Get Your Analytics in Gear

analyticsTo say the least, 2009 presents a daunting challenge for the small business owner. The economy finds itself in deep recession, and funding to push critical business needs has become more difficult to attain. These facts don’t mean 2009 presents only gloom and doom. If your business can survive this period, it can probably survive anything. As small business owners we must find ways to do better with the same or less.

Speaking to this concept, I’ve just read two great articles– one specific to online search, and the other giving advice from the CEO of a major corporation. They both made me think about the importance analytics will have on web based businesses, and how many small businesses neglect this very important aspect of owning a web presence.

Web Analytics: The Key to Online Marketing Success

The first article, 10 Things You Need To Know About Search from OMMA provides some critical tips on utilizing search in the down economy. Tips three, four and five made me think specifically in terms of analytics:

3. “The dirty secret of the industry is that there’s a huge amount of grunt work involved today in finding the gems and opportunities,” says Max Kalehoff, vice president of marketing for Clickable.

4. “With better analytics and optimization across campaigns, understanding how search fits in and where it impacts the funnel is a key area,” says Jill Balis, senior vice president, managing director of SMG Search, Strategy & Analytics.

5. With search capabilities moving in-house, and better management and analytics software at every price range, “agencies will have to work harder for their margins, offering more strategic services. You can’t sell the grunt work at a high margin,” Kalehoff says.

How do you find those “gems and opportunities” spoken about in tip three? That dirty work starts by finding out what works and what doesn’t. Knowing which keywords or phrases produce the most visitors makes sense. You’ll need to research search terms, to find words and phrases that offer potential. At the same time you know the corporate players with huge budgets will take the best options. You’ll need to do the ‘dirty work’ to compete.

SEM: A Trial-And-Error Process

Once the user arrives at your site, you have to make sure you close the deal. Again, the key is determining what works and what doesn’t. Multivariate testing provides crucial data on how well you convert site visitors into leads or customers depending on your goals. As we talked about in a previous post, it’s all about the landing pages. The same thing stated two different ways can have different effects on different people. How you present your offer– based on the key words or phrases used to compel the click-through can also alter results. A positive side to all this– you may discover a market you didn’t know you could attract!

SEM is a trial and error process, like any other marketing media. As you understand what leads to success, you can replicate strategies. Success also gives you more insight into the validity of your current market research. Ultimately you don’t want to waste time and resources on marketing that doesn’t work. With web marketing, the best way to get the most value from SEO and SEM is good analytics analysis.

Streamlinig SEM for a Down Economy

The second article, Six small biz tips from a CEO who flies right— from BloggingStocks.com, provides advice from Boeing CEO Jim McNerney. Two of his tips– Build strategy on customer focus and Tighten operations with process improvement tools, enforce the idea that small businesses need to find better ways to do the work required for good SEM. To align our small businesses with these two savvy pieces of advice, finding a good analytics package– remember the quote containing ‘analytics software at every price range’ from the previously referenced article, we need to find a good analytics application to make our SEM efforts more effective and easier to maintain.

Use Analytics to Improve Customer Focused Processes

A good web analytics strategy should be the basis of a good Customer Focus strategy for company’s doing business on the web. Analytics will tell you what customers want– the definition of customer focus. So make it your point in 2009 to find a good analytics application. Learn what metrics you should be watching, and what their impact on your ‘funnel’ really means. Here are some good places to start:

Analytics Talk
Focuses on the use of Google Analytics package, which is a great place to start. It’s powerful and FREE!

Web Metrics Guru
Good info on practical web analytics.

Occam’s Razor
Voted one the best analytics blogs on the web

Google Analytics Blog
The official analytics site for Google’s own analytics tool.

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1 Response to “Get Your Analytics in Gear”


  1. 1 adam January 11, 2009 at 6:37 am

    2008 was a wonderful year for web design and technology in general. I hope to see some excellent designs this coming new year.
    Check out Adamssite for some eye popping website templates, web page templates, and html templates.
    Happy New Year,
    Adam


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