Getting Started with Google Analytics Dashboards

This February I spoke at LocalUp with my friends from LocalU and the good folks over at Moz. During my visit, we filmed a Whiteboard Friday session where I talked about My Favorite 5 Analytics Dashboards. It was great talking dashboards with people via the comments section of their blog post, talking with friends of mine in the industry, and going over questions people had via email.

But what I didn’t realize was the need to help people get started on their first dashboards. We spent a few sessions going through the specifics of creating dashboards in our Google Analytics for Marketers Class last month. I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the insights from our class to help you get started.

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1) Determine the Data Important to Measure

Our class contained marketers from a variety of roles. Your dashboards should contain the data that’s important to you in your role. Our class had quite varied dashboard preferences. About half of the class leaned very heavy on the campaign dashboard side of things, a few preferred a social media slant, while the remainder preferred more executive style dashboards.

2) Understand Google Dashboard Widgets

Dashboards are made of widgets. These widgets help visualize data in different ways in your dashboard. It’s important to think about both the data you want on your dashboard and the best way it should be presented.  Here’s a great post from Daniel Waisberg that explains the differences and uses of each widget in the Google Analytics Dashboard.

3) Get Busy Building Dashboards :)

There’s nothing like just diving in and getting your hands dirty. Besides, there are plenty of videos to help you along the way.

4) Add Some Shared Dashboards to Your Collection

I didn’t want to tell you this until you got some practice building dashboards :) but yeah, there are some great dashboards out there that people have been kind enough to create and share with you. Here are some of those dashboards as well as really good advice: Google Analytics Solutions Gallery, 10 Ecommerce Dashboards, Dashboard Advice from Avinash Kaushik, Social Media Dashboard from Justin Cutroni, and 8 more Awesome Analytics Dashboards.

5) Actually Use Them!

Yes, you actually have to take a look at your dashboards for them to work. Look for trends, discover problems that need to be fixed, get an idea for a new campaign, stop a campaign that isn’t performing, expand your market, and discover countless insights that can help your business.

I love this Google Analytics in Real-Life video. Unfortunately, it’s funny because we can relate to it all too well. Use dashboards to learn how to sell that loaf of bread!

Are You Making the Most of Your Online Marketing Efforts?

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Many businesses struggle with comprehensively planning, executing, and continuously improving their online marketing. Your brand has to be highly visible and provide a superb customer experience to beat the competition. This takes time, is downright hard and can be pretty overwhelming!

How do you know if you’re making the most of your online marketing opportunities? Here are 5 steps to help you get there.

  • Have a clearly defined online marketing plan
  • Embrace data
  • Get executive buy-in and budget
  • Measure ad campaign effectiveness
  • Test and optimize your digital destinations

Have a Clearly Defined Online Marketing Plan

Many of our clients initially come to us without a clear plan for improving their online marketing efforts. They are not alone. In 2014, a SmartInsights poll found that “nearly 50% of marketers don’t have a defined digital marketing plan.”

Without a solid online marketing strategy, many businesses suffer these common issues:

  • No clear vision of what they’re trying to achieve
  • Not understanding their customers
  • Insufficient resources allocated to online marketing
  • Wasting money on things that aren’t working
  • Failing to achieve their business goals while watching competitors succeed

So, what can you do to get started on a comprehensive strategy if you don’t have one?

SmartInsights provides a very helpful tool for creating online marketing plans. Their Digital Marketing Strategy Planning Template (free basic membership required) will guide you through the process of creating “actionable plans that improve commercial results using integrated digital communications based on marketplace insight and analytics.”

Embrace Data

Are you measuring the effectiveness of your online marketing efforts? Many businesses have installed Google Analytics on their websites, but don’t know how to learn from the data and get actionable information. Note: if you’re using the default Analytics dashboard, you have not fully embraced data.

In order to become a data-driven organization, you must methodically analyze your website data and measure the results of your actions (campaigns, SEO efforts, website changes, etc.). This is an ongoing process that should yield continuous improvements in both your digital drivers and destinations.

How can you get a jumpstart in learning to be a data analyst?

If you live in the Spokane area, you can sign up for our Analytics for Mareketers Six Week Course that begins on April 29, 2015. We’ll walk you through the basics of how to use Google Analytics and then teach you the in-the-trenches specifics of how to use it for your current job, business, or the career you’d like to have in the future.

If you don’t live in the Spokane area or want to dive in on your own there are some great blogs, books, and video resources out there. I talked with Ed about his go-to analytics resources. It starts with his Google Analytics superhero Avinash Kaushik. But he’s also a big fan of Justin Curtoli, Caleb WhitmoreAnnie Cushing, Dana DiTomaso, the Moz blog, and of course Google’s Analytics IQ videos. The important thing is to just dive in and get started.

Get Executive Buy-In & Budget

In order to start and sustain a successful, long-term online marketing program for your business, it is critical to have buy-in from top-level executives. If you don’t have this support, your efforts are at risk of not getting enough funding and can easily be derailed by internal politics.

To get executives on board, you’ll need convincing data on how digital marketing can benefit your business and a well-researched strategic plan. This proposal, often referred to as a “Case for Change,” should include:

  • A review of your business’ current online marketing efforts
  • Industry research and analysis
  • Competitor analysis
  • Agenda and timeline for your proposed initiative
  • Defined structure, activities, and process
  • Resource requirements (staff, training, consultants/agencies, software, etc.)

We have assisted many our clients, at various stages in their online marketing program development, in getting executive buy-in. The resulting allocation of budget, resources, and staff have positively impacted the effects online marketing has on their businesses. Read about how we helped Avista Utilities create a Case for Change.

Measure Ad Campaign Effectiveness

Tracking campaigns will help you figure out what’s not working, how to cut the fat, and the best ways to reinvest that money in campaigns that are working to meet your goals.

There are multiple components to every online campaign, each of which can be tested and optimized.

  • Your ad content (visuals and text)
  • Your offer
  • Ad placement & targeting
  • Your landing pages

The tricky part is identifying the goals, objectives, key performance indicators, and parameters for success by which you will measure your campaigns.

In his article, Digital Marketing and Measurement Model, Avinash Kaushik says, “The root cause of failure in most digital marketing campaigns is not the lack of creativity in the banner ad or TV spot or the sexiness of the website. It is not even (often) the people involved. It is quite simply the lack of structured thinking about what the real purpose of the campaign is and a lack of an objective set of measures with which to identify success or failure.”

Be sure to check out Avinash’s Digital Marketing and Measurement Model for help in better defining your campaign goals and objectives.

Test and Optimize Your Digital Destinations

Now that you’ve created killer ad campaigns and other drivers (email, SEO efforts, PR, etc.), it’s time to close the deal by sending people to destinations that provide seamless and compelling experiences.

Digital destinations are the places you’re sending people from your drivers. These destinations can include:

Ultimately, these destinations should convince your audience to take an action, such as: make a purchase, download content, or opt in to email. These actions should support the business outcomes you have set as goals.

Test! Test! Test!

At all times, you should be continuously testing your destinations to understand how users are interacting with them and how their behavior impacts conversion rates. You cannot afford to rely on gut instinct and personal opinion—even if the opinion hails from the CEO. KISSmetrics says, “These influential people sometimes are referred to as HiPPOs (highest paid person’s opinion); and, in many instances, they believe they know what is best for their website. Therefore, they don’t feel the need for (or understand the benefits of) running website tests.”

But when you are able to prove that something works or doesn’t work, by reporting on analytics data gathered through testing, it’s difficult for a HiPPO to say, “I want to stop that campaign because I’m sick of it,… Because I can now see that the campaign (that I hate) is performing 30% better than the one I like.”

What to Test

There is no one-size-fits-all answer for testing. To start, your business has unique challenges and issues that need to be identified. Use your analytics data to learn where the issues are (landing pages, product pages, checkout, etc) and then run tests to figure out exactly what is causing problems for users. All testing should be done in search of an answer to a specific question.

There are a variety of tests and survey tools that you can use:

  • A/B Testing & Multivariate Testing compares alternate design elements and content to see which performs best. We love Optimizely and use it for our clients!
  • User Testing will help you learn how people use your site/app and what’s actually causing problems for your users. We conduct remote and in-person user testing in our Spokane office. We also occasionally use UserTesting.com for quick remote tests.
  • Survey Tools allow you to understand what your customers want and what’s preventing them from achieving it. Qualaroo is a robust survey tool that can be integrated into your website.

“It’s much easier to double your business by doubling your conversion rate than by doubling your traffic.”

~ Jeffrey Eisenberg

I realize this is a lot to take in. But we hear a lot of the same questions from clients and wanted to create a foundation to you get started down the path. Hopefully this provides a good starting point for improving your online marketing efforts in 2015!

Why Content Measurement is Important

I’ll be teaching a six week in-depth analytics course starting next week, so I thought it would be a good idea to go over a few of the topics we’ll be covering in the class to give a little preview as well as provide some good tips for our blog readers. In this post, I’ll be taking a look at the importance of measuring content.

For the past few years there has been a lot of talk about content strategy and optimization. This is good! For the longest time, we online marketing folks were way too focused on generating junk to get a bunch of crappy inbound links to try to rank better. Google’s recent updates of Panda, Penguin, and now Hummingbird pretty much said bye-bye to this type of content in favor or unique, high-quality content focused on the needs of users. “Nice!”

So What is Good Content?

While the definition of good content is somewhat subjective, thankfully it’s something that can be identified and measured. For the purposes of this post we’ll be defining “good content” as original content that benefits both visitors AND the company’s business goals. But even this definition can be tricky.

We see a lot of companies that view this as a chance to overtly sell their products or services. Others tend to provide a wealth of factual information so that visitors are more likely to make a purchase. Every website is unique: there is no magic formula when it comes to content. But the sooner you get busy understanding your audience and finding out what they crave, the sooner your business will benefit.

Start with the Big Picture

Content_Example_Bloom

Let’s take a look at my wife’s nonprofit, Bloom Spokane, to examine the peaks and valleys of their historic traffic. In their case, these rises and falls are very much tied to their blogging efforts. As a nonprofit, they do not advertise at all. Blogging / outreach is their primary driver of traffic. We see that they had a big spike tied to an awesome blog post that went viral in early 2011 and had sustained growth the following year. Excellent!  But then what happened. We have a drop and a very flat traffic period for the next year. Let’s take a look…

Analyze Content Demand

Bloom_Top_10

I set up a segment to take a look at their top all-time blog posts. They have a lot of good informational posts, but their top two are either edgy / controversial or humorous. The Bloom blog does an amazing job of providing valuable information to expectant mothers, but maybe their audience wants more humor or possibly a more diverse selection of content. But, looking at the last 18 months of blog posts, there hasn’t been anymore break-out blog posts in terms of popularity.

What should they do? In their case, I would not recommend radical change, but a good idea would be to examine what their readers want. I’d recommend continuing to look at their analytics, as well as performing periodic surveys to learn exactly what their audience wants from the site. They definitely have their bases covered in terms of informational content. I would suggest adding more emotionally-driven content that visitors really connect with, in combination with the current informative posts.

Learn What Content Influences

Next, we look at what the content causes the audience to do next. Did they sign up for a class via the form? Did they visit a desired area of the website? In Bloom’s case, one of their main goals is to drive visitors to their provider page. These are professionals who list their services and advertise on the website. With Google Analytics, we are able to see where these blog visitors went next. Awesome!

Blog_Posts_Driving_Provider_Visits

We see that blog posts have driven 6,628 visits to the Bloom Provider Directory. Sweet! Also it is interesting that my humor-ish post, which was the #2 blog post in terms of overall visits, has fallen to 5th for driving visits to the provider directory. Also, the two very popular articles on whether or not to perform a circumcision are not even in the top ten when it comes to driving people to the provider directory. This is not a problem. It’s just something to consider each and every time you publish content.

Have Content-Related Goals

Most of the companies I talk with about content tracking do not have (what I would define as) goals. Their most common goal is to publish on a consistent basis, which is a good place to start. That said, I will be pushing people to define content-specific goals and dashboards to help define content strategy, measure effectiveness, and really help their business thrive.

In my blog post for Bloom Spokane, I used the quote below from Shane Falco aka Keanu Reeves to illustrate what I think advice from  husbands to their wives during labor would be like. Though far from an apples-to-apples comparison, I think it applies to writing as well. Blogging is harrrrd. Writing good content is harrrrd. But it’s worth the effort. Don’t worry. We’ll help make the tracking of it easy for you… with a little help from Keanu.

I hope this has been helpful in understanding the importance of tracking the killer content you’re producing. If you’d like to dive deeper into the analytics side of life, take a look at our upcoming analytics class series.

 

Are Homepages Important Anymore?

Do a Google search for “are homepages important anymore” and the top results might have you thinking that no one ever visits your homepage.

Google search results for are home pages important anymore

Your homepage might be the top landing page if you’re a business-to-business (B2B) site with a healthy balance of web traffic: search traffic, referral traffic, direct traffic, and other campaigns. However, much of the traffic coming from search and external links takes visitors directly to the deeper content on your website — hopefully, the specific content they are looking for. For this reason, you should consider designing more pages on your website as important landing pages than you might have previously thought.

The majority of visitors to media company websites and blogs arrive directly at article pages, rather than the homepage. According to Nieman Journalism Lab, “Eighty-Eight percent of traffic to The Atlantic comes in sideways, meaning just 12 percent of site visits begin on the homepage.” Atlantic Digital Editor Bob Cohn wrote that the homepage serves an important purpose as the “ultimate brand statement,” but is not as important as a place to drive traffic.

Let’s Look at the Data

Sixth Man Marketing took a look at data from our clients’ websites to see what percentage of visitors are landing on homepages. Here’s what the data shows based on our sampling of websites:

  • B2B site average: 50 – 60%
  • Business-To-Consumer (B2C) site average: 20 – 40%
  • Blog & News site average: 10 – 20%

Especially in the B2C category, there is a lot of variance in landing page statistics. A few of the sites we looked at had extremely high or extremely low homepage traffic: as high as 98% or as low as 4% landing on the homepage. Neither of these extremes is inherently good or bad, but could indicate areas for improvement in online marketing strategies.

Extremely high homepage traffic implies that you could be missing opportunities in search, social media, content marketing, email marketing, and other external links to specific, deeper content on your site.

Alternately, extremely low homepage traffic might mean that your brand awareness in the marketplace is low and could benefit from campaigns that promote your overall brand. In a 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmarking Report, Optify found that “Branded searches (searches that include the name of the company) show the highest engagement of any other source (3.71 page views per visit) and account for 31% of all visits from organic search.”

What Should You Do?

No matter what type of business or website you have, you can begin the process of improving your website by: analyzing your web data; finding out where visitors are landing on your site; and optimizing every page so that your site can meet visitors’ needs and increase conversions. This is also a good time to check out this list of ways to annoy website users and drive them away from your site – and then make sure that your website has none of them.

Consider what happens when a visitor comes to a page from Google and does not immediately find the content they were seeking. If the page fails to give users enough information about where they are and how to get to the content they want, they will quickly leave. Shane Cassells of Google, speaking at Digital Journeys, reports that “Fifty percent of all users don’t buy something or complete an experience on a website because they can’t find what they’re looking for.”

The requirements of a successful homepage – context, strong way-finding cues, the right keywords in links and headlines, a well-designed layout – are now necessary for every page the user might land on.

Does Your Homepage Still Matter?

Yes, but perhaps not as much as you thought it did. Even if it is not your #1 landing page, your homepage still serves as the primary brand statement. It is the place many users will go if they want to understand more about you and your complete offerings. You need to make sure the homepage is engaging and useful. Just don’t expect every visitor to start there. And don’t even get me started on carousels (that topic deserves a dedicated post all its own.)  :)

Next Steps

Do you want to know where users are landing on your website and what they’re doing once they arrive? Let Sixth Man Marketing help you by taking one of our upcoming summer classes:

July 18: Intro to Google Analytics

July 25: Social Media Analytics

August 1: Intermediate Analytics*

August 8: Website Usability

All classes will be at our new office location, 542 W Cataldo, Spokane, WA, and each class, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., will include a light lunch. Also included are a 90-minute additional lab (TBA), and access to Sixth Man’s analytics forum for 30 days.

*It is highly recommended that registrants for this class have taken the Introductory Analytics class. 

Register for classes here.

Analytics Class – Thursday, April 25th @ 11:30am

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We’re excited to be offering our Google Analytics class this Thursday, April 25th at 11:30am at The Nectar Tasting Room (corner of Main & Stevens). I get pretty fired up when it comes to teaching people how to utilize the power of data and am excited to be teaching my first analytics class of 2013. Understanding analytics is a game-changer for businesses and we love getting people headed down the path of analytics awesomeness!

This year we’ve changed the format of our classes so the lessons really sink in. We want you to be able to immediately apply what you’ve learned in class to help your business. Take a look at the educational support we’re providing as part of this analytics class offering. You’ll be an analytics ninja before you know it!

  • 90 minute class on Thursday, April 25th
  • 90 minute small group hands-on analytics lab session (dates TBD)
  • Unlimited analytics questions for 30 days in our new analytics forum

Measure & Maximize Your Marketing Efforts with Google Analytics!

Date: Thursday, April 25th
Location: Nectar Tasting Room, 120 North Stevens (corner of Main & Stevens)
Cost: $40
Limit: 25 attendees
Seats Available: 0 (Thanks again for another full class :)

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Here’s what you’ll learn in our 90 minute class:

Goals & KPI’s. What do you want your website to accomplish? We’ll start by showing how to create goals and KPI’s (key performance indicators) for your website. Always start with the end-goal in mind. We’ll measure everything against these business goals. (10 minutes)

The Install. It’s easy to get started with Google Analytics (GA). But there are a few things you’ll need to know to make sure you’re getting started on the right foot. We’ll show you how to install Google Analytics and configure it to your business’s needs. (5 minutes)

A Guided Tour. There have been A LOT of changes in GA recently. We’ll provided a guided tour that shows the wide variety of ways you can  look at your data to fully understand how to use Google Analytics to its fullest potential. (15 minutes)

Understanding Traffic Sources. It’s imperative to understand not just where your traffic is coming from but that traffic is causing. Are your marketing campaigns performing? Should you renew your advertising contract with XYZ company? We’ll show you how to use your Google Analytics data to make more educated decisions about your marketing and advertising efforts. (15 minutes)

Measurement = More Powerful Pages. You’ll learn how to use measurement to improve to your homepage, landing pages, interior pages and blog posts. Content is king. You’ll learn how to identify pages that are under-performing and make them better. (15 minutes)

Conversions. There are many ways to measure conversions on a website. We’ll show several ways to create and track that final step of the conversion (the sale, registration, download, etc.) We’ll also show how to create micro-conversions to create multiple smaller steps to purchase. (10 minutes)

Advanced Awesomeness. We’ll end by showing how to take advantage of advanced segments within Google Analytics. Using segments effectively is one of the most valuable ways GA can help your business. I use advanced segments about 20 times a day for my clients (and you should too). Take advantage of the power. (10 minutes)

Questions. We have ten minutes “officially” set aside for questions. That said, I’ve set aside an hour after our class is over to answer questions for anyone that would like to stay after the class. We realize many of you are coming to the class on your lunch break so we’ll be adhering to our 90 minute schedule. That said, if you can stay after class I’ll be there to answer questions for an extra hour :)

Here’s what you’ll get as a bonus:

This year we’ll be providing 90 minute follow-up lab sessions so you can reinforce your classroom learning experience with hands-on training. What does that mean? I’m glad you asked! We’ll be providing several small group lab sessions where I’ll work with you set up goals, create advanced segments, create dashboards, and much more.

But I want a super-bonus!

You drive a hard bargain, but OK. Here’s your super-bonus. Anyone registered for the class is invited into our new analytics forum for 30 days for free! Ask UNLIMITED QUESTIONS about Google Analytics for a month absolutely free! I’ll even throw in some foosball tips for those interested.

But wait, there’s more!

We’ll also provide an adequate, somewhat nutritious box lunch during your first class session with the choice of a few inexpensive beverages and/or water. Hey, it’s not exactly date-night food. But becoming an analytics ninja for $40 will make you both thrifty and dang sexy!

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      Our goal is make this most valuable
             class you’ve ever attended!

 

Social Media Measurement, Thoughts & Ideas


Over 200 people will fill the Jepson Auditorium at Gonzaga tonight to discuss how social media has changed the face of business. It should be a great discussion as social media has evolved to a point where it does positively impact many businesses. But how? What are the businesses trying to achieve? I hear a lot of comments like these:

“I just gotta get on Facebook! I feel like I’m behind the curve.”

“I need a Twitter strategy,… Now!”

But that’s not true. You don’t HAVE to be on Facebook or Twitter. The answer is,… it depends. Yeah, it might be a good idea for your business. It might be a super-duper awesome idea. But where is your audience? What are your goals?  My Local University amigo Matt McGee always has the same answer when asked about social media platforms.

Be on the social media platforms where your customers are. 

Yep, good advice. For example, Chris Reilly and I performed a social media audit for a client a few years back to measure the effectiveness of their internal social media efforts. Guess what? 93% of their audience was blocked at the firewall. Their particular industry is pretty conservative and the big bosses don’t want their people on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. Blocked at the firewall. Dang. But guess what? They were on old-school technical forums and still go to industry events. Lesson learned: go where your customers are.

But there’s a question even more important than where to go.

Why?

I don’t hear a lot of talk about “the why” so I thought this would be a good opportunity to throw out a few reasons for businesses to put forth a social media effort and how to measure effectiveness.

1) Mitigate Risk

Social media is real-time customer service rocket fuel! Have a potential PR issue? Have a mad customer ready to rant online to the hungry, drooling masses about how much you suck? Social media has an amazing ability to cut that off at the pass. Because guess what,… even with the best of intentions things go wrong from time to time. But now businesses are able to stop PR disasters before they even start. This prevents bad reviews, bad news reports and ultimately helps protect their reputation.

This comes down to delivering awesome real-time customer service.

Where once a bad customer experience would be re-told to ten people it now has potential to reach tens of thousands (or even more if it goes truly viral). Preventing this from happening (in my opinion) is the most important aspect of social media for many mid-size to large companies. As Mike Blumenthal often says, “Once you had to treat the customer right. Now, you have to treat them right-er.”

How do you measure treating your customers right-er? Reviews.

I’ve worked with Paul Warner at Northern Quest for the past year. As part of of his responsibilities Paul has been responding to issues that have come up from time to time via Facebook and Twitter. In addition, he has responded to every online review of the hotel they could find with another member of the Northern Quest team. Here’s a look at that impact on Trip Advisor alone:

1.4          Star Rating of average “bad tone” reviews prior to 2012 (65 reviews)
2.6          Star rating of average “bad tone” review for the past 12 months (63 reviews)86% Improvement

4.27          Overall Star Rating for reviews prior to 2012
4.43          Overall Star Rating for reviews in the past 12 months

3.75% Improvement (While this is a smaller percentage 4.43 is almost 4.5 stars. I’ll bet this makes an impact.)

Like I mentioned earlier, things happen from time to time. By addressing them head-on a business can own the issue, whatever it is. It also keeps that review based more on facts and less on emotion. Here’s an example of a response to a hotel guest that wrote in their review that their room was too hot:

After reading your review, we checked into the temperature controls in our rooms. Each room is set to 68 degrees upon a guest’s arrival, but the temperature can be adjusted from 35 to 95 degrees. After a guest checks out of the room, the temperature is set back to 68 degrees.

Now this doesn’t fix the issue for this particular guest. But it shows other that they actually read their online reviews and respond accordingly. Here’s an example of how Paul and the Northern Quest team handled a power outage and unplanned fire alarms:

“We had a bit of anger stemming from a power outage incident on the floor and hotel as well as some unplanned fire alarms. We dealt with them via Facebook and Twitter (in addition to staff on the floor). We had to deal with complaints about tickets not getting cashed out, not being able to check in, having to leave machines, not able to get tickets etc. We were able to respond and share information in real time with them as to how we were resolving issues and to whom to talk regarding concerns on the floor/hotel. We addressed all issues within an hour of the incident(s) and had most people thanking us for info and response.”

Obviously a lot is in-play when it comes to what causes a good hotel review and/or preventing a bad review. Northern Quest has improved top to bottom in terms of providing exceptional customer service. Not all of this can be attributed to addressing reviews and preventing bad reviews via social media. Still, it has a definite impact.

2) Extend Brand 

All companies have a vibe in addition to services and products they want to sell. Generating a larger following of people that are aware of, and are interested in your brand is good for business. And by brand I mean everything about your business and the individuals who are publicly a part of it. At Local University our brand is based on our expert knowledge of SEO, Local Search, and how we can help businesses learn more about online marketing strategies and tactics to succeed. We want to be known as content experts. We also want to be known as nice, generous, approachable people. Blogging is a big way for us to extend our brand by creating valuable content. One of the ways we track that is by a dashboard called “Blog Intent.”

As you can see, we know how many visitors read our blog posts, where they come from, what they read, and if they have interest in us putting on a seminar in their city. Nice! That’s a handy little dashboard.

3) Create Dialog

Genuine two-way communication is possible now like never before. In the 90’s most sales people would say “If I could just get them on the phone I’d have a good chance of selling our products/services.” We now have a much better opportunity for that first conversation. But notice I didn’t list the goal as “selling.” Yes, people have sold things via social media, but (in my opinion) often at the expense of chasing others away with their chatter and over-selling. Yet, social media does provide an great first interaction with a prospective customer to learn about what you have to offer. And this can be measured with “assisted conversions” and other techniques. Awesome! Because it takes a team to sell well. You wouldn’t want five point guards or five power forwards. But put them together and you have pure magic. Or Jazz :)

It’s great that everyone is getting together to talk about the state of social media in Spokane. I hope this helps plant a few seeds of thought around the why and a few ideas how to measure your campaign. For those interested in leaning more about how to measure via analytics we’ll be teaching a Google Analytics class on April 18th from 11:30am to 1pm at the Nector Tasting Room for $39. Fill out our contact form and say you saw about it at  the Social Media Event at Gonzaga and the cost is $29.

Black Hole (Not Provided) Keyword Detection Method

(not provided) keyword detection - The Black Hole Detection Keyword Detection Method

Although we can’t see black holes, we can detect their presence (or at least make an educated guess) by measuring effects on objects around them. That same principle is the basis for this (not provide) keyword detection method. While it doesn’t technically get your beloved keywords back, it will hopefully help fill in the gaps since Google implemented this (sucky change) in reporting.

The purpose of this post is to help business owners and marketers easily get a snapshot of the *likely* keywords they’re missing. There are other more detailed technical posts for those looking for a deeper dive into the keywords (not provided) pool. These posts from Avinash Kashik and Rachael Gerson are great if you’re looking for a more detailed analysis.

Most of the people I’ve talked with have reported the percentage of (not provided) keywords at between 10%-20%. That’s what I’ve seen for the most part, but it really depends on your visitors. Covario has a great post of how (not provided) impacts different audiences. The growth rate is more concerning to me (especially with Google+ and Android adoption). As more and more people log into Google’s products, the less and less we’ll see.

But not to worry :) Google has made us dance before and they’ll do it again. Yes, we lost some keywords, but we can still see the landing pages these searches are directed to and can *mostly* infer what those lost keywords were. So, if you have a relatively optimized website you can make some pretty reasonable assumptions about what these (not provided) keywords were. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Find Your Keywords in Analytics

Step 2: Isolate (Not Provided) Keywords & Select Landing Pages

In the interest of full disclosure this is not my idea. I just added the Black Hole image :) Rachel Gerson of SEER Interactive first shared it with me at GAUGEcon in San Francisco. Be sure to follow her on Twitter. She is awesome!

Analytics Information, Presentation, & Tips

My purpose for this post is to provide supporting analytics information, my analytics introduction presentation, and tips so that business owners can use their web data to help grow their business. Analytics takes a bit of time to grasp but is worth the effort. Here’s some information to get started.

Getting Started with Google Analytics
If you have the time (and it does take a while) I recommend going through Google’s Conversion University to learn all about Google Analytics. That said, they’re a bit on the dry side (understatement) and take a while to get through. However, this great Google Analytics installation video from Ian Lurie of Portent Interactive gets you started in just over ten minutes.

What You Need to Know
There’s a lot of advice out there when it comes to analytics. The tips I’m interested have nothing to do with reporting. They’re all about gaining insight from the data and doing something with it to improve your business! And there’s only one name you need to know when it comes to gaining true analytics insight. That name is Avinash. He has done more to advance true analytics insight that anyone on the planet. Here are a few of his essential posts:

The Beginner’s Guide to Web Data Analysis
Web Analytics Segmentation: Do or Die, There is no Try!
Web Analytics Definitions: Goals, Metrics, KPIs, Dimensions, Targets
The Best Social Media Metrics

Presentations & Examples

Here are my most recent analytics presentation. Please feel free to download or share.

Introduction to Analytics
View more presentations from Sixth Man Marketing

One of the things I really emphasize when I present is the importance of understanding what’s important to YOUR business. Don’t worry about all of the metrics, pay attention to the ones that impact YOUR business. For example, my wife Tine is the Executive Director of a nonprofit called Bloom Spokane. Their #1 business driver is the number of people that attend their in-person classes. So we measure that as a KPI. Here’s how we look at it in a custom dashboard.

My Quick Guide to Using Website Data to Grow Your Business

1) Understand what’s important to measure when it comes to YOUR business. Every business is unique. Learn what’s important to measure, learn from your insights as well as mistakes and make improvements.

2) Get your hands dirty and learn this stuff! It’s powerful, people! I know you’re busy, but your business will benefit greatly from this information once you take the time to learn it a bit.

3) Take action! You don’t need to be an analytics ninja to take advantage of this stuff. You can make improvements to your website today by just taking a few suggestions from the information in this blog post not to mention the mountain of valuable information from my Get Listed friends.

I wish I was in Western New York with all of you today! I know you’re getting a TON of valuable information from the Get Listed crew. Be sure to take full advantage of it!

How to Dominate with Data – A Spokane Ad Federation Presentation

Last week I spoke at the Spokane Ad Federation luncheon about how to dominate with website data. It was their Fall 2011 kickoff luncheon and I had a blast! We had a full room ready to gain analytics insight. It was great!

Spokane Ad Federation October Luncheon Attendees

We even had a dozen attendees from the University of Idaho Ad Club. It was really cool that they made the two hour drive from Moscow, Idaho for the presentation. OK, they also had a visit with advertising agency Magner / Sandborn. But I still appreciated their attendance and participation. They must’ve stayed a good 45 minutes after things winded down. They asked some great questions and are really fired up about getting started in the industry.

Ed takes a moment to go over a few questions

We went through a lot of real-world examples and talked in detail about ways to gain actionable insight to make website improvements. We looked at ways to measure the effectiveness of blogging, branding, campaigns, and social media.

Here’s the full presentation for those that attended and others that might find if helpful.

Dominate with Data
View more presentations from Sixth Man Marketing

For additional questions about topics from this presentation I’d like to recommend:

Best Social Media Metrics – Avinash Kaushik

Google Analytics Training Videos

Awesome Analytics, Local Search, SEO, Social Media, & Converstion Rate Optimization Info

A big thank you to The Spokane Club and everyone that attended my presentation earlier this week at their Networking Breakfast! I really appreciated your questions, engagement, and enthusiasm. As I mentioned during our session, I want to provide additional resources for you to continue your education in the ways of analytics, SEO, local search, social media, and conversion rate testing. We covered a lot of topics in a short period of time and as a follow-up I wanted to create an awesome resource library for you. Now it’s time for you to choose your own Internet marketing adventure and learn from the best and brightest in the industry.

ANALYTICS, ANALYTICS, ANALYTICS
analytics-culture1conversions

As I’m sure you recall from my presentation, I hammered home the importance of understanding analytics. I’m not talking about “reporting” or “monthly reports” for your boss. I’m talkin’ about kick-butt, actionable analytics that teach, provide valuable insight, and inspire action. What’s workin,’ baby? What does the data tell us today? This higher level of attention to your data is not optional… if you want your business to succeed. You must “know thy data.” Here’s how:

Occam’s Razor – Awesome analyics blog from Avinash Kaushik
Web Analytics an Hour a Day – Great introduction to actionable analytics (also from Avinash)
Google Analytics Blog – Resource for understanding Google Analytics (beginner & advanced)
Google Analytics Videos – Educational videos that show how to use Google Analytics
Conversion University – A curriculum of analytics video tutorals
Analytics 2.0 [The Art of Online Accountability & Science of Customer Centricity] (Thanks Avinash!)

MAKE SURE YOUR WEB SITE CONVERTS TRAFFIC

I think it’s great when companies embrace new technologies and ways of thinking. Social media has taken the Internet marketing world by storm and generated all kinds of buzz (much of it well deserved) this year. However, I’m always wary of what I call the “Shiny Penny Syndrome.” It’s a condition where companies throw resources at the latest and greatest marketing techniques without testing and tracking what the shiny penny actually does. I’ve also seen companies completely stop doing what works (like email marketing) just because it doesn’t have that new marketing smell.

Don’t Make Me Think – Great read (really fast, too) about web site usability
Conversion Rate Experts – UK company focused solely on conversion rate optimization
108 Ways to Improve Conversion Rates (from Conversion Rate Experts)
Google Web Site Optimizer Blog (The Official Optimizer Blog)
Always Be Testing – Great book for learning A/B & Multivariate testing
Marketing Experiments – I love these guys. Their webcasts rock!

LOCAL SEARCH = LOW HANGING FRUIT

spokane-restaurants

As an Internet marketer I’m always looking for the low-hanging fruit–”the best bang-for-the-buck in the shortest period of time. And for most small and medium businesses that’s Local Search. Like I mentioned before, this doesn’t mean you stop doing everything else and go local only. It means that it’s time for a dedicated local search strategy to compliment your existing marketing efforts. Learn more from these experts:

David Mihm – Portland, OR Local Search expert & designer
2009 Local Search Ranking Factors – I’m proud to be a contributor to this research project :)
Mary Bowling – Denver, CO Local Search expert
Understanding Google Maps & Local Search – For those that want details, details, details.
Small Business SEM – Local Search + SMB Advice = Awesome!
Miriam Ellis – San Francisco, CA Local Search expert & designer
Chris Silver Smith – Cartographer & Local Search expert. Again, for folks that want the technical details.

ORGANIC SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)

There is a lot of information out there about SEO. In fact, there is so much information that it’s tough to know where you should even begin. These folks provide the best information and their content is always up to date.

SEOmoz – Free and premium levels of membership – Both are great!
SEO Book – Again, free and premium levels of membership – Great as well
Search Engine Journal – Free SEO content from a variety of SEO experts – including me starting next month
Search Engine Land – Center of the universe for all things search – Look through the categories
Vanessa Fox – She has an uncanny ability to explain complex details in very simple terms
Rand Fishkin’s HostingCon Preso – Awesome SEO explanation (and motivation for my art project)

BUT WHAT ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA?

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about social media. Remember, this socia media stuff is new for everybody so the importance of testing and learning from data is paramount. I think this bit of reading will provide good insight for you.

Outspoken Media – More than social media, but they cover it very well. Many good social media posts here.
Copyblogger – Read Copyblogger now! Writing is so freakin’ important. This is one of my favorite blogs!
7 Harsh Realities of Social Media Marketing – Great new post from Copyblogger
Trackur – Cool way to track social media mentions & reputation
Samepoint – See all mentions of your name or company online. A very cool social media monitoring tool.
5 Facebook Case Studies – Yes, 5 real case studies about marketing with FB.
Twitter, Tacos, & Trucks – The Story of Kogi Bar-B-Que

LIKE I SAID,… WHAT MATTERS IS HOW IT HELPS YOUR BUSINESS
Here’s an example from the presentation. I know it’s hard to believe,… but I didn’t even go to art school!
sales-funnel1

WANT MORE INFORMATION? HAVE QUESTIONS? COMMENTS? JUST LET ME KNOW.

Please feel from to leave a comment below, send an email, or contact me at my office (509-456-4350).