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Measure Once – Cut Twice – Understanding Google Analytics

google analytics

Yes, I know, the title is backwards, right? —Or did you miss that?

The old adage should read, “Measure twice only cut once.” It refers to the practice of preparing and making sure you are you have all your ducks in a row before you fully commit. Sadly, I have forgotten that mantra all too often. I was building a new table a couple years ago, and I was rushing to get to a certain stage by the end of that day and totally shot myself in the foot. I thought I could skip a few steps to verify that my measurements were right, and as a result I cut the piece I needed too short – and to make matters worse, I didn’t have enough wood to re-cut. It was either run to the store and buy a new piece (ie. and waste a bunch of time), or it was delay the finish of the project.

Does that sound familiar to you? Do you fall into that habit all too often? More specifically, does it happen to you when it comes to your marketing?

I find that we often are in a hurry to “get something out” or meet a deadline that we can forget to go through vital steps before we do it. When it’s a flop or doesn’t yield the results we expect, we scratch our heads and wonder why. It can become a never ending cycle—unless you stop it.

The number one reason I see this happening is because we don’t understand the essential ingredients that cannot be skipped before we take that next step.

There are lots of tools out there to help with this, but I want to explore one that is so often misunderstood today – Google Analytics. Everyone seems to know about it and that it has important information contained in it, but it is viewed as “Raiders of the Ark-esque” when it comes to getting the data out of it.

Let me take a few moments to help you unpack it and offer you a resource that can help you to dig deeper and truly see it at work.

#Analytics is about taking your data and outside influences and building insights from all of it. – Fiona Roddis… http://tinyurl.com/lv9xf8r

So let’s launch in…

Understanding Google Analytics

If you boil it down, Google Analytics asks and gives you answers to 3 big questions about what is going on with your website:

  1. Who is visiting my site?
  2. Where did they come from?
  3. What did they find the most interesting when they were there?

That’s it in a nutshell. Those are the big 3 questions that are answered. They also form the cornerstone of any good marketing strategy – who, where, and what.

If we dig a little deeper into each question, we can gain even more insight into what is going on with your website.

When it comes to your Audience it’s important to know the locations of your visitors, as I’ve often seen analytics that reflect tons of visits from overseas to a local business – a definite mismatch there. I also want to know what percentage of my visitors are using a mobile device to access my website, as that determines important design elements. Lastly, I am interested in how long my visitors are staying around and whether they are visiting for the first time or are returning visitors.

Next, I take a dive into the the Acquisition section – where are my visitors coming from? My number one question I want to answer is who referred them. In other words, did they do a search or just type the url in directly. Or did they perhaps click on a link from another website, social media, or even an email I sent out. The final thing I want to know in this section is what terms are people using when doing a search and I am showing up in the results, and even more importantly which ones are they clicking on.

The last section tells us more about the Behavior of our visitors, or put another way, where are our visitors spending their time on my site? The number one question I want to answer is what content do my visitors visit the most when they come to my site? I am interested in what pages, as well as what blog posts, are valuable to my readers. As an added bonus, you can even see how long (on average) people are spending on those posts or pages. One little-known feature of the Behavior section is the fact that you can see what pages people are visiting first (ie. pages that are attracting visitors) as well as the pages that are the exit point for my visitors – in which case, I might want to look at how I might keep them engaged in clicking to another page before they leave. One bonus in this section the the behavior flow map, which gives you a great visual of the most popular paths people take through your site – I like to compare that to the path I designed initially, and see if I need to make tweaks based on that information.

So there you have it – a quick tour of Google Analytics!

In the Age of Social Networking – Why Email Marketing Still Works for Online Business

email marketingMany people wonder if they still need Email Marketing now that we have interactive social media. But, there are many reasons that point to why you should still be email marketing, and in fact Email Marketing is still more effective and preferable if you have to choose one over the other.

Why Email Marketing may be your best marketing option

1. It’s a Numbers Game – More people have email accounts than they do social media accounts, and more people still purchase through email than they do through social media messages. Plus, the truth is that social networks are still limiting your ability to get to your audience even when they have consented to receive your messages by liking your pages.

2. Email Is More Personal – People often check their email messages on their cell phones, mobile devices and computers and love to see something specifically addressed to them. Email gives you the personalization options that social media never can. When you send a social media message it is going out to all audience members with no personalization (unlike email), which makes them feel rather generic.

3. It’s More Businesslike – With social media you have to contend with cat videos and baby laughing videos, but with email messages your audience has signed up to receive your business transactional emails and are expecting to get promotions. That makes email much more businesslike than social media, even LinkedIn, can dream of being.

4. Email Gets More Attention – People are much more likely to open and engage with a personalized email message than they are to engage with your social media marketing campaigns. That’s why social media marketing should be engaged to build your email list rather than promote products directly.

5. People Expect Your Email – Everyone has signed up to receive your email. They’ve given their permission for you to send them marketing messages and are expecting to receive them. In fact, if you don’t send them often enough, they will get frustrated that you’re not sending them enough messages and forget about you.

6. They Agree to Receive Your Email – Your audience has agreed to receive your email messages, which is a big thing. When someone “likes” your social media page they actually aren’t expecting promotions to appear on their wall, but when they sign up to get your email messages they are expecting to get promotions, sales, and information about your products and services.

7. They Will Receive Your Email – If you join a reputable email autoresponder service (we love Active Campaign), your email messages have over a 99 percent chance of getting into your customer’s inbox, whereas reports are showing that less than 10 percent of your social media followers or “likes” are seeing your messages.

8. Email Is Easier to Track – Email autoresponder software has better analytics than social media at this time in history. You’ll be able to measure your metrics better so that you’ll know whether your goals are being met or not.

In terms of online marketing, it’s clear that if content is king; Email Marketing is queen. No serious business person should give up on email marketing in favor of social media marketing. Right now social media marketing is too limited, not personal enough, and reaching your audience is still not a sure thing like it is with email marketing. We’d love to hear what you think? Enter a comment below or contact us if you have questions.

Top 10 Customer Loyalty Tips [Infographic]

If you’re spending money on trying to find new clients and not doing anything to nurture the relationship with your existing customers STOP. It is usually cheaper to keep them to continually hunt for new clients and ignore the ones you have. Building a loyalty is key, so we have put together 10 great tips on building customer loyalty that ultimately should lead to more business from people who already know you , like you and trust you.

Customer-Loyalty-Tips

1. Use Email to Stay in Touch – Turning your new customers into repeat customers is golden. Email marketing is a great way to keep the lines of communication open after the initial sale. It allows you to build relationships with them, which translate into more revenue.

2. Socialize with Your Customers – Billions of consumers use social media today; making it a great way for you to stay connected with your customers in a positive way. It allows for real-time consumer to business interaction on a consistent basis, which leads to more retention.

3. Provide Great Service – “Customer Service = Repeat Business.” Address concerns and problems promptly. Respond to and correct any issues that are uncovered with negative online reviews. Taking these measures will build confidence in the fact that you care about your customers.

4. Under-Promise & Over-Deliver – Not meeting your customers’ expectations can take a toll on your business. One way to prevent this is to exceed their expectations by delivering top-quality products and services. Above anything else, this is the foundation for repeat business.

5. Provide Valuable Content – Whether it’s via your blog, email, or social media platforms, provide your customers with content that can help them in some way. “How-To’s” & “Tips” content is ideal and will help your business stay top-of-mind when they need your type of product or service.

6. Make Them Feel Special – Making special offers that are only available to your customers makes it hard for them to resist doing business with you. Implementing simple strategies such as exclusive birthday offers or customer-only deals are powerful for generating repeat business.

7. Setup Loyalty & Rewards Programs – Giving your customers discounts based on the amount of business they do with you is a great way to increase retention and profits. You can offer deals such as “buy 5, get 1 free,” “get 10% off for every $50 spent,” and more. Punch cards are popular for these types of loyalty programs.

8. Show Your Appreciation – It’s the little things that count. Let your customers know that you appreciate their business with a simple “thank you” from time to time. You can do this via digital methods such as social media, email, or video. Also thank them in person whenever possible.

9. Ask for Feedback & Opinions – Getting input from your customers lets them know that their opinions matter and that you really do have their best interest at heart. Customer surveys are a great way to accomplish this goal, which ultimately strengthen customer loyalty levels.

10. Keep Employees Happy – Your employees are the forefront of your business and if they’re unhappy, it will spill over into how they treat your customers. In other words, an unhappy employee could cause you to lose business no matter how great your products and services are.

If you want to know about installing a customer loyalty program in your business contact us today!

Narrow Your Focus to Broaden Your Sales

narrow-focusOne of the biggest mistakes a small business owner can make is to cast too wide a net when it comes to who they will serve and the products and services they offer. It might seem counter-intuitive to narrow your focus to make more sales, but when you have a small business it’s the best way to earn more money with less effort.

There is always someone out there who is able to charge less money. In that case, don’t compete on price. Instead, narrow your niche and compete on specialization. Show your market how special your product or service is compared to your nearest competition. Make sure that you stand out from the rest by not competing on their level but on yours.

Facts about niche markets:

Niche Markets Have Fewer Customers – This seems like an obvious statement but it should be stated again, because when you have fewer customers you need to differentiate in a new way. By choosing a narrow niche market, you’ll focus on quality or even quirkiness over price.

Niche Markets are Less Price Sensitive – Due to the fact that fewer businesses are willing to serve smaller markets, they are often less price sensitive due to lower competition for their business. So the customer is more impressed by how you are different than your price.

Market Expansion Means Creating New Products or Services – One issue with a narrow focus is that you’ll need to find new ways to make more sales. Usually, this will be in the form of new products and/or services created just for your niche, such as education, more personalized services, continuity programs and more.

Staying Successful Means Always Improving over Competitors – With a narrow focus you can really get to know not only your customers but also your competition, and continue to improve the value you offer your audience without lowering your price.

You’ll Need to Build Relationships with Customers – When dealing with a smaller niche, you want to bring your customers into your circle and make them part of your family. You want to get to know them very well and let them get to know you. Building relationships is an essential component of increasing sales within a niche market.

Narrowing Your Niche Enables You to Focus Your Talents – The more specialized you become, the more you can be seen as an expert by your audience and in truth the more of an actual expert you will become. You’ll become a lot freer to do the kind of work that you need to do to perfect your craft.

Narrowing Your Niche Gives You a Competitive Advantage – By working with a very small, focused, and narrow niche, you’ll have an advantage over other businesses owners who don’t understand the power of focus.

You’ll Get More Referrals and Recommendations – Due to having a smaller market your audience will become a lot like fans and cheerleaders, recommending and referring you to their friends and colleagues who are likely to also be members of your niche.

Finally, the way to narrow your niche market is to choose a market in which you already have experience, talent, connections and an understanding of their needs. This won’t reduce your need to study the market and research the market, but it will give you a good starting point from which to develop the research.

If you need help defining your market niche, or any other essential marketing strategy please contact us or complete the Free Marketing Assessment, we would be happy to help.