The change in the consumer landscape over recent years has been undeniable. We’ve all heard about retail stores closing locations. Any economic downturn, such as that resulting from a global pandemic, accelerates the timeline towards the inevitable.
More million-dollar and billion-dollar companies recently announced bankruptcy filings and plans to shutter their doors. Not to mention all the small businesses fighting for a piece of the pie.
In an effort to cater to customer behavior, many companies have been ramping up their digital transformation efforts, pouring resources into building and developing online assets. These efforts are key to business growth as research has shown that at the end of March, 53% of consumers shopped online compared to 42% in the middle of the month.
As consumers spend more money online, there are a lot of opportunities. The percentage of consumers buying from a mix of their favorite brands as well as new brands increased by 14% to 24%. The number of consumers buying solely from the typical brands they shop with dropped 8% to 44%.
It’s clear that the web should definitely play a role in your strategy to connect with customers, In order to set yourself up to grow your business online, here are the top considerations.
Define your goals
In any aspect of your life, this is an absolute first step to take before you start any endeavor. Not to be missed with your business initiatives, clearly define what your goals are. This is crucial because it not only guides your efforts but it also helps you evaluate them and determine whether your initiatives are actually productive.
Set goals for a specified time period. This could be a month, a quarter, six months, or a whole year. When you create your goals, you should be able to easily determine whether you’ve accomplished them or not. In order to do this, your goals should bear a few characteristics:
- What kind of goal is it? Does it pertain to your business as a whole, to specific departments, to certain product lines, or only to specific campaigns?
- Your results should be quantifiable so that you know exactly what target numbers you’re aiming for.
- Use previous benchmarks or take your data points over a brief period so you can create a baseline.
Your goals will help you determine your key performance indicators (KPIs), which are the critical metrics. Your KPIs contribute to one of the key characteristics of your goals in that they make your goals measurable. KPIs will help you gauge progress towards your goals.
Once you’ve defined your KPIs, figure out what data you need to collect. In order to properly measure performance according to your goals, make sure that you’re using the right systems and tools to gather accurate data.
There are various web analytics tools you can use to track web traffic, analyze user behavior, and explore user journeys. You can use email marketing and marketing automation software to track data for campaign performance. Any tools that you use for paid ads or any other marketing channels should provide you with analytics on performance.
Test the implementation of your code or tools. Check the data quality and run some test cases to make sure the data you’re collecting is accurate and looks proper.
Are your tools missing data collection for any scenarios that you intended to track data for? Are you unintentionally double-counting any data?
These questions are especially useful if you and your team are directly responsible for the data that comes in, for example, when using custom tracking solutions with a web analytics tool like Google Analytics. You don’t want to base decisions on poor data or data that’s difficult to analyze.
Whether your goals dictate that you track monthly traffic, subscriptions to your email newsletter, downloads, or sales conversions, set the systems in place that you need to capture good data.
After the specified period of time that you’ve defined for your goals, evaluate the performance against your goals. Analyze your data to figure out what worked well and what didn’t work.
Use a dashboard to pull your data together. You don’t need a lot of granular detail that belongs in a comprehensive report.
Google Data Studio Template
Your dashboard can be high-level, simply highlighting your KPIs that correspond to your goals. It should clearly tell you whether you’ve achieved your goals.
Explore any possible causes for the results and any noticeable patterns. Are visitors who view certain pages more likely to convert than other visitors? Are visitors from specific traffic sources more likely to perform certain user actions?
Identifying these audience segments is key to analyzing performance. Think about various segments, what their user intent might be, and how they actually engage with your web properties.
Use that information to brainstorm new ideas to try. You can consider either tweaking one aspect of your program, for example, targeting a different audience or changing a call to action, or you can test a completely new idea.
Whatever your goals may be, determine who your top performers and your laggards are. You can determine whether you want to pour more resources into your top performers or to improve performance with the laggards.
Adjust and continue the process
You don’t have to be so rigid and limit yourself to analyzing performance when your specified period of time finishes. You can check the status every once in a while to ensure that everything is running smoothly.
This can be done easily by using any automated reporting features that your tools might offer. Many tools provide you with the option to schedule the delivery of reports to your email inbox on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis.
You don’t have to wait to make changes either. If it’s abundantly clear that a campaign or a landing page isn’t working, update with changes and consider adjusting your timeline to give your program enough time to run.
Using the insight that you gain from your analysis, set new goals, and repeat the process. This will give you the opportunity to optimize, grow your online presence, and grow your business in difficult times.