Read this quote and tell me you’re not shocked to hear it’s almost 100 years old - “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.” That was John Wanmaker. He died in 1922.
Same Problems, Different Century
Here we are in the early 21st century and business owners are still plagued with the same problems. As a Kansas City web design company we hear it said in different ways all the time.
Spoiler alert - there’s no way to track 100% of where your sales come from. The gap between dinner table discussions and e-commerce purchases still hasn’t been fully bridged. And I imagine, when you really think about the implications, you probably don’t want that bridge to ever be fully gapped. We like our privacy. I own a web design agency, and even I’ll say that.
Today’s Cage Match: Privacy V Tracking
Privacy concerns create tracking obstacles for marketing and advertising companies. It’s why Google and Facebook, the largest online (i.e. trackable) advertising platforms today are always battling court cases about privacy. There’s a delicate balance that needs to be struck between what information you collect about an audience, while maintaining their privacy.
Taking Action Where You Can
Let’s take a step back and forget about big data, Google, Facebook, and the next tech giant. Let’s talk about the one thing that you have total control over. The one place you can take definitive action. Even if you’re a small business. Your website. While you might not know every single thing about each person who visited your website, you can track almost any action you’d like. It’s just a matter of setting up analytics and goal conversions. That information can be much more important for small to mid sized business owners than any other data.
Three Web Data Points Each Businesses Should Track
1) Where did your traffic come from
If you’re paying for any kind of marketing, the first thing you’ll want to track is how many people came to your website from that source. If you’re paying for online marketing it’s pretty easy. Not perfect, but pretty good. A user clicks a link and is sent to your site. That’s trackable traffic (say that 10 times fast). Where things get tricky is when you want to track traffic sources that aren’t digital. TV, radio, word of mouth referrals, magazines, billboards, that sort of thing. Using online tools to track offline marketing is an entirely different, and huge, subject. For now, let’s just focus on tracking your online traffic.
2) What pages did they view
Knowing what pages your website audience visits most gives you fantastic insight into things like knowing what your most popular services or products are. You might end up reorganizing your website to give higher priority to your most popular products or adjust pricing where there are a lot of drop offs. Without looking at page views, you’d never know that information.
You can also look at what pages were the most popular for each traffic source. What pages were people from Facebook interested in? What about people from Google? That gives you fantastic insight into what your market wants.
3) What conversion actions did they take
Even though this is number three on the list, it’s the most important. The first two just give you more information about visitors that converted. Remember: website conversions lead to sales. If you’re not tracking your web conversions, you’re flying blind. Guessing.
There are different types of conversions you’ll want to track, depending on your business. Phone calls, contact forms, quote requests, chat sessions, get direction links, add to cart, purchases, download events, and the list goes on.
You’d be shocked at how many businesses get phone calls that come directly from their website, but they never know it because there’s no conversion tracking. So they assume the call came from some other source. Guess how many e-commerce companies don’t track add to cart actions - a lot. Do you know how many businesses don’t do conversion tracking on contact forms? Way too many.
If you own a small to mid sized company, chances are good that you don’t have a full time in-house web developer or designer. So here are a few easy actionable steps for you to take and some expectations.
1) Install Google Analytics
2) Decide which conversions you want to track
3) Set up your goals in Google Analytics
Installing analytics is simple. Any web designer should be able to do it if they have access to your website’s files. You can decide which conversions you want to track without any web experience. Setting up the goal tracking can be a little bit more difficult if you’re not a web developer, primarily if you’re wanting to do things like track button or link clicks. Not sure how to set up the goal tracking? You can take a course online, or just have a web design company do it for you.
Either way - make sure you do it.