This is Part 2 of a 5 Part series of articles that will examine the importance of marketing analytics.
Understanding Your Visitors Through Analytics
Your website visitors are far more than page views. They are folks that take various actions (or not) once they get to your site. It’s important to understand as much as you can about them. Due to Google’s powerful network, they need tons of data on your users. You may also find it useful in understanding your audience.
Let’s examine several aspects of visitor data that you should be mindful of, in order to improve your business through the analytics.
Who Are They?
Knowing exactly who your visitors are is beneficial, because once you choose your target audience, your marketing efforts are probably based on little more than an educated guess. You may have guessed right, but then again, you may be wrong about the marketing materials, products and services that your niche is actually interested in. Once your site is live and you’re making some sales, you can start checking to see if you’re marketing to the proper people. As your data builds up, you will start to learn about the real people in your audience. This is infinitely better than making business decision based simply on your idea of who they are.
Where Did They Come From?
How your audience finds you is a crucial thing to understand. If your audience is finding their way to you from one location more than any other, you would like to ramp up your activities there to get even more out of that traffic source. In Google Analytics, you’ll find this information under Referrals. Pay attention to where your visitors come from. Put more effort into those channels, or see if you can duplicate the success with channel somewhere else. Better yet, do both, but always fine tune based on your real data. Using analytics is like reading road signs. Going down a dead end road is not going to get you to your destination.
Where Is Your Audience Located?
You’ll use the Geo Location area of your analytics to discover where your audience lives. Even if you’re marketing worldwide, this is good information to uncover. Knowing where your audience is located can assist you in making some general assumptions about their personalities, behavior and values. The English-speaking world disproportionately dominates the internet, relative to its percentage of the world population. If you’re reading this, I would guess you are probably going to be conducting your online marketing in English. I am located in the United States and so are most of my visitors. I know this from my analytics. Although I may market with Americans in mind, what if most of my visitors actually turned out to be Canadian? What if my site actually became more popular in Australia, despite my original marketing intentions? Knowing where my real-life visitors are located means I can tailor things a bit more and, potentially, capture even more that market share.
What Do They Do On Your Site?
Using analytics, you can map what each visitor does on your site. This lets you see pages are the hottest at any given time. This can assist you in determining what sort of content you should add to your website. If a particular topic is getting a lot of traction, knowing that enables you to prioritize similar content. You may find that your niche prefers a particular type of content, but sometimes you might find that certain topics trend for a while and then taper off. Either way, you can respond to your visitor’s interests when you are keeping track of what their interests are. Put more of what they’re reading and viewing on your site to keep them coming back for more and to draw in even more visitors like them.
What Do They Want?
By analyzing where your visitors are going on your site and how they interact with your content, you’ll increasingly gain insight into what they need from you. If they’re reading blog posts, do more written content. If they watch and share videos more often, put more energy into video content. Knowing what type of content your visitors prefer can be figured out through analytics and you can adjust accordingly. Turn that next blog post into the script for a new video if that is what your audience wants.
What Are Their Conversion Paths?
Knowing the steps a user takes from the time they land on your site until they make a buying decision is vital, because it can assist you in creating paths that support increased conversions. This is how you optimize your sales funnels. If you learn what an effective conversion path looks like to your visitors, you can create more of them.
What Posts Do They Comment On?
If you have comments enabled on your blog, or get emails from people that have visited your site (especially if they purchased something), what kind of information do they discuss most? Are their remarks positive, negative or indifferent? With that information, you can create more content that generates more positive responses, including sales.
Any information you get on your visitors will assist you improving your website and your entire business. You can learn a lot by what your current visitors do and don’t do on your website. As your traffic increases, you will be able to visualize your visitors more and more accurately. Use this information to make everything you do better and more targeted.
Understanding Your Competition Through Analytics
Just as understanding your visitors is important, so is understanding your competition. When it comes to analytics, understanding your competitors should be the second item on your priority list. The more you come to understand your competition, the greater the results you’ll see. There is so much you can learn from them – especially if they’ve been around longer than you. If you know that your competition is profitable, that’s a pretty good indicator that they know what they’re doing and are good at it. If that’s the case, it’s even more important to find out all you can from them.
It may seem unlikely that your competitors are simply going to volunteer all of their information to you. Well, it is unlikely, but who cares? That’s what our analytics are for. Studying your visitors was made easier, because you have direct access to the analytics for your own site. How do you get in-depth data on someone else’s business, though? No, not from hacking into their computer! There are other ways to pull together analytical data on the competition – ethically and legally. We’ll be looking at some now.
This is an excellent, free service. I’ve been using it for years. Sign in and choose keywords, names, and more to search for. Then, set up how often you want to receive the alerts in your email inbox. You can scan each email to seek out information about your competition that you can use in your own business. You can keep up with your competitors from publicly available sources without having to track them down yourself. Google alerts will keep scanning the internet for you and compiling the results.
Use this cloud-based program to look at websites, blogs and more for mentions about your competition. Then you can go take a look at what they’re doing. Identify the gaps in what they’re offering their customers and fill them in. You can outshine your competition in no time when you are one-upping them by studying their strengths and weaknesses.
While it does ask for your website and not your competition’s (and your email address), you can still use it to check the health of someone else’s website. The information you’ll receive from this is: page size, page speed, redirects and more. It also gives you a glimpse into what they’re doing with SEO.
Using this downloadable software, you can study keywords from your competitor’s site. Knowing what keywords they’re using means you can use them on your own site and siphon off their traffic.
This software is a tremendous method to take advantage of your competition’s diligence and research. You can determine what keywords they’re using, what they’re spending for AdWords, their ROI estimate, and even more.
Link Explorer by MOZ
You’ll get plenty of data about your competition from this cloud-based option. You can get information about their links and the anchor text used. You can even compare multiple sites. What’s more, it’s free when to sign up.
Using these tools to gather important research data about your competition can be a good way to grow your business and deliver more of what your audience wants. By keeping an eye fixed on your competition, you’ll uncover things about your target audience that you may not be able to learn from your own site’s data. Have you heard it said that you don’t know what you don’t know? One of the easiest ways to learn what you don’t already know is by examining what your successful competition is doing.
That’s it for Part 2. Stay tuned for Part 3 coming soon!
If you’ve found this article useful, or have questions, leave a comment below. It’s always good to hear from you.
If you’re looking for a program to help you get your feet wet with online marketing, jump over to my review of Wealthy Affiliate and see if it is a good fit for you.
If you are more of a DIY person, but want a road map to help you along the way, check out The Simple Guide to Blogging As a Business.