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google_analytics logoAs a small business owner, you have many things to keep track of. What visitors are doing on your website may be on that list, but if it’s not, it’s time to start thinking about it. For most small businesses, their website might be the primary source of leads or a point of sale. For others it is an invaluable marketing tool. In any case, your website is there to bring you more business.

Tracking or “analytics” is how you know your website is either working to make you money or costing you money. Tracking the visitors to your site can yield valuable insights as to who is visiting, how they found you and what they are doing. With this information, you can find ways to gain more traffic, improve sales with the traffic, find holes or conversion roadblocks on the site along with many other insights.

Awhile back we at Sanctuary wrote a blog post 9 Great Google Analytics Features. Since then Google has provided even more new features and reports that can help you easily measure the success of your website. Here are a few of those updates.

Benchmarking

Benchmarking ReportThis Google Analytics feature provides a true measuring stick of how you stack up against the competition within your industry. Google uses hundreds to thousands of other sites within your industry category to create Benchmark numbers or averages. You can then compare how your site is performing in terms of acquisition and behavior metrics compared to the rest of your specific industry. Additional filters include by location, size of a site by daily sessions, channel grouping, and by a device. This report can show you where you are doing well and where you need to up your game to breeze by the competition.

Demographics & Interests Reporting

This relatively new feature uses third-party cookies to define your users. This will help you better gain an understanding of who makes up your audience in terms of age, gender, and categories of interests. Through additional segmentation, you can identify what content was successful for certain demographics or what demographics had the highest value in terms of conversions. As a business, you can then relate and market to your specific audience. Demographics & Interests Reports

Visitor Loyalty Reporting

The Count of Sessions and Days Since Last Session reports allow to you to understand better who your loyal visitors are.
Count of Sessions answers the question: How many visitors are just passing by and how many visitors come back consistently? Days Since Last Session is often referred to as “visitor orbit” and shows the loyalty of visitors based on the time since they last visited the site. By digging deeper, we can drill down to find out what brought these loyal visitors back to the site consistently and also what methods did not work for the other visitors.

Segmenting by Users

Google recently expanded their segmentation feature to allow analysts to define segments on a User basis. Previously you could only view data of visitors in terms of what they did by session. Now you can look at how specific users engaged across multiple sessions. This is another way to see how your loyal visitors are engaging across your site. If you have conversions or eCommerce tracking set-up, you can also see how visitors engaged on previous sessions before converting. What led them to convert? What channels or content reeled them in to eventually convert?

Multi-Channel Conversion Tracking

This report is an expansion of the previous feature we referenced. The Multi-Channel Conversion Tracking Report allows you to easily view the top paths visitors took on their way to conversion. Perhaps a visitor originally came to your site via a search engine, left the site, and then came back the next day via a post on Social Media. On that second visit, they then converted for one of the goals you set up in Google Analytics.

Previous data only credited the Social Media visit with the conversion. Now we can see that the true acquisition of the valued visitor came from Organic Search.
This gives us a different level of data when looking at how valued, converting visitors behaved on the site. What sources were best at bringing these visitors to the site originally? What channels brought them back before conversion? This shows more of the complete picture.

 

Google Analytics and Small Business Owners

Knowing a little bit about Google Analytics can help you make good business decisions, but let’s be honest, not every business owner has the time to spend digging through the data. We can help. Sanctuary Marketing Group, located in North Canton, Ohio can help guide you through the information and identify growth opportunities. Our goal is to equip business owners with the information they need to make smart business decisions. Give us a call 330-266-1188 or use our contact form and maximize the information your website is gathering.

Getting the Most out of Google Analytics
Cross Device Conversions

As a business owner in North Canton, there is no doubt that you have seen the shift of marketing. From mailings to local newspaper advertisements then to the need to have a website. Now you hear rumors of the growth in mobile device usage and the complete, utter necessity to have a website that can handle the Mobilegeddon transition.

With all that you juggle, between inventory reports and employee management, my hope is that Sanctuary Marketing Group can be a helping hand in your digital marketing efforts. For that reason, this is what we have been learning about mobile marketing. Most of this will be directly tied to a webinar offered by Marin Software and SocialMoov, but I’m boiling it down you can understand and hopefully apply these mobile marketing insights. Here we go!

Mobile Use is Growing

Foremost, the reason that we are even having this conversation is because mobile devices and mobile device usage is growing, therefore mobile marketing is growing. Most of us wake up with phones in our hands and are also put to sleep by their glowing screens. Think about your day today, how many times have you used your phone? Personally, I have packed the following mobile device usage into my day:

  • Turned off my phone’s alarm clock.
  • Checked my email.
  • Scanned social media.
  • Texted my brother (all of that before getting out of bed).
  • I used the timer on my phone to know when to finish my french press.
  • I checked my bank account.
  • Rescheduled a bill payment.
  • Read a chapter of a book.
  • Played a game
    …and it is not even 11:00 AM!

Neni Pogarcic (Global Search Lead, Google) pointed out on the webinar that this is not an atypical morning for those of us going about our day. Not only that, but most of this can be done without even touching a computer. With that in mind, how are you going to appropriately reach the many who traverse their morning without touching traditional Google search or a desktop computer? The next question, beyond reaching those individuals, is how are you going to provide means for them to convert?

On-Device Conversions, Now Think Cross-Device

Device conversions, particularly in the world of digital marketing, used to be computers only, but think through all the conversions that take place on your phone now. Think for a moment, how many devices have you used today and how many conversions have taken place? 98% of users say they are cross-device users throughout the day. Users quickly bounce between websites, tablet apps, and smartphone notifications. Are you, as a local business owner, catering to the next generation of buyers?

Cross Device Conversions

Can My North Canton Business Win the Mobile War?

Here are three steps to succeed with mobile:

Three Steps to succeed with mobile
1) Incredible Experiences

While many understand that the desktop version of your website should include as much detail as possible, Google has spent a lot of time recently on spelling out the absolute best mobile design for websites, especially for businesses. Google has business owners ask questions about how close together your website’s buttons are, how wordy your pages are, and how usable your mobile website is? You can learn all about that in our summary of their updates — basically, ask yourself how easy it is to use and convert on your website? We’re here to help if you need any suggestions or work done. Just let us know your need help!

2) Relevant Advertising

Advertising should always aim to be relevant, but when you’re seeking to land on a mobile device it has to be all the more fine tuned. Do you know your audience and do you know how to reach them? Marketers have mere moments to reach individuals when they’re using their mobile devices (Google calls this Micro-Moments). Are you providing the absolute best imagery, copy text and advertisement destination URLs for your audience?

3) Insightful Measurement

If you are not appropriately measuring your efforts and providing insightful reporting, you might as well put a stop to all that you are doing. By putting the proper measures in place, you can use the results (whether positive or negative) from your efforts to refine future efforts.

This is a very brief summation of notes from the webinar The Path to Mobile Success, hosted by Neni Pogarcic (Global Search Lead, Google), Luca Angeli (Analytics Manager and Bidding Optimization Specialist, Marin Software) and Hoiling Wong (Product Marketing Manager, Marin Software).

The team at Sanctuary Marketing Group is available to help answer any questions that you have about Mobile Marketing.

Three Steps for Mobile Success
your website is never done

your website is never doneLike many business owners looking for web design help in Akron, Ohio, you may be eagerly awaiting the completion of your official website. While it will be a banner day, indeed, there’s one small caveat: Ideally, your site will never truly be “done.” These days, you can’t hope to remain competitive and enjoy high conversion rates with a static website. For optimal success, ongoing changes, updates and improvements are crucial.

Under Construction… Forever

Remember those tacky “under construction” GIFs that were plastered all over websites back in the day? They’ve gone the way of the do-do, but today’s best, most effective sites are perpetually under construction. Why can’t you just come up with an ideal website design, make your site go live and call it a day? A few reasons that it’s crucial to constantly update your site include:

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Your Website is Never ‘Done’

link-building-tactic-2013I’m a huge proponent of building links through developing great content. We’ve had tremendous success generating traffic and links for our clients using this tactic alone. But sometimes you need more.

Linking building. Yes, I hate the term as much as you do. It’s time consuming. It’s HARD. The ROI is grey. I have a hard time devoting a ton of time to it when I could be doing things that are more tangible. Especially when I’m working with a small, local business that has a limited budget.

So what I’m continually trying to do is identify tactics and best practices that are easy AND return value to the client. Definitely a tall order.

Recently, I’ve taken notice of a tactic that seems to be working well for others. Here’s the guts of it.

Interesting link building strategy… (more…)

An effective link building strategy for 2013

local-search-ranking-factorsWhat does it take to rank locally? Just like traditional SEO there are potentially hundreds or even thousands of factors that combine together and influence why you show up on page one vs. your competition. We only have so much time in the day and so much budget in the bank. So how do we attack it?

David Mihm has done an excellent job for the last few years working with the local search community to identify the local search ranking factors. This is a comprehensive, exhaustive and valuable collection of information but it’s a lot to digest. Most business owners and SEOs need a real-world way to attack this today.

So, I’ve taken it upon myself to distill this into a list of priority factors that you can use as a checklist. For most business owners and SEOs, this is your action list. This is probably all you have time for. Honestly, this is more than even most professional SEOs have time for unless you’re working with a company that has a signification budget. If you’re that lucky then please refer to David’s list. If you’re like the rest of us I hope you find this useful. (more…)

Local search ranking factors (Distilled down for consumption)

google+I love The Oatmeal. It’s fun and pretty twisted sometimes which brings out that real, rare (and much needed) LMAO that is sometimes lacking in my days.

He recently posted his latest take on the state of the internet (which is part of an ongoing series). One of the sections dealt with Google+ and I must say that he gave the service a big, fat slap in the face. His take is that nobody uses Google+ and if I’m being honest with myself, I think I might agree at the moment.

Now, saying that NOBODY uses Google+ is unfair. I know there are people that are highly engaged and using it all the time. But it hasn’t hit the mainstream yet and that’s a little concerning to me. Have I helped in any way? Nope. I barely have my account setup and optimized, much less using it on a daily basis. So I really can’t come down on anybody else. (more…)

Google+ and the state of the internet (Love to The Oatmeal)

acxiom-listingsAcxiom is one of the largest data distributors online and one of the only services that actually charges a fee. Is the cost worth it?

At the end of this post about how to submit to Acxiom it explains the $50 cost to submit and distribute data through Acxiom. Basically it comes down to giving you the ability to properly optimize and manage your listing which is extremely important. Currently Acxiom distributes to many priority sites and services like yellowpages.com, and others. Looks like their data might be used by Apple and Siri as well (according to David Mihm). Here is a visual on the main ways that data is distributed through Acxiom and others.

$50 doesn’t seem like a lot if you have one location or if you’re a large profitable business. But what if you have hundreds of locations? This could really add up for even the largest businesses. So is it worth it?

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The benefits of getting listed on Acxiom

keyword researchKeyword research is essential but I’m often challenged by the fact that it’s hard to get good local information for a local key-phrase using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. Maybe someday they’ll get better at showing us the valuable nuggets of information hidden in the dark niches of their servers. But for now we have to live with what we have.

So what are our options for local keyword research?

We’ll, if you get lucky you’ll actually get some results using the Google Adwords Tool. But the results will be hit or miss unless you live in a large metro area.

As I mentioned previously, Google actually does provide you with a decent tool to study trends with their Google Insights For Search Tool. This is a great option to study industry and local trends and see how different terms compare.

But what’s great about this tool is that it does actually show you the relative keyword volume for terms that are fairly niche queries in smaller cities.

For example, I live close to Canton Ohio, a small city about an hour south of Cleveland. Therefore, I might be working with a local bakery that wants to rank locally for what they do. Everyone loves baked goods but how many people REALLY search online for a local bakery in Canton? (more…)

Keyword Research for a Local Business

I’m taking a little detour from local search marketing to discuss and recommend a solution for project management and CRM software.

crm-softwareThe Problem

I’ve used project management software for many years now and recently developed my own system that made sense to me. But recently I’ve realized that there are major things missing and that I needed to look around for a robust system that allowed me to do what I do best (internet marketing) and let others build and maintain the software that I use to manage my business.

The problem is that I have a long list of requirements. What I really need is one online system where I can manage my staff’s tasks and time tracking, view and understand their workload, easily manage my projects and tasks, my sales leads and collaborate and organize and store all of my company’s procedural documents. I know there is stuff out there that does all this but the devil is in the details. Let me be a little more specific. (more…)

Online Project Management and CRM Software System Review

Sometimes I step back and breathe a sigh of relief about what I do for a living. It really does seem that the future is bright. Barely a day goes by that I don’t hear about how having a website is essential for every business or that internet marketing spending is growing in leaps and bounds. Everything from social media to seo and mobile to conversion are all things that people are talking about and doing more of.

Checkout the TopRank Blog for many resources related to the future predictions of our industry.

Also, here are a few quick highlights from the recent Hubspot blog post 33 stats that paint a picture of the future of marketing.

  • 84% of B2B marketers use social media in some form.
  • Currently, marketers allocate 7.6% of their budgets to social media. CMOs expect that number to reach 18.8% in the next five years. (more…)
The future of internet marketing

Google-Local-Optimization-300x220In a video and comments regarding local search rankings, Jeremy Sussman of Google Maps described Google’s local algorithm as having three main parts: location, relevance, and prominence. The information contained within your Google+ Local Business listings data is a major piece of how Google determines these three factors and ultimately who shows up first in the local listings.

Google+ is one of the best ways to improve your local search rankings so we’ll focus on some specific tips and recommendations for this first. But it’s not the only site or tactic that you should be concerned about. We’ll discuss my additional recommendations in part 2 (coming 8/31/12) that go beyond Google+ and it’s mapping products. (more…)

20 ways to take your local search rankings to the next level (Part 1)

Research is an important part of effective local optimization. At the base level you need to know if it’s worth your time and effort to even attack a niche and if you’ll ultimately survive as a business. Getting that data is sometimes hard for small, local businesses due to the lack of data at the micro level. But here’s one good strategy to gauge the demand for your services locally.

Google Insights is a valuable tool to study search trends. If you live in Canton Ohio like I do, getting data about your niche or industry is going to be difficult. But by using Google Insights for Search you can checkout the trends for larger cities in your region or even trends in large metro areas in New York City to get a good idea if you’re industry is on the rise or on the decline. You might even find out that searches are increasing in one region but not another.

For example, I’m working with a local furniture store. It’s hard to get data for furniture shopping in their area. It’s one store, in one city in Ohio.

But can we learn more about furniture shopping in Ohio or the country in general?

Searches for furniture stores New York: (Ouch!)

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How to check what search terms are being used by potential local clients