How Google Analytics Can Help You Run A More Successful Small Business

To run a business successfully, you need the right tools. Choosing the right tools not only makes operating the business easier, but it can also directly influences the kind of results you get.

I’d even say you should think of tools as the secret weapon. It doesn’t make any difference the kinda business you run, whether online or not. And it doesn’t matter the size: small businesses need to choose the right tools as much as companies like Starbucks do.

In this post, we take a look at one of the most useful tools available online — Google Analytics (GA). We’ll specifically be looking at how it can help you run a more successful small business.

But before we jump into it, let’s get a handle on what Google Analytics is so you have a better understanding of things here.

What’s Google Analytics?

GA provides important statistics and fundamental analytical reports for optimizing your web tools and strategies. The statistics show you what is working, and more importantly, what isn’t. And with this information, you get to see the weaknesses and strengths of your website, make adjustments, and eventually maximize your efficiency and success.

Getting the Most Out of Google Analytics for Your Business

We’ve established that Google Analytics provides helpful analytical information anyone can use to improve their website, and by extension, their business.

Below, we’ll be looking at two vital things you can do with Google Analytics that are essential to the success of your business. Here we go:

1. Understanding your customers

Understanding your customers well enough to ensure you’re providing them with what they want is pivotal to the success of any small business.

Now, it’s pretty easy to learn about the customers who actually walk into your brick-and-mortar office, but what about those who visit your digital storefront? How do you get to understand them?

Well, this is where Google Analytics comes in handy.

Analytics helps you understand your online customers. It provides details on reports like:

  • How people are interacting with your website — like what they’re searching for on your site or what they mostly click on.
  • What parts of your site are capturing visitors’ attention and what parts aren’t sparking interest.
  • Where your top visitors are located and how often they visit your site.
  • How people are buying your products and sales obstacles like where people abandon the shopping cart.

According to a Salesforce report, 82% of sales people are not aligned with the needs of their buyers. You don’t want to be among those.

Having an understanding of the people you’re looking to sell to only puts you in a vantage position where you can more insightfully give them exactly what they want (something your competitors may not be doing) and increases your chances of success.

2. Tracking metrics that matter

Apart from understanding your customers, another thing you can do with GA for your business is tracking the right metrics for conversion.

Why is this important?

Because even if your site receives thousands of visitors per month, that number will be worth nothing if you aren’t converting any of those visitors into paying customers or achieving any other defined goal with them.

Your chances of effectively converting those visitors into loyal customers depend on how well you track and optimize the right metrics.

Google Analytics can help you track gobs of metrics that are relevant to your business’s success, including content performance, visitor stats, downloads, and a lot more.

However, to get the most out of it, you’d have to identify the most important kinds of tracking to activate or implement. Here are two of GA’s tracking types that can be most beneficial to small businesses.

  • Goal-tracking

In Google Analytics, “Goals” is a useful feature for tracking and measuring how well a website or an app fulfills targeted objectives. You can set up individual goals for valuable user activity on your website like a completed download, a successful purchase, specific time duration, and so on.

To track and optimize conversion, this should be one of the first things you do — setting up goal-tracking. This is very important because it’ll help you operate more intelligently, versus having no idea of what’s really going on.

There are basically four kinds of goals to track on Google Analytics including:

  1. Destination: Destination goals track predefined URLs. Each time a user visits that URL, the goal is triggered. Destination goals are ideal for confirmation pages, thank you pages, and the like.
  2. Duration: Duration goals keep track of how long visitors stay on your website. This is useful for improving conversion by minimizing the amount of time people spend on the purchasing process on your website.
  3. Pages/Screens per session: This goal tracks the number of pages each visitor sees during each session on your website.
  4. Event: Event goals are triggered when a visitor takes an action that fulfills a predefined event, which could be watching a video, clicking on a social media button, using a widget, etc. Event goals are a bit more technical than other types of goals because (i) you have to set up an event before you can add it as a goal, and (ii) you have to add a bit of JavaScript to the element you want to track.

How to set goals?

After you’ve installed your tracking code on your website, to set up your goals, follow these steps:

Step 1: Click on the “Admin” button on the bottom left corner.

Step 2: Click on “Goals” under VIEW column.

Step 3: After the Goals page has loaded, click on “+ NEW GOAL”

On the Goals screen, you can go ahead to add “Goal details” and “Goal description” respectively, and as well name your goal. This name will show up on most places on Google Analytics so ensure it’s clear enough that you can easily remember what the goal is tracking.

Google Analytics allows for the creation of as much as twenty goals for your website. However, don’t just create goals for the mere sake of the numbers; ensure the goals you create are highly relevant to your business’s overall objectives.

Depending on the purpose of your website, your goals may vary. However, you can measure conversions and completion rates for each goal you set up, or combine goals with funnels to analyze user actions leading up to a goal. If you had set a monetary value for a goal, you’d be able to also see the value of conversions.

  • E-commerce Tracking

Beyond setting up goals for conversion tracking, you may also want to track some metrics about your most profitable customers so that you’re equipped with the right information to make smarter, data-driven decisions that can result in more business.

E-commerce tracking makes it easy for you to measure the number of transactions that happen on your website, as well as revenue generated from those transactions.

Now, don’t make the mistake of thinking that e-commerce tracking is solely for typical e-commerce sites. It isn’t!

GA’s e-commerce tracking works for any business that sells stuff online. In fact, nearly every report in Google Analytics can be switched to an e-commerce version so you can see exactly how you’re making money.

How does e-commerce tracking work?

If you sell products or services on your website, once a user clicks on the purchase button, the user’s purchase information is sent to the web server, which carries out the transaction. If the purchase goes through successfully, the server redirects the user to a “Thank You for Purchasing!” page with transaction details and a receipt of the purchase. From there, you can use the analytics.js library to send the e-commerce data from the “Thank You for Purchasing!” page to Google Analytics.

To see e-commerce data in Analytics, you need to enable it first. Here’s how to do that:

Step 1: Go to your “Admin” button.

Step 2: Under the VIEW column, click on “E-commerce Settings

Step 3: Once you click on it, the e-commerce settings screen will load. To enable e-commerce tracking, click on the off/on switch button as shown below. You can also enable “Related products” for your site within this area.

Step 4: After turning on e-commerce settings, click on “NEXT” from where another screen with a submit button will open. Go on to submit it.

After you’ve enabled e-commerce tracking in your reports, you will have to add code to your site or app to collect e-commerce data. This task is technical so you’ll need to be comfortable editing HTML and coding in JavaScript. Otherwise, just have a pro web developer work it out for you.

With e-commerce tracking, you’ll know right where your customers came from so you’ll be able to optimize your marketing strategies for more sales.

Bottom line

It’ll be absolutely pointless using Google Analytics, or any other tool for that matter, to track all those metrics if you aren’t taking any actions to improve your business. Your analytics reports should drive action that can help you make adjustments, optimize your website, and increase the chances of your business succeeding.

The bottom line: Don’t just track; use the data you gather to improve your business to make it run more successfully.

We hope this article has been helpful in giving you the information you need to use Google Analytics to make your enterprise more successful. If you run a WordPress site and need expert help with development, optimization, and maintenance, we can help. Start with a free expert website analysis here.