>Online ESP: Reading Your Customers’ Minds with Web Analytics


Guest post by Jennifer Tanzi

Okay, you’ve got your brand figured out. You know you’ve got the best product or service out there, and you think you know how to sell it. You’ve honed your message and fine-tuned every detail of your pitch, and you finally hit “send” to launch that big email marketing campaign. And then you wait. And wonder.

What’s happening on the other end of that email? What catches your client’s attention when she sits in front of her laptop and clicks through your site? If only you could watch over her shoulder and see whether she caught the link to that terrific discount you’re offering, and the free shipping details. She might have missed that one because it’s tucked in the corner of a busy page. Or maybe she clicked on it, and clicked on it again, because it DID catch her attention. Short of setting up elaborate customer focus groups — or hiring a psychic — there’s no way to really know what your customers are thinking, right?

Enter web analytics. The new technology — and this is FREE technology, cutting-edge — puts you inside your clients’ heads when they open those emails. You get an intimate read on your customers as they experience your campaign, page for page, click for click.

Using Web Analytics

Here’s how it works. You tap into Google Analytics, which is fairly simple to install, and with a few clicks of the mouse on your end, you’ll know:

· Who is opening those emails, and when (right down to the time of day!)

· Which links they’re clicking on — where, on your site, they’re spending the most time

· Whether they’re so blown away by your product they’ve actually forwarded the link to a friend

Here’s how it works in real life: Let’s say you’re a photographer. You’re running a great promotion on family portraits because you know that, as fall creeps up, people start thinking about holiday cards. You offer a discounted package of cards and portraits, stock your site with some gorgeous photos, craft an email explaining the whole terrific deal and wait for the customers to come calling. But even though you have great testimonials, an unmatched portfolio and the best prices in town, business is quiet. What happened? And how can you re-work your campaign before all the pumpkin pie is gone and the snow starts falling?

Now rerun the scenario with web analytics in the picture. Software like Google Analytics, which is free and easy to install, keeps track of the pages your clients visit. Knowing where clients click, and how often, tells you what aspects of your campaign catch customers’ attention. Maybe you find that a whopping seventy percent of visitors clicked on “family portraits,” while only fifty percent viewed “holiday cards.”

Where else did they spend time on your site? Google Analytics might tell you you’ve had lots of clicks on “black-and-white photography” and lots of clicks on “candid portraiture,” but only a few visitors stayed with the “package discount” promo and clicked beyond it to learn the details.

The Power of Information

The best part about web analytics is you can access all this information in real time, with a click of your mouse. So once you have this information, what do you do with it?

Here are some options. You could change the page layout to see if the “package discount” promo just needs more prominent placement, and see if it gets more clicks. You could change the main images on the homepage to black-and-white candid and family portraits to showcase the skills you now know your customers want. Or you could try segmenting your audience, creating separate campaigns for “family portraits” and “holiday cards.”

Using web analytics is a smart way to make the most of the hard work you put into those campaigns and get an edge on competitors. It’s like having, at your fingertips, a staff of market analysts. Or a crystal ball.

Jennifer Tanzi is a Marketing Communications Manager at BuyDomains. In addition to premium domain name sales, BuyDomains offers exclusive services for website hosting, design and marketing as well as registration of names that are not currently owned.

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