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Marketing With Google Analytics: 8 Identifying Profitable Pages

Sarah Jamieson - Tuesday, April 08, 2014

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Google Analytics utilizes a metric called $ Index that uses a dollar value to indicate how much a page on your site contributes to site revenue.

The higher the dollar value, the more the page contributes to your bottom line.

The highest value is assigned to pages that are often viewed prior to high-value sales or goal conversions.

Only unique pageviews are counted. A unique pageview represents the number of actual individual visitors who viewed a given page during a particular site visit.

The $ Index is calculated using the formula:

(Revenue + Goal Value) / Unique views of page before conversion = $ Index

Here’s an example from GA of how the $ Index works:

 

 

 

Let’s look at how the $ Index of Page B would be calculated using this information:

 

  • Goal Value of Goal Page D: $10 (e.g. email list signup)

 

  • Revenue from Receipt Page E: $100 (sale has been made)

 

  • Unique pageviews for Page B: One

 

  • So the $ Index for Page B is: ($110) / 1 = $110.

 

The $ Index for Page B is $110.

Next blog: Organizing Data.

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Marketing With Google Analytics: 7 eCommerce Intro

Sarah Jamieson - Sunday, April 06, 2014

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If you sell products or services online, you can track transactions, revenue, and many other metrics to assess performance.

For example:

  • Products purchased
  • Conversion rate
  • Sales revenue
  • Number of times prospects visited your site before purchasing

You can also view eCommerce data from specific sources. For example, you can see metrics like:

  • Revenue generated from AdWords traffic
  • Number of sales from organic search traffic
  • Number of sales from web site referrals
  • Average value per visit across all traffic sources.

eCommerce Reports Overview

eCommerce activity on your site:

  • Revenue – The value of sales
  • Conversion Rate – The percentage of visits that converted to sales
  • Transactions – The number of sales
  • Average Order Value – Average revenue from each sale
  • Purchased Products – How many different products were sold

Total Revenue

Revenue is affected by the number of sales and the average purchase value. Here are three ways to increase revenue:

  • Ensure your traffic sources and keywords are targeted
  • Write effective ads. Split-testing different versions can help
  • Create relevant campaign landing pages that show the product or information you referred to in your ad
  • Simplify sales funnels and remove bottlenecks so fewer prospects leave before completing a purchase.

Conversion Rate

The percentage of visits to your site that result in sales. It’s absolutely crucial to track conversion rates over time to see whether changes to your marketing and site are increasing your revenue.

Average Order Value

Increasing the average order value is one of the major ways to boost revenue. Test up sells (offering a higher-priced product) and cross-sells (offering related products – think Amazon).

Product Performance

How much of each product or product category do you sell?

Identify your bestselling products by viewing number of products sold, total revenue, average price, and average order quantity.

This information is crucial to creating relevant content and product marketing campaigns and determining which product campaigns will produce the best ROI.

 

Visits to Purchase and Time to Purchase

How many visits to your site does it take for the average visitor to buy? How much time does it take?

These are important number in determining your sales cycle, and therefore the type of content and persuasion that will be most effective with your visitors.

For example, if you offer a high-priced, complex product, your sales cycle will be longer than if you sell a low-priced “impulse buy” item.

With a long sales cycle, you need to educate prospects to shape their views of the market, your company, and your product.

You’ll also want to offer a more personalized, “high touch” approach with a consultation to explore individual needs and answer questions.

You can increase conversions by:

  • Educating prospects about your market.
  • Walking them through your benefits and features.
  • Presenting a strong company and product USP.
  • Encouraging a personal consultation to determine the individual prospect’s needs.

With a short sales cycle, you want to offer incentives to buy now.

For example:

  • Create time pressure with a deadline to buy before the price goes up.
  • Create quantity pressure by only releasing a certain amount of the product.
  • Reduce risk with a strong guarantee.

Next Blog: Identifying Profitable Pages

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Marketing With Google Analytics: 6 Defining Funnels

Sarah Jamieson - Sunday, April 06, 2014

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A funnel is a series of steps, or pages, which you expect prospects to move through on their way to complete a conversion.

For each URL destination goal (a page viewed after a visitor completes a desired action), you can define a funnel.

For example, you could define each page of your sales process as a step in a funnel.

You would set the Thank You page displayed after the sale as the goal, indicating you’ve made a sale.

  • Funnel steps:

    Shipping information > Payment information > Review and submit order.
  • Goal page:

    Thank You page confirming sale (triggers conversion)

Why Define Funnels?

  • Discover entry and exit points in the conversion process
    For example, you may have a high level of exits on the page where prospects enter their credit card information.
     
  • Eliminate bottlenecks
    You can then look at possible problems with the credit card page.

    Is it encrypted for security? Is it clear how to complete the order? 
  • Identify which site paths lead to the most conversions
    You may learn that many prospects enter the sales funnel after viewing the Features page, and facilitate this by adding a Buy Now button at the bottom of the Features page.
     
  • Use your findings to test changes on your site
    You can add a tutorial to your credit card page telling users how to complete the process and answering ordering FAQs.

 

Funnel Reports

 GA provides the following funnel reports to help you analyze performance:


  • Goal Abandoned Funnels
    The number of times a visitor entered a conversion funnel but didn’t complete the goal.

    For example, shopping cart abandonment is a problem for many sites – visitors begin the order process but don’t complete it.

    You can minimize funnel abandonment by ensuring that each funnel step is easy to complete and clearly explained. Test some options to make your funnels easier to complete and track your results.

Funnel Visualization Reports: Overview


 
Source: http://services.google.com/analytics/breeze/en/interpreting_reports_funnel/index.html


On the left, you can see how many visitors enter the funnel at each step and where they came from.

On the right, you can see how many visitors leave the funnel at each step and where they go.

In the middle, you can see how many visitors continue on through the funnel steps and complete the goal.

Let’s look at some detailed views of the report …

Funnel Entry Pages


 
Source: http://services.google.com/analytics/breeze/en/interpreting_reports_funnel/index.html


On the left, you can see the pages that visitors entered each step of the funnel from.

In this example, the “View Product Categories” page is defined as the first step of the funnel.

(entrance) shows how many times the funnel page itself was the entry page.

 

Funnel Exit Pages


 
Source: http://services.google.com/analytics/breeze/en/interpreting_reports_funnel/index.html


 
On the right, you can see the pages that visitors exited each step of the funnel from.

(exit) means that the visitor left your site from the funnel page.

The boxes on the right show where visitors went when they abandoned the funnel.
For each step, you can see the pages that visitors went to.

(exit) means that the person not only abandoned the funnel but also left your site.

Funnel Progress

Source: http://services.google.com/analytics/breeze/en/interpreting_reports_funnel/index.html


You can use the Funnel Visualization report to see how many visitors progress from one step of the funnel to the next.

Using this information, you can see which funnel pages are “leaking” visitors out of the funnel and losing conversions.

Here you can see that 994 visitors, or 29%, on the “View Shopping Cart” step of the funnel progressed to the next step, the “Login” page.

The other 2,418 visitors in the funnel exited the “View Shopping Cart” page and went to the pages listed on the right.

You can use this information to point to pages that need to be improved and track the results of changes you make.
 

Interpreting the Numbers

Let’s put it all together and take a look at what each of the key numbers in this report means …

Source: http://services.google.com/analytics/breeze/en/interpreting_reports_funnel/index.html


Next blog: Google Analytics and eCommerce.

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Marketing With Google Analytics: 5. Goals & Conversion

Sarah Jamieson - Friday, April 04, 2014

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Every site should have specified goals. Too many websites are set up just because the owners think they ‘should’ have a web site.

The only way to measure and improve your site’s performance is to first define what you want to achieve:

  • What are you trying to achieve with your web site?

 

  • What are the business objectives of your site?

In analytics, a goal is a web site objective, activity, or level of interaction.

When a goal is achieved, it’s called a conversion.

If one of your goals is making sales, then every time you make a sale it triggers a ‘conversion’.

With GA, you can set specific goals so you can measure how successful your site is at getting visitors to take the actions you want.

Tracking goal conversions lets you see where your site can be improved.

You can also view conversion trends over time to assess the impact of changes you’ve made to your site and marketing campaigns.

There are two categories of goals (with some overlap):

 

  1. Revenue – Activities that generate revenue: buying, requesting a sales call, etc.
  2. Engagement – Visitor interactions with your site: viewing a certain number of pages, downloading a report, joining your email list, etc.

You can set three types of goals:

  • URL destination goal – a page viewed after completing a desired action (e.g. the Thank You page shown after a sale).
     
  • Time on site – a specific amount of time spent on a desired action (e.g. time spent on site)
     
  • Number of pages – a specific number of pages viewed on your site

 

Here are some examples from GA of site objectives you can measure using goals:

 

  • Sale

  • Software download

  • Account signup

  • Request for sales call

  • More than three pages viewed

  • Less than five minutes on site (for some areas of your site, like customer support, less time can be good)

 

You can also assign a monetary value for non-sales goals. For example:

  • One of your goals is to get prospects to sign up to download a report

  • You close an average of 10% of the prospects who download the report

  • The average transaction value is $100

  • You would then assign a value of $10 to each report download (10% of $100).

GA will then give you useful information like average per-visitor value and ROI that shows whether your goals are adding to your bottom line.

Goal Reports

GA provides the following goal reports to help you analyse performance:

Source: http://services.google.com/analytics/breeze/en/goals/index.html

 

  • Total Conversions – Total goal conversions by day or hour.

  • Conversion Rate – The percentage of visits that result in the visitor completing one of your goals.

  • Reverse Goal Path – The navigation paths through your site that visitors take to arrive at each of your goals, and the number of conversions from each path.

    This is a great way to discover popular paths through your site that lead to conversions. It can also give you ideas about how to improve. 
    The example above shows that the first navigation path drove the most conversions – 96, or 15%.
     
  • Goal Value – The total revenue from goal conversions. Goal Value can be set for sales or non-sales goals.

    For example, if 10% of email list signups result in a sale, and the average transaction value is $100, you can assign a Goal Value of $10 to email opt-ins (10% of $100). 

My next blog: Defining Funnels in GA

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Marketing With Google Analytics: 4. Content Metrics

Sarah Jamieson - Thursday, April 03, 2014

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Here are some of the Content Metrics that are obtained from Google Analytics.

 

Top Content

You can discover the most-viewed pages on your site and information about how users interact with them. For example, a high:

  • ‘Time on Page’ may show content that is especially engaging to visitors.

 

  • bounce rate may indicate a landing page that needs to be more relevant to the ad that links to it.
  • number of exits from a funnel page may mean your process is not clear enough or the page is generating an error. (With this you can easily find and fix all your error pages by doing a Site Audit with Persuasionworks’ SEO Software.)
     
       

Content Drilldown

View your content by drilling down through your site folder / silo structure to view data for each page. See 'Top Content' above, for some examples of useful data.
 
 

Top Landing Pages

Discover the most popular pages that visitors use to enter your site (also called entry pages).

You can view effectiveness metrics like bounce rates and goal conversion rates. These indicate how successful your landing pages are at meeting visitors’ needs and leading them to complete your site goals.

You may need to better target your ads and landing pages to give your visitors what they want, and make sure you are telling visitors what you want them to do with a clear call to action.
 

Top Exit Pages

View the top pages that visitors exit your site from. The significance of this varies by page.

Exiting from a goal page, like a “thank you” page displayed after an order, means a goal conversion.

However, exiting from a non-goal page, especially a page within a funnel you’ve defined, means that page may be confusing to users, or generating an error.
 

Site Overlay

This is a cool intuitive feature that lets you browse through your site while viewing clicks, conversions, and revenue numbers for each link.

How could you make your most valuable links more eye-catching and effective?

Site Search

Gives you information about visitors who use your web site search. Visitors often use your site’s internal search tool as a form of navigation.

Site search reports provide information that you can use to improve results. For example:

  • New keywords to use in search marketing
  • Poor search results
  • Missing content.

 

Virtual Pageviews and Event Tracking

Use these methods to track the performance of technologies that don’t generate pageviews.

For example: Flash, video players, JavaScript, file downloads, and dynamically generated pages (e.g. PHP).

You can get useful information such as:

  • Number of times a video is viewed
  • Length of time to load video
  • Number of times a report is downloaded
  • Number of errors visitors get when completing a form.
       

AdSense

  • You can link your AdSense account to GA for integrated reporting:
     
    Top AdSense Content – See details of your web pages’ performance and track ad performance.

    For example, if you discover that some of your pages have a high number of pageviews but aren’t very profitable, you can focus on improving these pages.
     
  • Top AdSense Referrers – Shows how different traffic sources contribute to your income.
     
  • AdSense Trending – Discover trends in revenue at different times of day and different days of the week.
     
  • View revenue by user visits as well as page impressions. This gives you a more complete view of what visitors are doing on your site before they click your ads.
     
  • Break down revenue by visitor location, browser, and traffic source to learn more about your users so you can better tailor your site for them.
     
  • View traffic by AdSense impressions, clicks, and earnings rather than just by pageviews.
     

Next Blog:  Goals and Conversion

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Marketing With Google Analytics: 3. Traffic Sources

Sarah Jamieson - Wednesday, April 02, 2014

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Google Analytics (GA) will help you discover where your visitors come from.  You can learn which traffic sources are sending prospects to your site and also find out which sources are driving the most traffic. GA also lets you discover trends.

 

Overview

Here are a few pertinent questions related to online analytics.

  • How do visitors referred from specific traffic sources differ from the average visitor to your site? What are the sources sending your visitors?
  • Direct Traffic - How do visitors arrive at my site?

    By typing my URL directly into their browsers?
     
    Clicking a bookmark?

    From an offline campaign compare to the average visitor?
  • Referring Sites - How do visitors who arrived at my site?

    By clicking a link on another site - then which site?

    How does this compare with the 'average' visitor?

    What sites are sending me traffic?
  • Search Engines

    How do visitors who arrive from search engine results compare to the average visitor?

    What search engines are sending me traffic?
  • Keywords

    What keywords are sending me traffic from the search engines?

    What keywords are eventuate in sales and other goal conversions?

    GA automatically tracks visitors by the keyword they searched on to find you in over 30 search engines.

    This is a fantastic way to measure the performance of visitors by keyword. You can also find effective new keywords you aren’t currently targeting.

    You can view a lot of data by keyword to determine why a particular keyword is performing well or poorly. For example, you can view the landing page for a keyword – is it relevant and targeted to that keyword?

    Keyword-targeted information is very useful for improving performance in both paid and organic search.

 

  • AdWords Campaigns

    How do visitors arrive from AdWords ads compare to the average visitor?

    Monitor profitability with cost, impressions, and ROI details of individual AdGroups and keywords.

    See AdWords, below, for more information.
     
  • AdWords Keyword Position

    See where your ads appear on Google and what effect your ad position has on traffic and visit quality (average pageviews, conversion rates, and per visit value).

    See AdWords, below, for more information.
     
  • Ad Versions

    Discover the performance of each of your ads.

    Ads with high clickthrough rates are effective at getting users to click.

    Ads with high bounce rates indicate you need to make landing pages more consistent with visitor expectations created by the ad.
     
  • Campaigns

    Learn how effective your marketing campaigns are. You can view overall trends as well as individual campaigns.

    Use this information to make decisions about campaigns and determine the impact of marketing tests – for example, split-testing two versions of an ad.
     
  • Campaign Tracking

    With GA, you can easily track your online marketing campaigns from a traffic source through to a conversion on your site.

    Tracking your campaigns allows you to determine how successful you are at driving traffic and achieving conversions.

    And you can achieve this with a great deal of specificity:  by keyword, campaign, traffic source, and content.

    This is important because while it’s great if your site is profitable overall, that doesn’t tell you anything about the relative performance of your campaigns.

    Some campaigns may actually be losing money.

    Y
    ou need to track at a “granular”, deep level to really improve your performance.

    Remember, tracking is the necessary first step to improving your results!
  • The types of Campaigns you can track include:

    - PPC

    -
    Organic search

    -
    Email marketing

    -
    Online ads

    -
    Web site referrals

    -
    Affiliate referrals

    -
    TV ads

All traffic from web site referrals, such as visitors sent by affiliates, and search engine search queries are tracked automatically.

GA recognizes links from the top 30 search engines and provides the keywords visitors searched to find you.

You can also add tracking for your own search engines.

GA tracks five dimensions of your campaigns:

  • Campaign (for example, “widgets sale”)
  • Traffic source (for example, Google)
  • Medium (for example, “email” or “cost-per-click”)
  • Keywords used
  • Content (the version of an ad that a visitor clicked – useful for testing different versions).

 Here’s how tracking campaigns works:

Create coded, trackable links. You need to “tag” the campaign’s links with a campaign-related variable that is added to the end of the URL.

Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it sounds! GA has a handy wizard to create the tagged links for you.
 
Install GA tracking code on every page of your site. You can do this manually or use server-side includes or other template systems to do it automatically.
 
When visitors who clicked the coded link arrive at your site, the tracking code installed on your site is triggered. 
 
The tracking code “reads” the link to gather the campaign information.
 
The code also tracks the visitors’ activity on your site, including sales or other goal conversions.
 

AdWords

You can integrate your AdWords and AdSense accounts with GA for advanced reporting. Analytics can give you in-depth analysis of how effective your AdWords campaigns are.

The ability to dig deep and get granular numbers for your campaigns lets you pinpoint exactly what’s working and what’s not.

Integration also allows autotagging of URLs that automatically create trackable links.

Here are some of the AdWords metrics Analytics will show you:

  • Keywords – The keywords you’re advertising on
  • Visits – The number of visits to your site via your ads
  • Impressions – The number of times your ads were shown
  • Clicks – The number of clicks on your ads
  • Cost – The total cost to achieve a sale or other goal you define.
  • CTR (clickthrough rate) – The percentage of prospects who clicked your ad to visit your site. For example, a 3% CTR means that 3% of prospects who viewed your ad clicked through to your site
  • CPC – Cost per click
  • RPC – Revenue per click. For example, $5.00
     
  • ROI – A percentage showing how much money you spent vs. how much you made. For example, 100% ROI means for every $1 you spent, you made $2
     
  • Margin – Your net profit shown as a percentage. For example, if you spend $1 on an ad which results in a visitor buying a $10 product, your net profit is $9. Your margin is 90%: (10-1)/10=0.90
     
  • How ad position can affect performance – Shows performance of each keyword by ad position.

    For example:
    The #1 right-hand side ad position generated visitors who viewed an average of 10-11 pages of your site.
     
    The #8 position generated visitors who viewed an average of 5-6 pages.
     
  • Google TV Ads – An extension of AdWords that enables advertisers to advertise on national TV or online TV and track performance.

    Reports use set top box impressions and audience tuning behaviour to make TV ads more trackable and effective.

    You can even split test your TV ads to optimize performance!

TV Ads

Google TV Ads is an option within AdWords that enables you to advertise on national TV or online TV and track the results.

You can even split test your TV ads to improve performance.

Analysis includes ad impressions (views) and audience tuning behaviour gathered from set top boxes.

For example, you can find out how much of the audience viewed the entire ad, and how many who saw the ad from the beginning watched to the end.

You can then compare your web site metrics side-by-side with your TV Ads metrics in your Analytics account to see the effect of your ad on your site activity.

 

My next blog: Content Metrics

 

Marketing With Google Analytics: 2. Site Visitor Reports

Sarah Jamieson - Tuesday, April 01, 2014

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Google Analytics has over 80 reports with customizable features so you can see the data you want, how you want. You can also create your own custom report with just the information you want.

Visitors

Discover how visitors interact with your site, the type of visitors you’re receiving (new vs. returning, geographic region, etc.), and information about their browser and network capabilities.

How many new and repeat visitors came to your site, and how much did they interact with your content?

The answers to these questions tell you how well you’re doing with:
 

  • Driving new traffic to your site
  • Visit quality and engagement with content
  • Here are some basic terms to help you understand more about your visitors and the pages they viewed on your site:

 

Pageviews

 

The total number of pages viewed. Counted every time a page on your web site loads. Pageviews indicate how much your site is used.
 

Average Pageviews

A measure of visit quality, indicating how much visitors engage with your site.

A high Average Pageviews number results from targeted traffic (visitors who are interested in what you offer) and quality, relevant content (your site meets visitors’ needs).

A low Average Pageviews indicates a need to improve in one or both areas.
 

Unique Pageviews

The number of visits during which page was viewed. For example, three pageviews of a page during one visit = one unique pageview.
 

Time on Site / Page

This is a measure of visit quality that indicates the level of visitor interaction at your site. However, Time on Site or Page is not 100% reliable because visitors often leave their browser windows open but are not actually viewing your site.
 

Length of Visit

A measure of visit quality. A high number of long visits indicate many visitors are engaged with your site. You can see the entire distribution of visit times rather than just Average Time on Site / Page.
 

Depth of Visit

A measure of visit quality. A high number of visits with many pageviews per visit indicate your site is delivering what visitors want. You can see the entire distribution of visits, rather than just Average Pageviews.
 

Bounce Rate

The percentage of visits that ended after viewing only one page. Bounce Rate is a measure of visit quality. Often landing pages for ad campaigns are not adequately targeted, causing a high bounce rate. Always make sure your landing page features the product, service, or information that the ad promised.

You may also be driving traffic using keywords or ad copy that is too broad, resulting in untargeted visitors.

For blogs, bounce rate is usually not relevant, because most visitors only view one page.

Visit (or Session)

A period of interaction between a browser and a web site, ending when the browser is closed or the user is inactive for 30 minutes.

Visitor

Visitors are identified by a cookie so they are counted only once. This is designed to estimate as closely as possible the number of actual people who visit.
 
 

New vs. Returning Visitors

Lots of new visitors mean you’ve been successful at driving new traffic to your site.

Lots of repeat visitors mean you’ve been successful at engaging visitors with your content.
 

Map Overlay

– Visualize visit volume (visits and pageviews) and quality (conversion rates, per visit value, etc.) measures by geographic region, with the ability to drill down to the city level.

Languages

Tells you the preferred language visitors have configured on their computers. This can be valuable for targeting your content development and marketing spend.

Recency

How often visitors return to your site is a measure of how engaged they are with your site and their readiness to buy.

Loyalty

– A high number of repeat visits indicate visitors who are loyal to and engaged with your brand.

You can also see how recently prospects have visited, and how often they visit.

Browser Capabilities and Network Properties

Optimize your site appropriately for the technical capabilities of visitors’ browsers and networks.

This helps make your site user-friendly and engaging and can produce higher conversion rates and more sales.

Get answers to questions such as, do visitors’ browsers support Java? Which version of Flash is installed? What is their connection speed?

Track and Analyze Segments

You can define a specific segment of visitors to track separately.

For example, visitors who have selected an option on a form can be tracked separately. This is a good way to track the market segments you identified in your market research survey.

You can also define a segment by site interaction. For example, visitors who have joined your email list or commented on your blog.

Benchmarking

This is an optional functionality that shows how your site’s metrics compare with data from categories of other web sites.

Metrics you can compare include Visits, Pageviews, Pages per Visit, Bounce Rate, Average Time on Site, and New Visits.
 

Custom Visitor Segments (User Defined)

User Defined is an area within the Visitors section of GA where you can assign a “label” to track visitors who complete an action on your site.

 

For example, you can assign the label “Customers” to visitors who make a purchase.

 

Labels continue through multiple visits to your site, so you can use these labels to track the behavior of visitors in a certain segment.

 

Labels are called “User Defined Values” or “Custom Segments” in GA.

 

Assign a User Defined label to visitors, who complete an action on your site, including:

 

  • Visiting a page

    For example, you can assign the label “Customers” to visitors who reach the “Thank You” page displayed after a sale.

    Or you could assign anyone who visits the “Web Design” pages of your site to the “Web Design” segment.
     
        
  • Clicking a link

    For example, you can assign the label “Needs Help” to visitors who clicked your live help chat link (great for identifying pages that are confusing)
     
     
  • Submitting a form

    For example, you can assign the label “Sales” to visitors who selected this as their profession on a form.


    Here’s an example: Let’s say you want to divide your visitors into two groups, subscribers to your email list and non-subscribers:

    When visitors sign up for your email list they are cookied so they will be tracked as subscribers when they return to the site. 
     
    You can then compare purchases and other data for the two groups to see if your email list is making a difference to your bottom line.

    You can also track changes you make to your email list over time to see how they affect performance. 

    For example, does changing the day of the week you send your email newsletter have an effect?

 

Let’s look at another example, from GA.

 

You can see below that there have been:

 

- 28 visits from people labeled as “Customers”

- 4 visits from people labeled as “Needs Help” and

- “Not set” indicates all other traffic:

 


 

Source: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/07/segment-your-traffic-with-user-defined.html
 
 

Benchmarking

Benchmarking is an optional service that shows how your site’s metrics compare to other participating sites in your industry vertical market.

Benchmarking provides a valuable context for site performance and trends.

You can also compare your site to other industries.

 

This can be valuable, for example, to learn more about industries you are thinking about advertising in.

Metrics you can compare include:

  • Visits
  • Pageviews
     
  • Pages per Visit
     
  • Bounce Rate
     
  • Average Time on Site

  • New Visits
     

This benchmarking report shows a comparison of apparel sites of similar size:

 

Source: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2008/03/benchmarking-now-available-plus.html

In my next GA blog I'll discuss Traffic Sources.

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Marketing With Google Analytics: 1. Introduction

Sarah Jamieson - Sunday, March 30, 2014

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Online businesses have a huge advantage because everything online is easily measurable! Most businesses I have surveyed never track and test their processes, so ongoing testing will put you way ahead of the game. It’s easy to keep finding new ways to improve performance.

There is room for improvement in everything connected with your eBusiness.

The results obtained from analytics are scientific. They are the only way to refine and optimize your business and marketing processes for the highest performance!

Remember, exponential growth does not have to just be one big improvement – it is lots of little improvements that add up.

If you neglect analytics: testing, tracking, and optimization then you are throwing away one of the greatest advantages of running an eBusiness.

I know that the following analytics material is somewhat dry and difficult to read. However, I suggest that you make a quick overview of the whole chapter and refer back to the items on an ‘as needs’ basis.

With our Persuasionworks system you can choose to use our analytics or install Google Analytics - or use both.

Tracking with Google Analytics

Google Analytics (GA) is a web site tracking tool provided free by Google. It used to be a system that you paid for, but Google bought out the system and now provide it gratis. You can’t beat free!

GA is intuitive and user-friendly, and it’s perfect for beginners and non-techies and it also has the advanced functionality to keep experienced marketers very happy!

Just because it’s free doesn’t mean it doesn’t have powerful features. Google Analytics will give you “insight payoff” that’s the equal of tracking programs costing thousands of dollars.

What Google Analytics Does for You

Basically, GA shows you:

  • Where your visitors came from;
  • How they interacted with your site;
  • How to improve your site so more visitors take the actions you want them to take.

With this information, you can improve your site and marketing performance to make more sales with higher Returns on Investment (ROI):

  • Sales process – Spot the weak points where you’re losing visitors, and “plug the leaks” to improve conversions.
  • Content engagement – Track visitors’ engagement with your site content and social media. Engagement is key to building relationships, positioning yourself as an expert, and creating loyalty. 
     
    Find out how to improve visitors’ experience on your site so they consume more of your content, revisit more often, and interact more with you.
  • Traffic sources – Compare the behavior and profitability of visitors from each of your traffic sources (such as ads, search engine listings, emails, and keywords). GA will track your visitors from click through to conversion.
  • AdWords – GA integrates with AdWords to provide extra information that can increase performance and ROI. GA automatically tracks cost and conversion rates by keyword and landing page.
  • Most and least popular and effective pages – See which pages are viewed the most and find out which pages are most and least effective at getting visitors to take the actions you want. 
  • Goals – Track how often visitors take the actions that are important to you, like purchasing, signing up for your email list, or even spending a certain amount of time on your site.

Ok, that's the intro to GA. Next blog: Google Analytics and Site Visitors.

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Persuasion Point 6: Sales Letters - Persuasion & Favour Reciprocation

Sarah Jamieson - Friday, March 28, 2014

This  blog is adapted from a series of articles I wrote with my colleague James Atkinson entitled: SEO Strategy: Buyer Persuasion Points

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Your sales letter or verbal sales pitch is an important culminating point of your reciprocal relations, persuasion strategy, and sales process.

Sales letters are the last of the major persuasion points that I show in my previous eight blogs – that is, my series beginning at Buyer Persuasion Points.

Selling to prospects with whom you have built a relationship - is much easier than a “cold call” prospect reading a sales letter.

By the time your prospects reach your sales letter you should have addressed a number of issues and ensured that you have established TRUST.

In this next series of blogs I want to review all of the persuasion psychology techniques mentioned in my colleague’s and my series of articles on Persuasion Psychology.

The sales letter itself is where you can really use those ideas - to make sales.

Persuasion process begins when you first meet your online prospect. See Seller Persuasion Actions. Then, you must use every possible avenue to state your persuasion message – in blogs, videos, web content, social networks, email campaigns and so on.

Then, last of all – you complete the persuasion process in your sales letter.

Your sales letter should NOT be written as a document in and of itself. It is really the last page of a series of documents all of which have a purpose which culminates in the sales page.

And of course, the whole educative, social, and eMail process should be consistent and work as a whole.

All prospects – no matter whether they arrive at your site through search engines, a social site, or PPC - should be presented with a message consistent with that search medium’s needs but also consistent with your overall persuasion strategy.

That is, don’t present sales messages IN your social network and search content– but rather guide your prospects to the sales pages through email and persuasion principles.

 

Favour Reciprocation

It’s quite possible that your prospect’s journey to the sales letter has been initiated by some form of FAVOUR you have done for your prospect. We are all deeply conditioned to treat favoursor gifts as something we must reciprocate - so it does not hurt to have your prospects feel that they owe you a favour.

Reciprocation is a valuable tool in getting prospects to the sales letter.

You can do so via all sorts of gifts and free samples. Helping a prospect in some way or giving them a personalized service of some kind should engage the reciprocation rule in a strong way.

If you’ve done a favour for your prospect he or she will feel indebted to you - until that favor can be repaid with one of their own. This often means buying something from you.

With some prospects, the feeling of indebtedness is quite unpleasant and can often trigger a LARGER repayment than the initial small gift would suggest. How you trigger indebtedness in your prospects is a matter for you to think about long and hard.

Another way to employing the reciprocity principle is by making a concession to your prospect.  Concessions work in a simple way. It may well be that the initial offering to your prospect is quite high priced – but you can offer your prospect a “personalized special” which is a very steep reduction.

The smaller less expensive offering can be presented as a concession. The concession activates the feeling of obligation to reciprocate. Of course, your lower-priced product may actually be the target of the sale all along.

If prospects are then presented with a lower price - that price can be presented as a concession – which should activate the reciprocity rule.  So, think about how you present pricing – before the prospect gets to the sales letter.

Show Expensive Items FIRST

There is extensive proof and data that showing the most expensive price FIRST results in higher sales if a less expensive alternative is later provided.

If you have two expensive items and an expensive item is offered first, a lower-priced article that is seen immediately afterwards is perceived of as considerably less expensive.

With the internet, it’s super easy to test different versions of a concession – for example, does a 30% discount produce more sales and profits than a 15% discount?

You can have many different sales letters for the same product – just create a special link for each concession as it’s created. It’s a win for you because if the prospect buys at the higher price then you’ve done well.

You can also employ the concession persuasion principle in your ultimate pricing on the sales letter. You could start out with a somewhat exaggerated but still plausible price – from which you then “retreat” by offering a discount – over say the next day or so or other time limit.

There is also plenty of data to show that concessions on the part of a merchant increase customer’s satisfaction with the purchase. Thus reducing product returns.

The favor reciprocation principle is easy to misuse and so it should be exercised in an ethical manner.

In the next Persuasion Point blog I look at “Commitment and Consistency in Sales Letters”. 

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Persuasion Point 5 (a): Calls to Action - Join an eMail List

Sarah Jamieson - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

This  blog is adapted from a series of articles I wrote with my colleague James Atkinson entitled: SEO Strategy: Buyer Persuasion Points

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This blog is about those prospects you have deemed ARE ready to buy.

Up to this point I have suggested that your marketing efforts should not be openly related to ‘sales’. But of course your entire marketing process is about SALES. It’s just that in the earlier Persuasion Points prospects are not ready to read or hear your sales message.

There is not much point in leading a prospect to a sales page if they are not ready to buy. The result is well, - they won’t buy!

Naturally there comes a point where that sales process must openly be about what you are selling. Ideally the prospect will already be in one of your ‘information’ eMail Marketing lists.

Accordingly, I suggest that you separate your social networks, search engine content, and PPC from the point where the information process openly becomes a sales process.

I’ve found this much easier to do in an eMail campaign. But of course you should test where best to start your “open” sales process.

But of course you also need to cater to those prospects who simply want to buy NOW. Most of these ‘buy now’ prospects will arrive via PPC. The image below shows the two types of prospect eventually reading your sales material:

 

Each of the green dots is a persuasion point. For more on going direct from PPC to Sales Letter see: Sales Force Automation.

The Role of eMail and Persuasion

One of the biggest mistakes web site owners make is not capturing the names and email addresses of their visitors so they can follow up later.

Even sites with high conversion rates lose the vast majority of visitors. Distraction plus lack of trust, information, and time to read and consider the offer all contribute to this.

The bulk of web site visitors do not buy anything on the first visit. The average web site conversion rate is around 1-2%. That means up to 99 out of every 100 visitors leave your site without buying, and most will never return!

When someone visits a search engine or a social site, they are usually actively seeking information about something. In my experience, people seeking information are much more willing to take action, for example, opt-in to your email list or buy from you - if you fulfil the need they are trying to meet. By contrast most offline advertising is incidental to what the user is trying to do, read the paper, watch their favourite TV show, listen to radio music and so on. Products that are advertised offline may fill a user need, but the users’ response rate will be lower because they are not ACTIVELY searching for a way to meet the need.

Online, you can position your message at multiple “key information points” where people go to search for a solution to their problems. For example: In the search engines, you can be the most relevant search listing or PPC ad; in social sites (forums, article directories, Facebook, etc.), you can be the helpful friend giving free advice; on related sites, you can show up as a relevant advertisement.

This hunger for information online also creates the opportunity to build a relationship with users - through repeated contact to deliver information. Online marketing is all about relationships, so this is a big advantage.

Online market research surveys let you find out exactly what information different market segments desire, and the language they themselves use to talk about it. It’s akin to reading prospects’ minds. You can then create content that is ultra-relevant and desirable for each segment. Information marketing is all about talking their problem before your product.

And because you understand their problem so well, and offer relevant information, you build trust. This can position you as the only choice in the market when you eventually deliver your sales message.

On the internet you can get your message in front of millions of people and can potentially generate huge amounts of traffic and sales. At the same time, you have unprecedented ability to target your message to the people who are most likely to buy, and then to quickly measure virtually everything they do.

With online marketing you have instant access to sophisticated statistics like click-through rates, conversion rates, ad and keyword stats, email open rates, split and multivariate tests and so on.

This kind of targeting massively increases your sales conversion rate. When you use people’s own language and the exact features and benefits they’ve told you they want, you are telling them exactly what they want to hear - in order to BUY. In my experience this usually equates to a large increase in sales.

This is very different to offline marketing, where market research is very expensive (e.g. focus groups), making it hard for small businesses to benefit from research.

In addition, offline segmentation is a tough process. You can only target your offline message to a relatively broad group, based on the demographic profile of the average viewer of a certain TV show, reader of a certain magazine, and so on.

So, persuasion begins in search engine and social network content – then flows through into the eMails that you send out to your prospects. It must be a slow and well thought through process. Don’t start your sales messages immediately your prospect opts-in to your list.

Take your time and build the relationships – then give out the sales message. It has to be a “natural” process – not forced. It has to flow in a logical way.

Yes, it is time consuming and difficult. But remember this, once you have set up your content > sales process it’s pretty much automated. 

I often read that you must get your message out seven times before it is effective. That’s not been my experience. I think the important issue here is not some magic number of email messages, but rather of simply letting your prospects get to know you and creating a reciprocal relationship – over a period of time. 

Computer screens are pretty faceless and it’s difficult to have eye ball conversations with prospects. On the face of it, then, you would think that it’s easier to build relationships OFFLINE.  My experience however, is the opposite.

The internet is not as faceless as it first appears. You CAN build relationships online – very quickly and relatively inexpensively.

I mentioned above that providing information and content is a great way to build relationships. Of course writing articles and making videos for the social networks takes time and this is a cost to you – but often you can do it at minimal cost.

In any event, when your prospect is deemed ready to buy – you must refer them to a sales letter which is the topic of my next blog.


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