It’s no secret that understanding and optimizing your marketing and sales efforts based on your analytics is very important for your small business. Those companies that understand, monitor, and adjust their business practices based on the data from their small business analytics are the companies that grow fastest, adjust for past and future trends, and quickly move to the head of their industry.
In today’s world, there is no lack of information. We’ve got all of the information that we could need, but now it’s on us as small business owners to capitalize on this information. The biggest problem for many small businesses is understanding where to start, what is actually important, what they should be focusing their attention on when it comes to their small business analytics.
With so many tools out there from website traffic analytics like Google Analytics, Alexa, and Quantcast to marketing and advertising analytics tools like those provided by social media pages, Google Adwords, and Moz, it’s easy to see how we can become overwhelmed and frustrated. There is just SO MUCH INFORMATION!
Well, we’re here to help you cut through the clutter and get to what really matters to your business. Here are our six things to look for when monitoring your analytics for your small business.
You can’t immediately see trends once you start monitoring your analytics, but once you’ve set up your tracking you can start to see trends within three to six months. It’s all about patterns.
See, analytics without context can be extremely deceiving. It’s similar to taking a quote out of context. Taking a look at a day’s, week’s, or even month’s worth of analytical data on its own is probably inaccurate. When we really start to see information that we can make adjustments from is after a reasonable amount of time (three, six, even 12 months of data). Analytics can’t be viewed in a vacuum. You’ve got to get enough information for it to be an accurate representation of your customers, visitors, sales, social media engagement, etc.
EXPERT TIP: Trends to specifically focus on include:
- The source of your website traffic or customer traffic – if you start to see that an extraordinary amount of traffic or customers comes from a specific source, adjust your thinking and start focusing on that source more. Your customers are obviously spending their time there.
- Keyword rankings – it’s important to your search engine optimization efforts to monitor the keywords that are important to your business and understand what effect new content has on those rankings. If you’re seeing that you’re easily moving up the rankings for a specific keyword or cluster of keywords by producing content around them, adjust and create more content along those lines.
- Customer LTV – your customer lifetime value is a very important number to understand in your business. This is the value of each customer over the entire time that they work with your business. Monitoring the types of customers that come from which marketing initiatives will help you understand where to spend more of your marketing dollars. We all have customers that we don’t want and customers that we seek out. Not everyone is a good fit for every business. Because of this, we need to understand which marketing efforts are bringing in the customers we want and which are bringing in the less desirable customers.
Website traffic is a very important metric for almost every business in the world. Are you getting enough website traffic? Silly question, everyone’s answer is, “No! We want more traffic”. With your website traffic it’s important to understand not only your monthly, quarterly, or yearly traffic totals, but also who is actually coming to your website. The answers may actually surprise you. Many business owners have found that the people actually visiting their website are different than those they expected to be visiting. This could mean that you are actually targeting the wrong group of people (age, demographics, geography, etc.) and need to adjust your messaging to attract the group that you really want or it may mean that you have a great opportunity to expand your targeting to a new segment that you didn’t expect. Either way, it’s important to know and understand these things.
We touched on this earlier, but it’s very important to understand where your traffic, leads, and customers are coming from. Are they traditionally coming from social media, backlinks, organic search, paid search, direct? Then you can dive down even further – are they coming from Facebook more than Twitter? From a specific website or blog post? From specific keywords? Understanding where they are coming from will help you understand where the majority of your time should be spent marketing. Remember not to focus on a single day or week or even month of data. Those can easily be flukes. The more data you include, the more accurate representation you’ll have.
- Bounce Rate
Your bounce rate is the percentage of website visitors that go to your website and leave before visiting any other page on your site. This can be due to a number of factors, but most likely, they’re not easily finding the content that they were looking for. If your bounce rate is trending up (which is bad – you want as low of a bounce rate as possible), then you may want to look at simplifying your website and/or adding content to your site that speaks to your target personas. Bounce rates are also known to have an affect on your search engine rankings. Google (and other search engines) don’t want to show your site in search results if visitors are consistently bouncing because they take that to mean that you are not what these people are searching for.
EXPERT TIP: It’s important to know which changes make which impact so changing everything may not be a good idea, at least not at the same time. We recommend making a single change and monitoring the data, then making another change.
Engagement rates are an important metric in all marketing campaigns including email marketing, social media, website calls-to-action, blogging, and more. Understanding the kinds of content that are producing the most engagement will help you to drill down and understand who your most engaged customers are and what they’re most interested in. Producing more of that content will only attract more people to you and result in new prospects and new customers. Engagement can come in the form of likes, follows, reposts, open rates, click through rates, bounce rates, time spent on your site, form fills, and more. Monitor those trends and which pieces of content or pages are performing best and worst to help you understand what is most impactful and which content to avoid.
It’s no secret that your financials are what will make or break your business. Staying on top of your invoices, expenses, transactions, sales, customers, vendors, and everything that goes into the financials of your company are probably the most important metrics that you can monitor. The problem is that most of us aren’t accountants so we don’t necessarily know what we’re looking at and understanding if it’s progressing in the right direction is another beast all together. While we recommend that every business work with a CPA or accountant to make sure that their financials are in good shape, we also recommend that you take an active part in managing your numbers. Setting up a simple dashboard that monitors the money coming in, the money going out, and your accounts receivable will give you a great basic measure of how your business is doing financially. These metrics should be monitored every single day to ensure accuracy and future success.
We are all busy with our businesses and a lot of focus is placed on creating a great customer experience, training our teams, creating new products, and marketing, but actively monitoring our analytics is key to attracting new customers and maintaining relationships with those customers. In fact, in a report by Baynote found that 93% of businesses found that analytics evaluation was the most important factor in attracting customers and customer retention.
Understanding, monitoring, and optimizing your efforts based on your analytics is what separates the good small businesses from the great small businesses that become medium sized businesses. There is so much information out there that you can use to grow your business and evolve your processes, but the key is to know what to look for and know how to get that information. We invite you to get started with a custom FOREVER FREE Cyfe dashboard!
No matter which metrics matter most to your business or industry, we can help you measure, monitor, and optimize your efforts through our 200+ integrations and easy to read dashboard layout. Start today and start making decisions based on analytics to grow your small business!