IT In Marketing, The Next Step
May 7, 2010
I know! It has been a while since the last post in this IT in Marketing series. I promise, there is a reason!
If you are new here, or the wonders of search brought you here, this series chronicles your friendly neighborhood technology manager helping on the marketing side. I introduced it in this post titled; IT, In Marketing? The primary objective being to demonstrate that smaller business can improve their marketing, specifically web marketing without spending billions.
The first few posts (through the above link) demonstrated that our web site scored ,,,,, well it sucked. 29th percentile. If memory serves me correctly that would be a failing grade on any examination that I know of.
The Next Step: Baseline
First question: Did anybody actually visit our web site? How did they find it? Which pages did they look at?
Yes, basic – but key questions. And? Well, I needed answers to them.
Web analytics is simply tools that let you track, measure and monitor your web site to answer questions like that. The goal is to start to get an idea of how people actually access, find, and move around your web site, if they found you on a search, it will show what words they were searching for.
There are many tools that can do this, for my needs I used Google’s free Google Analytics tool.
First step: I signed us up for a Google Analytics account which took only minutes. Google then generates a couple of lines of Web Page code, this is important as you need to add it to your web pages.
I was able to do it myself, but you may require your web site contractor to do it. Note! don’t have your contractor create the account, that is your information, it will be your data, for your web site, you own it!
Once I had this little bit of web code added to the web site, The Google Analytics application can begin to give me data on who, when and how people were finding our web site.
Next? For about three months I made no changes to the web site. Nothing at all! All I did was check out the reports on a weekly basis.
It wasn’t very nice.
First, we were not getting very many visitors to our web site. The absolute number of people is not too important to me, we are a niche market B2B company, we don’t need huge amounts of people visiting our web site, but we do need the right ones.
Second, I also found that the only time that people found our web site by a search engine, was, well,,, if they were searching for us using some variation of our company name!
In other words, the tools we supply for our market were not being found at all! Not good.
We Were Invisible!
We have a great solution for a niche market, why were we not being found? That was my next question.
I knew that we had not modified any content on the web site in several years, and I already knew that was bad. The search engines like fresh material once in a while, if nothing ever changes they start to consider your web site pretty much dead.
So my next task was to start rewriting and improving the content on some of our Web pages.
I planned to do this rewrite one page at a time. I had no intention of trying to write the whole site for a year leaving that old content there. The old some day is not in the calendar effect. I wanted some new content each week or so.
The New Beginning
Just because you know what you do, don’t assume that others use the same words, phrases, or terms to describe it! It sounds simple enough, but if you plaster Car Repairs all over your web site but people tend to search for Automotive Repair, you get the idea, you won’t be there when they come looking.
Again, there are many online tools to help with this concept, and again via their Adwords tools, Google has a free one called the Google keyword tool.
What does this mean?
Quite simply, using my example of car above, the tool tells you common search terms that reference cars. So you could see that automotive is another word that people use.
As an example from our web site, the keyword tool showed me that one common search term people were using was the name of our type of solution with the word ‘e-mail’ included . Guess what – we don’t mention e-mail anywhere on our web site. So we won’t be found in that search.
So you know I have ideas on what I have to work on…….
Update! After I had written the draft of this, but before I published it, a great post on some of the power Google (and other analytics tools) can provide you with is here: Finding real answers with analytics (Part 1) on the Marketing What’s New Blog.
Photo Credit David Blackwell via flickr