One of the most important stages of any marketing plan exists in the actual analysis of it. Besides being one of the most important, unfortunately this stage is also one of the most ignored by many business owners and marketing managers.
Website and marketing plan analysis is what will make or break the success of your overall marketing strategy. There is absolutely no way to tell if your website and marketing plan are giving you the highest possible return on your marketing investment. Yet, still many marketers continue to ignore this step as they may feel that their current plan is working “fine” or worse yet, they think they know how their marketing is performing without actually knowing the hard stats and numbers that are crucial to understanding the true performance.
Analysis of your website and marketing plan do not have to be mind numbing or time consuming chores. When done correctly and consistently you may find that analyzing these two things may actually become an addiction that you will soon make part of your regular business tasks. We are going to show you how to properly analyze your website and marketing strategy in less than 10 minutes a day or less.
Before you can proceed with a proper analysis of your website you will need to make sure that you have installed some sort of web analytics program on your website. This is something you should have done when in the Website Launch phase; however, if for some reason this was skipped then make sure to install your preferred analytics program on your website before continuing on.
RECOMMENDATION: Google Analytics is a fantastic web analytics program and it is free. Installation is a simple task for any webmaster. Allow for at least 10-30 days of data before making any conclusions on the performance of your website.
If you have wisely installed your analytics program when you launched your website, then you should have a sufficient amount of data to make some conclusions as to whether or not your website is performing as optimally as possible.
Analyzing Website Statistics
The better analytics programs, like Google Analytics, provides some very helpful statistics to determine how your website performing and where it needs attention. Here is some crucial data that you should pay close attention to on a daily, weekly and monthly basis:
Unique Visitors – A unique visitor is a host that has made at least one hit on one page of your website during the time period selected in your report. If a host makes several visits during the time period defined, it is only counted once.
HINT: Expect your unique visitor count to climb and fall in direct correlation with your online marketing efforts as well as peak seasons for website traffic for your industry. You can get an idea of sites in your industry and their unique visitor count by using tools like Compete and Quantcast.
Returning Visitors – A returning visitor is simply a host that has previously visited your website within the selected time frame and has come back to any given page on your website.
HINT: For just about any business or website, a high returning visitor count is a great gauge of how resourceful and authoritative your website is. Think about Wikipedia and how many times people return to it for reference and research. This is the type of following you want with your website.
Traffic Sources – Traffic sources show you where your website’s visitors are coming from. These numbers are broken down into direct traffic, referring search engines and referring websites.
HINT: The stats for your traffic sources will be a direct reflection of your online marketing efforts. If you are implementing the most cost effective form of marketing, search engine marketing, then the majority of your traffic should be coming from referring search engines and other websites as a result of your link building efforts.
Bounce Rate – The bounce rate stat shows the percentage of visitors that left your website after viewing only the page on which they landed. Some stat programs hold different time frames for bounce rates where some may count a bounce as someone that leaves within 30 seconds and some may count a bounce as some that leave within 60 seconds. Either way, the rate tells you how often visitors are leaving your website after viewing only one page.
HINT: If your website’s bounce rate is floating above 40-45%, then you have some deeper analysis to conduct. Anything above this number is starting to get a little too high and might be proof that your website is not “sticky” enough to keep visitors on your site.
Average Time on Site – Self-explanatory, this is the average amount of time visitors spend on your website upon landing on it.
HINT: Make your website as “sticky” as possible by providing relevant information that visitors can interact with. If your website is obviously trying to capture a visitor’s information or get them to buy something and nothing else, then you are going to find visitors leaving your website almost as soon as they get there.
Top Content Pages – Your top content pages show you which pages on your website get visited the most. This is one of the most underrated and underused stats although it provides you with some of the most pertinent information about where visitors are spending time on your website.
HINT: Evaluate your top content pages and figure out why visitors are landing on these pages the most and why they are spending the most time on these pages. This data can then be applied to other content pages that may not be receiving the attention you would like to see from your visitors.
Keywords – The keywords data in your analytics program displays the keywords and phrases that visitors are using in the search engines to find and land on your website.
HINT: Siphon through the keyword data provided by your analytics program to find keywords that are driving traffic to your website that you may not have included in your search engine marketing campaigns. You can also use this data to reallocate your search engine marketing campaigns to focus more heavily on keywords that are bringing visitors that are spending more time on your website and even completing set goals that you have determined (ie. purchasing a product).
These 7 website stat categories will unveil a lot about how your website is performing. There are many more data sets that will reveal and breakdown even more information. Try to make a habit of spending at least 5-10 minutes a day looking over your website’s analytics data. With most analytics programs you can even have daily reports sent to your email inbox in case you need a reminder to review your website’s performance on a regular basis.
Marketing Plan Analysis
Your analysis is not done just yet. Now that you have analyzed your website and its stats, it is necessary to analyze your marketing plan as well. Lucky for you though, this step is much more direct than consistently picking through website traffic data.
Without having to look directly at every single element of your marketing campaign, the most important thing you need to know at all times throughout your marketing efforts is this:
What is my Return on Investment (ROI) from my marketing plan?
To calculate your ROI, use this simple formula:
ROI = (Revenue from Marketing Campaign – Cost of Marketing Campaign)
Cost of Marketing Campaign
There is no general, predetermined ROI that you should be achieving. The ROI your marketing campaign needs to hit is completely dependent on your business and its goals. This number should have actually been established during the process of building your marketing plan.
Bottom line: If your marketing strategy is not producing a profitable return on what you are spending on marketing, then you need to reevaluate your marketing efforts.
HINT: Google Analytics, and many other website analytics programs, have features to directly track your Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). It is highly recommended that you take advantage of these. Once you setup conversion goals in your analytics program it becomes very easy to track your ROAS on a regular basis so you can optimize your search marketing efforts accordingly.
If you are using Google Analytics already, then check out some of these very useful tips from Google on tracking conversions and sales more accurately.
Good luck with the analysis of your marketing efforts. If you are following all of the necessary steps to get your business the proper exposure on the Internet, then you should be doing quite well at this point. Remember to leave at least 5-10 minutes a day to look over and analyze your website’s analytics to assure that you are receiving the highest possible ROI for your marketing efforts.