Have you got a handle on your analytics?

BY GOLD SPONSORS TALENT SPARK

Talent Spark

Your business is nothing without customers.

A fairly simple concept, but one that is very often overlooked amidst the eureka moments and the excitement of spinning out of university or handing in your notice to give that start-up a shot.

It is, however, likely to be one of the first conversations you have with an investor – along with a critique of your founding team and eventually the quality of your product.

To an investor, while your tech might be incredibly sophisticated and impressive, the equation is very simple. Is there a market for your product, who are your customers, and how can we encourage more of that target market to buy your product?

Understand your channels

So, as a founder or CEO, you need to understand your market and the customer journey.

While no one is expecting you to be an expert marketer, as the business leader you need to understand the marketing tools at your disposal and what insight you can glean from them.

It is important to know the questions to ask that will ensure your marketing team are delivering.

You need to know where business is coming from and how you can maximise your resources. Let’s not forget, and I am sure it has not escaped your attention, that marketing is a cost and if you are blindly spending money with no idea of the potential return, then that money tree will soon die off.

Google Analytics

If you have any form of digital presence and you acquire business online then every one of your channels will be supported by some form of analytics.
Google Analytics (GA) is pretty much gospel in this case; it will tell you the story behind your digital traffic. There are more advanced tools at enterprise level from the likes of Adobe, but as a small business this is likely to be out of your budget.

GA will paint you a demographic and behavioral picture made up of the location, age, gender, device type used and many other factors that will help you build an accurate picture of your target market. So, when you need to know where your target market is, or where you need to build profile, ask your marketing team to set the scene.

The channels

GA will also breakdown the channels used by your target market to access your content online. The likelihood is most of your traffic will come from organic sources; Google, Bing, Yahoo, and so on. However, you will likely be spending money on social media advertising, Google advertising and other referral channels – GA will break these down, helping you understand what’s working and what’s not.

Your content

You might be rightfully proud of the blog you have just written – it might be some of your best work and I’m sure it’s generated a good few LinkedIn likes from the usual suspects – but has it driven anyone to your website? And have they completed a conversion on your site when they landed? Was that even your objective?

Your website will tell you how good your content was and what it achieved. The behaviour section on your analytics breaks down your most popular pages, how long people stayed on the pages and if they visited other pages. This is all valuable insight to help you structure the topic and style of your content going forward.

Top tip – Track your scroll depth to understand how far down your content people get. This will help guide length and content type while indicating where to add in redirects to keep visitors on the site.

Goal conversions

This is basically what all the activity online is about; is what we are doing having a positive effect on our bottom line? Is it driving business and will it create more business?

Your marketing team, agency or in-house, should have set up the goals on your website so that any key business action you want your customers to take is tracked. Be that an online purchase, a download, a contact enquiry form, or simply an email sign up.
Your marketing and sales teams need to work out the value of each of these actions. You can add in values for each action into your analytics so you can track what return you are getting. This isn’t always easy but makes budgeting so much easier.

Top tip – Attribution modelling. Your customers may start their journey long before they convert on your website. Understanding the touchpoints on that journey will help you budget and recognise the value of the other channels on the conversion journey.

Social Media

These channels take a lot of maintenance. Whether you are particularly adept at maintaining your company channels or you have a team of marketers building a following, you need to understand the value it adds to your business and what type of content works.

Every channel will give you information on impressions gained, channel reach and any engagement achieved. For most, the barometer of success is around the levels of engagement. But what does this actually mean?

Social media has two main objectives generally – referral traffic and brand or profile building.

The challenge for your marketers is to help you understand what type of content helps achieve either objective. Your analytics will tell you exactly what has worked and what has bombed. GA will add additional context to help explain the value of social media as a channel for your website.

So, when you are paying for social media advertising, make sure you are tracking it and that you understand the value of each channel by relating this to goal conversion.

Top Tip – try promoting a piece of content that performed well organically with a small amount of budget to test your advertising before you invest a lot of money.

Insights

As a business leader there is no excuse to not know where your business comes from and how much it costs. There are enough tools available to help you understand digital activity and to help you maximise your budget, you just need to ask the right questions.