.
Google Analytics has immense amounts of information you can delve into. But numbers on a page can quickly become overwhelming if you don’t know what they mean. So the learning curve for Google Analytics starts with pen and paper.
You need to break down your sales process to the basest level. The goal for just about everyone is more sales – i.e., more conversions from visits to sales, right? But what is each step of that process? What are the tiers or hierarchy of the funnel? How can you tell when a customer is ready to buy? What does it look like when they need more information? What behavior signifies another increment deeper into the process that leads to conversion?
And the really exciting part is, as I’ve mentioned already, this isn’t guesswork. You start with a premise – this is the behavior that means they’re ready to buy. So you track that goal in Google Analytics. And very quickly you can see if it’s actually true – or is there another step you missed or didn’t even know about before?
You see, Google Analytics can not only track your marketing, sales and site performance. It can also help you hone it down to the most precise measurements possible. Suddenly, you have a clearer picture of the best customer you can serve, and how to catch their attention.
This doesn’t take the place of solid strategy, but rather makes the whole process easier to implement and track.
Want to know which topics are of interest to your ideal targeted customer? Look at the Google Analytics. Take an article that’s an overview and take a deeper dive. Much like the sales conversion breakdown, you can strip down popular topics to the bare bones and make 3-4 posts out of one subject.
Expand or combine your most popular posts into a lead magnet that potential customers can download. In one step, you show added value, convenience and credibility. Or do an email blast, highlighting the most pertinent information of your popular posts, with a link back to read more.
Don’t be afraid to repeat topics and material either. Blog posts usually have a limited life, and newer is automatically perceived as better by many. So cycle through your top posts every once in a while. It’s only going to make you look more useful to Google bots and therefore to customers when it rises to the top.
You can also add updated or additional material to a post that is evergreen and keeps getting traffic. It’s a fantastic way to keep older material relevant and, again, build credibility.
These are just a few tips for using Google Analytics to your best advantage. There are likely countless ways you can discover and set goals specific to your business that Google Analytics can track.
If you’d like more information on how to build that initial strategic “guesswork,” help creating buyer personas that match your ideal customers, or need expertly written, curated blog posts specific to your business, please reach out. We’ve built our business helping small businesses find and market to their audience.
Let’s Grow The Dream together!