Let’s discuss the importance of website analytics and how they can help you to improve your digital marketing.
Website analytics basically gives you the power and ability to analyze how website visitors interact with your site. “OMG, how boring does that sound?” you may be asking yourself; however, bear with me, and I’ll explain.
Most companies invest significant amounts of time, money, and resources in the marketing of their products and services. Much of that marketing results in website traffic, and some of its results in inquiries and sales. However, what about the rest of it? What about the typically 90%+ of website traffic that brings no results?
Many companies use Google Analytics, which is free and can tell a lot about website traffic and website visitors. It’s useful to give you an overall picture; however, it can be a little limited when needing granular information.
I’m going to refer to a business to business scenario here; however, most of the principles also apply to business to consumer marketing as well.
Let’s say you sell red widgets to other companies, and during a month, you’ve had five inquiries about red widgets. Using systems like Google Analytics, you can see how many website visitors you’ve had who were interested in red widgets, which lets you see how good your five inquiries were compared to the overall visitors.
Using round numbers, let’s say that you had 100 website visitors interested in red widgets, which means you got a 5% success rate during the month. Google Analytics can help you get an understanding of what pages they went to, where they came from, and where they left to go.
Using this information is powerful because you can learn so many things about your target audience, such as;
- What source they came from (e.g., search engine, online directory, direct visit)
- What exact search phrase they typed (if from a search engine)
- Every page of the website that they looked at, including how long they spent on each page
Website analytics help your marketing.
How will this website analytics information help me improve my marketing?
If you’ve gained five inquiries about red widgets during the month, then you’ll hopefully have recorded the dates and times that the inquiries came in. You can then use a strong website analytics system to refer back to those dates and times to see the paths that the ‘successful’ visitors went through.
More importantly than that, you can look at all the other website visitors who were interested in red widgets and get a feel for how they navigated through the website. In most cases, you’ll find that there are common patterns leading to a lack of contact being made, which will make you think, “maybe we could tweak [something] to encourage people to get in contact with us.”
What you’ll learn most of all, though, is that the website isn’t performing as well as it should be, and you have various options of what to do here:
- Consult staff/friends/relatives about what they think are weak about the website.
- Call in the website design experts.
- Do nothing about it at all.
I have seen myself over and over again that analyzing website visitor paths is vitally important for a website to be fully successful, and we do this through a simple process:
- Use website analytics to find where websites may be weak
- Recommend changes to content or design
- Get changes implemented
- Measure differences in inquiry levels
I have contacts in B2B and B2C who have made huge improvements by watching their statistics carefully. From professions like small business coaches to shoe shops and medical professionals, it is amazing who can benefit from this approach.
Whether using experts or doing it ‘in-house,’ website analytics analysis does require investment (whether that be purely time or involves financial outlay – usually both when it comes to website changes being required after the analysis). Perhaps this is why very few companies are using a strong website analytics system – the effort that’s involved.
However, those same companies will go on spending on various marketing activities and getting weak results, which seems to be a bit mad compared to getting a better understanding of why the existing levels of marketing aren’t getting strong enough results.
Summary of website analytics
I estimate that only a maximum of 5% of all companies is actually reviewing their website analytics or analysis software regularly, and out of those, many of them will be larger companies.
You can get an advantage over other competitors by being one of the only small businesses who are actively watching their statistics and making changes to their web design or web content to ensure you get the best value from it and optimize for conversions.