How to Use Analytics Tools to Track Your Business
Discover the importance of tracking your business activities using analytics tools and why doing so is vital to your success. You will also learn about different online analytic tools that you can use to collect and monitor data that will help you grow your business.
Tracking Your Business for Success Using Analytics
Studying the metrics of what you do is a very important part of having a successful business. Because without looking at the numbers you really can’t know exactly what is working and what isn’t. Of course, you can make assumptions, but it’s better to use facts to help ensure that your time and money aren’t being wasted.
Fact: If you can’t measure it doesn’t exist
When you set goals, they should be something that can be expressed in numbers. Things like clicks, page views, sign-ups, and sales. Using analytics tools will help you collect valuable data about your business.
Now let’s go over some of the things tracking can do for your business:
Get to know your visitors
When you started your business you probably had a pretty good idea of who your audience would be. Chances are you created marketing materials based on your ideal audience and it worked. But, can it work better? Once you learn how to dig deep into your audience’s demographics (especially the people who’ve converted), you’ll know exactly how you can tweak your marketing campaigns to improve your results.
Know what content is working
When you set up website analytics you can see what blog posts, articles, and other content is getting more traction. You can see views, comments, and more, which can help you judge better what type of content you need to create more of.
Understand your traffic
Using the data you collect you can find out who is sending the most traffic (converted traffic) to your website. This is useful because if it’s coming from one person (like an affiliate) or one website, you can give them some extra attention to encourage more of the same.
Study your competition
Nothing is more important aside from your visitors than your competition. You can learn a lot from your competition when you use data analytics tools to know everything they are doing including the keywords they use, the prices they charge for their products, and even their conversion rates it will help you stay ahead.
Discover what works for your audience
When you study your numbers, you can find out if the ideas you have will work or not. Some will, some won’t. You can find out what works, optimize it and do more of it by looking at the data.
Drop things that don’t work
When you know your numbers, you can drop projects that aren’t working and focus on the ones that are. It’s not like the past when you spent your money on a campaign and then had to let things run their course and watch your money go down the drain when they didn’t work.
Running your business using analytics tools can really help you take control of the growth in ways that you may not have considered. It’s very important to learn about metrics, goal setting, and how to determine correlation, because everything is not always as it seems when it comes to the numbers.
Here’s a list of different analytics tools you can try:
This cloud-based software is a little different than some of the other products out there. This company realizes that clicks are only part of the story. With this software, you’ll know right away what content is working best on your website or blog.
This is the original free analytics software which is definitely worth trying out. It offers so many features and benefits that it would be impossible to go over them all in this space. But, it would do your business good to learn it or hire a professional to help you with using the software.
The analytics you can get from KissMetrics will help you become more customer centric as you learn what makes your customers tick. You’ll be able to optimize pages through testing and more. If you want to keep happy clients, this is great software to try.
With this service, you can gather deep insights in all your online activities, including mobile. Get to know each customer’s journey inside and out from A to Z with just a few clicks. You can conduct a 360-customer analysis, use predictive intelligence and more.
This is an open-source analytics tool that anyone can use. You and only you can see the information. You can self-host it or you can use it in the cloud. You’re in full control of your tests and analytics.
Almost a million websites use Clicky to monitor their web analytics in real time. If you want to know how your website is performing in a simple way, this software works wonders to help you make the right choices.
You can use this software to track anonymous website and mobile app users even before they identify themselves and then after too. If you really want to get a good understanding of your customers and their buying cycle, try this software.
HubSpot offers an enormous amount for website owners and business owners in terms of analytics. The reports offer sales and marketing data in one spot for easier understanding.
Which software you choose to use will depend on your objectives and on your willingness to learn how to use it. You should also keep in mind that many websites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest also have built in analytics that you can use to track everything from likes and shares to clicks and conversions.
StatCounter is a simple but powerful real-time web analytics service that helps you track, analyse and understand your visitors so you can make good decisions to become more successful online.
How to Use Tracking Analytics to Plan Where Your Business is Going
Analytics tools can tell you what happened, why it happened, what will happen and how you can make it happen. It can consist of any goal that you’ve set for your business and when used properly, analytics will help you make your business more successful.
When you use data analytics tools to help you learn about your business, your competition, where you stand and where you want to go, you’ll truly end up with a better business than you ever thought possible.
Today, data can be so predictive that it will almost give you directions on what to do next to boost your business and make it better.
As you look at the data you have, and you can see what happened and how it happened, you can take that information and repeat whatever worked so that you can get even better results. You can also use that same data to add complementary products and services or even change direction altogether.
You can use the thing you learn to stay ahead of trends in your industry as well. With evolving trends and fads, it’s important to understand how to collect and transform data from analytics into actionable steps because it will help you achieve key business objectives.
Every business faces challenges and you can even predict some of them by looking at data. For example, some businesses are seasonal in nature, even though in some cases there is no reason for them to be seasonal. But, if you check the data you might find that your business has times where you make more sales. You can use that information to pump up advertising during the off season.
Understand your own audience
Analytics can help you get to know your audience even better. When you first start a business, you choose who you think your target audience should be. You set up all your marketing campaigns with that in mind. But, you might find through analytics that you have a far different audience than you thought. Analytics tools can help you narrow down and optimize your marketing materials so that you can grow your business.
When it comes to growing and planning your business using predictive analytics can help you discover insights into what is working and what isn’t. Which will help make the right decisions for your business and accomplish your goals much faster.
Understand your competition better
Another great thing you can do with analytics is understand your competition. By keeping an eye on them, you can actually learn what your audience wants and what they will be most likely to respond to and your business will be better for it.
This is especially true if they’ve been around longer and you know for a fact that they’re profitable and good at what they do. Then it’s even more important to learn all you can from them.
Here’s some great tools you can use:
This is an excellent, free service. 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 find information about your competition that you can use in your own business.
Use this cloud-based search engine to search websites, blogs and more for mentions about your competition. Then you can go look at what they’re doing. Identify the gaps in their offerings and you can outshine your competition in no time.
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 will receive is page size, page speed, redirects and more, including how many requests for the site have been made. It also tells you how they’re doing on SEO and more.
With this downloadable software, you can study keywords of your competitor’s site so that you will know what keywords they’re using. You can then use them on your own website to nab their traffic.
This software is an amazing way to profit from your competition’s hard work and research. You can find out what keywords they’re using, what they’re spending for AdWords, their ROI estimate, and much more.
You can get a lot of information about your competition from this cloud-based option. Including information about the links that come into the site and the anchor text used, and you can even compare five sites. What’s more, it’s free when you sign up.
Using these tools to discover and analyze important data about your competition is a great way to grow your business and keep your audience happy at the same time.
Using Data to Improve Website Performance
As we have been discussing analytics tools are there to help you track and measure many aspects of your business. But did you know that analytics tools can also help you optimize every aspect of your website, including layout, speed, SEO, and more? For example, with Google Analytics you can create several different reports to help you understand the health of your website.
When it comes to using analytics to improve your website the first thing you should do is set goals.
For example, if you’re having a webinar you might want to study how many people sign up for it and signed up for your newsletter. If you’ve created a short report you may want to keep track of how many people downloaded it, and if you put links inside it you’ll want to know how many people click through.
As I mentioned above, you can also track what type of content is working on your website.
For instance, you’ll be able to tell which posts are popular and which ones convert better. This way you can compare the results and determine which type of content your audience responds to and interacts with the most.
It will also help with keyword research. Google Analytics and AdWords are really good at helping you choose the right keywords and once you uncover a couple hundred keyword ideas, good data can help you decide what type of content to add based on the research.
Other things you can do with data
You can use the data you collect to determine which segments of your audience convert at a higher rate. With proper monitoring, you can determine what your visitors like most which means you can then use that information to target the most responsive visitors with campaigns that will have a bigger impact. You can also offer them complementary products or services, and even new things that they might like based on the data you collect.
As you dig into the information you collect you’ll be amazed at how it can actually help you come up with new ideas and new goals that you might not have come to if you hadn’t looked at the numbers. For example, your first goal might be to get people to subscribe to your newsletter, and then after that get them to join your membership site.
Using analytics to help you improve your website is a great idea.
Did you know that if your website is too slow, visitors will leave and Google will downgrade your listing in the search engine results? It will also help you with SEO, navigation issues and other key items that can hurt your business if left unchecked.
As much as knowing how to collect data to improve your website is it’s also just as important know what’s going on in other areas as well. The success of your website depends on traffic, leads, reach and many other factors. Without looking at the whole picture you’ll be missing out on valuable opportunities.
- It’s also important to keep in mind that not all actions make a difference.
- It’s important to know what matters and what doesn’t.
- It’s also important to know what everything means based on the factors and the goals you set.
Questions to Consider When Setting Up Tracking Software
How many new leads did you get from the action you performed? If you set up a freebie guide and marketed that, how many people signed up and downloaded it? If people downloaded a freebie, how many who did that took further action?
When you make a post, how many people respond in some way to the engagement? What was the point of the engagement? Did the audience do what you thought they’d do?
How many people shared your post? How far did the post reach, meaning how many people laid eyes on it and shared it? If a lot of people shared it, you might consider adding more content like that.
For example, when you boost a post on Facebook, how many impressions did it make versus how many people saw it, shared it, and engaged with it? What did they do afterwards?
With your analytics software, you can set up a means to testing out your funnels to find out which type of funnel works best. This can help you identify holes in your plans to reach your goals.
It’s important to know how many unique visits you get each day, where they came from, and what they did after they got there. Did they convert? Did they sign up for anything? Did they download something? Did they search your site?
Having a lot of repeat visitors is a sign of a healthy site with a lot of content for the audience to read and look at. What is the percentage of repeat visitors versus new traffic? If it’s low, what can you change? Are you targeting your audience correctly?
Are people coming to your website and then leaving before doing anything? If this rate is high, then that means something is wrong. Find out where the links are coming from and try to determine if the content is badly targeted or not.
How and what page are people using to exit your website, and if they came from social media where did they come from? Can you pinpoint what is making them leave? What you can do to encourage them to stay or to convert them in some way, for example by using an exit pop-under?
Time on site
How long are your visitors staying on your page and what exactly are they doing while they are there? What do they read the most? What do they watch the most? What exactly are they doing that keeps them on the social media site? If they’re only there a short time, what did they do?
How fast are the visitors to your social media page/platform improving each month? Is it going up or down? What actions affect growth? How can you do more of those things to keep growing your website and your influence?
When you create a post, how long does it take your audience to respond and what type of responses do you get? Are they commenting, liking, sharing, retweeting and so forth?
How many others are sharing links to your content on their websites and social media accounts? Are they linking to your pages and social profiles? Who’s sharing where and why?
As I mentioned, the only thing that really matters is conversions. You may be tracking email sign-ups, clicks or sales. It’s up to you what a conversion means and if you’re not meeting your conversion goals, then you need to readjust until you achieve the best result possible.
Using Analytics Tools to Understand the Behavior of Your Visitors
Your website visitors are much more than page views. They are people that take various actions (or not) when they get to your site. It’s important to understand as much as you can about them. Due to Google’s powerful network they have a lot of information on your users. You may as well use it to get to know your real audience.
Who are they?
Knowing exactly who your visitors are is useful because when you first choose your audience you are usually just making a guess on the best audience so that you can create marketing materials and products and services. But, once you have your site live and your products selling, checking up to ensure that you’re still marketing to the right people helps tremendously.
Where did they come from?
How your audience finds you is an important thing to know. Because if your audience is finding you more from one location over another, you need to up your activities there so you can get more of that traffic. In Google Analytics, you can find this information under All Referrals.
Where is your audience located?
You can use the Geo Location area of analytics to find out where your audience lives. Even if you’re marketing worldwide it’s good information to have, because the location of your audience does help you make some assumptions about their personalities and values.
What do they do on your site?
You can map what each visitor does on your site so that you can see which menu items are most popular. This can help you determine what type of content you should put more of on your website. Put more of what they’re reading and viewing on your site to attract even more visitors like them.
What do they want?
By analyzing where they go, how they interact and so forth, you can make some assumptions about what they want from you. If they’re reading blog posts, do more; if they watch and share videos more often, do more of that.
Where are their conversion paths?
Knowing the steps, a user takes to reach a buying decision is important, because it can help you create paths that work for your visitors based on the conversions already made. This information can help you optimize your sales funnels.
What information do they comment on?
If you have a forum, or have opened comments on your blog, or get emails from people who purchased something from you, what information do they comment on most? Is it positive, negative or indifferent? With that information, you can create more content that gets bigger responses.
Any information you can get on your visitors will help you improve not only your website, but your entire business. You can learn so much by what your current visitors do and don’t do on your website, then use that information to make everything run more efficiently.
Once you have the hang of collecting and analyzing data you can take the process even further by doing A/B testing. One of my favorite ways to do this is with Google Analytics. I like it because it’s free and it works!
Basically, A/B testing consists of having two versions of whatever you’re testing that are very slightly different. You then divide the traffic between the two versions and see which one converts at a higher rate.
While this seems simple enough most marketers don’t do it, even though it been proven that website owners who conduct proper A/B testing experience higher conversions and a higher return on investment (ROI) than those who don’t.
Create your marketing copy
Whether it’s a sales page, newsletter landing page or something else entirely, create the designs in twos. You want to create two landing pages (A and B) that are slightly different. For example, perhaps each page has a different image on it, or a different headline, or perhaps a different buy/call to action button.
Upload the pages to your website
You’ll need the URLs of the pages that you want to test. Make sure when you collect the URLs that you name each test page so that you know which one each URL is assigned to. Keep track of it all to ensure that you don’t get mixed up, so that your results will turn out accurately.
Set your goals
Obviously, your goal is to make more money and increase your return on investment. But, you will have many different conversion goals, such as newsletter sign-ups, freebie downloads, sales and more. Choose an “experimental objective” within Google Analytics to create your goals. You can find this under Behavior and Experiments. Just click “Create Experience” to get started.
Name your experiment
Choose names for your experiments so that you can identify which page is working best during the testing. Once you’ve done this you can set your goals under “objectives for this experiment”. You have several choices such as AdSense, ecommerce, and many other goal metrics. Choose the best one for your test.
Run the test
Once you have it all set up and uploaded, you can let it run. Keep checking up on your statistics as often as you can; at first you may want to do it daily, then maybe weekly. Let it run long enough that you’re positive on which test, A or B, worked better.
Pick the best conversion page
Remember that conversions and clicks are nice but money is the point. There are always possibilities that the most clicked and trafficked page is not the one that makes the most money. Therefore, it’s imperative to run the experiment long enough with enough variables to notice. For example, don’t sign people up for the same list even if the series is the same; that way you know which list is filled with either A or B respondents.
When you know what your goals are, and test to find out how accurate you have been designing sales pages and landing pages for your audience, you’ll soon see much better results and at conversions.
Common Mistakes People Make When Tracking Their Business
If you truly want to improve your business, get more customers and make more sales, then you need to pay close attention to your numbers. As I have mentioned in previous lessons the metrics behind what’s working and what isn’t are very important.
They say that only twenty percent of your actions make up eighty percent of the results. What if you’re working on the wrong twenty percent? If you study analytics, you’re going to be so much more likely to work on the projects that yield the best ROI and more likely to let go of the ones that aren’t working and losing you money.
Now let’s quickly go over some of the common mistakes people make when analyzing their business activities. Hopefully by reading them you’ll avoid making the same mistakes yourself.
Not looking at the numbers at all
Many people run successful businesses without ever looking at a single number. That’s crazy, right? They may even think “what’s the point?” Especially if everything is going good and profits are rolling in. But, the fact is, how much more successful could they be if they knew what was working and what wasn’t? Who doesn’t want their business to be as successful and profitable as possible?
Looking at the wrong information
Many people new to analytics often study information that really doesn’t matter. For example, total visitor represents the sum of individual people that visited your site regardless of the number of times they visited. So, if one person visits your site once and another person visits your site five times. To get an accurate count of how many people are actually visiting your site you should look at unique visitors instead.
Not setting up the software correctly
If you’re new and you have no idea how to use the software you’re working in then you need to take some time to go through the help files and tutorials, because the software only works as well as the user. If this isn’t something that you’re willing to do, or have time to do you may want to consider hiring someone who is familiar with it set it up and send you the reports. Keep in mind that you’ll also have to take some time to learn how to decipher the information you collect.
Not monitoring regularly
Often, people spend a lot of time and money to set up analytics but they don’t look at the reports. This is a terrible waste of resources. Once you’ve taken the time to set it up, make sure that you monitor everything on a set schedule so don’t miss any critical data that can hurt your business.
Not segmenting for retargeting (remarketing)
One of the most powerful forms of marketing today is retargeting or remarketing to people who have visited your websites or had some sort of interaction with your business before. It’s a proven fact that some people need to see your offers multiple times in order to finally trust you, take action and finally make a purchase. With proper tracking, you won’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to close more sales.
Not setting conversion goals
A Conversion Goal is the measurement of the action an individual user has completed on your website. For example, submitting a form, clicking on a button or link, landing on a particular page or completing a purchase.
If you don’t set goals within your software, you won’t know if what you’re trying to achieve is happening or not. Remember, you can make assumptions based on income but you won’t really know what’s working or what isn’t unless you are tracking your goals.
Not filtering out invalid traffic
Invalid traffic includes both clicks and impressions that might not be the result of genuine user interest. This covers intentionally fraudulent traffic as well as accidental clicks and other mechanically generated traffic
I know this sounds crazy but a lot of traffic can really mess up your numbers, so you need to know how to filter out particular traffic that comes from people like yourself, your virtual assistant or web designer who visit your website to work.
Not differentiating the types of traffic
There are several other types of traffic such as referral, direct and so forth. You should differentiate each type of traffic so that you know exactly where it’s coming from and what is causing a spike in visitors, bounces or conversions.
Not setting up multiple views
When you get reports, instead of trying to look at everything at once, set up multiple views so you can see what each parameter means to your business. Most software including Google Analytics will allow you to do this.
If you can avoid these common mistakes when you’re tracking your business you’ll get much better results. It will also save you a lot of time and headaches.
I sincerely hope that you’ve learned a lot about how to track your business for success using analytics tools and even though this training has come to an end I want you to know that you can still feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I’m more than happy to help.