Marketing without measurement will leave you flying blind, but sorting through all the data can be overwhelming and time-consuming.
In the January edition of TPM’s Take we’ll be covering the analytical side of Marketing. We cover the process of creating meaningful reports in Google Analytics, taking a sober approach to Conversion Rate Optimization, and SEO trends to watch for in 2017.
3 Steps to Creating More Accurate Google Analytics
Overall, your site’s traffic gives you a good indication of the health of your marketing efforts. Generally, an increase in traffic tells you that your site is growing and a decrease in traffic indicates that your current marketing efforts aren’t working. It also gives you a good understanding of which channels are driving the most awareness. But beware! Your Google traffic reports can provide misleading data.
If you have noticed a traffic spike recently, before you celebrate, make sure your data is good data. Upon further digging into your analytics, you might find that your traffic increase came from direct sources and your bounce rates are incredibly high. These are strong indicators that your site has been inundated by bot visits and spam traffic. The good news is that Google has made it easy to filter both bot and internal traffic in your reports.
Measuring your site’s traffic is an important metric for your marketing efforts. There are a number of important traffic related ratios you should be watching when measuring your website’s performance:
- Traffic divided by your conversions gives you a conversion rate which tells you how many of your visitors were successfully converted to leads or customers.
- Traffic source divided by your conversion source tells you which source has the most opportunity to focus your marketing efforts. You should know where your traffic is coming from, and which sources have an opportunity to increase your traffic. There are four major traffic sources, each will provide a different level of conversion:
- Direct visitors, who come to your site by typing your URL directly into their browser,
- Search visitors, who find you via search engines and search queries,
- Referral visitors, who visit your site by clicking a link from another site, and
- Social visitors, who find your site via social media channels.
- The number of new visitors that come to your site and leave immediately without any interaction gives you your bounce rate. Ideally, you want to minimize your visitor bounce rate while increasing your traffic.
Search Engine Land’s how-to article on 3 Steps to Creating More Accurate Google Analytics Reports will show you how to filter out spam traffic and traffic from internal sources. A quick and easy way to improve your marketing metrics and conduct a more accurate analysis of your website’s performance.
The Problem With Your High Conversions
CRO or Conversion Rate Optimization was the Homecoming Queen of Content Marketing in 2016. Everyone seemed to be talking about it and citing miraculous lifts in conversion rates based on the color of a button or copy on a landing page.
CRO is the concept of increasing the percentage of visitors who convert on a desired action on your website. A conversion may be to make a purchase, sign up for a free trial, download a whitepaper, or to “contact us”.
Most managed hosting providers and MSPs don’t have an e-commerce site, so the final conversion for a potential customer is to contact you for a consultation or quote. But why should a visitor to your site want to contact you over your competitors?
Every site could benefit from a little CRO, but many marketing teams and business owners struggle with where to start, what to do, and how to test. Taking a close look at what the end goal is for your company will allow you to improve the customer experience throughout the exploration stage of your customers’ buyer journey on your website.
Look at what the conversion opportunities are throughout your site and then look at ways you can improve on each of those stages, without forgetting about the end goal. Perform mindful testing and explore opportunities to improve on these areas your site may be lacking in:
- Clearly identifiable value proposition
- Relevance to your visitor based on their needs
- Clarity of EVERYTHING
- Removing any anxiety or uncertainty
- Conflicting messages or distractions from the main goal
- Inciting some sort of urgency to act now
I saw Chris Goward, CEO of Widerfunnel, speak at the 2016 Inbound Conference in November. His systematic approach to Conversion Rate Optimization was refreshing and this article on the Widerfunnel blog on The Problem With Your High Conversions cuts through some of the hype around CRO for those of us without endless time and budget for testing.
The Top 8 SEO Trends to Watch in 2017
Keeping up with current SEO trends can be harder than keeping up with the latest episode of a reality television show. Every year or so Google releases an update that shakes the entire industry down to its very core. If you are living by outdated SEO practices, you could be wasting your precious time and digital marketing budget significantly.
Long gone are the days of keyword stuffing and extreme backlinking.
Google has really stepped it up in 2017 to prioritize the experience of the online user. What does this look like? Well for starters, your content needs to match up with the actual intent of the search, rather than simply the keywords. You need to be hitting the nail on the head when it comes to succinct, authentic and valuable content for the end user, not just the site crawlers.
The rise of mobile has also brought with it many interesting parameters to be aware of. We all know about being mobile friendly but how does your content shape up when it comes to voice search? With 50% of teens and 21% of adults using voice search every day, does your site speak in a conversational tone in which users can have your content read back to them instantaneously? Mobile isn’t going anywhere, so consider humanizing the mobile experience for your visitors.
As you can see, the game has changed yet again and this article is a must read to get your bearings straight for 2017. Some of the other notable components to watch out for include:
- Site speed
- Site security
- Machine learning
- Digital assistants and local search
- Mobile friendliness
- And content vs. links