I suspect most people would have a FOWT – Fear Of Wasting Time – rather than a Fear Of Missing Out when it comes to understanding website analytics.
I mean who in their right mind would fear not knowing what a bounce rate is? All those metrics, dimensions, charts and lines! A place filled with arcane facts and figures that are hard to find and, what’s more, difficult to interpret.
But get this. As I’m writing this article, a sizable group of business owners in the meeting room upstairs are starting a three hour training session on Google Analytics. Friday morning for them is not about winding down, but winding up their understanding of web analytics.
Their FOMO was strong enough to have them open both their wallet and their calendar. But fear of missing out on what exactly?
Here’s what I think it is: Spending more money on something they don’t yet understand.
It may be Google’s paid advertising, boosting Facebook posts or paying a monthly fee to have a company manage their web marketing. Wherever the money goes, each month their company spends more of it on their website and they have no idea if it’s working. And that scares them.
Fortunately, they don’t need to know everything about Website Analytics to see if their investment is working. All they need are the basic concepts around traffic and conversion. This usually comes about midway through the morning session.
Here are some other drivers of our training group.
They need to compete at speed
Some industries move faster than others. Competition is tough and there’s little that separates the players. Any slight advantage needs to be pounced on and milked before others catch on.
Unfortunately, your advertising is there for everyone to see – as is your website. However, your website analytics are for your eyes only. And knowing more about how your website responds to visitors can be a great advantage.
It can help you cycle through multiple website changes super fast to push up your conversion rates (leaving your competitors behind). If your website converts traffic at twice the rate as your competitors’, you double the effectiveness of your ad spend.
Customisation makes sense
The “out of the box” installation of Google Analytics is good but not great. Just install the magic Google code on your site and you will see a basic profile of your visitors, where they arrived from, and the pages they looked at and for how long.
Useful, but not earth shaking.
Getting to the gold requires customisation. The kind that lets you track who bought something off the site, or completed a quote request or filled in a contact-us request. Or those snippets of engagement that reveal interest rather than commitment – like downloading PDF reports, playing videos or using calculators.
They want to boil all the complexity down to a few numbers
Running a successful business is to manage a machine with many moving parts. Unfortunately, a journey into Website Analytics initially feels like you are adding a lot more to your to-do list. But there is a way to simplify things down to a maximum of five numbers.
One key number is per-visit-value. It links a dollar value to each new visit by channel. For instance, every extra visit from your Google AdWords traffic could be worth $2.48. Want a simple metric to track your paid advertising optimisation efforts? Just drive this value upwards.
Starting to feel some FOMO for Website Analytics now? Great! Kick things off by installing Google Analytics on your site, then view the online tutorials. Or, if you prefer the fast track method, why not drop into one of our Google Analytics Group Training Half Day courses?
You may have seen the humorous play by Richard Bean, One Man, Two Guvnors. It’s the crazy tale of a guy who becomes separately employed by two people, each of whom’s existence must remain unknown to the other, and each of whom he must also keep happy despite the inevitable conflicts of interest that arise as his rather dramatic story unfolds.
A recent discussion with a client reminded me of the similarity of this scenario and successfully managing a new website build. Except with a website build, I see double the number of bosses to please. The four being Google, you (the owner), the web designer, and your prospective visitors.
Ensure all four are happy and things will be looking good. And that would be easy if their motivations were all aligned – which they rarely are. So it’s a case of picking which guvnors carry the most clout and keeping them happy at the possible expense of the others.
So which one does carry the most clout? Let’s look and see:
Guvnor #1, The Big G – Google.
Make Google happy and your website will be found by people using the world’s biggest search engine. Broadly speaking, “happiness” for Google equals two things: Number 1, them knowing exactly what to rank you for; and Number 2, them seeing their decision justified by searchers who click on your website’s link then staying on your site for a reasonable time.
How can Google “know” what to rank you for? By digesting your website’s content – that is, text. And the more of it, the better. Pages and pages of great content makes Google’s life much easier. And it also helps with the second goal – ensuring visitors stay for a decent chunk of time.
There’s no doubting the power of Google – without them you are struggling. So they go into the list of top Guvnors.
Guvnor #2, You – The Business Owner.
You pay the bills and have to live with the project after everyone else has left the room. Most owners naturally want costs to be controlled and to see results from their investment. Of course they also want to look good. Sometimes that leads them to include nice pictures of the team, the company offices and even some lucky clients.
Ask any web developer to name the one thing that stalls most new website projects and most will say “getting the content”. Most clients struggle to write it and begrudge paying someone else to do it. So they’re happiest when the site goes live with as little content as they can get away with.
The problem is , that’s not so good for the big guvnor G. So sorry Business Owner, you’re in the lower quartile of Guvnors even though you do pay the bills.
Guvnor #3, Your Web Developer
Everyone wants to be proud of their work, and web developers are no different. A lot of their new business comes from people who see the web developer’s reference in the footer of a website they like. Now that makes every project not just an income earning opportunity, but also an opportunity to gain new business.
And that means there can be a drive to showcase their talents – whether those talents are required for the project or not.
So design driven developers tend to load up a website with lots of beautiful images. Media driven companies have videos at every turn. Software-developer-focused souls use the latest web platforms and multiple gizmos throughout the site that look groovy for other tech-minded people. All of which is nice if the site’s purpose is to make geeks smile or designers chuffed. But that’s not its purpose, is it? So, web developers, off to the lower end of the Guvnor rankings you go.
Guvnor #4, Your Prospect
Say hello to the top dog of Guvnor land. This person has to be happy for the project to be deemed a success. Yes, their happiness ranks above even Google’s. I know of websites ranking well on Google that produce less business profit than sites ranking below them. Sure, all sites need some traffic – I get that. Nevertheless, achieving a top level ranking on Google is not the most important outcome – getting the prospect visitor to convert is. And trust me, happy prospects convert better than dissatisfied ones.
So what makes your prospects happy? Your answers to this question need to drive your next website development project.
Perhaps it’s about trust. So show lots of customer case stories, please. Maybe it’s about expertise in solving a specialised problem – therefore, downloadable mini reports that share your words of wisdom. Or maybe you have no idea. In that case, you need to conduct some research before anyone starts tapping away on their keyboard.
And guess where a good place to start is? The Google Analytics account of your old website.
Usually there are some gems in there to guide you on what people are really looking for. Our initial Website Review project digs into this exact space when helping you plan your next build. Results from this small engagement are frequently used to brief web development teams and avoid any multiple Guvnor confusion.
Sound like a plan? Guvnor?
Somehow you have heard of others growing their business by buying clicks on Google. Deep down you wonder if this could be the trick to give you the growth you want. However, you are stretched for time and drowning under a deluge of tasks. All of which means you are suffering from some serious Google advertising FOMO (fear of missing out).
Thankfully you have three minutes to read this short note and get a quick business-owner-focused primer on the key parts of Google Advertising and whether it could work for you.
First, some background on my experience with Google clicks. My company started buying Google advertising on behalf of its customers way back in September 2003. Thirteen years managing hundreds of different campaigns has helped us see what does and doesn’t work for this channel. So here are my top four reasons to either slay or nurture any FOMO feeling you may have.
1. You have a product or service that people search Google for.
If you sell a product or service in a category that no one knows about, it follows that few people will search for it on Google. Basic, I know, but easy to trip up on. Let’s say, for instance, that you develop new software that analyses a Xero account and reveals what’s required to double the profit of the business.
You start a Google campaign, bidding on the search terms “profit”, “improve profit” and the nebulous term “business software”. One search term you don’t bid on is “Xero Accounting Software Profit Improvement Add On” – because nobody is looking for that. So you’re stuck with your three choices. And you struggle to produce results because behind the search terms “profit”, “improve profit” and “business software” are dozens of different types of searchers all looking for very different things.
Compare this to someone who sells sisal carpet. People will go to Google looking for sisal carpet with the phrase – you guess it – “sisal carpet”. Their chances of success are better – but profits are still not guaranteed.
2. They followed the dollars they spent
Profitable clicks are those that convert. For your business, converting could look like someone arriving at your website and deciding to call your office, fill in your quote request, purchase an item from your shop or even book a meeting at your clinic. By doing any or all of these great things your click visitors become click prospects or, even better, click customers.
Unfortunately, buying clicks doesn’t automatically mean you will be able to track their ability to convert. Tracking may well require some setup in your website analytics account. Not a lot, but still some. And it’s important you do that so you know if spending your hard earned advertising budget with Google is working or not.
3. Money was invested in the juiciest of baits
I can assure you that Google will help you spend any budget you have in lots of different ways. So the smart advertisers go where the returns are the greatest.
There are two main places your Google dollars can go: the first is above and below the Google search results, and the second is on websites that support Google Advertising. Thinking about the different customer dynamics at play in each case will help you choose where to spend your money.
Consider that people generally go to Google to solve a problem. This week, for example, I’ve been looking for some new trail running lights to help me deal with the dark evenings. Last week it was to find a piece of equipment to help us improve our printing at the office. In both cases I went to Google and hunted down the solution.
During my quest I was taken to a range of websites that included Google Advertising in the form of banners around the text. I was hungry to get information, so I just screened the banners out – they had little effect.
It’s easier to sell to people who are searching to solve a problem. The bigger the better. Therefore, we always suggest you buy search clicks before buying clicks from banners. Think of Google search being the land of problem solving, whereas banners is the land of interruption.
Of course you can test this yourself by setting up a test to try both types of advertising and seeing which delivers the best results for you.
4. Control freaks have more fun
The thought of running a test like the one I just suggested could feel utterly repulsive for some. Dealing in that level of detail for such a small part of your business may not make sense. Unfortunately, detail is where success lives for Google advertisers. Like it or not, you, or someone in your business, or someone you pay needs to focused on it.
Avoiding detail can cost you when buying Google clicks. For instance, when you set up a new advertising account with Google, by default they’ll display your ads around the search results and also on websites. What’s more, the default search term settings when you build your campaign allows Google maximum interpretation in how they are displayed.
For instance, you may want to bid on “computer servicing”, intending to reach businesses who need a mobile service like yours that can come in, solve a problem, and leave. Google doesn’t have to worry about that. It’s free to show your ads when someone types in “service my computer at home” or “computer service training” – neither of which are relevant to your business.
As to whether you should experience FOMO at all, here are three questions to ask:
Answer “yes” to any one of these and you can rid yourself of FOMO for Google Advertising. Feel better?
For everyone else, contact us today and we will help you turn your Fear into Action – perhaps some AdWords group training could be a good start?
I wrote these three-minute FOMO guides for the frantic business owner who hates to miss out but also has a to-do list as long as their arm. For this person, adding one more task – like email marketing – requires careful consideration.
I have a bit of history with email marketing. I received my first colourful HTML email message in 1999 when I helped establish an email marketing software provider. Since then, and with the advent of Ark Advance back in 2002, my team and I have assisted in the successful deployment of hundreds of campaigns to many millions of subscribers for a multitude of business owners.
With this in mind, here are my four reasons why successful yet busy business owners spend their precious time with email. If none of these seem compelling to you then you can feel confidently ditch any FOMO feelings you might have for email marketing.
Reason #1 – You control the channel.
Let’s say that three years ago you added 500 prospects to your newsletter list through online marketing. Each subscriber will happily continue receiving your messages unless one of two things occur. First, they could get bored with your messages and unsubscribe. Or you could suffer the same malaise and fail to send anything out.
Now let’s compare this to your natural rankings within Google. And let’s assume that instead of investing in growing your email list, you paid someone to work on your website so it achieved some strong page one rankings. This delivered a bump in traffic, followed by a lift in prospect enquiries. How confident are you that three years on, given all the changes from Google as well as the optimising efforts of your competitors, you’ll still enjoy a page one ranking?
Better yet, what about social media? Instead of investing in email marketing or SEO three years ago, you paid a Social Media Expert to grow your “likes” on Facebook to 500. Three years on, can you communicate to all those people without having to pay Facebook for the privilege?
Investing in email marketing – specifically growing your subscriber list – gives you control over a communication channel that is thankfully beyond the grasp of Google and Facebook, the two advertising powers of the Internet. And that, my friend, is very, very valuable.
Reason #2 – The cost of entry is low.
You don’t need to spend thousands to send a message that looks a million bucks. While a great, highly functional e-commerce website needs some solid investment, the email messaging platform that supports it could cost a tenth or less.
And while you may need a team of web developers to deliver the website, you may be able to adapt a standard email template with your branding to enable your first campaign.
As for your mobile audience, whereas your website may need a complete rewrite to ensure it works for them, your email marketing template could take just a few alterations to achieve the same result.
Which all means it’s really easy to get started.
Keeping going, however, is another issue…..
Reason #3 – Frequency builds success.
We all know that remaining top of mind with our customers makes sense, especially in a crowded marketplace. But how many visit your website each month of their own volition? Probably only a few. A great email marketing newsletter points customers to your website every month.
That regularity and frequency is exceptionally powerful. I was once told by an expert in radio that it can take up to two years of repeated advertising to build a brand via that medium. I believe the time frame with email is a lot less; six to twelve monthly editions of well-written content can go a long way to bind people to your company.
Reason #4 – You can see what works.
The fourth reason for dedicating precious time to email marketing is that you know when your efforts have paid off. Nearly all email deployment tools will tell you who opened the message and clicked on each link within it. If those links take people to your website, then you can configure them so your Google Analytics account will treat those visitors as a distinct campaign. Then you can allocate sales or website conversions directly to specific emails.
That’s real power!
So, which of these reasons resonate with you and your business? Add them to your list of things to learn more about. Better yet, contact Ark Advance so we can guide you on your first steps 🙂
Youŕe a busy business owner and the idea of starting anything new makes you shudder. However, you’ve heard that others have transformed their website from a brochure into something special. So you’re committed – but where do you start?
This three-minute primer is for you – any anyone else struggling with online marketing FOMO plus a task list longer than their arm? It distills my 16 years of online marketing experience into techo free jargon to get you started.
First I need you to look at your website in a different way. Chuck out any thoughts of it being technical or colourful – from now on think of it as a sales person. Yep, shiny shoes, white socks and a charming smile. It’s tasked with selling your business and the solutions you provide – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The outcome of any online marketing tactic is to improve your sales person’s ability to sell.
This can be a challenge – impossible even – if you can’t measure who visits your website and what they do while there. That’s where Website Analytics – yours free from Google Analytics – fits in. Register for an account, install a piece of code onto every page of your website, and you’ll start to see how busy the site is and where your visitors arrive from.
A word of advice: go no further until you’ve properly set it up and configured it. Without a reliable way to measure your progress, you’ll get hopelessly lost trying to figure out where your time and money are best spent.
Now that you have measurement sorted, the next step is to find where your visitors come from. A few will arrive by typing your web address into their browser. Some may come via a link in your email newsletter. A few more could arrive from a recent Linkedin or Facebook post.
And then there’s Google. Your measurement tools will tell you the role it plays in sending you traffic. Don’t be surprised if it accounts for up to 50%.
Now most online marketing is about increasing website visitors, especially when it involves Google. And armies of jargon wielding people will tell you they can improve your visibility on Google.
However, improving visibility is NOT the whole story.
For instance, imagine you’ve employed a website salesperson who’s converted 1% of the visitors they saw. So last month your site made 50 sales after being visited by 5000 people. Your target, however, is 150 sales. At the current conversion rate, you therefore need to see 15,000 people, not 5000. That’s a LOT of extra traffic and, if you use Google AdWords, it’s going to cost you a LOT to buy it. That’s assuming the extra traffic is even there in the first place.
So improving visibility is likely to be a poor move. Here’s the smart one – improve your conversion rate from 1% to 3%.
And that brings us to a lesser known element of online marketing – conversion optimisation.
Conversion optimisation is like tuning your sales person’s script. It could involve writing additional web pages to suit different kinds of prospects. Or producing a range of videos to make it easier for prospects to see your service in action. Be aware this is not easy work – but it’s a lot more effective, and cheaper, than bumping up your ad spend with Google to get more traffic.
Conversion optimisation requires methodical testing to see if the changes you make actually make a difference. Once you are successful at increasing conversion rates to two or three times that of your competitors, you’ll have gained a massive commercial advantage – especially when you and they are competing equally for the same type of Google clicks.
Good online marketing has you sharing your time between these three spaces: traffic generation, conversion optimisation and website analytics. Get it right and your website should be the best salesperson you ever employed.
So how about getting rid of that FOMO feeling for ever? Try one of our affordable group training products for either Google Analytics or Google AdWords – or even both :).
* FOMO – Fear of Missing Out. LOL!