This month our group customer conference call was all about planning. I took the group through the three levels we suggest people pass through on their way towards online marketing mastery. Mastery should never be an easy thing to achieve. And the last level requires a shift from measuring pageviews to measuring people as they move through your website. It’s a fundamental shift in mindset that requires some super smart website analytics to enable.

For instance, a few months back, as a level 2 online marketer you may have seen your Google Analytics account report on 4568 visitors arriving at your website. Now at level 3 you see 3200 prospects, 1200 first time customers and maybe just 168 repeat purchase customers. It’s a simple task to pick which of these two views gives you the most information. But how do you see customers in your Google Analytics data where you used to see visitors?

I’ll answer this and help you find three other groups of people within your raw visitor Google Analytics stats.

#1 Customers v Prospects

For e-commerce websites this is a relatively easy solution. In these situations customers usually see every page that prospects do except the thank you page of the order transaction process. Therefore, by using the revised Google Analytics segment module, you can build a segment based on this, then look back (currently limited to 120 days) and see how this group performs compared to those that haven’t.

Lead generation websites have a bit more of a challenge to overcome. I’ll make a few random assumptions to help me provide a solution. Firstly, I’ll pick that you are using email marketing to keep in touch with this group and that you can send them to your website from links contained in yourmessages. Therefore, everyone that arrives using one of these links is probably going to be a customer.

My second assumption has you promoting an online portal of sorts set up just for customers. So everyone that logs in here and visits these secure pages can be tagged as a customer in a similar way we picked for e-commerce websites.

#2 Local v Overseas

A simple selection, this one, but commonly missed when analysing a website’s results. Say you are only able to sell your products to people in New Zealand. Your Analytics data in its raw state counts everyone, whether they are from Masterton or Mumbai. Fortunately, Google Analytics can tell you the geographical region everyone resides in when browsing your website, so it’s a simple step to create a segment or a even a new Google Analytics profile to filter out all those who are outside New Zealand.

#3 Business v Residential

I’ll admit upfront that this solution requires some leaps of logic. Nevertheless, once you are happy with this, you can start to slice your visitor data roughly into these two groups. Variables that will help here include time of day coupled with day of week. So all those that arrived before, say, 6pm on Monday to Friday could be classed as business people. Add to this filter the requirement that they need to be from behind a business network domain and you are getting closer still to locating your business customers.

#4 First time customers v repeat customers

For e-commerce customers, the difference between these two and the growth of the latter is a critical predictor of future success. Basically, without a growing band of repeat customers things are looking dour. But how do you find them? Fortunately, the revised Google Analytics segment building tool makes this a relative breeze.

Under the “Behavior” area you can pick the number of transactions achieved per user, then look back (currently limited to just 120 days) to see how this group performs. Plus, if you pick the “E-commerce” section of this segment tool you can set up segments based on the amount each spent and on what products. There’s enough in here to satisfy even the most data demanding e-commerce website owner.

Customers Segment

Why not take time this month to look beyond the totals of visits and visitors, and slice your data down further to see people and the relative groups they can fit within? Numbers are so much more appealing when they represent people rather than just their actions.