Dallas Business Consultant Elijah ClarkDallas Business Consultant Elijah Clark

Identifying Business Goals and Selecting Metrics

Case Study:

Company Background:

CompanyEC (CEC) is a Dallas Texas based creative services company, which markets mainly to online consumers.  Its website has loads of content and offers services such as web design, graphic design, web marketing and dimensional and digital art. CEC’s website receives over 12,200 page views per month and their revenue model is advertising based. Their monthly online revenue is approximately $27,000.

CEC’s stakeholders have a little understanding of how well the website is performing. This includes the effectiveness of ad placement in driving in lead traffic. In addition, Currently CEC uses multiple analytics tools such as Google Analytics and JoomlaStats to monitor site visitors and page views.

Needs Identification:

In sitting down and identifying the needs of the company, we were able to establish a list of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that matter most to the company and its CEO. We have narrowed this list down to 3 major metrics in order to truly provide a clear picture of how the website is performing.

CEC has 2 major needs:

  • The ability to measure its Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Measuring its websites effectiveness in order to generate revenue

In speaking with CEC’s CEO, we have determined that the KPIs will be:

  • Average time a user spends on the site – To help measure how visitors are interacting with site content.
  • Unique visitors – to measure potential revenue and ROI (if these visitors were to convert)
  • Ratio of local audience to national audience – to measure which areas CEC needs to aim most of its marketing campaigns.

Tracking KPIs

Being that CEC mainly focuses within the online market, it is crucial that the company has some form of analytics set up within its website. Without analytics, it is difficult and near impossible to measure the true effectiveness of the website in order to improve the business’s bottom line. The fact is that without using analytics to monitor its website and company, CEC is making decisions blindly.

My first recommendation for CEC is to get a full understanding of which aspects of Google Analytics and JoomlaStats are most important to the company for reaching its goals and resolving its needs. It is also recommended that when implementing its analytics code, that CEC use meaningful page names. This method will allow for a more intuitive understanding when reading the analytics reports. Currently, not all pages meet these requirements.

Strategically using KPIs

After reviewing our analytics report, we can confidently make a conclusion about the sites current performance and identify actionable items that will help improve the KPI going forward. We can start be looking at the average time a user spends on the site. This report will be able to help us measure how visitors are interacting with the sites content. If we dig deeper, we should be able to see which pages are creating the longest stay and conversions and which pages users are not finding to be relevant toward their search. If we dig even further, we can begin to see which pages users last visited before abandoning the website.  If we see a common trend of user activity, we will be able to make the corrections as needed.

The other two metrics, unique visitors and ratio of local audience to national audience will be important to CEC because it will help CEC understand how engaging the website content is. These 2 metrics are also useful in helping with future marketing. With CEC having a true understanding of what its visitors are looking for, it will be able to advertise on relevant websites to accumulate more leads, which will lead to increased ROI.

CEC should take its KPIs and set up dashboards within its analytics programs to stay on top of its stats. This will help in analyzing trends and identify follow-up actions. This can also be done manually by exporting numbers from the analytics tools into Excel or customized dashboards within the analytics software.

The company’s KPIs should be revisited and fine-tuned often in order to remain relevant in an ever-changing marketplace.

Website Marketing

While social media sites are great for blogging and news updates, you should also include the blog text and updates on your business website so that it creates more content and attracts attention from search engines. By utilizing blogs and newsgroups to attract website visitors, you can create an effective strategy which will help gain and increase website click-through rates and the length of time users spend on your website. This could ultimately help with increasing search engine credibility and domain authority. In addition, including keywords and descriptions in image ALT tags on your website will create an extremely effective strategy that is not only beneficial for improving content search results but will also boost your rank in image search directories.

You should additionally include an easy bookmark feature on your website. By including a bookmark widget, you can gain customer loyalty and rank better with search engines that index bookmark websites such as Del.icio.us and Google bookmarks.

To create a strategy that will encourage customer interactivity, you can also setup email marketing and newsletter campaigns along with creating polls and surveys to gain customer feedback and help enhance the experience of your customers. Newsletters could include information on upcoming specials, events, and changes in the business that could benefit the customer.

Links for allowing customers to opt out of receiving emails and referring a friend for discounts should also be included in each newsletter. Your business can benefit by tracking the results of email campaigns using newsletter and website tracking tools such as Google Analytics. By viewing monthly reports, you will be able to see which keywords, content, and paid campaigns are most effective. In addition, it will allow for you to see where visitors come from, how long they visit a certain web page, the last page they viewed before leaving your website, and how your stats compare to the industry benchmarks.

Website Analyzers and Tracking Tools

1. AWStats – http://awstats.sourceforge.net/ 

What I like about this analyzer is that it’s simple and clean. The analytics show up within one page and the user can get a quick analysis of all of its traffic and user activity. Another benefit of this analyzer is that it includes much more information on referring sites than other tools. In addition, it also has a great way of tracking bandwidth usage on the server. The benefit of this is that it allows great protection from bandwidth thieves.

Sitepoint.com is a highly respected and well ranked company within the web development industry and they recommend this service as #1 within its top ten list of web analyzer tools.

What I would change about this analyzer is the look. Though it does cover a large list of features, I don’t believe it to be very pleasing to the eye. By adding more links and tabbed panels, it would allow for users to easily navigate throughout the tool with ease.

Nonetheless, this is still a great tool for someone looking for a simple yet detailed synopsis of their website traffic.

2. eLogic – http://www.elogicwebsolutions.com/website-statistics.html 

What I like about this tool is that it creates a list of three different packages for different types of users. Nonetheless, I also believe this to be the downfall of the tool. The tool is offered free for those looking to handle smaller task. However, to get the full list of features, there is a charge of $9.95 a month for the Pro version.

However, though it does cost and I may not like it, it may be a cost worth paying. The Pro version includes tools that other analytic tools just don’t have. These tools consist of real-time traffic statistics, log file storage, custom email alerts and unlimited history.

While eLogic does have a plan for all types of users, I don’t believe that paying a monthly fee for a web analyzer tool is a great move. With the multiple free tools within the market, eLogic may not be making a smart move with charging its users a fee.

Techchia and Sitepoint, both of who are respected names within the web development and technology marketplace, have named eLogic within the top 3 web analytics tools.

3. Extreme Tracking – http://extremetracking.com 

I would not recommend this tool. While I do love the simplicity of Extreme Tracking, I just don’t believe it to be a professional tool that gives in-depth details on user activity. This tool is good for someone with a small website with a few pages of information. The downfall of this tool is that it only provides a small amount of detail about the users. This information includes, date, referring site, browser type and how many visitors ventured onto the website for that day, month or year. As a user and web developer who looks to find a true understanding in its users, I don’t receive much valuable information from this tool.

Nonetheless, for a monthly subscription of $4.95, users can receive more information on their traffic.

My suggestion would be to get rid of the free and paid versions, and to just allow users the full benefit of using the tool. In addition, the paid version still doesn’t compete with free versions of analyzer tools. By charging its users, this tool is hurting its brand. This is mainly due to web developers not promoting it to their customers as a valuable tool to use that’s free of charge. By charging a fee, most developers and users won’t even test the tool.

Matching user personas to Adwords campaign

Competitive:

Professional Web Design

Beat out your competition.

Build a successful online brand.

The competitive persona will be looking for a company that knows what they are doing. This ad shows that we are a professional company and we know how to help them get to the top of their industry.

Humanistic:

Affordable Web Design

Stay connected with your customers.

We have a plan to help you succeed.

This ad will be great for the humanistic persona as it explains to them that they will be able to stay connected with their customers online. It also shows that they can contact us and we will speak with them to come up with a plan for their company’s success. “Affordable web design” will be their search word, as they normally don’t like large companies due to them not being relationship oriented. This ad is designed to create comfort and ease. 

Methodical:

Professional Web Design

Proven success stories

100% Satisfaction Guaranteed

I chose the “professional web design” headline to draw in the methodical personality because it shows that its not a freelance or amateur company. By also mentioning proven success and 100% satisfaction, this user will be likely to visit the website and view the portfolio and testimonial section of other customers. Providing money back will also provide further proof that we are trustworthy and customer friendly.

Spontaneous:

Affordable Web Design Offer!

Low cost web designs

Get started on your website TODAY!

This headline was used to draw in the spontaneous persona, as they are normally looking for easy, fast and affordability. They want quick answers and this add shows that we are affordable, easy and that they can get the answer they are looking for fast.

Marketing plan vs. Business plan

I’m currently working on a new course around business plan writing, and it reminded me of how often I get asked to create a business plan when the customer actually wants a marketing plan.

To give you an idea of a difference between the two, business plans focus mainly on defining the company, its history, mission, and goals. A business plan includes more than just a marketing plan or strategy. It also includes discussion regarding staffing, locations, finances, and strategic alliances.

A marketing plan focuses on creating keys to success. It takes the mission and goals of the business and outlines a detailed plan to reach those goals and generate success.

When gathering data for either plan or strategy, gaining feedback is important considering most all ideas will affect each department within the company. Leaders and managers can provide realistic data, experiences, and share insight into market opportunities.

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