How to Use Web Analytics to Turn More Visitors into Customers
BY: TOM PICK ON TUESDAY, APRIL 09, 2013
Tools like Google Analytics can help you analyze and grow traffic to your website. Increasing your website's visibility and visitors is great, and are key elements of a web presence optimization framework and strategy. But ultimately, you don't just want people to visit your site—you want them to take action once they arrive.
For consumer businesses, that may mean actually making a purchase online, or it could be calling a (web only) phone number, making an appointment, or downloading a coupon. For business-to-business (B2B) vendors, action can mean signing up for a webinar, downloading a white paper, or arranging a product demonstration. Both types of businesses rely heavily on email marketing, so for either type driving e-newsletter subscriptions is a key goal.
Web analytics tools can help you increase those types of actions on your site by enabling you to analyze the behavior of specific groups of visitors (such as those who download whitepapers), and then developing programs and traffics to drive more such behavior.
First, you'll need to isolate those visits so you can examine them. To do this, in Google Analytics, click "Advanced Segments" in the top menu. Next, on the right side of your screen, click the "+New Custom Segment" button. In the drop-down list next to "Include," select Page, then type in the last segment of the post-submit landing page you'd like to track (e.g., for a whitepaper or report download, this is often called something like "thankyou.html" or "download.aspx").
Click "Add 'AND' Statement." Now, there are all sorts of ways you can use this—for example, to further your filter your converted traffic by source, location, or landing page—but for now just set it to "Visits" > Greater than > 0, to catch all visits that ended up taking this conversion action.
Give your segment a name (e.g., "Resource Downloads") in the box near the top-left of your screen, then click "Save Segment" in the lower left to complete the creation of this Advanced Segment.
Now you use this segment to analyze your whitepaper-downloading visitors. What are the most common landing pages among this group? What other pages did these visitors commonly view? What are the top traffic sources?
The analysis becomes even more valuable when you create different Advanced Segments for different groups (e.g., whitepaper downloaders vs. webinar registrants) and compare their attributes. For example, you may find that most downloaders come to your site through organic search, while email drives the majority of webinar registrations.
Understanding the behavior of different groups helps you to optimize marketing tactics for each set of visitors. For example, you may want to place whitepaper promotions on common SEO landing pages, then encourage downloaders to sign up for your email newsletter so you can invite them to register for a webinar later.
It's data-driven marketing, but creativity still plays a vital role. Analytics can reveal useful information about the behavior patterns of your website visitors who take action. But how you slice, dice, and utilize that information to improve marketing results is limited only by your imagination.