Top Five Reports to View in Google Analytics

Actually just about all the reports are useful and can give you great insight into how visitors are interacting with your website. The list below is intended for beginners to help direct your attention and get into the basics.

  1. Audience Overview (default view)
    View the number of sessions and users over the last month. See pageviews, pages per session, average session duration, bounce rate and percent of sessions that are new (not repeat).  While all the info helps, the numbers of users and pageviews are great information for beginners to begin to digest how their site is being used and even more importantly, WHETHER it is being used.
  2. Audience -> Mobile -> Overview
    See the break down on how many are using desktop, how many using mobile and how many using tablet. Since Google began requiring sites to be Mobile Responsive and then to define what it means, it has become even more important to understand how folks view your site. You should definitely check your site to see how it looks on the different devices. And seeing how much actual traffic you get on each can help you determine how many resources you need to focus on each view.
  3. Audience -> Users Flow
    Shows what country visitors come from, what page they visit first and what page(s) they visit after the first page. This is critical to understanding if your visitors are making the decisions you want them to. If you have created a sales funnel and no one is getting through the funnel, monitoring the flow will help you understand where people are getting hung up and then you can begin to examine why they are getting stuck.
  4. Acquistion -> Overview
    Shows how visitors got to your site. Referral: Links from other web sites to yours. Direct: People who typed your url in the location field on the browser. Organic Search: people who searched for something related to you and came to your site. Social: people who clicked a link in social media to get to your site. There are ways to create campaigns to track even more but these four groups are a great way to get the big picture about how people are getting to your site.
  5. Acquisition -> Search Console -> Queries
    This is where the really cool stuff is. Queries shows you what queries people made at Google, how many times your site actually showed up  (Impressions) on the page and how many times someone clicked on the Google results that showed your site. It also shows your average position for those key words and the Click Through Rate or CTR. The higher the CTR, the better you are doing.
  6. BONUS: Acquisition -> Search Console -> Landing Pages
    This shows you what pages people see when they first get to your site. Search engines do NOT just link to your home page. This helps you understand what pages Google (and the folks who use Google) likes most about your site. For example, we do a lot of work with non-profit organizations. Over the last month, this page http://www.educyber.com/who-we-work-with/non-profits/ showed up 200 times in search results and got 5 clicks which means that we had a CTR of 2.50% which makes us pretty happy.

NOTES:

You can change the date range at any time but changing the information in the top right corner. You can also do comparisons of ranges, comparing one month to the previous month, for example. The default range when you login and bring up the reports is for the last month.

Bounce Rate refers to the percentage of visitors who enter your site but then leave without visiting more pages. Most folks view a high bounce rate as a bad thing but you have to make sure you are interpreting what is actually happening. For example, if your contact page has a high bounce rate, it is likely because I have visited the page and either called you or emailed you. So I don’t need to be on your site anymore. But it would be for a good reason.

SEO Landing Pages – requires Google Webmaster Tools be enabled. If you don’t have Webmaster tools setup, you ought to. It too is free and it only takes a few minutes to link them up. Then you have even more data at your disposal.

If you don’t have GA enabled or if you have it enabled but aren’t looking at it, why not? This is the kind of marketing data you should have at your disposal. Need help with it? Give us a call at 303 268-2245.

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Web Site Development: A Case Study

In 2010 EduCyber began meeting with representatives from the Lariat Loop regarding a redesign of their web site. We sat down with them for a 90 minute discussion on what their goals were and how the web site could help them meet their goals.

During the discussion, as we brainstormed ways to make the web site more “sticky” – getting people to visit for longer periods of time and, more importantly, how to make the Loop itself more sticky, we realized that a trip planner would be useful.

Lariat LoopBackground – the Lariat Loop is a 46 mile scenic byway that winds through the communities of Golden, Evergreen and Morrison. Some of the coolest sites in Colorado can be found on the loop – Lookout Mountain, Coors Brewery, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Dinosaur Ridge, Evergreen Lake House, Boettcher Mansion and Buffalo Bill’s Grave and Museum to name just a few.

Each of these attractions has their own web site and we also want to drive visitors from the Lariat Loop web site to the various attractions. The thing that sets lariatloop.org apart from the rest though is the trip planner. You can visit the site, add as many different locations as you want to your trip, change the order you’ll visit them and then get turn by turn instructions on how to get to each location.

With sophisticated mapping, the opportunity for each location to have its own page and to link back to their site, along with ways to release press releases and showcase events, lariatloop.org has literally taken off.

In the last six months the site has experienced a 94% increase in unique visitors and more than 250% increase in visits from search engines.

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Convergence

One of the cool things that I see happening again and again is the convergence that happens in Social Media. Personal and Professional lives converge and people make connections that never would have happened otherwise.

This has always happened in Face to Face networks but the obvious limiting factors in such instances are geography and room size. We’re limited to the number of people that are or can fit in the room and to the people who are in the area.

But online those two limiting factors disappear. This first hit me a couple of years ago when my friend Max, who organizes cool tours to exotic places told me how he posted something on his personal facebook page about a trip to Africa. His post wasn’t marketing in nature, it was along the lines of “Looking forward to the upcoming trip to Kenya”. The convergence happened when he booked a couple of spots on the tour by folks who saw his post.

I was conveniently reminded of how this convergence works when I posted, last week, on our corporate Facebook page, about how thrilled we were to be working with two new customers, a Lutheran Church and a Lutheran School. An old friend from Iowa saw that posting and invited me to a Lutheran conference in Florida in January. Seems like a no-brainer. Spend my time and energy networking in cold Colorado in January or spend it in sunny Florida. Hmmm. What should I do?

In the first instance Max’s personal sphere attracted new customers into his professional sphere. In the latter, my professional sphere overlapped into my personal sphere, creating an opportunity that wouldn’t have otherwise been there.

What does this mean? (a very well-known question in the Lutheran Church) It means what I have been telling people for years – don’t forget the SOCIAL part of Social Media Marketing – people want to know you personally, even if they’re doing business with you but also don’t forget the MARKETING part of Social Media Marketing. Often people don’t do business with you because you haven’t asked them to.

So I guess I’ll close this with our pitch – Partner – Engage – Convert. Lots of firms partner with their customers to engage web site visitors. And then stop. We help folks figure out how to convert their visitors into clients. Need help with this? Call Brian at 303 268-2245 to find out what else you can be doing.

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Are You Throwing Money Away?

I often hear comments like “We tried Facebook and it didn’t work” or “I spent $4000 on Google AdWords and didn’t get anything”.  The first question I ask is “What were your goals?” and follow up with “How were you measuring results?” The answer, all too frequently, is a blank stare.

Throwing money at problems is a solution best reserved for government. Well, I’d prefer they not use it either but that is a different discussion. If you are planning to do any kind of online marketing you need to have a plan. Otherwise you can just drive down the highway, open your wallet, and throw the money out the window. You have just as good a chance of someone picking it up and tracking you down as you do getting any kind of results that will help you grow your business.

Here are the important elements to putting together an online marketing plan:

Understand Elements: What are the parts of your online marketing. Often the most important one is the one most overlooked – the website. Often the website is the centerpiece of the marketing because it is the piece you have the most control over. Other elements include:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Paid Search (usually Google AdWords)
  • Paid Advertising (on other web sites)
  • Email campaign(s)
  • Foursquare
  • Landing Pages (usually a part of your website)

Understand Offline Elements:  Usually an effective Internet Marketing campaign is folded into a larger marketing campaign. This might include a direct mail campaign, distributing flyers, newspaper advertising, ads on bus benches, billboards, or a variety of other venues. The important part of bringing these together is understanding how they work. For example QR codes can be an effective way to move people from print to digital. It is also important to maintain consistency in brand and message across media.

Start with the End in Mind: You have to have a clue – that is, it helps to know where you want to go so that you can use your resources wisely. So determine what success will look like:

  1. Will it be an additional $x in revenue each month?
  2. Will it be x number of new customers?
  3. Will it be x number of new leads?
  4. Will it be x number of downloads of a video or file?
  5. Will it be x number of new appointments?

You can add to this list as needed. The important thing is that the end is geared toward helping you grow. Once you know where you are going, you can begin to plan how to get there.

Determine Parts to Include: Now you are ready to figure out what all needs to be included. If the goal is to generate leads for your business, you might determine that paid advertising or paid search aren’t the right venue. But running a contest of some kind on Facebook and Tweeting about it on Twitter might be just right. One of the strengths of Internet Marketing is that you can change your mind pretty quickly. If the paid search yields zero results, you aren’t stuck with it – you can stop within minutes. Or start it nearly as quick.

Determine Integration and Flow: It is still important to keep the big picture in mind. If you’re doing a print campaign as well and using a QR code to get people to your Facebook page, test the code with several different devices to make sure it works. Boy it gets embarrassing (and expensive) to direct people to the wrong (or a non-existent) page. Another thing to consider is steps in the process. While the ultimate goal may be getting them to fill out a form on your site, getting them to first “Like” you on Facebook makes it much easier for you to reach out to them in the future.

Determine Measurement Points: We strongly recommend the adage “What gets measured is what gets done” So determine what all you will measure. A good example of this can be seen in the travel industry.  While a very large percentage of folks research travel online, a much smaller percentage actually book online. So bookings would be one thing to measure but “intent to travel” is also something to try to measure. This can be measured by how many people actually viewed a deal on your web site or Facebook page. Or by how many people checked pricing. Or by how many people liked your page.

A key here is to have several measurement points. If you’re just looking at online bookings for example, you might consider the campaign a failure even though overall bookings are up – an indication that people are researching online and then calling. Without several measurement points, you might miss what is actually happening. Of course you can always build in better tracking by adding text like “mention deal 23 when calling” to your online ads.

Determine Evaluation: Once you’ve got the parts above figured out you can determine how you’ll evaluate success. The most obvious measure will be the one that impacts your bottom line. But you also want to be flexible and look at your results. If your goal was x number of downloads of that whitepaper you worked so hard and you fall short, you could say, “I give up” or you could look and see that you actually got more Facebook “likes” than you anticipated and that once you were liked, it was 25% more likely that someone would do business with you.

So the thrust of this part is to keep an open mind and look at all of your metrics to better understand what is working and what is not. For the parts that are working, see if you can tweak them to make them more effective. For those that aren’t working, determine whether tweaking or tossing is the best course of action. Then start your next campaign, incorporating everything you’ve learned from the one just completed.

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Is Groupon Right for Your Business?

иконографияикониI’ve spoken with a couple of different businesses that have used Groupon, with mixed results. As a consultant that businesses to turn for advice on Internet marketing, in most cases I would NOT recommend using Groupon.

A recent imedia article only served to confirm my thoughts that Groupon can cause more harm than good. Most business owners understand the value of incentivizing customers with a coupon or discount. Frequently something like $10 off or even 5% off are the incentives.

But when you use Groupon you are offering a STEEP discount usually 50% or more. And then Groupon gets ½ of that! So instead of giving a small discount to perhaps introduce new customers to your business, you are practically giving away your goods or services. And this is available to your existing customers. As the writer from imedia explains, you are showing your customers, new or old, that what you are selling isn’t really worth as much as you were saying previously.

So what happens after a customer gets your goods or services for 50% off the normal value? They likely enjoyed it and especially at that price. But now they know they can have it at that price, why would they pay twice as much for it? I’ve noticed, for example, that a local paintball place seems to do two to three Groupon specials a year. In their case, they still make money  at a 50% discount so they just keep doing them – which shows that you’re not getting and keeping new customers. It shows that the only way to get those people to come back is to once again go ½ off the price.

Our conclusion: If you are trying to grow your business and set an expectation of high service or high quality, avoid Groupon and look instead towards marketing that accentuates quality.

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Blogging and Consistency

You’ve heard the old adage that the road to heck is paved with good intentions. That appears to be especially true when it comes to blogging. During the design and development phase of sites we have customers who are all excited about the opportunity to blog.

Then reality (and life) sets in. And that blogging thing gets pushed to the bottom of the heap. After all, I’ll get to it when I have time. But then you never quite get the time. And the blog grows stale before you’ve even really started it.

Sound familiar?

Here are a few quick thoughts about blogging and consistency.

  1. The bare minimum you should blog – can’t stress enough that this is the bare minimum – is twice a month. Less than that and it isn’t really blogging.
  2. We recommend at least once a week. One of our customers blogs several times a week and their traffic has gone up around 400% in the last year.
  3. Blogs don’t have to be long – they aren’t college research papers. A good blog post can be two to three paragraphs.
  4. Write about what you do – that way you provide good original content AND you use lots of keywords for your industry.
  5. Write about the questions you get asked regularly. If the people you are in front of are asking, you can bet people are also looking for them online.
  6. If you get stuck on what to write, set aside 10 minutes and perhaps bring in one or more people to help you brainstorm a list of topics. Then you’ll be ready for writer’s block.
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Choosing a Domain Name

There are still good domain names to be had if you are looking either to start a new business or to claim a better domain name for your existing business.

First let’s examine why it is important to choose a good domain name.  Say you were a church called Mt. Zion Christian Church. You decide to go with mtzionchristian.org. Seems pretty straight forward at first. But then once you start telling people you realize they’re going to mountzionchristian.org. Oops. So it is important to get a domain name that is descriptive of where you are or what your business does.

We had a client whose last name was one of those difficult to pronounce east European names. Though that was the name of their company, we went with a much more generic denvertreeservices.com for their domain. This served them well when they later changed the company name. And “Denver” “tree” “services” rolls off the tongue much more easily. It is more memorable as well.

Sometimes it is OK to have a long domain name if it is descriptive. Imagine if you worked at the Colorado Historical Society and decided to go with coloradohissoc.org to make the domain shorter. How would you say that domain? “Colorado” “his” “sock”? You’d spend all your time trying to spell it out and folks would undoubtedly still get it wrong. But if you went with coloradohistoricalsociety.org it is easy to say and easy to remember.

Not long ago I strongly advised a client to not use hyphens in their domain name. So instead of two, they used one hyphen and thought that was a pretty brilliant idea. Then just the other day while we were meeting with them, they realized how the domain doesn’t roll off the tongue when they have to insert a dash. Just listen in your head: “mybusiness” “dash” “mysecondbusinessname”.  Or, to reuse the example above – “Colorado” “dash” “historical” “dash” “society” “dotorg” doesn’t roll off your tongue very easily.

So here’s what we recommend for choosing a domain name:

1.       Do NOT use dashes or hyphens

2.       Do NOT abbreviate

3.       Do NOT use a name if it is easily misspelt

4.       Do use longer names if necessary and if memorable

5.       Do use something descriptive if the company name is not a good choice

6.       Do consider whether to buy other top level domain names such as .biz, .net and .org to protect your brand.

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Online Cliques

Online Cliques

Sometimes you have to forget what you learned (or were told) in high school. Back then cliques may not have been good for you – contributing to peer pressure and leaving some of the “un-cliqued” feeling left out.

But in the online world, getting into a clique can propel you forward. There are several different ways to create or insert yourself into a clique.

There are three roles that people fill in online cliques. Each of them can help you:

  1. Leader. If you are the leader of your online clique, you get to be the expert. A good way to be an online clique leader is to create a Twitter following where others can’t wait to hear what you’ll say next. This could be appropriate for a restaurant (especially a mobile one), a thought leader (innovator in your field), or a producer of original content.
  2. Connector. If you are an online clique connector, you help others find the right online clique for their needs. This means that you’re out there in the online world and know what is the right spot to suggest for someone. This might be in Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups or even connecting people to each other on LinkedIn.
  3. Participant. If you are an online clique participant, you get to meet, interact with, and “rub shoulders” with others. To be a successful participant, you have to pay attention. Identify who you should be following on Twitter and then do more than just follow – interact with them and retweet them. On Facebook, choose the groups or pages you join carefully, pay attention to the conversation(s) and contribute as appropriate. The same applies for LinkedIn as well.

In high school you usually only had one clique – perhaps two – that you could be a member of. In the online realm, you can participate in several. In fact, you are only limited by the amount of time you have to put into it.

Having said that, I don’t recommend joining every group. You’ll spread yourself too thin. Remember the power of focus. Concentrate on a select few groups or perhaps just one and get engaged. How should you choose the group? Consider industry group(s) or geographic-based groups that are in your niche.

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Building a Successful Internet Marketing Campaign

Last week I gave a seminar on how to build an Internet marketing campaign. I received feedback from one company that was represented that the content was “light” – not enough meat. Later on I visited that company to help them with their Internet marketing campaign.

Here is what I learned:

  • The seminar covered a lot of high level things like setting goals, creating a strategy to attain the goal, deciding on tactics to implement the strategy, implementation and measurement.
  • People like activity which for the content of the seminar translates to implementation.
  • Skipping goals, strategies and tactics may seem like a good idea because then you are “busy” doing stuff.
  • “Doing stuff” without having a goal, strategy or tactics usually leads to nothing being measured which then means no value being generated or no understanding of the value being generated.
  • The high level stuff might not be very “sexy” in the realm of Internet marketing but it is absolutely indispensable.
  • Helping people be ready to think about the high level marketing plan is not a good task to tackle in a 90 minute seminar.

Here’s what I hope I can help you understand from our experience:

1.       Don’t skip the important stuff.

2.       Spend time to determine where you are going and what you intend to accomplish BEFORE you start.

3.       Determine how you will measure success.

4.       Pay close attention to your metrics.

5.       And, because it’s so important, let me restate it: Develop a plan. Create a Strategy. Devise Tactics. THEN you’ll be ready to implement.

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5 Things to Measure in Social Media Marketing

Most businesses engaging in Social Media Marketing measure things like “Likes” or “Followers”. That’s not bad but Internet Marketing is more than a popularity contest. For a small business

  1. Number of Interactions on Facebook – shows they’re engaged.
    Developing a successful Facebook page where your fans or “likers” not only like a particular item but make comments. Developing a following that interacts with you on social media emboldens them to interact with you as customer.
  2. Number of click-thru’s – from Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn back to your site.
    This is easy to track. It’s also, if something you’re measuring, easier to create ways for people to do so.
  3. Increase in number of people who attend an event or call you after/during a campaign.
    Depending on your business and the appropriate call to action, you might “see” the results as click thru’s but if you hold an event that was properly publicized on social media and see an increase in attendance or participation, you can begin to make the connection.
  4. Number of hits on a landing page on your site from a campaign.
    While similar to number of click-thru’s, creating a special landing page is one way to very clearly check how much traffic you get from your campaign. It is also smart because you can have a page specifically created for that campaign, making it highly targeted.
  5. Increase in customers as a direct result of a campaign
    Ultimately, your social media marketing needs to get you more customers. For each business the method of acquisition is different but you need to measure this or you might as well not even do social media in the first place.

It isn’t a popularity contest, it’s business. It’s important to measure things that impact your bottom line. Need more help figuring out what to measure? Check out our March 15 seminar, How to Build an Internet Marketing Plan.

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