Mind the Numbers: Basic Google Analytics for Small Business

Even if you’re the type of small business owner who had a website made and never checked it again after that, you’ve probably heard the term “Google Analytics” thrown around by fellow entrepreneurs, most likely in close proximity to other indecipherable mumbo-jumbo about “market segmentation” or “engagement reporting”.
As a small business owner, all you need to know is that Google Analytics is the world’s most popular online metrics platform. When you think about it, it’s actually incredible that Google developed this incredibly valuable tool and offers it for free to anyone willing to learn how to use it.

So how can Google Analytics help your small business?

Without going into too many laborious details, there are 3 basic ways Google Analytics can be of incredible value to your company:
1. Track and Improve Website Effectiveness
Set up properly, Google Analytics will be able to show you the frequency of visits to particular pages on your website, revealing crucial details about your sales funnel and how your website engages with your potential customers. For example, you can figure out if you’re losing customers as soon as they land on the home page, or right as they’re about to submit their payment, and then remedy the problem.
2. Learn About Customer Segmentation
Google Analytics can’t tell you precisely who your customers are, but it can tell you a lot of other valuable information, such as their location, how they got to your site, and even whether they accessed your site on a computer, phone or tablet.
This in turn, can be used to refine your marketing strategy to better cater to the types of customers that most frequently visit your site. If you notice that a higher than average proportion of customer arrive at your site via your Facebook page, you can focus on developing that resource even further.
The data can also be used in combination with point #1. Let’s say you find that the bounce rate for mobile customers on your site is much higher than for others. This would be a key sign that you need to install a better mobile platform on your site or simplify the interface somehow to make your website more mobile-friendly.
3. Set Goals and Track Progress Over Time
Tracking information with Analytics over time can reveal valuable things about your web presence. Is your overall traffic increasing, but local traffic is perplexingly staying the same? There’s likely a problem there that should be addressed, and becoming aware of the situation is the first step toward fixing it. Do visit to your site decrease over a particular season for no apparent reason? If the pattern keeps occurring, it’s likely due to a legitimate reason that can probably be compensated for.
If you’re not particularly computer savvy, you probably won’t be able to make full use of Google Analytics by yourself. However, if you do decide you’d like to keep an eye on the numbers, once the code is installed on your website and the dashboard is customized for your needs, accessing the data itself isn’t particularly difficult.
If you’re adventurous, here is a great free course on Google Analytics offered by Google Academy (be aware that it takes around 4 hours to complete). Otherwise, talk with your marketing company about how it’s making Analytics work for your business, what insights can be gleaned from the data, and how to use them to improve your marketing strategy going forward.
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