Many professional marketers don’t know how to explain website analytics to other people. You know who falls into the category of “other people”? Company management, that’s who. Yes, we may give our firm management a report from our Google Analytics of how our website is performing but we are assuming that management knows what the reports mean because they are, in fact, managing a business. Guess what? Majority of them have NO CLUE what the data means.
Data without context is a bunch of jibberish. You know who hates jibberish? Everyone.
Plus, the people who are managing companies/departments are tasked with being profitable, efficient, and “not screwing it up.” So, by giving management a report of our current bounce rates, click through rates, referral sites, number of sessions, pages visited per session, etc. means I am being a marketing commodity. Kind of like … “Here are those TPS reports that no one looks at or cares about but I’m giving them to you because it is on my to-do list.”
Don’t be a marketing commodity! Be a marketing differentiator!
Here are some tips on how to use website analytics like a differentiator:
1. Look at your analytics!
There are a lot of companies that don’t pay attention to their analytics. Even if you don’t understand the data at first, start looking at it. Research what the data means. Start to look for trends/spikes/valleys in the charts and numbers. The data is free! Don’t throw valuable information away by not looking at it.
2. Start small.
Website analytics is like a firehose. There is A LOT of data to review. Start small by looking at a few pieces first. I recommend reviewing the referral sites that are linking to your site and user flow that shows you where people are entering your site and where they are clicking on your site. These two items can allow you to maximize your relationship with the websites that are driving visitors to your site and beef up the pages that people are interacting with the most.
3. Visualize the data.
Charts are a great way to pinpoint trends. In Google Analytics, you can change the chart type as well as export the data so you can build your own charts. Charting your data is the easiest way to find the peaks and valleys in your marketing efforts.
4. Share your findings.
Don’t keep this information to yourself. Share it with your management. Put the data into context so management understands what it all means! If LinkedIn is in the top five referral sites to your website, then maybe your company should be using the LinkedIn platform more. If the user flow is not going the direction you thought visitors would interact with your site, then discuss how call-to-action buttons on certain pages can modify that flow. Or maybe your website’s framework needs to be rethought. Want to know how the C-suite can use digital analytics? Check it out here: http://www.benchleydesign.com/how-could-the-c-suite-use-digital-analytics/.
5. Do something with the data!
Website analytics give us incredible insight into how people are interacting with your company’s digital brand. Don’t just run reports and look at the data. Maximize the data spikes and tweak the data valleys! In other words, create better, unique marketing content. Websites should be part of your marketing team and it is the number one way to generate in-bound sales (I wrote about it here: http://www.benchleydesign.com/is-your-website-a-team-member/). Websites work 24/7, 365 days a year. You have the power through analytics to make your website a valuable team player or let it be a mediocre employee.
Get rid of the jibberish reports and educate management on how to be better stewards of digital communication. Website analytics never have been strictly for the business-to-consumer industry but the business-to-business industry hasn’t paid much attention to the data. Until now. The marketing professionals that are quick to realize the value of the data are the ones who will help make their firms marketing led. When firms are marketing led then in-bound sales increase, customer service becomes paramount, and every employee owns the vision of the company.
Bounce rates, click through rates, and referral sites. Heck yes!
About Julie Huval, CPSM
Julie owns Benchley Design, a company dedicated to training marketers on how to analyze digital branding data. She also oversees marketing and communications at Beck Technology, a construction software company. Julie is a contributing author to a number of industry publications and a frequent public speaker on marketing, business, and technology. She earned an MBA from The University of Texas at Arlington and is a graduate of SMPS University at the University of Maryland. Additionally, Julie is a Certified Professional Services Marketer.