“Top-performing organizations use analytics five times more than lower performers,” according to MIT Sloan Management Review.
Successful offline businesses and online companies have one thing in common: they grasp the importance of fully understanding their customers. For this reason, identifying buyer personas ranks at the top of the list for any business owner or marketing professional about to begin an inbound marketing campaign.
To optimize the success of your marketing campaigns, you need to gather some key information about your core audience and create persona maps. Whether you’re documenting a phone call, an in-person transaction, or a website visit, using analytics to create persona maps helps you understand every customer experience. You’ll get to know your customer and learn how they go about making decisions.
Here are three ways to use Google Analytics to arm your company with the information it needs to develop more effective marketing strategies.
Download SEO Keywords: Create Categories
While few businesses have purely one type of customer, identifying traits that are more or less common to your clients will allow you to tailor your messaging to resonate with your customers.
One of the best ways to create a persona map using analytics involves sorting through your keywords and grouping them into categories or themes. Read through the list of keywords carefully — identify patterns, word groupings and modifiers that you can use to develop themes. Focus on looking for meaning or intent behind the terms. Then, divide them into small containers of intent, a process called market segmentation.
Open Google Analytics, then go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Google/Organic.
Set the Secondary Dimension to Keyword and set the parameters of the date range, located in the upper right hand corner, so that you can get as much data as possible — 1-5 years. The more data you have, the easier it will be for you to make the connections.
After you create the categories, use the information to determine what types of people use these search terms and develop a representation of your customers. For example, if you sell bicycles, you might divide the keywords into categories such as performance bikes, road bikes, bicycle accessories and bicycle helmets. You can also have categories for cycling safety questions or location specific searches like “cycling in San Diego.”
You can create a list of personas, such as:
- serious cyclists interested in local cycling trails
- member of cycling club and participates in cycling events
- beginner cyclists concerned with purchasing the right bike cycling accessories
- recreational cyclists who want to get exercise or plan cycling outings with the family
You have the flexibility to create as many segments as you need.
User Flow Report
The User Flow Reports gives you insight into your visitors by their country of origins. More importantly, you can use these reports to compare the volume of traffic from various sources, such as organic search, PPC campaigns or mediums.
You can also evaluate traffic patterns through your website, which ultimately leads to you ascertaining the most effective cost-efficient channels — and where you should direct marketing resources.
Now you can plot out the touch points:
- Where your customers engage with you on the site and
- Where you help customers complete their objective.
The touchpoint may be a specification page, online brochure, product description page or a contact form. In Google Analytics, you can access Users Flow Reports in the Reporting section under Audience > Users Flow.
The report allows you to examine the data closely to find out why one traffic source, such as email, pay-per-click or organic search, has a higher traffic volume and outperforms the other sources.
To look even further, click on the source node in the first column, then click “view only this segment.” The ensuing screen shows just the traffic from the selected segment.
Now you can find out exactly what happens to users once they get to your website. Some questions you may want to ask yourself include:
- Are visitors taking the path you desire?
- Do they drop off after the first page?
- Are visitors reaching my goal screens?
- At what point do visitors exit the site?
Employ other analytic tools as needed to refine the process even more, such as users who completed a specified goal or customers who spent a certain dollar amount. This data provides the juice you need to make informed decision. Decide whether you should redirect valuable resources from one campaign to another that delivers more traffic.
3. Behavior Flow Report
This analytics report helps you visualize and map out how users move from one page or event to the next page or event. It can help you develop a clear understanding of the touch points where users grapple with where they want to go. The tool also allows you to choose the dimension.
To run a Behavior Report, go to the Standard Reports menu, and click on Behavior. From the list that drops down, choose Site Content and then All Pages:
Start with the “nodes” — the points through which traffic flows. Depending on how you set up the event tracking code and the view chosen, each node in your report represents one of the following:
- A single page or collection of pages
- A group of pages linked by a tracking code
- One value or dimension –depending on the filter — landing page, country/territory or events
- An event such as whitepaper downloaded, opted-in or webinar attended
Click on the node to view the traffic, individual pages or event grouped together under that node.
You’ll quickly be able to find some interesting information, including:
- The volume of traffic that flows from one node to another.
- The percentage of users that go right from the product description page to the checkout.
- Users that continued to shop.
- Paths that are more popular than your desired path
For example, you may want to have the following path: Home Page > Product Page > Shopping Cart > Checkout. However, after mapping the buyer persona, you may find out that many customers have a problem finding the product they want and leave the site in frustration, as indicated by the following data: Home > Product > Search > Search Results > Search > Search Results > Search Results > Exit.
Ultimately, this can help you make crucial changes to your website to better serve your customers.
Understanding Your Customers
The process of creating a persona map using analytics, along with surveys and other marketing tools, helps you gain a detailed understanding about the needs of your customers and members of your community. This puts you in the enviable position of being able to solve problems, improve user engagement and deliver better service, which are factors that undoubtedly increase your bottom line.