It all started with Tom Cruise yelling it in his office in the movie “Jerry Maguire” as he played a struggling sports agent trying to make a mark and convince an athlete to join his sports marketing business. Recently “Show me the money” arrived on our screens again – this time as as one political leader asked it of his opposition to highlight a perceived weakness in his financial calculations.

Four simple words that in both instances did a great job of cutting to the nub of the issue.

So how about we ask the same question of your website?

We all know the costs are easy for everyone to see. There’s hosting, web development, and even optimisation services from people like us. But what about the other part – the revenue side – where can you find these parts hidden inside your web pages?

Most people think that e-commerce websites are the only ones that can produce the necessary answers. Of course they’re wrong. Lead generation sites can do the same – you just need to know how to set up their analytics tools to do the job. Then all you need to do is know which reports “show you the money” and you are underway.

Nevertheless, I’m going to tackle how to find the answers for all those e-commerce website owners first. So Mr and Mrs e-commerce website using Google Analytics its now your turn to “Show me the money”.

OK – let me start with the bad news. Out of the box, the Google Analytics code you add to every page of your e-commerce website WILL NOT gather the “money” data you need. So while you may be able to correctly set up some goal completion actions to see each sale roll through your website, none of these will have any revenue data attributed to them.

The good news is that Google spells out clearly what needs to happen to make this work. All you need to do is amend the Google Analytics tracking code so that the final page of your shopping cart includes the revenue and order details for each converted sale. This will then be swallowed up by Google Analytics account and reported back to you later on.

Yes, it is a bit techie to set up. But fortunately there’s a ton of content inside the Google Analytics help centre to make the changes relatively straightforward. And finally, yes, you will need to test the bejeevers out of it to ensure it works exactly as you want it to.

Once done you are well on the way to seeing the money in your website. The first obvious place to look is the overview e-commerce report that shows the large bucket of all the revenue your site has generated. All going well it should marry up reasonably closely with what your bank tells you your Internet sales deposits were for the same period.

This is nice to know but not necessarily very useful when deciding what needs changing. So sales are up 20% – now what?

Finding out what traffic source is responsible for what % of revenue is quite handy to know. The image to follow shows this. Down the left-hand side are some of the traffic streams this website receives – Organic Google, Google AdWords, Direct, Yahoo and Bing. On the far right there’s a per visit value for each stream.

So now we can see that when someone arrives onto the website from typing the URL into their address bar – as direct traffic – they represent $13.14 in revenue. That’s quite cool. Just imagine a bell set up to ring in your office every time it occurs – with you smiling, knowing that this means another $13 dollars is very likely to be heading towards the bank account. Nice.

So why is it so high? Repeat business. Yep, these are customers coming back again and again and it reveals a very strong operation that does a great job of keeping its customers informed and very happy.

However, now look at Google AdWords – here the revenue per visit is a miserly 98 cents. This traffic is dominated by prospects so the sales values are much smaller. There needs to be some careful work done here to ensure that the click cost doesn’t chew through all this possible revenue.

Per visit value reports are a great way for your website to “Show you the money”. Here’s another report that uses the same metric but this time relative to the organic keywords customers have used to find your website. Data privacy concerns means that this looks like just a big box of hidden data but look to the right and those values relate to keywords listed – but hidden – on the left-hand side. And yes, there’s a keyword in there with a per visit value of $80.96. That would be the big bell that rang when someone arrived from Google using that keyword 🙂

How much optimisation work would you embark on to improve your listing for an $80 keyword compared with a $10 one? Reports like these make the decision of where to focus your search engine optimisation efforts so much easier to make.

There is one last report for those interested in optimising their pages for sales rather than just for search terms. This one shows the per visit value for the top landing pages of your site. (Remember that Google Analytics defines a landing page as the first page your visitor lands on when accessing your website.) This site is well optimised for Google so while their home page receives a ton of traffic so does a long list of other pages – all responsible for making that great first impression for a new visitor.

Cast your eyes across to the right and you will see Per Visit Value data here too. Yes, the home page is the top value of $11.65, but there’s a $6 page that looks to be doing well also. Conversely, there’s a $0.00 for a page that attracts a fair bit of traffic – trust me on that one – this page needs a bit of work.

OK, so that should get a few e-commerce website owners diving for their Analytics accounts to “Show themselves the money”. But what about our lead generation friends? Are they completely left out? Fortunately not – BUT they do need to make a small change to see reports like these in their accounts. To do this they need to amend their goal tracking details to include an approximate revenue per lead.

The process of working out what this should be can stop people in their tracks and ensure they go no further. So lets make it a simple thing for everyone. How much is an average quality lead worth for your business? Now, you don’t have to be exact but is it $250, $100, $75, $50 or $20? Either pick one that “feels” right for your business or work out some sums including the average conversion rate of your sales process, lifetime value of your average customer and the cost of marketing you can attribute to your profit and still have an ongoing business.

Work through the simple maths and you should end up with a value. You can then attribute a percentage of this value across the various goals you have running on your website. For instance, a goal registering a quote request could get 100% of the value, while a person subscribing to your email newsletter would be only 20%.

To follow is an image of where to add in this value in your goal set-up area.

Once you have done this, all those “per visit value” reports you thought were just the domain of owners of e-commerce websites are now available to you and your lead generation website. For instance, to follow is an image of the landing page report for a lead generation website with per visit values for each page – handy stuff when it comes to optimising these pages to push this value northwards.

So why not sit down this month and ask your website to “show you the money”? Some may want to shout out the request at the screen, others will suffice with the little dance that Cuba Gooding Jr does as he asks Jerry the same question – whatever fits for you – just ensure you get the answers you need.