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How To Make Data Analytics Work For Your Business In 5 Steps

For some business owners and marketers, the word analytics can sometimes seem daunting. Maybe conjuring up an image of numerous indecipherable data sets that are not only hard to make sense of but also hard to use effectively in some meaningful way.

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be this way. In reality, most analytics can be synthesized down to fairly straightforward and highly actionable business intelligence. Actionable intelligence for the sake of directly improving how well you deal with customers, convert visitors into buyers and run your business for maximum growth.

Here are five essential and applicable ways you can use analytics to your benefit.

1. Ask the Right Questions

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Asking the right questions from your analytics is akin to knowing what sorts of data sets to look for and examine. This process is crucial because it helps you avoid paralysis through analysis and information overload, and it does this by letting you focus on uncovering the information your business would most benefit from through analytics.

What you need to do is look at your business as a whole, including factors such as your advertising methods, your target audience demographics, audience sources and your website structures. Now, ask yourself what you need to uncover from these factors for maximum returns on investment.

This is because knowing what data to analyze for the most actionable insights is the most fundamental step in all successful analytics. What you don’t want to do is overload yourself with pointless metrics that might not even apply effectively to your specific business. So, focus on what’s relative to you.

2.  Include the Essentials

ACTblog53There are many analytics metrics that you can incorporate into your tracking dashboards on Google Analytics and other similar systems. Since not all of these may even be relevant to you, you might then be left wondering what is the essential metric that you should focus on.

  • Entry and Exit points: Where your site visitors are landing and where they are leaving from. If you’re getting too many visitors who leave from the same page without performing a meaningful conversion type action, you’re not engaging them adequately.
  • Bounce Rates: Bounce rates are a metric of how often visitors land on only one page of your site and then leave from that same page shortly thereafter without performing any meaningful action. You want to have minimal bounce rates and if they are high it usually means that you either lack a clear call to action or that your landing page is somehow poorly optimized.
  • Events: This is a metric for the types of measurable activities visitors to your site do while visiting.  These could include clicks to certain links, social media shares, watching videos, email opt-ins, and best of all: sales conversion actions (buying something). Keeping the amount of activity numbers high per visitor is something you want to maximize.
  • Conversions: These can be classified under “Events” but they also merit their own special mention. The larger the percentage of visitors that opt in to email subscriptions, clicking on internal links, clicking on affiliate ads or buying something, the higher your conversion rates are, and this should be one of your biggest goals to strive for.
  • New Visitors vs. Repeat Visitors:  This is a slightly tricky metric because you don’t want too high of a percentage of one or the other to be the case. While having plenty of new visitors hitting your site is a good sign that your site is becoming known and popular in your niche, low stats for repeat visitors mean that all those new visitors found nothing they liked and never came back, meaning low conversions and little audience engagement. Ideally, you should have a good flow of new readers and plenty of repeat visitors coming back, indicating that you’re giving them value.
  • Traffic Sources: Where your visitors are coming from is something you absolutely need to know so you can optimize for improved campaigns in different media. Under Traffic Sources you can find out which visitors are showing up from advertising, from organic results, different social media platforms and from backlinks on other sites. You can also apply analytics from other traffic sources that come through systems such as Analytic Call Tracking, which can give you information on offline and online sources of traffic.

 3. Work to Make Analytics Results Match Business Specific Goals

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Analytics metrics are on the whole designed to track performance indicators in your business, so the more closely that you can align them with specific goals in your business, the better. Your business objectives should be reflected in the metrics you collect and you should always be working to move them closer to that end if they’re not there.

In other words, hooking your website up to analytic tracking isn’t simply about passively observing how your business is doing. It’s about collecting the feedback analytics gives you, adjusting your page designs and marketing based on the assorted data you have and working to watch your results improve. Working to minimize bounce rates and lack of repeat visitors while trying to maximize conversion rates across the board are particularly important goals that should be guided by analytics data.

4. Optimize the Value of your Traffic

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Traffic can be expensive, in dollar terms if it’s not organic traffic and in time costs if it’s traffic that you generated through hours of content marketing and site optimization. Thus, what you need to absolutely do is maximize your ROI from whatever traffic you do get online. This can be achieved by working to optimize the analytics metrics that are most closely associated with your financial bottom line.

While high site visitor numbers and page views are great, they don’t necessarily reflect a good ROI. Instead, focus on increasing sales, number of high value orders, number of lead generations and your conversion rates for any process that should lead to a sale. Based on the metrics that most closely reflect your bottom line, optimize for improvement as much as you can.

For example, if your sales page isn’t getting many page views and thus low sales conversions, make it easier to find and improve its layout so that it creates a more enticing call to action. Once you’ve done this, see what effect it has on sales conversion metrics.

5. Experiment with Different Analytics Tools

kissmetricsGoogle Analytics isn’t the only show in town. Though it’s by far the most famous player in the analytics market, there are numerous other platforms that you can use to gather a deep range of data about the most important metrics you need for your online and even offline business experiments.

Sites such as Kissmetrics, Clicky and WebTrends all offer their own specific information gathering systems and dashboards. Some of these are the same as what Google offers but each service offers its own special niche angle too.

There are even specialized analytics systems that are designed for select advertising methods; an example of this would be Analytic Call Tracking, which is designed to trace the origin and conversion rates of your offline and online advertising through unique phone numbers.

Grow and Profit Through Efficient Analysis

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Analytics should ultimately be about improving the efficiency, growth and profitability of your business through a combination of high value intel and subsequent improvement testing. You should not let the data clutter your planning for its own sake.

What this means is that you need to have a plan for how to use your metrics and what you’d like them to reflect, then work towards fulfilling that plan. Spending time and money on expensive analytics without first planning is a recipe for pointless complication.

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