When it comes to our business dollars in today's economy, every penny must be accounted for, and then counted again. Belts are tightening, but that doesn't mean we can stop spending. We just need to watch those dollars closely and make sure we are managing our funds as effectively as possible. One way to keep an eye on your dollar, literally, is through website analytics. Good analytics will not only give you insight on your website traffic, it can really help you track every marketing dollar you're spending.
This is the truly awesome thing about analytics—they can help you stop listening to the "experts" and what has worked for everyone else and really help you understand what works for your specific company. Finally, a tracking tool that takes very little effort and gives you a huge amount of insight.
Plant the Seed
Your website is a living, breathing entity. Think of it like a house plant, you constantly have to nurture it to see it grow. Your current environment (the season, temperature, and climate) will greatly determine the health of your website and you'll need to make adjustments accordingly. Maybe a bit more water is necessary, maybe a trim here and there. You get the idea—you need to constantly pay attention to your website by making changes and updates. Those analytics will help you determine its health and the success.
There are lots of numbers to nurture through your analytics tool in order to see them grow. Pay attention to how may people visit your website, who these visitors are, where they are coming from, and what pages they visit once they're there. You'll probably have to try a few different tweaks to see the best growth, but once you have a solid understanding of the best methods, you'll be able to make significant improvements to your website (and your business) just by paying attention to the numbers.
Numbers, Numbers, Numbers
When analytics first came out, they felt a bit like a spreadsheet gone wild. But current, more user friendly analytics make it easy to break down those numbers and get to the root of not only understanding your website, but more effectively managing those precious marketing dollars. Let's start with the most visited website pages. The pages that receive the highest number of hits or visitors should be given the most attention. Make sure those pages are chock full of the very best your printshop has to offer. And don't be afraid to cross promote, if one of your most viewed pages is your staff bios (a common favorite) add a banner promoting your newsletter printing or a special offer on business card orders across the top of that page.
Are you an expert in something your competitors aren't? Do you offer a service your clients don't know about? Your most visited website pages are the place to advertise. Are you the king of variable and digital printing? Make sure your home page and order page visitors are well aware of this. Do you have your finger on the pulse of promotional items? Include an image at the top of your estimate page explaining your expertise. Think of these "most visited" pages as your personal online billboards touting your star products and services.
Let's move on to the route your visitors took to get to you. Analytics are sure to tell you how a visitor entered and exited your site. Did they come to your website from a search page or another website or do they have your website bookmarked? Did your visitor actually type your website address directly into the address bar? Again, understanding this information and, better yet, nurturing its outcome will help you decide how to spend those marketing dollars.
If most of your visitors are "dialing direct" to get to you (typing in your web address or coming from a bookmark), you've likely done a good job displaying your web address on every piece of material your customers and prospects see (business cards, brochures, order boxes etc.). If you'd like to see this type of visitor's analytics number grow, do a quick scour of all of your customer-facing materials and make sure your ".com" is present. If most of your visitors are coming from searches, pay attention to what they are searching for to find you (digital printers or your city name, for example) and make sure your website is full of those key words both in your content and in the html code that only search engine spiders can see.