Metrics are important in all aspects managing a small business, especially marketing. Technology is at the helm of every industry, which makes online marketing crucial for business success. With over 80% of consumers turning to the internet before making purchases, it is vital to track metrics to get the most out of your online strategies.
At Clicc Media Inc, we help small businesses grow their online presence through the help of content, video, social and more. One of the biggest issues we see businesses face is trying to discern if what they are putting out there is actually achieving results and generating ROI.
One of the best ways to track and analyze this data (what I always recommend to small business owners) is Google Analytics. It’s free to use and offers a user-friendly interface so it’s easy to understand.
Identify goals and success metrics
The first step is to define your goals and make a plan that includes strategies you believe will help you get there. Let’s say you own a dental practice and want to increase organic site traffic and leads by 10% per month. Perhaps your long-term goal is to become the top dental implant specialist in your local market.
These are distinct and attainable goals that can be reached and measured through online marketing campaigns. In order to reach your goals, you’ll have to take the time to focus on specific areas of your campaign, such as local organic sea, social media and paid marketing. These channels can grow your online presence and put you ahead of the competition, even amongst established dental practices.
Meanwhile when you pay close attention to the varied metrics associated with your marketing campaign you can quickly assess how you’re tracking to your goals and which areas need to be tweaked.
Audience overview and page views
These metrics, audience overview and page views, are a great place to start gathering a general idea of how much traffic you are driving to your site. If your online marketing plan is successful, you should see an increase in these numbers.
There will always be fluctuations on a long-term basis, but it is important to pay attention to significant decreases in page views. When this occurs, take the time to investigate it; typically it signifies that one of your channels or web pages can be optimized to achieve a better outcome.
Pay attention to which pages on your site receive the most traffic. How long visitors stay on your site (i.e. Engagement) can also speak to the results of your online marketing campaign. Is it truly driving interested patients or just throwing irrelevant links in their face?
If you are using different channels to drive prospective clients to your site, be sure to note how many visitors come from each channel. This is especially important if you have a link to your website in your social media profiles. This can help you get a better idea of which channels increase traffic directly.
The point is to improve or eliminate marketing tactics that are don’t produce an effective ROI or benefit the overall growth of your business and brand. For example, if you have placed a link to your website on your Instagram or Facebook profile page, you can track traffic from each source.
Here’s a look at various traffic sources and what they mean:
Social: As mentioned above, this includes sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or even YouTube. Typically, these pages offer the option to link to your website, which you can monitor.
Direct: This means someone has typed your URL directly into their browser or bookmarked your site.
Organic Search: This refers to sites like Google, Yahoo, Bing, and similar websites that search through various sites to provide multiple results.
Referral: Other websites can sometimes lead a potential client back to your site, which is known as a referral. Typically this is due to ads, blogs, or website affiliates.
Email: Do you send out email campaigns or a regular newsletter? If so, you can create a new ‘Custom Metric’ in the Google Analytics admin interface for your website. This way you can track the traffic to your website from your email marketing efforts.
It’s important to measure the page views, but take a deeper look at the visitors that come to your website and leave almost immediately. This is your bounce rate – the percentage of single page visits (or web sessions). Bounce rates are high when a website lacks engaging content, is hard to navigate (e.g. a poorly designed UI or UX) or a visitor cannot immediately find what they need.
Ensure your landing page matches the visitors search intention. When someone visits your website, they want to be greeted with a user-friendly interface, easy-to-locate links and landing pages with high-quality, informative content that answers their questions.
If you notice an increase in your site’s bounce rate, consider a website redesign or refresh certain areas of your site. Another big reason people may leave your site quickly is because it’s not mobile-friendly. Your website should be accessible across all devices.
Landing (and exit) pages
What are the common pages online visitors land on (i.e. Landing Pages) when they enter your site? Equally as important, which pages do they drop off at (i.e. Exit Pages)? These metrics can speak volumes to which online marketing strategies and channels attract ideal clients and the pages on your site that won’t hold their attention for long.
For example, a dental practice may find that prospective patients are clicking through a number of various pages on their site, but not actually converting (i.e. taking a desired action). One possibility is information overload or hard-to-understand jargon.
In most cases, your most popular landing page will be your homepage. However, many marketing campaigns can feature a link to another area of your site, like a service landing page or a blog, for example. Similarly, if you see that visitors leave your site from the same page they land on, it could indicate that something has left them dissatisfied.
Dig deep into your data
When it comes to website analytics, consider the areas you want to improve and then take the time to measure and track your progress on a monthly basis. Once you have deciphered how to implement and understand free web analytics tools like Google Analytics, you can dig deeper into the data you have uncovered.
Use data to continuously improve marketing campaigns and increase online traffic to your site. It’s important to measure the effectiveness of your online marketing campaigns. If you don’t, then you are blindly throwing away money. And for small businesses every dollar counts, so make them work harder.
Isis Garcia-Rodriguez manages all of the content for the team at Clicc Media Inc, and has an elaborate way to use words to trigger an emotional response from readers. She understands that if you trigger an emotional response from your audience, they will convert more than half of the time. Isis has a love for writing, reading and travel and looks forward to continuing to help businesses grow their content marketing efforts with the latest-and-greatest techniques.