Watch out for a Profit! How Google Alerts and Google Analytics alerts improve your sales

Google Alerts
Use Google Alerts to monitor buzz on the internet
Like the soldiers of Saving Private Ryan, know when to send in help to sustain a valuable effort
Saving Private Ryan showed how human intervention makes an alert valuable



The movie Saving Private Ryan is one of those movies that grips you to the point where you have to study the details. It’s been years since its acclaimed release in theaters, yet movie goers remember its opening sequence, the bloody taking of Omaha beach during the Normandy invasion of World War II.

But for this web analytics perspective, I recall one particular scene that makes the point of what you want to do with data.

In Saving Private Ryan, General George Marshall is informed that three of the four Ryan brothers have all died within days of each other. In a scene after the opening battle, one of the notification typists sees a similarity of the planned Ryan death notices. She stops typing, stands ups, and walks the notices to an officer. The notices are then brought to the attention of the general, who then decides that the fourth brother, Private James Ryan should be sent home.

In simple terms, it took human intervention to notice and take action. Your business should strive for a similar intervention to stay on its strategic course. But what kind of alerts make sense? The following alerts and tips can help you decide what is effective and useful for your business.

1. First, decide what online actions may have an important influence on your business

Develop a list that shows what metrics would create an action if it were to change. How would an increase in a number of visits affect your business? Assign one person or small team that manages the marketing as the “General Marshall” of your online properties — that person/team should have some ability to implement changes quickly, such as a comfort with modifying text or a broken referring link in a site.

2. If monitoring your brand or products is important…

…use Google alerts for, well, alerts on online mentions of your brand, product, or other important phrase. Another tool, Nutshell Mail from Constant Contact provides social media alerts, such as for activity on a fanpage or changes in Youtube.

3. Use alerts in your analytics tools to determine changes in website metrics that will affect your business choices.

Google Analytics Alert dashboard
Use a Google Analytics Alert dashboard to see if there is a potential triggering trend over time

Google Analytics, for example, offers an intelligence alert setting for changes in key metrics such as average time on site, CPC, Bounce Rate, goal conversions, or changes in custom segments created in the advanced segmentation wizard. The alerts can be named, and shared across profiles, as well as sent via text to a mobile phone.

4. Set up a repository email for response

The alerts mentioned in 2 and 3 are delivered to an email address, so a deposit email (say should be selected and monitored by the “General Marshall” in your business. Even further, you can add the targeted email to a mobile phone for alerts on the go. Your “General Marshall” should have access to the receiving email alerts and can take appropriate action — respond to a customer query or send a discount.

5. Use Annotation in Google Analytics

Finally, have the Google Analytics administrator use the annotation feature to add notes for events, website updates, and key events which may affect business performance. Doing so can help determine which efforts make a different as well as reveal new traffic trends that result from the effort. Do so once a month to catch all updates and edits as needed. The postings can also be shared to other employees who have profile access.

Alerts can be beneficial for any business, because their presence can order which actions require attention. If set correctly, a performance check is less frequently needed, allowing more time to focus on other matters in the business. For example, if you are receiving an alert triggered on visitor spikes very frequently every month on a page for a product, you can examine if sales are also increasing at the same time as those spike and consider adjusting inventory if the trend has continued over time (and even investigate why the spike are occurring).

Stay alert with alerts…They can be the best way to win the ongoing battle to serve clients and customers better, as well as to keep to sales momentum going strong.

How to organize your social media usage – the beginning of analytics

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The stream of social media tools seems never ending. Every day a new update or twist of usage comes along, to the point that it becomes difficult to know where to start. To that end, I am posting a presentation as a primer on using social media. It’s a great way to figure how to get the ball rolling.

This presentation was first shown at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis class in November 2009. My client was Eric Anderson, who was conducting a special class on communication. The presentation covers the following:

  • how social media formed with the internet
  • a chart of different kinds of social media
  • great starting place for building a blog or Twitter profile
  • analytics tools

Since the presentation there have been even newer developments. A follow up to this presentation is being planned shortly, including using rating and Q&A sites as well as new sources for blogs such as BizSugar, and the growing predominance of geolocation tools like Foursquare, so stay tuned for more ways to organize your engagement online!

Keep watering your blog for growth with these tips for promoting older posts

In the world of social media, information is clicked and consumed quickly like candy in the hands of a child. That mentality is sometimes extended to blogs as well, as readers search for the latest posts. But does all blog content really outlive its usefulness? if one is posting on seasonal related material — holiday shopping tips or tax information — the content is evergreen; its usefulness is seasonal. With careful use of Twitter (Publicize in WordPress is really helpful, check the WordPress Publicize Twitter post, or the Publicize Yahoo! Updates post ) and PR channels the older content is really an asset to remind clients of your expertise or insightfulness. Old content is not a variable cost that come and go with the moment.

During my morning review of Twitter posts and whatnot, I came across 5 great suggestions for reusing older posts from SEO Hosting. Some of the ideas are:

    Link Back to Old Post
    Keep responding to comments
    Write a Follow Up Post
    Re-promote old content

You can check the SEO Hosting suggestions in full here at their website. What ideas have worked for you in the past?

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