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How to Use Google Analytics to Refine Your Marketing Efforts

This is the fifth in a weekly series showing freelancers and business owners ways to spend an hour per week building a basic marketing program. Last week we showed you how to figure out what your marketing needs to accomplish. This week we show you how to decide where to focus future efforts. These posts are meant to be short, sweet and actionable.

The starting line

Before you jump into a marketing program, it helps to look at what activity you’ve got going on right now. Even if you’ve never tried organized marketing, you might find you’re already generating some interest in the form of traffic to your website. The info you get from this exercise will help you decide where to focus your initial marketing efforts.

For this bit of discovery you’ll look at two things:

  1. Number of people you are already attracting and
  2. Your website’s bounce rate. To do this you’ll use info from your website analytics and any other method you have of tracking inquires.

How many leads are you generating now?

Most likely, you only need to consider the number of new visitors to your website each month. This is because nearly every prospect will visit your website at least once before buying. If you’re convinced you speak with prospects who do not go to your website, go ahead and add that number to the number of new website visitors. (Do this after you apply the bounce rate).

If you added Google Analytics to your website in the first week of this program – or you already had some kind of analytics program running – the number of new visitors is at your fingertips.

Just log onto your analytics report, make sure the date range is set for one month, and note the number of new visitors. The default dashboard in Google Analytics gives you a total number of visitors, but you want to know the number of NEW visitors. Click on the Visitors link in the left-hand column.

Then click on New vs Returning.

You’ll find the number of new visitors in the chart under the main graph on the new page.

Let’s use the number in the sample of above and say your website is attracting 422 new visitors monthly.

How many website visitors stick with you?

Unfortunately, not all new visitors will love your site. A certain percentage will immediately decide they’re in the wrong place, and they’ll hit the back button or type in a new URL and leave your site. This percentage is called your bounce rate, and you need to factor that into your view of monthly new visitors.

Google Analytics gives you the bounce rate on the main dashboard – the page you see when you log on to your report.

Apply your bounce rate to the number of new visitors to get the number of visitors who actually stick to your site. In this example we multiply 422 new visitors by 40% (percentage who DON’T bounce, which is 1 – {bounce % Google displays}) and get a sticking visitors number of 169.

Compare this number to your marketing objective.

Pull out your marketing objective spreadsheet from last week and compare the two numbers. What is the total new leads you figured you need to be generating? How does that compare to where you are now?

Where to focus first

If you’ve done little or no marketing to date, you’re almost certain to find your current level of inbound leads is lower than it needs to be. Driving traffic to your website is first priority. We’ll start to look at how to do that next week.

If you find you’re generating plenty of traffic, you’ll want to focus on efficiency.

Take a look at your bounce rate. A high bounce rate (anything over 40 – 50% for non-pay-per-click traffic) makes your marketing efforts very inefficient. If your bounce rate is over 50%, this means that more than half of the people who come to your site leave right away. You’ll want to fix that before you do anything else.

Next look at your conversion rates. In particular, how good are you at turning mere visitors into active prospects and prospects into proposal opportunities? Most marketers find that once a sufficient level of traffic has been reached, they can get more business much faster and with less money by improving conversion rates.

Next week: Get Noticed.

We’ll address all of the marketing priorities eventually. Next week we look at how to get more website traffic by making yourself more visible.

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