One of the most important business strategies is testing and measuring. It’s only by testing and measuring everything that you know what works and what doesn’t. But the sad thing is that it’s also one thing that so few businesses actually do. And it is even more disappointing when they neglect to do it for their online activity, since it is free and so easy to do.
If you ran a bakery that produced 50 different cakes, pastries and breads each day, how would you know which ones were in demand if you didn’t measure how many of each you produced each morning and how many of those you were left with at the end of the day? Let’s assume you wanted to introduce a new type of bun that you came across while holidaying overseas. How would you know how many to bake each day if you had no idea if it would meet with the approval of your regular customers or not? You could be wasting time and money baking a huge batch based only on the fact that you liked it when on holiday. The only way you would know is if you were to test the bun in your market place.
Testing and measuring is not just for products in the retail environment. You should use it for everything in your business; your business name, your positioning, your product line-up, your advertising, your keywords, your culture, your image … even your newsletters, blogs and websites.
How would you then go about measuring the effectiveness of an Internet ad online? You’d track everything with Google Analytics. Now here’s the interesting thing. Many businesses get this far and then sit back. They do nothing with the information they have received regarding their ad campaign.
The important thing is not to HAVE the information but to TAKE ACTION on it. You have to do something with it. You must understand that if you do nothing, nothing is going to happen. It’s only by doing something that you are going to get closer to the results you are after. It’s only by taking action that is based on solid market intelligence, feedback and research that you will be able to zero in on the outcomes you aim for.
It’s one thing to take action based on what you THINK your target market wants or what keywords they will be searching for; it’s quite another to base your actions on what you KNOW your target market wants and what keywords they actually respond to.
These days it is remarkably easy to get all the statistics you need about your online marketing activities. Google Analytics is a powerful Web analytics tool that gives you all the information you are ever likely to need about how people find your site, how they navigate through it and how they become customers. Once you know this, you can then set about improving or fine tuning your content so that your results improve.
You will receive many reports that will enable you to see whether you are getting better results to keywords in different cities or regions. Histograms tell you who your most loyal visitors are and who your least loyal ones are, the percentage of new visits as well as the percentage of visitors who bounce. I particularly like the tutorial called Conversion University, which details visitor loyalty, average page views, time on site and visitor recency.
The other thing I like about Google Analytics is that it is free. All you need to do is to sign up and start collecting data.