A link to the future Track where your customers go with Google Analytics

Posted by tom klein November 2, 2007 at 2:30 am

For many people, it’s a real mystery as to what you can and can’t track on a website. Most of the modern analytics tools rely on a script found on each page to provide information about who clicked where (and when!). This approach works well and is easy to implement. However, with outlinks (links that go beyond your site), they tend to drop the ball.

Now you can answer the “where did they go” question, thanks to Google analytics. We’ve covered this free analytics package before (see Follow the Yellow Brick Road), but there’s a lot underneath the covers. If you’re wondering where your site visitors are going, first, set up Google Analytics. Then, make sure that all of your outlinks are coded according to these instructions – you may need your webmaster to make it happen. Then, when you pull up your account, drill down into top content and you will be able to track activity to these links (even to some of our favorite mad scientists).

Remember, this tool is free, so there’s no reason not to know. Why not get it loaded up and start analyzing where your customers are going … today?

Google analytics offers rich functionality in many areas. Another example would be the conversion funnel that will show you (much as with a sales pipeline) where your website’s visitors go before they “convert” - maybe buying something, signing up for a newsletter, or just doing something that you want them to do.

It’s the job of every marketer to analyze and understand what customers do and why they do it. Website analytics are a pivotal to not just understanding what customers are doing on your site, but more importantly, it can give you insight into which of your marketing investments (if any?!) is actually working.

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  Leisure travel Track flash animation viewing with MochiBot

Posted by tom klein October 2, 2007 at 2:30 am

There’s always been a fork in the road when it comes to developing a site that sells. While the Flash animation path is engaging and sometimes slick, it has always been very difficult to measure. For this reason, many sites that are serious about tracking usage have gone the other way.

Thanks to tools like MochiBot, you can now track the performance of flash-based website content. As you’ll see in this demo, by embedding a code in your flash content, this free tracking tool will keep you apprised of precisely how many people are viewing your animation, no matter where it goes. While embedding the special code will require the assistance of a friendly flash guru, you’ll at last be able to get a sense of how often a site visitor might view your animation. This tool doesn’t answer everything you would want to know, but it’s a great start.

We have a flash animation that we just love and hope you do too. Up until now, we’ve had no idea how many times our visitors have seen it. We won’t be wondering anymore.

In addition to being tough to track views of flash content, there’s always been another problem. Many people just copy flash content to their own site, meaning that the content can move around the web and be hosted in an unlimited number of locations. This system tracks views of your animation no matter where it’s hosted.

Be very careful when you use Flash-based animation. While it can be tempting to use it gratuitously, remember that your site visitors want to get to information quickly. Use animation to tell your story or to transform complicated into simple. Boring doesn’t sell. Simple does.

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  Smooth landing Optimize your website to improve cross-selling

Posted by tom klein September 28, 2007 at 2:30 am

giants that exist today and why the banks we remember from our youth . . . have disappeared. The concept is cross-selling. While there are some great examples of the concept being more than an illusion, nearly everyone has a lot of work to do to really make it happen.

If you’re ready to figure out exactly how to do that, Offermatica offers the tools that can help you answer two simple, but important questions. First, what products should I cross-sell, when? Second, where (on the site) and how (what creative) should I execute a cross-sell? Much like our conversation about site optimization in The Dating Game, this system lets you identify the variables in the equation. Then, as traffic visits and you gather data about all of the potential scenarios, the system will narrow the potential choices down to the best one. It uses the power of the web and your flow of traffic to optimize how you sell.

As they describe in this e-tailing related article, the benefit is real – more sales, profit, and share. And, since you’re really just optimizing the revenue that you get from existing customers, it’s often the most efficient way to improve your results. Don’t let the numbers or process scare you. There’s no reason to be guessing.

To get going with this web-based application, you will need to load your website (and variable) content, then add a small amount of javascript to the pages to be optimized, then the test campaign is ready to go. Oh, and you’ll no doubt need to fork over some dough.

You may need to do some "cross-marketing" to be able to really excel at cross-selling. That means that you’ll need to understand how different products come together to create real value. Don’t be constrained by the need to have a product in inventory to sell it. You can use tools like this to test the sale of related products and then just use somehow else to deliver, while you get smarter.

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  Spear, double, and starlight Analyze site statistics in a glance with Mint

Posted by tom klein August 31, 2007 at 2:30 am

Every website creates new data with every click. With everything else you have to manage, how can you not get overwhelmed, while staying on top of what’s happening?

While there are many options for web analysis (see Follow the yellow brick road), try Mint if you’re looking for an option that’s very user friendly and up to the minute. Mint is an extensible, self-hosted web site analytics program, with a flexible dashboard that lets you view site visits, referrers, popular pages and searches all at once (see the live demo). The best analytics tool isn’t doing you any good if no one is looking at it.

Mint is something of a DIY option, requiring the addition of script on each of your web pages and the download of software to your server. A license is available for a flat fee of $30 for each installation. While there are free analysis tools (and one that’s much anticipated but not yet here from Microsoft ) and more expensive versions, consider Mint if a simple interface will get more people to pay attention.

One of the special aspects of Mint is the fact that it’s a platform that supports additional plugins, both official and community based. By downloading and enabling new plugins, you can improve the functionality in between official system upgrades.

The community created plugins present options that you might not receive from your current system - such as getting notified when certain users visit your site. Would you do something differently if you knew when your best customers were visiting your web site or blog?

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  X-ray vision Analyze competitor sites with Builtwith.com

Posted by tom klein August 24, 2007 at 2:30 am

While we don’t like to admit it, sometimes the best ideas can come from studying competitors or similar industries. That said, how much have you learned from your competitors by analyzing the technology of their website?

One tool that will give you some insight is builtwith.com. All you do is plug in competitor sites and see what turns up. For example, let’s say you’re in the news publishing business and want to analyze the CNN site to see what makes it tick. You learn that CNN is using Omniture’s SiteCatalyst for analysis, Doubleclick for advertising placements, and Scriptaculous for javascript libraries.

Hmm, if these are good enough for CNN, might they be something to consider for your site?

While there’s more than one way to skin a technological cat, you can learn about your competitors’ approach and strategy by understanding what tools they use and how they go about developing their site(s). If you can’t decipher the results, ask a geek on your team.

When it comes to gathering competitive intelligence, you have to consider everything, not just what shows up in the marketplace. By understanding what systems others use, you will have more insight to know how they can or can’t respond to something that you do.

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