Tag Archives: e-commerce

How Web Analytics Helps Small Businesses – Where to Start with Measurement

Many small businesses think of web analytics as search engine optimization, but that perspective is a partial view. Analytics encourages the organization of a digital presence for a business or an organization. These days such planning is important. It means providing speedy management of marketing content, be it online or off, such that a business can ultimately manage costs.

Some small businesses analyze results from a campaign effort – after a website is launched, a video is uploaded in YouTube, or a Facebook page is launched. This is an understandable step – many businesses see analytics in an application and treat the analysis as an audit. But the real work happens during the preliminary planning of a digital presence. This can consume some time, particularly now with so many options for a small business to choose. A business should review two aspects  first before tweet or a site visit is measured.

1. What is the purpose of the website in the business model? Does it serve as an augment for offline marketing?  Is it for sales through e-Commerce? Is it a way to deliver customer support through online chats and community hosting? Answering these questions will set the tone for what content should be on the site – images, downloads, and which pages should retain visitors for longer than a moment. Even trust badges can be influential (see my Business Agility post Building Trust Through Transparency).  It will also lead to how a site and its subdomains are set. The end result is the arrangement of how a site should be tagged.

2. What marketing is planned? Thanks to QR codes and URL tagging, for example, small businesses can create marketing plans to anticipate how customers discover the company site, and ultimately the business itself.  Experian, eMarketer, and other research firms have indicators that people tend to review products and services online prior to making a purchase.  The ideas is establishing an reasonable assumption of how your business is exposed to leads and customers.  An assumption may change overtime, but that is reasonable given that marketing materials can become outdated over time.

Once these two steps are addressed, a small business can begin to make reasonable adjustments to a marketing plan with few headaches and reduced expense.  There are still some technical verifications needed, depending on the complexity of the site and tagging required – many large enterprises have a team on analytic experts to manage the effort. But for small businesses developing a plan and monitoring as it moves ahead makes any analytics information valuable.

 

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 alerts@gmail.com) 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.

More than iPad (and maybe blogs) — A digital way of viewing magazine articles

Popular Science considers digitizing the magazine

Explaining how a digital magazine could work

[tweetmeme source=zimanablog]

With so much discussion about the iPad and the impact on e-books (see the New York Times article regarding the potential price premium of an e-book because of the iPad), there has not been much discussion on digital magazines. Until now.

Gregg Hano, Group Publisher of Bonnier Technology Group, spoke at a recent gathering sponsored by Digital Flash NYC (which sponsors some great business panels with solid Q&A — see the Digital Flash NYC site here for more on the group and their event schedule!) . Hano presented an explanatory video of the digital version of Popular Science magazine, currently researched with Bonnier design partner BERG, and spoke about the challenges and opportunity potential. Hano graciously listened to many questions from the audience, with excellent queries ranging from analytics to owner’s rights to the purchased content. Highlighted queries include:

    A digital magazine creates the potential for publishers to control content, though like book publishers, magazine publishers fret about how this can be done.
    There is potential for selling individual articles as well as selling e-reader subscriptions as a premium (at least initially).
    Advertisers can create ads rich in content that can true engage readers.
    There can be a distinct market for readers of a print magazine.

For web analytics, this along with iPad are further example of content consumption away from a given tagged website. The new challenge for blogs, e-magazines, newspapers, and other content providers is to capture the path that leads to traditional web metrics such as increased time on site and conversion.

You can view the Bonnier/BERG video on the development of a digital magazine here.

Update: Bonnier has released a Popular Science app for the iPad. You can read about the new application, and how Bonnier developed the app in 60 days at the Apple site.

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10 great retail website tips from Google

This tidbit came from a blog I am quickly embracing as a technology favorite, Digital Inspiration. The following is a Google UK brochure on best website practices. The suggestions are geared towards an online retailer, but all can gain insight from suggestions and factoids, such as 23% of checkout dropout happens because of registration forms attached to the checkout process. This may be useful to a retailer checkout cart at first blush, yet it can also apply to other conversion events (download a white paper, download a music file, etc).

Take a look at the suggestion brochure here.

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