Analyzing has always been a deep seeded interest of mine. I love digging into who, what, when, where, why, and how of everything. So, of course, when it comes to using web analytics, I am the first one ready to dive in and understand what is going on. There is a growing trend in the internet marketing industry that is focusing on the importance of understanding your site visitors and valuing their interaction with the site. But what makes this so important? What effect should this have on the overall marketing strategy? What is the effect of using analytics too much or too little?
Why is understanding your site visitors important?
What makes analytics so important is the valuable insight that you can gain with regard to the customer’s interaction with your business. Think about it, if you have ever done face to face sales, then you know the value of understanding a customer’s needs. If a customer walks into the store looking for a dishwasher and the salesperson immediately starts talking about the great deals on blenders then that salesperson is not going to be very successful. However, if instead he begins asking the customer what he or she is looking and digs in to the things that are important to the customer, then the conversion rates go up for the salesperson.
In that way, analytics is your chance to ask questions of your visitors. But the great thing is you get the sampling from all the people that have come to your site. What made the user come to your site? What keywords are they typing in to find you? What are they looking at when they get there? Are they doing searches for information on your site that you do not have? All this information compiled together can help you to improve your conversion rates.
What is the overall effect on marketing strategy?
Analytics should have a huge impact on the overall marketing strategy of your business. In the story before with the customer looking for a dishwasher, it should affect the entire marketing strategy of the salesperson. Just the same if you know that many visitors are coming to your site looking for some specific thing, then it would be important to have that on your homepage. In fact, analytics should affect every aspect of internet marketing strategy. Here are a few examples.
Search Engine Optimization – Your SEO campaign should take into account what keywords are driving visitors to your site. If certain keywords that have been focused on in the strategy are not producing they should be replaced by keywords that are beginning to trend from your site visitors.
Pay Per Click Advertising – PPC advertising must have analytics work involved. Click-through rates and bounce rates should impact the keywords that your PPC campaign is targeting. Low click rates could also indicate a need to revise your ad content. Analytics will help you to more accurately understand the conversion rates of your campaign and ultimately your return on investment.
Social Media Optimization – Understanding your social networks can help you utilize them more effectively to convert business. Analytics can help you to understand what social marketing campaigns work for your network, and which ones do not. This information will help you to spend advertising dollars more efficiently.
Over and Under-focusing on Analytics
However, using analytics is like walking a tight-rope. Ultimately using the rope will get you to your goals. Balance and focus are the keys to success. If you focus too much on the rope, you can become panicky and lose focus on the goal of reaching the other side. At that point, your focus is more on just surviving the next step or even worse just simply staying on the rope. If you choose to ignore the rope completely, it is the same as trying to walk it with a blindfold on. It’s a guessing game as to whether your next step is going to be on target.
Just the same too much focus on analytics can make your business lose sight of the goal. You will constantly be adjusting how you do business. An important thing to keep in mind is that you are not going to be able to reach everyone. You must understand your target market, and use the analytics to see if you are reaching that market effectively.
If you choose to ignore analytics, then you are running blind in business. Every once in a while someone will actually succeed this way. However the chances are far greater that you will fail. It is just the same as the salesperson trying to sell a blender to the person looking for a dishwasher. Perhaps that salesperson will find success every so often, but two things are still true. First, more customers are going to blow the salesperson off. Second, the salesperson likely will miss out on the far greater sale of the dishwasher.
The Value of the Web
At the end of the day, a huge value of the web is the ability to measure results. Analytics provides you the tools to be able to do that. More and more businesses are finding ways to be able to be more efficient and effective because of analytics. The question facing you is how are you going to be more effective? What value are you providing to your site’s visitors? What is the return on your internet marketing campaigns? If you are answering these questions based on your perceptions rather than facts, then it is time to look into analytics.