Are your goals on target or are you missing a trick?

Time and time again I have witnessed website owners wonder which slice of their marketing spend is bringing in the business for them and whether their website was worth the investment? If we don’t have the answers to these questions; especially at a time when we are watching the pennies, the pounds are often mis-spent.

We now live in an era that is technology crazy, accelerated by none other than The Internet - The World Wide Web.  With over 89% of the UK population searching online to make a purchase or to carry out research, the cost to market to this vast audience can sometimes be pretty high.  So how can we tell which of our marketing activities are providing us with the best results?  The answer (in the majority of cases) is through Analytics.   Analytics (if set up correctly) can provide such a valuable insight to understanding how your visitors interact with your website, the content with the greatest interest, the geographic and demographic data for your visitors and how they found your website in the first place.

I am a true believer in ‘the proof is in the pudding’ I like facts and figures that cannot be denied.  Although Google has made website owners and SEO professionals’ lives a little more difficult with the introduction of ‘not provided’ data, so we cannot see the search terms used when logged into Google, (well we can via Webmaster tools) the overall level of data still available to us is immense.  So immense that many website owners do not know where to begin when it comes to taking advantage of some of the greatest validation tools available..The tools that will help them fine tune their marketing spend year on year to make every penny work that little bit harder.

We can all take a quick glance at our analytics account to see how many people are coming to our website each month and where they are coming from.  Why not take this further and go beyond a simple comparison of percentages for each referring source/medium to gauge our marketing budgets on.  There is a way to not only to track visitors from source i.e. organic search, paid search, social media etc, we can also measure how many ‘goal conversions’ i.e. leads, sales, enquiries or downloads each medium produces for us, which in my mind is a million times more meaningful  and useful.

As defined by Google;

“In Analytics, a conversion is the completion of an activity on your site that is important to the success of your business.... Goal conversions are the primary metric for measuring how well your site fulfills your business objectives.”

With this in mind, here are 5 steps to effective goal tracking with analytics.

1. What should you track?

The first step is to determine each of the core activities on your site you would like to track.  Is your website an e-commerce website?  If so, goal conversions should be set for the checkout process and final purchase of products or services.  If however your website is simply a brochure-ware site, you may decide that completed enquiry forms and downloads are the conversions you would like tracked? Either way, by setting up these goals, we gain an instant insight into the performance of some of our key marketing activities, helping us to spend our budgets more accurately each year.

2. Unique landing page:

Ensure the visitors you attract land on the most relevant and well matched page to their search query.  Ensure this page provides the information the visitor is looking for, but equally important, ensure you provide the visitor with a clear ‘call to action’.  You would like this visitor to complete an enquiry form or make a purchase for example, so make this action as easy as possible, lead the way! 

If the visitor needs to complete a form or purchase, ensure this action leads to a unique landing page i.e. thank you for your purchase page.  This page is then used to set up your desired goals in Analytics, and needs a unique url i.e. /thank-you.

3. Setting goals in analytics:

Within Google analytics, you can define many different types of goals and even set an associated value to each.  Add in the landing page url and follow the on screen instructions.  As a tip for e-commerce websites, set up goals for your shopping cart page and then another for a completed sale.  This way you will gain a valuable insight into how many visitors with the intention to purchase, actually did so.  If there is a big difference in numbers, there may be an error or other reason why you are losing these sales which you can look into and remedy.  This method can also be used for enquiries, downloads and many other web actions/goals.

4. Testing:

You have gone to the effort in setting up these goals, so check they work.  Complete a test purchase or enquiry and track this through via your analytics.  Please note, there is usually a delay in data within your analytics so please don’t expect to see the goal recorded straight away.

5. Measuring:

Now you have your goals set up, ensure you monitor and use this data on a regular basis.  Within the SEO, PPC and analytics retainer work I carry out for my clients, reporting is key.  I provide a clear breakdown of individual goals converted each month with the associated source i.e. organic search etc this lead or purchase has come from and highlight if there appears to be any issues or opportunities to boost conversions further.

So, when it comes to budget planning, with goals set for your core actions it should now be clear where your money is best placed.  You can measure the effectiveness of your pay per click marketing, search engine optimisation, social media, email marketing etc. ensuring that your website and digital marketing activities are generating the greatest volume of conversions for your business pound for pound.

If you have any questions or queries or would like to find out more about conversion tracking, analytics reporting, SEO or PPC, please call 01795 810820 or complete our quick enquiry form and we will be in contact.

Further reading and references:

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