The internet is one of the most important sales and communications channels for any business. Using the internet to sell allows cost effective customer generation as well as the ability to target new audience groups. A good website can also serve as a tool to aid customer retention and communication.
By Christian Bennefeld at etracker
However, only website owners who constantly monitor the way in which users interact with the site can influence the success and optimisation of their online activities. This rule is particularly important to e-retailers who rely on the internet to make sales. That said, it is equally important for organisations that use the internet to share content and information.
All site owners should strive to provide an online platform that is structured, easy to use and easy to understand to make the most of their online investment. Reliable web analytics and constant optimisation of online presence is essential to ensure that prospective customers are able to achieve the objective of their visit.
Below are a set of tips which you should consider when thinking how to optimise your online activities with web analytics.
1. Make analysis a continuous process
- Establish web analytics as a continuous process with clear metrics and objectives
- Analytics should never be treated as a one-off activity, real value is only driven when the website is monitored on an ongoing basis
- Setting clear and measurable KPI’s ensures that the success of your online marketing efforts can be clearly demonstrated
2. Identify problem areas
- Identify the problem areas of your site through analytics – looking at pages that have high bounce rates, unusual numbers of drop-offs and abandonment rates, in particular on landing pages
- Understanding the areas of the site which are proving problematic allows you to make changes and optimise your site. Too often website owners spend large sums on marketing the site to drive traffic but fail to ensure the site is actually converting
3. Observe user behaviour
- Observe user behavior at the critical points through detailed mouse tracking: how far visitors scroll down, which texts they read, which they ignore, which forms and specifically the form fields that users are struggling to complete etc
- By getting a clear picture of your typical users journey you can position special offers or important products/information accordingly
- You will also be able to form a view on which information/sections are most engaging for your visitors. The analysis should cover the individual elements of the page including images, headlines and text boxes.
- This information will ensure websites can be adapted to ensure the best user experience and raise conversion levels over the long term
4. Improve the customer experience
- Optimise not only conversion rates and revenues, but also the visitor satisfaction and loyalty
- Improving your visitors experience of the site by enabling them to gather information easily will build visitor satisfaction and return rates and ultimately drive higher spend
- To ensure you can measure the improvements in visitor satisfaction it is important to carry out onsite surveys at the start of the project to provide a benchmark for future analysis
5. Invest in online marketing
- Start with onsite optimisation. Spending money to attract people to your site is pointless if the site they arrive at is not optimised
- Once the website is optimised and the visitors are satisfied, investing in online marketing to drive customers to the site can begin. Newsletters, affiliate marketing, display and video advertising and social media can all be used to help drive visitors to the site
6. Use multiple online channels
- If you do decide to invest in marketing use all online channels including display advertising, social media and affiliate and email marketing in order to reach your target group. SEO and SEA are usually not enough
7. Analyse the customer journey
- Analyse campaigns in terms of the entire customer journey and not just the number of hits you receive to the site. Getting lots of hits to your website doesn’t necessarily mean that your visitors have achieved the objective of their visit
- When analysing the entire customer journey you should pay attention to the way in which the user has interacted with other campaign touchpoints such as e-shots and banner advertising in order to find out how well the different aspects of your campaign have worked together. Looking at the results of the last ad or touchpoint is not enough. Knowing how campaigns affect each other is essential to achieve return on investment on marketing spend
8. Judge against industry benchmarks
- Use industry benchmarks to judge your performance, don’t just compare against your previous performance. Take the time to compare your performance to your peers. You might see an uplift of 5% which would seem like a success, however the wider industry might see growth of 10 per cent
9. Act upon the data
- Flexibility is key and continual updating of your site based upon user behavior and site analytics is not a bad thing
- Analysing the user journey is only one part of the puzzle. Acting upon the data is the crucial part. Updating your site to reflect user needs is the smart thing to do