What Do Customers Really Want? Google Analytics Can Help You Find the Answers
Without analytics data, that customer's motivations would likely remain a mystery.
Fortunately, Google Analytics lets marketers set Goals. The main purpose of Goals is to measure when website visitors perform desired objectives, such as making purchases or requesting more information. The trick is to look at this data in reverse - and this is easy with the Reverse Goal Path feature of Google Analytics. Did certain advertising funnels convert more significant numbers of visitors? And, if so, then what did those funnels have in common?
Likewise, you can look for broken funnels among visitors who failed to convert. Were most of them using mobile devices? If so, your customers might be more tech-savvy than you anticipated, and perhaps your website isn't properly optimized. Or did these visitors bounce after clicking on a research-oriented advertisement? If so, perhaps your customers crave more in-depth landing page content to help build trust with your brand.
Setting up Goals in Google Analytics is easy, and the insights you'll gain about your customers are invaluable.
Make Funnels Easier to See
Getting to know your customers with Google Analytics ultimately boils down to understanding funnels. If you can separate the data from one funnel to the next, you'll have an easier time understanding what motivates your customers (and how to entice them to make purchases).
To this end, Google Analytics features a custom URL builder that lets you track results from all of your marketing efforts. Every piece of your online marketing — we're talking individual blog posts, email blasts, banner ads, YouTube videos, Tweets, Facebook updates and more — should get its own URL. Do this, and you'll see exactly which marketing efforts most effectively accomplished your goals.
Same as before, you'll want to pay just as much attention to marketing efforts that failed. Compare under-performing blog posts, emails and social media updates with others that succeeded. Are there obvious differences? Was one post made on a weekend, and the other on a weekday? Did your buyer-oriented marketing outperform your research-oriented marketing, or vice-versa?
Small businesses can also use custom URLs to see how customers behave differently from around their service areas. If customers from an entire region don't seem to be converting, perhaps the problem is one of brand credibility rather than pricing or special offers.
The more you can parse your funnels, the more quickly you'll learn where your relationship with your customer base needs work.
Study the Competition
Always watch your competition. It's a universal truth whether we're talking sports, politics, board games or digital marketing.
Google Analytics makes it easy to see how people arrive on your website. If you advertise on Google's Display Network, then you could be getting traffic from all kinds of related blogs and websites. If you don't use AdWords, then you'll still be getting traffic from a wide range of Google searches.
Using Google Analytics, you can find the most common search terms and referrer websites that send you the most traffic. Search those terms in Google and examine the top-ranking ads and organic search results. Or, visit those referring websites and see what kind of content they offer (you can also look at other ads on these sites). Think about how you might incorporate the competition into your own marketing strategy.
It's possible to get positive ROI from your marketing and website without help from Google Analytics. That said, you're almost certainly cutting yourself short — really short — if you don't dig deeper into the data. And really, there's no reason not to. Google Analytics is free and easy to use, and the data is already being generated. Why not use it to your advantage?
Hoping that people find your website and make purchases isn't a winning strategy. You're far better off with a data-driven strategy that's built from your customers' needs and motivations. That's how Google Analytics can help.
Want more help with Google Analytics? Click here to grab a copy of our Ultimate Google Analytics Checklist.
Phil is Founder and COO of Main Street ROI. Phil leads the company’s operations and is primary creator of Main Street ROI’s marketing training programs. He is an expert in search engine marketing, website analytics, and sales funnel optimization. Phil’s marketing thought leadership has been published on Forbes.com, Inc.com, MSN.com, and many other major business media outlets.
Phil earned his Master of Engineering Management degree from Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business and his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Engineering degrees from Dartmouth College. While attending Dartmouth, Phil started every game on the varsity football team as the defensive safety.