Building A Customer Profile with Google Analytics
I think I know how it usually goes.
You sit down in your favourite chair, a cup of hot beverage in hand. You close your eyes and begin to think. You imagine their life, their jobs and challenges they face when trying to accomplish their goals. It fells almost like being a detective trying to uncover their motifs. What keeps them awake at night? What are they most afraid of? What do they lack?
You think of their passions and everyday challenges too. All with one goal in mind – to create a mental image of your typical customers.
It’s going to help you target your marketing better. With this information, your copywriter will be able to write better words on the website, your designer create better graphics, you will stop wasting money on ads that bring no return too. You will finally see the return on all that investment in marketing.
Well, unfortunately, in spite of the hard work, you’ll still fail.
Why? Because your image of the ideal customer is detached from reality.
It represents all the characteristics of your target audience you’d like them to have. None of it however is based on any factual knowledge about them.
That’s the unfortunate downside of doing business online. You don’t get to see and meet your customers. You’re not like any owner of a brick and mortar store who knows everyone coming to their store. You don’t know your customers names, their likes and dislikes and to a degree even what items they might be looking to buy. You do business globally, often without even having a glimpse of your customers.
Yet you still have to market and build a bond with them. But for that to happen, you indeed need to get to know your customers better.
Imagining them however isn’t a way to go.
Extracting this information from Google Analytics is.
Google Analytics is not only a tool which helps to monitor and analyse web traffic. It also gathers a vast information about your visitors and potential customers. All this data can help you build a customer profile to help you target your marketing better and achieve a higher ROI.
Here is some of the information about your customers Google Analytics can reveal:
Who they are
Your website visitors aren’t just traffic numbers but real people. Thanks to Analytics you can find out quite a lot about them.
The Audience section of the tool includes a lot of data about your visitors, their demographics like age and gender,
how many times they visit the site,
Why is this useful: All this information helps you describe in detail who is interested in using your products or services. Monitoring your demographics helps you to create a more targeted marketing message. Knowing the age and gender of the majority of your audience helps you choose the best tone of voice for them. Knowing where the majority of your potential customers come from will help you prepare the site specifically for them, have it translated to their native tongue and so on. It also ensures that you keep an eye on the future.
Your customers keep changing and demographics data might be the first indication of the new type of visitors interested in what you sell.
How they found your site
The channels report in Analytics reveals how your visitors have found you in the first place. Have they come from search, or was it an ad you ran on an industry blog? Paid Google advertising? Clicked on a link on another website or perhaps the majority simply typed your URL into their browser?
Why is this useful: This information tell you what channels your customers prefer, where they go to find information and thus, which ones you should focus more attention on. It can also highlight deficiencies in traffic or justify more spend on a particular marketing strategy (a banner ad for instance).
How much they like your site
Bringing visitors to the site is one thing but delivering a site that meets their expectations is another. Your visitors might feel disappointed after spending only few seconds flicking through your content. Or they might be ecstatic about it and coming back for more. The only way to know for sure is to find you how they perceive your site.
Google Analytics offers a number of tools to measure that.
The Behaviour report reveals a lot about how your visitors perceive the site.
Are they coming back for more?
How many times they come back?
How long they stay on the site for?
Why is this useful: Looking at these metrics can tell you if your site provides value to your customers. Based on these numbers you can assess if the direction you are going is the right one or if you should start considering changing it and adding more value.
What content engages your audience the most
It’s not easy to guess what topics you should post on your website to engage your audience. You may try hard and still miss it by a spot. That’s why analysing your content’s performance is crucial for getting to know your customers too.
The Site Content report shows you various metrics relating to performance of your website’s pages. Particularly pay attention to:
All Pages – a report showing pages that receive the most visits. These are not landing pages but overall pages that attract the most customers. Knowing them will help you establish what topics interest your audience the most.
Landing Pages – These are pages customers entered the site by. They might help reveal what pages attract the most new visitors and thus, relate to and engage the potential audience.
Exit Pages – These are the pages visitors left the page from. This can reveal which pages might not deliver on customers’ expectations.
Why is this useful: Knowing what topics your audience finds the most engaging will help you create a much better content strategy for you site. Going deeper, it can help you create a better tone of voice and even find out many underlying problems you could create content on.
How many potential customers visit your site
Not every person visiting your site has a potential to become a prospect. Some ventured on it by mistake, others didn’t find what they were hoping for. Only a certain percentage of your visitors will actually raise interest in what you’re selling.
One way to assess this is by looking at your bounce rate. The bounce rate is the number of visitors who have left your page after visiting just one page only (or staying shorter than 30 seconds) without clicking any other links. A high bounce rate could be an indication that visitors are not finding what they were looking for on your site or the audience was not a good fit. It can also mean that you are essentially not reaching propels who would be interested in your products or services. A low bounce rate on the other hand indicates a good interest from the audience.
Why is this useful: Measuring who visits your site can help you establish if what you do works and attracts the right kind of audience, – one that can convert into paying customers.
Knowing your customers is crucial. But try as you might, it’s almost impossible to guess their characteristics without having real data at hand. Using information provided in Google Analytics however you can build a fairly decent image of your typical clients and use it to make more informed marketing decisions.
Creative commons image by hatalmas / Flickr