web analytics

What Bouncy Bob, Lost Lucy, Methodical Mary and One-hit Juan will tell you about your business.

“It’s people!” Detective Thorn declared in the 70’s apocalypse flick Soylent Green.
The same can be said about analytics.
In the conversion lab, website analytics is a clinical tool, sterile in its collection of data on our visitors and their behaviors. It is capable of providing rafts of data and reams of reports over hundreds of metrics. And all of this is of little help to us in making business decisions.
I’ve given my analytics a more human face, and I think it will work for you as well.
In I use two metrics and two helpful Google Analytics features to capture the behavior of four characters that visit our sites.

Bouncy Bob will spend below average time on the site and will visit few pages during his visit.
Like Bob, Lost Lucy will spend little time on the site, but will hit a number of pages higher than the site’s page-per-visit average. It’s like she is lost and trying to find something relevant.
One-hit Juan spends a great deal of time on the site, but visits few pages. He lingers on some content before moving on.
Finally, Methodical Mary spends a great deal of time and visits many pages. This is typically considered a sign of high engagement.

When I apply these personalities to The Conversion Scientist blog, I find that:

  • Like most sites, Methodical Mary will drive the highest subscription rate. She’s engaged, staying for a long time and seeing lots of pages. She is also seeing my offers to subscribe multiple times.
  • Lost Lucy’s are, surprisingly, my second best visitor. She doesn’t  convert at nearly the rate that Mary does, but perhaps she likes what she sees and wants to be reminded to come back when she has more time.
  • I would expect Bouncy Bob to have the worst conversion rate, but he beats Juan.
  • Juan visits an average of one page per visit, but stays for an average of more than ten minutes. What’s going on here? I suspected that he was watching one of the many videos I post on the site. But when I look at the pages that Juan frequents, I find something different: they all have links to other sites that open in a new window. The time-on-site clock is ticking while Juan checks out another site!

Juan shows us one of the pitfalls of links to other sites. If you open links to other sites in a new window, it skews your analytics reporting, and doesn’t seem to really help visitors come back to your site.
What can you learn from the people that you meet in your analytics?

It’s people! Analytics is people!
QR-Shoes

Yes, you can scan the QR Code on this shoe. Give it a try.

They are remarkably simple, and yet very powerful. They can follow your content as it darts across the social media horizon. They can change the structure of the Internet in an instant. They harbor surprising functionality in a small package.
I’m talking about short URLs and their real world twin, QR codes.
It turns out that there’s a lot you can do with these little gems. They’re like little packages of digital goodness.
I explore some of the more interesting uses in Stupid Short URL Tricks: Content Swapping, QR Codes, Mobile Microsites and More.
Among the “Stupid” short URL tricks I discuss are:

        

  • Tracking Your Content Like 007
  •     

  • Finding Out Who Has a Crush on You
  •     

  • Giving Your Pages an Energy Drink
  •     

  • Let People Click on Real Stuff
  •     

  • Save on Business Card Costs
  •     

  • Make Short URLs Longer
  •     

  • Make Dogs Talk

I’ve come to rely on them for much of my social media tracking. I’ve also worked them into my clothing. Yes, you can actually scan the QR Code on the shoes to learn more about why Conversion Scientists wear a lab coat.
I’ll be sporting these shoes at PubCon Las Vegas this November. Come check them out.
Shoe design by Sloan Foster.
image
Brian

What is your social media ROI? Can you measure the increase in traffic quality coming to your site from your social media actions?

Tell me your social conversion rate

“Social media is revolutionizing customer care.” Yawn.

“Social media is helping brands build awareness.” That’s sounds interesting (not).

“Social media increases the quality of the traffic coming to your site in measurable ways.” Now you have my attention.

Don’t Hate Me for My Myopia

It is my choice of career that has given me this singular focus when it comes to online marketing. There are other people to create brand image. There are smart, dedicated people trying to improve their company’s customer service.

I say “you go!”

But, I want measurable, tangible data on how social media gets qualified prospects to a web property, and how it helps me carry on a conversation with them making them more likely to buy.

I can already hear Qwitter messages landing in my inbox. I hate Qwitter personally, but it is a FABULOUS metric, the equivalent of email’s unsubscribe rate. So, I have to listen. It’s an measure of my social media Return On Investment, my social media ROI.

What is your social media ROI? Can you measure the increase in traffic quality coming to your site from your social media actions?

What is your social media ROI? Can you measure the increase in traffic quality coming to your site from your social media actions?

This Attitude is Good for Social Media ROI

How many times do you have a great conversation in the social space only to find the company’s website opaque, posing, and irrelevant?

Social media won’t work if we’re transparent in our social graph and obsequious everywhere else.

Let’s encourage businesses to put content out that draws people to their website. They will quickly begin to realize that certain content works (educational, entertaining content) and certain content does not (home pages with self-aggrandizing copy).

ROI is the great informer for these companies.

The Importance of Social Media ROI

If our stuff is worth talking about, why hold it back?

There is a camp of social media digerati that believe social channels are not for promotion, that it is evil to advertise where conversations are the norm.

But, if conversations are going on around a brand or a company, why deny the social citizenry of a chance to own or use their offerings?

It’s just plain selfish to hold back.

When buying is an outcome of conversation, ROI tells a company how it’s doing in starting and continuing those conversations.

Online communities are arbiters and aggregators of ROI

Let’s face it. We want the support of companies as we complain and cheer about their products. We want them to hear us, to reply to us, and to see things our way.

And we are not above the occasional bribe.

How many times have you started a complaint with, “I spend $_____ with your company every _____, and I expect… .”

We regularly use ROI as a way to get attention.

Communities that raise their hand get more attention. They drive it, highlight it and can take it away. They should be rewarded for their financial contribution to companies with increased support, more say in product design… and the occasional bribe.

What do eBook Groupies and Designer Laptop Bags have in Common?

I’ve recently begun working with J’Tote Designer Laptop Bags, and heard a story that illustrates this concept perfectly.

It seems that the women of an eBook community have developed a love for J’Tot’e’s chic laptop bags. How do we know?

  1. Mysterious spikes in J’Tote’s Web traffic led to the discovery that people were posting about them on the forum.
  2. Boxes of bags were soon waiting to be shipped to the group’s members.

Visitors from this community stay on the J’Tote site longer than average, view more pages, and have a very low bounce rate (a measure of the number of visitors who leave immediately after visiting a site).

The folks at J’Tote now make it a priority to tune into the conversations on the forum, and are certain to give them warning when inventory clearing sales are imminent.

Companies speak ROI

It is the lingo of the bottom line; the babble of budgets; the conversation of the coin. If we want more companies to engage in social media for all the “right” reasons, we need to communicate with them in this language: more visits from interested conversationalists who buy their products.

We need to speak to them with ROI.

It’s one thing for a company to monitor our conversations attempting to gauge positive or negative sentiment. It’s quite another for them to know that their Facebook page is generating additional visits and sales.

There is a catch

Companies that don’t measure the ROI of social media won’t get the message. They’ll continue to ignore important communities, cut social budgets and generate plenty of negative social sentiment in the digital conversationsphere.

If you’re not measuring, you’re not listening.

J’Tote is listening. Are you?

On July 21, I’ll be showing you ways to measure your social ROI, and in particular, your social conversion rates.

Did you know there was such a thing as a social landing page? It’s nothing like your landing pages.

Did you know that there are six major conversions that happen when you add social media to your sales funnel?

My presentation is just one part of a spectacular Master’s Group Training being held in Austin by Webmaster World, the PubCon people.

Only, you don’t have to attend a full PubCon to go.

Not only will you learn from me how to measure your social media efforts, you’ll learn how to do the things that make social media work.

  • Andy Beal will tell you about social media reputation management.
  • Dan Zarrella will give you the low down on Twitter and Facebook optimization.
  • Brett Tabke will show you how he reached influentials in his social graph and put PubCon registrations slashed his marketing budget.

Oh, and there is also an search marketing track going on at the same time. Yawn.

We’re going to make people love your business through your website at The Conversion Scientist. Subscribe to learn the strategies and tactics that turn more of your visitors into leads and sales.

I want measurable, tangible data on social conversion rates, on how social media gets qualified prospects to an online property, and how it helps me carry on a conversation with them making them more likely to buy.

Read this article if interested in improving your social media conversion rates.

Tom had two sites targeting the same audience, and getting about the same traffic. Both had analytics installed. This was a rare opportunity to see how two very different approaches to website design affected online sales conversion out in the real world.

Read this before changing your website.

It’s time-consuming to offer 45 minutes of my time to anyone who wants to improve their online sales conversion rates. I just can’t think of any better way to introduce businesses to conversion concepts.

And the people I meet on the phone are priceless.

One such person is Tom Jackson of Heliski.com. His is a rare and instructive look at the power of the written word and the ineffectiveness of standard design strategies when it comes to conversion.

Tom had two sites targeting the same audience, and getting about the same traffic. Both had analytics installed.

According to him, one was “dated, awkward, wordy, but it’s working.” The other, he said, was “newer, looks better, better organized but WAY underperforming in lead gen.”

This was a rare opportunity to see how two very different approaches to website design performed out in the real world.

Which would you pick as the conversion winner?

Take a look at Tom’s two sites. Which would you pick as the hands-down winner? Which would you image would have cratered his income had he relied exclusively on it?

How analytics (and a session with the Conversion Scientist) saved one business's online sales.

How analytics (and a session with the Conversion Scientist) saved one business’s online sales.

I did a complete evaluation of these two pages in my Search Engine Land column, and you might be surprised at my conclusions: strong copy beat slick new design.

Two very different sites: one “dated, awkward, wordy;” the other “newer, looks better, better organized.” So why was the “dated, awkward, wordy” winning the conversion game so handily?

From a distance the two home pages couldn’t look more different. HeliskiingReview.com uses non-standard layout. Text is knockout white on blue, usually considered more difficult to read than Heliski.com’s black on grey.

The newer site uses a more “image- or brand-oriented play, establishing its value proposition as “the ultimate heliskiing destination.” Unfortunately, you can’t heliski on the site, so this is an empty promise.

The body copy couldn’t be more different in approach. HeliskiingReview.com uses plain language with specific, value- and benefit-oriented points in easy-to-scan bulleted format. Specifics are almost always important for conversion.

A designer might say that the big star with “send me info” was “too TV.” However, it certainly does draw the eye to an important call to action.

and the conversion champ is…

HeliskiingReview.com had a conversion rate of 2.27% vs. Heliski.com at 1.99%. That’s 14% better. However, HeliskiingReview.com delivered much more qualified prospects. Tom was able to book trips for 15.29% of the HeliskiingReview.com leads. Heliski.com had a close ratio of only 1.33%.

That’s 1146% more bookings and tens of thousands of dollars in sales.

What we can Learn from Tom (or How Analytics Saved One Business’s Online Sales)

The moral of the tale is that Tom measured his sites’ performance. He had the analytics in place, and was smart enough not to make changes to his site without being able to measure their effect. By leaving both sites up, he was able to rollback the changes.

Do you know how changes to your site affect your business? You should.

I’m offering a two hour short course on June 11 in Austin entitled Web Analytics: Tools and Best Practices. This is an Austin Entrepreneur Network short course, which means that it’s only $25. We love our entrepreneurs.

Join me and find out how you can avoid huge mistakes – mistakes that rob you of leads and steal your sales. This is the second time I’ve done this presentation.

Or you can book your own session!

Read my full report on Search Engine Land, and I hope to see you on June 11.