Do you know who is coming to your website?  Who is buying your product?  Where they are coming from?  What they like and dislike?

Analytics are an extremely valuable asset when it comes to your website and your online marketing efforts. The more informed you are on where and how your customers interact with your site, the more effective (and more efficient) your marketing efforts will be.

There are three key areas where analytics can help drive your online marketing strategy:

1.      Keywords

Knowing which keywords bring the most value to your site is essential in the success of any online business. Keywords drive content, messaging and more importantly, the right keywords drive sales.

Analytics provide you with insight into which keywords are working and which keywords are not. A word or phrase you thought described your product may not be what your customers use to describe your product. There is also the chance you have the right keyword, but the wrong content surrounding it.

To gain a better understanding of how your keywords are performing, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which keywords drive traffic to your site?
  • Which keywords drive conversions?
  • Which keywords drive traffic but aren’t converting?

Once you know the answers to these questions you can start to adjust your focus.  Take a look at which keywords convert the best and analyze why:

  • Does the keyword describe your product?
  • Is the keyword too broad?
  • Does your site offer quality content around the keyword?

If a keyword is driving traffic but not converting, the content surrounding the keyword could be wrong.  Perhaps the keyword is simply targeting customers earlier on in the buying cycle. Someone starting a business may search “business websites” to gain a better understanding of what they should do for their own website. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are looking for someone to create a business website for them right now.

These are important factors to consider when looking at your keyword set and lead us to the next section.

2.      Landing Page Content

One of the greatest assets of any analytics software is the ability to break down your website page by page.  You can see how many people landed on a page, how many people exited a page, where they came from, what keyword they searched to get there, how long they spent on a page and most importantly, you can see if they converted.

By breaking down the top landing pages, you can determine just how customers interact with your website and how with the right design and content, you can give them a great experience.

When thinking about your landing pages, consider the following:

  • What are the top landing pages?
  • Which pages have the highest bounce rate?
  • What pages do people spend the most time on?
  • Which pages lead to the most conversions?

We all know the home page is always (or at least 99% of the time) going to be the top landing page; it typically will also have the highest bounce rate. With the home page, the best thing to do is test a few different designs and messages to find which one offers the lowest bounce rate and drives the most conversions overall.

Moving beyond the home page, your internal landing pages can actually be the most valuable. The internal landing pages contain the bulk of the content, i.e. the information your customers are looking for. It’s the internal pages that answer your customers’ questions and drive them to convert.

Break down the top landing pages and evaluate why they are successful.  What keywords did visitors use to get there?  What type of content is on that page?  What calls to action are you using?  Can this be replicated on other pages?

Knowing what your customers do once they are on your site is just as important as knowing how they got there.

3.      Buying Cycle

How long is the buying cycle for your product or service?  How many times does a customer visit your site before buying?  What are they looking at during that time?  With an online business and website analytics, this information is not just available, it’s invaluable.

To begin, answer the following questions:

  • How many days after the first visit do people convert?
  • Which pages do they visit during that time?
  • What content do the pages contain?
  • What calls to action are you using?

By knowing where your customers are in the buying cycle, you can really refine your online marketing efforts (this is especially true when it comes to paid search). If you know a typical customer comes to your site and reads 5-7 information-based pages before they convert, you can gear your initial messaging and calls to action around that. Instead of saying “Buy now” you can say “Get more information.”

For paid search campaigns, determine which keywords correspond to which point on the buying cycle and drive users to landing pages with the content they need at that point in the process.  Using the same example we used in the “Keywords” section, drive the person searching “business websites” to a page that provides ideas on creating a business website.

Hitting your customers at the right point is extremely important.  A person who comes to your site for information and finds what he/she needs will almost always come back to you when they are ready to buy.

Conclusion

Analytics offers online businesses an easy and smart way to learn about their customers and more importantly, learn how customers interact with their website.  By simply taking the time to evaluate the data, you can create an online marketing strategy based on actual customer needs and behavior.  That is the sort of thing marketers have been trying to do for ages!

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