The Case for Google Analytics

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If you have a website, you should be using Google Analytics.

Why? Google Analytics is one of the most valuable tools available to website owners and it’s completely free. Adding a little bit of code to your webpages opens you up to a wealth of invaluable data that allows you to measure how well your website is meeting its goals and find insights into how to improve it.

The Basics of Setting Up Google Analytics

Setting up Google Analytics on your site is fairly simple.

  1. First, you’ll need to set up a Google Analytics account if you don’t already have one (go here and click Sign In at the upper right).
  2. Then, log in and set up a property for your website based on the instructions provided.
  3. Finally, Google Analytics will provide you with a tracking ID that you’ll need to add to the code of the webpages on your website. If you have a WordPress site, there are a few easy ways to add the tracking ID to all your pages at once.

That’s it!

Now that you’re set up, let’s look at some of the most important metrics available to you.

The Most Important Metrics to Know

Google Analytics will automatically start collecting data for you to view in an intuitive interface. There’s a lot of different information packed into the data they provide, but to start, these are the most important analytics to pay attention to.

1. Website Traffic

The first thing you’ll see any time you sign into Google Analytics is your basic traffic information in the Reporting dashboard.

This page tells you:

  • How many total visits people have made to your website;
  • How many of them are repeat visitors;
  • How many pages have been visited;
  • How long people usually stay on your site once they get there; and
  • How many pages most visitors visit before leaving.

These metrics reveal a basic level how well your website is performing. No matter what type of website you have, you probably want to receive a lot of traffic and you want it to be from visitors that like your website enough to hang around for a while and even come back later for more. These metrics tell you to what degree that’s happening.

2. Demographics

To learn a little more about who your site visitors are, navigate to the Audience section in the left-hand menu. Here you can learn basic demographic information about your visitors, including:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Other interests their internet browsing reveals
  • Geographic location
  • What type of device they visited on (mobile, desktop, or tablet)

 

These metrics reveal if the audience you’re meaning to reach is the one you’re actually getting. If it isn’t, you can shift your strategy based on the characteristics and interests of the visitors coming to your site. Knowing which devices people are coming from also helps you determine how important having a mobile website and marketing strategy is.

3. Traffic Sources

Most of your online marketing efforts are likely devoted to pointing people back to your website. The best way to see if they’re working is to track which marketing channels bring new traffic to the website. The Acquisition section in Google Analytics is where you’ll see how visitors found you.

This section gives you an idea of how well your SEO efforts, social media marketing, and email marketing are all paying off. Add a tracking code to your email campaigns to see how much traffic is coming directly from your emails.

4. Visitor Behavior

Getting people to your website is just the beginning. You want them to like what they see and stick around once they get there as well. The Behavior section of Google Analytics lets you know what your visitors are doing once they arrive on your website. You can see which pages they visit the most, how long they tend to spend on them, and which pages consistently lead visitors to click through to other pages.

 

This section also helps you see how specific pages on your website are performing and illuminates which ones could use some work. If you have a content strategy, the data here can help you understand which topics and content types your visitors respond to the most in order to strengthen your strategy moving forward.

5. Conversion Rates

Finally, most websites should have at least one conversion goal and most will have several. If you have an online store, the main goal is to get visitors to buy your products. If you do email marketing, one of your goals should be to get people to join your email list. For some pages and blog posts, the goal could be to get people to click through to a different landing page or post.

You can tell Google Analytics what your main conversion goals are for the website, and even how much each goal is worth to you. Then a Conversions section will appear next to Acquisitions and Behavior. Review this regularly to track, in specific terms, how well your website is meeting your goals.

 

That’s Just the Beginning

Those are the basics every website owner should know to get started, but once you’re familiar with Google Analytics you can dig deeper and find even more valuable insights and hidden gems. The more you use the data the tool makes available, the better you’ll be at crafting your website to please your visitors and meet your goals.

Why You’re Probably Not Sending Enough Emails…

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I’m sure you’ve asked yourself, “How often should I send email?”

Weekly? Monthly? Any time sales are low?

Start with this question: How many times do you have to ask kids to do something?

Usually, more than once. It’s often the same with email marketing. It’s not that people on your email list are children, it’s that they’re busy and your business isn’t their top priority. If you don’t ask multiple times, you might miss out on sales. Are you missing out on sales because you’re not sending enough email?

When it comes to email, there are three things you probably want to do more of: Segment, Simplify, and Send.

  • Segment: Separate your contacts into different lists based on their interests.
  • Simplify: Don’t try to say too much in your emails. Stay focused on one main action.
  • Send: Send a series of emails to remind subscribers to take action.

Approaching email marketing this way means you’re not relying on one message to do all the heavy lifting. You’re focused on getting the right messages to the right people at the right times.

Why do multiple emails work?

Think about this scenario: Have you ever started one task, but then got pulled in another direction? It’s often the same for your customers. Even if they want to take advantage of an email offer you send them, they can get pulled into something else before they can take action. And then your offer is forgotten.

That’s why we recommend sending a three-email series about a time-based promotion.

A time-based promotion has a time associated with it, like a sale or event. Your email series would look like this:

  1. Announcement
  2. Reminder
  3. Last chance

The three-email series gives you three opportunities to move people to action. Here’s an example of a three-part email series you could send to promote a Valentine’s Day sale:

Start with an announcement of the sale a couple weeks in advance. Remind them a week later. And give them one final chance to act a day or two before the sale ends.

Pay attention to when people make a purchase in relation to the emails you send.

Opens and clicks alone can be deceiving. Instead, try to tie your emails to a specific business result. You may also find that opens and clicks don’t always coincide with sales. For example, your last-chance email may receive the lowest open and click rate but results in the most sales.

Don’t use the excuse, “I don’t want to bug people!”

You may hesitate to send more email because you think you’re going to bug people. But a survey from Marketing Sherpa found that over 60 percent of customers prefer to receive emails from brands at least weekly.

Yes, you need to send more email than you think.

Don’t rely on one email to bring in all your sales. Just like kids, adults need to be asked more than once too!

Let’s Get Tracking: 3 Free Marketing Dashboards

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How many business tools do you currently have open in your web browser?

Whether you are a small business or nonprofit organization, you probably have multiple places to go to hunt down metrics for your recent marketing campaigns.

Wouldn’t it be easier if everything was in one place?

One of the best ways to save time and review your metrics is with business dashboards.

Business dashboards connect hundreds of applications you use on a regular basis, curating the data you want into one easy-to-read display.

Let’s take a closer look at a few business dashboards that offer a clean, crisp way to analyze your all your marketing results

1. Dasheroo

If you’re new to business dashboards, Dasheroo has pre-built templates to get you started quickly

Dasheroo lets you analyze your email reports and contact lists. You can create a dashboard showing the total number of email address added to your list and track the overall engagement.

Sending one email to several lists? Dasheroo lets you track engagement based off of each list, giving you insight into how well your email performed with different audiences. You can even review the overall success of your last 30 emails alongside other business apps, including Google Analytics and your social media channels.

2. TapClicks

TapClicks has created over 100 integrations to visualize and compare marketing activities. Running online advertisements through Google AdWords or Bing? TapClicks lets you create categories that help you measure success based on your marketing channels. Whether you’re running a special discount or holding an event, you can create a dashboard to understand the increased website traffic from your emails.

3. Cyfe

Cyfe lets you monitor individual departments, projects, websites and more with their dashboards online or from your mobile device.

You’ll get a variety of tools including custom widgets to display data from your business’s databases. You can also set your dashboard on TV mode, rotating dashboards and displaying your results at the office.

Whether you’re keeping tabs on your expenses or simply keeping a close view on your latest projects, Cyfe offers a variety of pre-built templates to get you started.

Measure Your Email in 3 Easy Steps

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If someone asked you how email marketing is helping your business, what would you say?

Chances are you wear a lot of hats at your small business or nonprofit and maybe numbers aren’t your strong suit. You’d much rather focus on connecting with people in person to sell more of your products and services. How can you be sure that email marketing is worth your time?

Let’s take some of the dread and mystery out of measuring the impact of your email marketing, so you can be confident your emails are helping you achieve your business goals.

Use the Triple-A Approach to Email Measurement

1. Analyze

To really be in control of your marketing, it’s crucial that you know how to interpret the results of your email campaigns. Email marketing tools like Constant Contact provide easy-to-read reports that help you track your marketing success in real-time. Start by taking a look at the open and click-through rates of your latest email campaigns. Then, compare your results with averages in your industry.

2. Assess

Your marketing campaigns must support your business goals; otherwise, why go through the trouble? We’ve created worksheets to help you keep track of email marketing metrics and business goals so that you always have a clear picture of how your marketing efforts are working to support your business. There are two different worksheets based on your business goal:

If you’re sending a sales email, download and print this worksheet to keep track of your results: 

Sending a general newsletter? This worksheet is for you.

Before you even send an email campaign, start filling out the worksheets by answering two important questions: What is the goal of your email? And How will you measure your success? To identify your goal, think about what it is that you’re hoping the campaign will achieve. Are you hoping to gather more registrants for a fundraising event? Do you want to sell 20 percent more items than last year? Are you looking to get three new consultations booked? Whatever your goal is, the more specific you can be the better. That way you’ll know in just a glance if you hit the mark or not. After you’ve sent your email, visit your email reports a couple days later and fill out your worksheets with the results.

Here are some key metrics to focus on:

  • Total Sent: the total number of contacts you sent your email to
  • Send Date: the date an email was sent to subscribers
  • Open rate: the percentage of subscribers who opened your emails
  • Click-through rate: the percentage of subscribers who opened your email and clicked on links within your email
  • Bounce rate: the percentage of emails that didn’t make it to the intended recipient
  • Unsubscribe/Opt-out rate: an unsubscribe or ‘opt-out ‘occurs when one of your contacts no longer wants to receive your emails and unsubscribes from your list

3. Adjust

The final step is where the marketing magic happens. Using the stats you filled out on your worksheets, answer the questions:

  • What were your total business results?
  • Did you meet your goal?Now, for the fun part: Once you have figured out how an email performed and how it helped you reach your goals, adjust your strategy to optimize your marketing.

Let’s say you’re reviewing your reports for an email and discover that you had a high open rate, but a low click-through rate. This means that people were opening your email, but weren’t engaging with the links that were offered in the email.

To improve that click-through rate in your next mailing, here’s what to do next:

  • Review your calls to action in your email. Consider the wording of your call to action — is it clear and intriguing? Is it telling people exactly the action they should take and why it matters to them?
  • Create more white space so the email doesn’t feel overwhelming. If your email contains multiple sections, break up different topics so readers can choose what they want to read. You may also want to try breaking up each topic into separate emails to send shorter emails more frequently.
  • Think about how much content is in your email. Stick to a picture, a paragraph, and a strong call-to-action that’s easy to find and click. If you have too many calls-to-action (or none at all), readers will not know what you wanted them to do.

Measuring your email marketing is not everyone’s favorite thing to do — but knowing what’s working and what isn’t will save you time, effort, and money in the long run.

Spring Cleaning: Tips for Your Website!

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Every website needs a refresher now and then to make sure everything’s working properly, looking good, and meeting the goals you need it to. The beginning of spring is a good time to take on any the projects you’ve been putting off. This month, take some time to spring clean your website and make sure everything’s in good working order.

Here are seven steps to guide you through the process.

1. Make sure all your software and plugins are up-to-date

You might feel like you see an alert for a new software or plugin update every other day. It’s easy to ignore them when they seem so constant, but oftentimes those updates specifically address security vulnerabilities and sometimes they provide additional improvements and features as well. It’s in your interest to keep things up-to-date. Check for any updates available to the software and plugins you use on your website and take the time to download the newest version of everything. Often, these updates don’t take too long and they can make a big difference to how secure your website is.

2. Review your analytics to pinpoint potential issues

Your analytics can give you a quick look at potential issues on your website. Do some pages have abnormally high bounce rates? Then you should give those a look to see if you can identify something about the design or copy that’s keeping people from sticking around. Do mobile users convert at much lower rates than desktop users? Maybe you need to update your buttons or forms to be more intuitive on mobile. Starting with your analytics can save you some time as you go through the upcoming steps since you’ll know which pages, forms, and links are the most likely to need your attention.

3. Check for broken links

You know the feeling when you’re on a website, click on a link you’re interested in, and get the dreaded 404 page. Inevitably, pages will move and websites will be left with broken links that disappoint visitors, unless you make a point to stay on top of it. Ideally, this is a job you should tackle once every few months, but it’s easy to let it get away from you. If you haven’t checked for broken links in a while, this website refresh is a good time to do it. You can use a free broken link checker to quickly simplify the process of finding all your broken links. Then, you just need to get in there and make updates.

4. Give it a proofread

You probably proofread every word on the website before it went up, but even so, minor errors have a way of slipping through. Most of us have had the experience of noticing a months old typo in something we were sure we’d properly proofread at the time. Take this opportunity to read over your website. If you have a lot of pages or a blog, this may take a while, but it’s worth it to make sure that you don’t have any embarrassing typos on the site for all your visitors to see.

5. Confirm your pages look good on mobile

Mobile should be a key part of your marketing strategy — from mobile responsive email templates to mobile-friendly website design. Not only do you need to make sure that you have a mobile-friendly website, you should also make sure that each page on your site looks good on mobile and any action you want your visitors to take is as easy to accomplish on mobile as it is on desktop. Spend some time browsing your website on a mobile device. Find friends that have a different type of mobile device than you and spend time browsing the site on their device as well. You want to know for sure that your pages look good and are easy to follow on mobile, that the buttons and links are big enough to be easy to click on a small device, and that the site is intuitive to use and navigate in its mobile form.

6. Do a content audit

A content audit can accomplish a few really important things for you. It will:

  • Show you what types of topics and content perform the best
  • Give you a clear picture of what topics you’ve covered thoroughly and help you identify gaps in your coverage
  • Allow you to identify the pieces of content that could benefit from an update or are worth repurposing into additional pieces of content

Basically, it can provide you with a wealth of valuable information to fuel your content strategy in the months and years to come. As with the proofreading, this is a step that can take some real time if you have a good amount of content, but it could potentially save you time by helping you realize the potential of further promoting the content you already have or using it in new ways. Don’t be afraid to promote an older piece of content in your email marketing or social media, as long as it’s up to date.

7. Look for new internal linking opportunities

While conducting your content audit, be on the lookout for internal linking opportunities. If you’re actively thinking about SEO in your current content strategy, then you’re probably already good at including internal links in the new content you create. But how often do you go back and look for opportunities to link to the newer content from the old? This is your chance to find those opportunities and take advantage of them to improve your on-site SEO. It’s something that’s easy to forget to do, but worth the time it takes.

Make your website clean as a whistle!

These seven steps will take time and work, but as with giving your home a thorough spring cleaning, you’ll feel better when it’s done. And you’ll have a website that does its job better as a result.