These days, plenty of companies are savvy to the importance of having a business website. Most even have an online presence. If you’re one of these businesses, that’s great! Simply creating an online presence, however, isn’t going to drive business growth. In the same way that you have set up a cash register in your brick-and-mortar store to keep track of your sales as a measure of how your store is performing and decide on future stock purchases for example, it is utterly necessary to set up web analytics for your website to track how it is performing for your business to make informed business growth decisions.

6 Reasons WHY Your Business Needs Analytics

Before we jump into details of how to set up an analytics package for your website, you should understand WHY you should want tracking to begin with.

1. Learn Where Your Customers Are Coming Fromwhere your customer coming from

Imagine if every person that walked into your brick-and-mortar store told you how he or she ended up finding you? You could figure out which marketing spend worked best and you can pump more money there. With web analytics, you can get just that! Find out exactly where your visitors to your website are coming from – whether they found you through search (organic), paid advertising (PPC), social media or direct (they knew your URL). If they found you through search or paid advertising, know the exact keywords they were looking for when they found you.

This information allows you to make informed decisions about your online business strategy. The keywords can also be used for your offline marketing copy.

2. Learn About Your Customer Habits

A physical store probably sees plenty of daily walk-ins. Imagine if you knew more about them, their wants and needs, and were able to cater specifically to them. With web analytics, you can. Analytics can provide you with insights about your visitors – from their age group and interests to what industry they work in. You can know which devices they used to visit your website, which browser and even which country they were in. All of this data can be used to help you build your customer persona and optimize your website to speak to your largest segment and improve conversions.

3. Analyze Social Media Impact

Analytics data lets you identify high-value networks and content, track on-site and off-site user interaction with your content, and tie it all back to your bottom line revenue through goals and conversions. Find out where your marketing efforts should be focused. With landing pages, find out where users from social media land on your site so you can optimize those pages for them.

4. Learn Which Pages Are Working On Your Website

By checking the Behavior Flow diagram provided in web analytics, you can see how visitors are interacting with your website, where they are dropping off and where they are converting. This provides you with the insight you need to improve your pages to convert your visitors better. See a lot of people not adding your product to cart? Improve your call to action (make the button more prominent for example) or tweak your copy for your largest customer segment. In the end, these page improvements will lead to a better conversion funnel and increased revenue.

5. Track Your Offline Marketingtrack your offline marketing

As a business, you are probably doing plenty of offline marketing to drive business growth – running radio ads, tv ads, newspaper prints, distributing flyers, and even organizing events. So how do you measure the returns on your investment from these offline marketing efforts? Until now, you’ve probably been doing guesses or just attributing an upturn in results down to marketing slightly before the fact. With analytics, this is no longer the case. When you’re distributing flyers, you can create a custom URL just for that flyer, so that when visitors arrive from that URL, you can track it and see how effective that flyer was. When you’re running a radio ad or TV ad, you can create unique phone numbers that redirect to your main line to track conversions via analytics. ALL of this will provide you with the information you need to figure out your marketing spend and budget.

6. It’s Free!

Believe it or not, all of the web analytics that has been described in the points above comes at a cost of F-R-E-E. That’s right, you do not need to pay a single dime to get all this business insight when you set up Google Analytics for your website. Obviously, being free, you would need to invest some time learning to properly utilize it. It is not as easy to use as other paid analytic tools out there but you cannot argue with this kind of return on your investment!

I’m on board. Google analytics sounds awesome. Now show me how! We thought you’d never ask. (: Although we could write a primer ourselves – Google itself has done a great job of writing out the steps to setting up the web tracking code. If you’re having any trouble setting up Google Analytics on your website, ask us in our 2Stallions forum – which is free.

Using Google Analytics Effectively

Once you have your Analytics code set up, it is time to move on to the interesting aspect of Google Analytics – using it EFFECTIVELY to help you make business decisions that drive growth.

1. Define Your Business Objectives

What does your business hope to achieve? Is it sales? Do you want it to move from offline to online? Is it to increase user engagement? Is it to increase user awareness? Progress can only be measured when it is driving an objective, so it is important to keep this in mind when setting up Google Analytics.

2. Translate Objectives into Goals & KPIstranslate objectives into goals and KPI

Google Analytics allows you to set up goals. If your business objectives are sales driven then you can create a goal on Google Analytics. You can track each sale for an eCommerce store or leads via a contact form for corporate sites. You can even create goals based on URLs people land on (awareness), the time they spend on your site (awareness/engagement) and the number of pages people visit per session (engagement). Track what can be translated to driving business objectives. Know which metrics can be used to gauge your business objectives. Learn how to set up goals via Google Analytics Help.

3. Set up Google Analytics Dashboard

Once you have set up goals and identified the key metrics, you can create a custom dashboard on Google Analytics to show you these metrics every time you log in. In fact, you can even set scheduled reports to be emailed to you every day, week, fortnight, or month if you wish! This way, you will always have a pulse on the performance of your website.

4. Improve Your Website Based on Analytics

It’s wonderful when you keep receiving good news like when the metrics are showing that your website is driving your business objectives. However, it could also be that the results are not that good and your objectives are far from being met. Whether it’s the former or the latter situation, as business owners, we are ALWAYS looking to improve things. The true power of Google Analytics comes from being able to see WHERE these improvements are needed. For example, with your conversions and events set up, you can explore the Multi-Channel Funnels to see the path that visitors take to conversion.

Watch the video below to understand MCFs. Based on this, you’ll have a good idea about paths that convert and learn how interaction occurs on your site. With this information, you can improve pages, remove them or add new ones that you think will drive your goals faster.

I hope you have a much better idea of the feedback loop that web analytics can provide for your business. This can help you push your company to greater heights. If you wish to learn more about using Google Analytics, we suggest you start with resources that Google has set up.

If you do not wish to spend time going through all of these different resources, or feel your time is better utilized elsewhere in your business, you can always drop us a line so we can help you set it up. Questions? Comments? Feel free to tell us!

Dhawal Shah is an entrepreneur, fashion writer and adventurer. He is the co-founder of Hucklebury, a online fashion label as well as 2Stallions Digital Agency. He is also the technical guru behind Little India Directory. Driven by adventure, he most recently summited Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak on the African continent.

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