March 27, 2012

Every small business owner should know the value of analytics. Whether you’re using Google Analytics, or one of the more advanced programs that we’ll look at later today, it’s essential to track what your readers are doing on your site, what pages they’re looking at, and how long they’re spending.

The first step to properly analysing customer behavior is thinking analytically. Every page, every button, ever link, represents a step into or out of s ales funnel. If you’re not looking at your site this way already, you need to start doing so.

A supermarket provides a great analogy. Every aspect of the store has been generated in order to drive the customer to buy more items. Item placement is tested, and if it makes a particular item start selling better, the new position will be retained. Supermarkets even test whether the temperature of the air in the store makes you buy more items. They’ve found that colder air drives higher sales, and have lowered thermostats accordingly. That is analytical thinking.

Taking analytical action then requires looking at where you customers are dropping out of your sales funnel. For testing purposes, you should design your site so that each page represents one step of the sales funnel. You don’t want to present people with five or six options on each page, because if they leave the page after seeing those options, you won’t know which choice drove them out of the funnel.

Instead, keep it simple and testable. Have your products on one page, and your prices on the next. That way you determine separately whether the item has sufficient draw and if the price is appropriate.

Which brings me back to the top – Analytics programs. Google Analytics will provide you the basics – how many visitors are coming to your site, which subdomains they’re visiting, how long they’re spending on the site, etc, etc, etc. However, what you really want are more detailed metrics. I counsel marketers to take a look at programs like Kiss Metrics and Mixpanel in order to get the kind of metrics and analytics that really drive companies forward.

But whichever program you go with, remember to test and analyse everything that you do.



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