5 ways to use data in your business RIGHT now

(with or without Google Analytics)

As a child, I loved to play the game Guess Who. I had each character memorized and a tactical approach to guessing the identity of my sister’s character. After a few turns, I’d win. It would take her forever to figure out my character. She never took the time to truly study the game and get to know the characters. To me, they were old friends.

Are your readers old friends? Do you know who your audience is and how to reach them? Have you ever wondered if your content was going to connect with your audience? Or tried to guess who would be interested in your work?

It’s hard to hone in on something as abstract as your “Ideal Audience Profile” if you don’t know who they are.

We talk about who they are, what they wear, their favorite music. Sometimes, we even give them names or print out a photo of someone who looks like our ideal client. But how do we know what they look like before we know who they are? It’s all a guessing game. An educated guessing game.

But a game nonetheless.

 

What if we raised the stakes? Your business depends on you knowing not just WHO you are talking to, but how they are consuming your content. How do you figure this out? Data. But. how do you find data?

Data is EVERYWHERE. It’s at your fingertips. You are sitting on a gold mine of information, just waiting to be sifted through and put to work.

As an online business, you have the ability to truly dig into the data you have and get to the heart of your audience. Discovering what they enjoy and understanding how to connect with them.

Five ways you can use data in your business right now, and where to find it:

  • Google Analytics
  • Facebook Analytics (page or group)
  • Instagram Analytics
  • Email List Analytics
  • Basic Website Analytics (usually found in your site dashboard)

Nope. You're not. your audience?
they're a big deal.

A word of warning, I have to remind you to not get trapped into only observing VANITY METRICS. It’s nice to know that 5k people look at your site a day. But what do they do? Where are they coming from? Where are they going? HOW can you help them? Here are five ways to use that data.

DEMOGRAPHICS

Any analytic tool will show you the basic demographics of your audience. Income levels, languages, location, device. So many little details that you can use to truly paint a picture of who your ideal audience is and who you are talking to. Instead of guessing who they are, you know that the reader who connects with you the most is a 25 year old woman in London on the go (because you know that most of your audience come to your site via mobile). She also makes enough money to afford your luxury brand.

How does this data help you?

You now know that you need to make your site mobile responsive, with the copy broken up in easy to read chunks that help her keep her place while keeping your content flowing. Limit the amount of text on images, making them vertical rather than landscape. You know that you should definitely include some “click-to-tweet” passages or a share button. Because she’s busy and doesn’t have time to write out a post, but wants to share YOUR content with her friends or audience.

Selling a product? You now know to quit hiding your buy now button!

Keep it simple for her to buy from you - make your purchase button big enough that her thumbs can easily hit it. You can also assume that your payment option needs to be a digital one - such as Paypal. Don’t make her fumble with her credit card on her commute. She’ll make a mental note to come back to your site once she gets to the office. But she’ll likely forget. Make it easy for her to buy in the moment.

Action Steps: Look at your demographics and see WHO is consuming content on your site most consistently. Make a similar table to input stats from your website and social media. Or you can get a master copy of these tables here.

What does this digital snapshot tell you about your audience? Do who you thought they were, and what the data tells you match up?

Start thinking about ways you can use this information to update the way your users access your content.

Where did they come from?

Acquisition: How did they find you? Do most visitors come from Instagram? Organic Searches? Affiliate links or from referrals? Knowing where your audience is coming from helps you to understand your audience a little better. It also lets you see the fruits of your labor.

How does this data help you? If you’ve been spending a LOT of time guest blogging but have more people coming to your site from your #TipsTuesday Instagram posts… you’ll know to do a few things:

  1. Reassess the blogs (and their audience) that you are guest blogging with. Is your topic not piquing their interest? Should you change the topic? Or the blog that you share it to?
  2. Should you be spending MORE time on Instagram, engaging your audience through thoughtful comments and creating content for THEM?

Action Steps: Look at your acquisition and see HOW your audience is getting to your content. Use a table to input stats from your website and social media.

What does this digital snapshot tell you about your audience? Do how you thought they accessed your content, and what the data tells you match up? What does your bounce rate say?

Remember, bounce rate isn’t always bad.

If they come to your site and the page’s GOAL is to send them to an affiliate link… mischief managed. You WANTED them to bounce. Don’t get bogged down by numbers without understanding them!

What do they like?

Engagement: This is where we tend to slip into the dreaded “vanity metrics” and I’m going to try and break you of that habit. Instead of focusing on what people physically “liked” on social media, what did they engage with. On social media, a like is good. But a comment is GREAT. And a share means that they thought it important enough to make a statement of their own about the topic. This doesn’t mean likes aren’t important, rather they aren’t the be all end all of your digital presence.

How does this data help you? Tallying this information can help you see what types of content are the best for your business. You can then compare it to your website analytics. What are your most visited pages or blog posts? How long are people staying on that page? Do they then leave your site, or go to another page or post? This is where you can quickly begin to see what your audience is connecting and engaging with.

Action Steps: Look at your content and see WHAT your audience is spending the most time on. Use a similar table to input the top ten pages or posts from your website. (Or grab a master sheet here.)

What does this digital snapshot tell you about your audience?

  1. Which content is performing the best? Can you write more in this category? Turn this into a paid offer or product? Look back over this content and try to determine exactly what is connecting with your audience.
  2. Which content is performing poorly? Can you rewrite it or should you completely get rid of it? Make this content match the rest of your site in tone, subject, and clarity.

What are they doing?

Behavior Flow: This is another set of information to be found primarily through your Google Analytics dashboard under Behavior -> Behavior Flow. After they’ve landed on a page on your site, where else are they exploring and connecting with you? How are they getting to know you and your business?

How does this data help you?: This section of Google Analytics can show you how your site is being used, and what order your content is being consumed. It shows you the paths that people take towards knowledge and getting to know how you can help them. Which allows you to better tailor your content to meet their needs. It can also show you where to focus your efforts and how to connect your content FOR them.

Action Steps: Look at your behavior flow. When people land on your site (either by a landing page, a page on your site, or a blog post) where do the majority of them go next? There is a WHOLE blog post on how to do this here.

What does this information tell you about your audience’s behavior on your site?

  1. Do they tend to go to a specific page in their 1st interaction over another? Is there a page hardly anyone goes to?
  2. Can you see any connections between topics?
  3. What can you do to encourage people to stay on your site longer? Are there connections between content that you can “force” through links, buttons, or “suggested” content?

Where are they going?

Outbound Links: This is why I say not to be fooled by bounce or exit rates. And why you must know the goal of each page on your site. You can get this information in several places, but the easiest for me is through your website itself and checking out your Jetpack site stats.

How does this data help you?: You can see what people have been clicking on in the past week, month, quarter, or year - seeing the number of clicks to links that take them OFF your site. There are several reasons why you’d want to link off your site (such as SEO and affiliate links), and having these links on your site means your reader is going to CLICK on them. Afterall, that’s the goal!

You want your reader to click on affiliate links, it’s how you make money! Seeing which links are getting the most clicks, and seeing where they are placed on your site is critical to planning where to strategically place them.

Action Steps: Check out your outbound links and see what is being clicked on the most.

What does this show you about your links and link placement?

  1. Are people more likely to click on affiliate links on one page over another on your site? (Ex. Blog vs About Page vs Resources Page)
  2. Are your affiliate links getting as many clicks as you’d like? What could you do to make it more enticing or clear that the reader needs to click the link?

THAT WAS A LOT OF INFO <3

If you have questions come join my private community for business owners and designers who want to infuse data into their business

data and details@2x

✗ Update the way your users access your content.
Learn how to reach them in their own "space".

✗ Determine exactly what is connecting with your audience.
Which pages or posts are consistently driving traffic?

✗ What can you do to encourage people to stay on your site longer?
What path do they take through your website? How can you make this path clearer and guide them towards your goal?

Want some extra help with tracking your answers and content as you go through your data?

 

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where you can ask and learn about all things data!