Ed Reese

New Analytics Client – Artemano

I wanted to let you know about Artemano, our favorite new client from Montreal. OK, they’re currently our only client from Montreal. Not only are they a great client to work with but their furniture is amazing! They produce unbelievably cool furniture from recycled materials including like this office desk below made from an old fishing boat.
Fishing-Boat-Desk

They’ve been growing rapidly over the past few years and are working with Sixth Man Marketing to better understand their analytics to be able to make the best possible decisions based on their website data. We’re helping them measure the performance of their website, track campaigns, and produce actionable reports for their executive management team. This has a large custom training element. It’s essentially a private version of our analytics for marketers class focused on their specific analytics training needs. We’re working with their Chief Marketing Officer to provide training for him as well as their internal team (and future team members). It’s been great to work with them on this project! They’ve taken every lesson and applied it directly to their business after each training session to make immediate improvements to their landing pages, campaigns, and overall online business. I have every confidence based on our interaction with them that their growth will dramatically increase across North America in the coming years. Artemano is selling online in both Canada and the United States. You should check them out! I might need to get this two drawer TV unit to match the desk 🙂

Side-table

 

Ed Reese

Mobile Matters – Will You Survive Mobilegeddon?

Mobile has mattered to online marketing folks like us for quite a while. But to be honest, it’s been tough to create a sense of urgency from business owners and executives to do a lot about their poor user experience on mobile devices. Really tough. But all that changes tomorrow (at least from an awareness standpoint) with Google’s algorithm update for mobile. This “mobilegeddon” has received plenty of mentions, including one from NBC News earlier this morning. But this post isn’t about the algorithm. It’s a quick message to business owners and executives to show the rapid growth of mobile and provide some help. The sky isn’t falling. But it’s a nudge from Google to provide a better mobile-friendly experience (as they define it).

Bonus: Here are two mobile dashboards you can import into your GA dashboard gallery to easily see the impact of your mobile traffic

Mobile Dashboard
Google-Focused Mobile Dashboard

Why Mobile Matters

Here’s why mobile is such a big deal. Mobile now represents almost half of all traffic for many consumer-facing businesses and is becoming increasingly important for B2B’s as well. Here are a few client examples that show the massive increase in mobile traffic. Though these are only a handful of examples, these traffic increases are pretty consistent consistent among consumer facing websites. While mobile traffic has been rapidly increasing the several years now it really ramped up during the 2nd half of last year. Take some time to better understand your mobile traffic!

Ecommerce
beardbrand1

Travel / Destination
Mobile Blastoff

Hospitality
Silverton-Mobile

Retail
Retail

Medical
medical

B2B
B2B

Import Our Mobile Dashboards

Take a little bit of time to get to know the impact of mobile traffic to your business. Understand the mobile behavior of visitors to your website. Find out how much of an impact tomorrow’s mobile algorithm update from Google is going to have on your business. Here are two mobile dashboards you can import right now (just click the links below to import into your Google Analytics Dashboard Gallery). The first dashboard is a new all-purpose mobile dashboard and the second is a very simple mobile dashboard to assess the impact of  tomorrow’s mobile update from Google.

Mobile Dashboard
Google-Focused Mobile Dashboard

 

Darin Herleikson

When is it Time to Redesign Your Website?

How long has it been since your website was built? You might have built it yourself a decade ago or maybe you hired an agency to re-build it in the last 3-5 years. We hear from a lot of clients who say they “feel” that it’s time to re-launch, re-fresh, or just plain re-do their website. At Sixth Man, we try to take “feelings” out of the equation (though we definitely empathize). We advise our clients to focus on what their website needs to accomplish. Once you’ve established the goals and KPI’s (key performance indicators) there are tried and true techniques to discover how your website can best support those goals. We’ve outline four ways to identify what to update and why.

Here are four ways to prevent headaches, upset customers, and most importantly, sales.

  • Analytics – What is happening on your current site? Where are users getting stuck? Are goals getting accomplished? These are all questions easily answered by diving into the analytics of your current website. By setting up custom segments and dashboards, you’re able to see the user-behavior of specific visitor groups. What pages are users viewing most before making a purchase? What is convincing them to sign up for your newsletter? Understanding your users is good first-step to analyzing your current site and determine what is working and what isn’t. Installing Google Analytics is fairly painless for basic use and adding additional resources like CrazyEgg and KISSmetrics will provide deeper insight to how your website is being used by your target audience.
  • User Testing – The amount of people who skip out on this process when building (or re-launching) a website blows my mind. How do users navigate your site? Can they find what they’re looking for easily? User testing addresses these questions directly. Whether it involves extensive live-testing or even just having a few buddies poke around on your dev build to find where people are getting lost will help immensely. BONUS POINTS: Have a prototype built to quickly test your designs without doing any coding! Programs like InVision and Axure great for gaining awesome insight and both include mobile versions as well. Handing your developer a prototype to work from is also going to save you a lot of time and money.
  • Research – If you’re feeling the need to update your website, chances are that a business similar to yours already has. What have others done in your industry? Dig around and pay close attention to page elements, their website placement, and how they likely affect conversions. Don’t be limited to any particular site (and don’t be afraid to look outside of your industry as well) as most competitive companies are actively A/B testing their own websites to improve conversion rates. A great example is the adoption of One-Click shopping across a variety of brands such as Amazon, Dominoes, and Walmart as they try to eliminate cart-abandonment issues. A powerful method of checking into other website’s changes over time is using the Wayback Machine which provides snapshots of former versions of websites.
  • Ask Your Customers – Adding a survey tool to your site will give your users the opportunity to provide feedback about why they arrived on certain pages, if it was helpful, or what they felt was missing. Take user feedback and criticism with high-regard, as they’re the ones who will be using it (hopefully) regularly. Qualaroo is a great tool to accomplish this with a clean UI that won’t upset your customers with obnoxious pop-ups.

Rebuilding a website is a true test of understanding your customers needs. Do you know what they really want from your website? How can you best provide it that experience for them? Answering these questions before you take the leap will save you a heap of time and cash.

 

Ed Reese

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.

class-600-300

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!

 

Tine Reese

Are You Making the Most of Your Online Marketing Efforts?

Online Marketing Image

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!