Part 3: Google Analytics
Being a small business owner can at times be very time consuming, and keeping track of business statistics can prove to be difficult to manage. Google Analytics (GA) is one of the easiest ways to track these statistics, and can be extremely helpful in managing business activity. This free service can provide detailed statistics regarding all incoming traffic to your webpage and can identify search engines, social networks and direct visits so you can assess the effectiveness of display advertisements, pay-per-click ads, e-mail marketing and so on.
In the world of business, it can often be difficult to understand what exactly people are looking for. What content, features or services are they really interested in? And, better yet, are you doing it right? This comprehensive tool offers a great deal of value and will generate detailed reports that can help answer these questions so you can have structure moving forward.
Here are the advantages to using Google Analytics:
- Website improvements: Google Analytics will identify which pages are captivating viewers. Most importantly, however, the tool will distinguish the pages with the least bit of traffic through the use of the tool Top Exit Pages signalling the pages that might navigate clients elsewhere. With this knowledge, you might consider re purposing those pages, or remove them entirely.
- All about the positives. Your reports with Google Analytics will point out the strongest areas of your website by indicating your most commonly visited webpages. By identifying the strongest areas on your webpage, you can move forward continually expanding those well developed areas to ensure viewership. As a rule of thumb, if people are spending 3 to 4 minutes on a certain page, that page can be recognized as successful since you have been triumphant in capturing their attention.
- Demographics. Who exactly is viewing your page? Have they visited your page before? This can be helpful when developing marketing strategies. Google Analytics will show how many visitors are new versus returning visitors.
- The line between interested users and those just looking around. Google Analytics offers a Bounce Rate breakdown that will demonstrate how many viewers are genuinely interested in your business. It will reflect which visitors have navigated away without clicking to another page. A high Bounce Rate can effectively show to business owners that your business may not be providing a good first impression. The Depth of Visit tool will highlight interested users and how many visits they have had to your page. If you are noticing that your visitors are only looking at one or two pages per visit, it may be time to redesign, or reorganize content.
Part 2: Google Adwords
If you have explored several SEO strategies, and you have noticed that you haven’t been getting the right amount of traffic to your website, you may want to consider using Adwords. Adwords is a service that allows businesses to display their advertisements on Google. While they might cost you, you will have peace of mind knowing that you will appear on the main page in Google. Not only will you appear above, beside and below search listings, your advertisement will be the first thing interested users will see. In fact, these paid search listings actually trump organic clicks. Roughly 65% of people interested in purchasing an item will click on advertisements. That’s a huge number when you factor in how many searches occur every second alone.
You can also appeal to particular demographics. Using keywords, you can identify the words or sentences that are related to your business so when relevant content is searched, your business will appear on Google and its affiliated websites. Despite having to pay for these advertisements, you will have the ability to set a cap on the amount you will be spending on these ads. With cost-per-click (CPC) bidding, you will only be charged whenever someone clicks on your webpage. This cost will vary according to the business category: in a crowded space such as “insurance”- you can expect almost $56 per click alone. “Loans” are a close second with about $44 per click.
If you are looking to continue using Google adwords, a trick might be to think of different keywords that might imply the business category, such as insurance, without mentioning the word—although this can prove to be quite tricky. For a traditionally unsaturated market you are looking at about 20 cents per click. Analyze all keywords to determine which one might be the best for your adwords campaign.
Remember that Google will want you to bid as much as possible… but do so, and you may end up bankrupt. Try challenging the bid. You may not appear on the first page right away, but you will have more money to work with in the long run, and your adwords campaign will have a greater longevity.
A few things to remember when considering adwords:
- All about relevance. Make sure to use the appropriate keywords and never saturate your advertisement with too many keywords that do not apply to your business. Should you choose to do so, your competitors will walk away with qualified clicks. You will likely be wasting your money as the viewers may not have any intention of purchasing your products.
- Use events or blogs. Often times, adwords will work effectively when promoting an event or blog for a business. Use these pages as your display advertisement to allow visitors to recognize the personality of your brand.
- Don’t use it as your only source of advertising. Consider other methods as well. Actively participating online will create a buzz about your business. Allow your business to radiate, and let others witness it. They will want to follow you in the end.
- Always monitor your progression and rate of return. If you have looked at how many viewers you are getting relative to your number of sales, and you are in the negatives, you may want to reconsider using Adwords.
Part 1: SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
In light of our last post regarding the most widely used form of social media, we thought we would follow-up with a staggeringly popular search engine. With over 1 billion users each month alone, it should come as no surprise that Google is considered to be the most popular website on the internet. With precisely 34,000 searches that occur every second alone, becoming globally recognized can definitely occur if business owners successfully comply with common display advertising techniques.
Many acknowledge the importance of creating a website, and rest assured it has been emphasized several times in our blogs, but completing that first online sale might be more challenging than some might first imagine. SEO can help business owners be recognized on the first page on Google to become known to potential clients.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, involves the use of techniques and actions to effectively position your website to achieve a high-ranking on search engine return pages (SERPs). To better understand how SEO works, we will be using the example of a boat dealership business. This business has just launched online, and is looking to gain traffic. It has already included several good quality images of the boats for sale, plenty of useful professional content regarding safe boating practices and has even personalized the website for customized selection based on preference. Despite their best effort to be a major contender with the bigger players, it will have a hard time finding viewers without a top ranking in Google’s search engine.
For the boating business (and all businesses) to become relevant, the business owner should consider the following:
- Keywords: including keywords into the content will coincide with search terms frequently used by potential clients interested in your business sector. To use the example above, the boat dealership will have to include words such as: “boat sales”, “boat retail store”, “boat products”, “sailing gear”, “boat repairs” and “marine sales” to appeal to Google users to connect easier with that page. You will find that these keywords will be the most useful in the title page and headers. Never bombard your page, however, for you may be labeled as a spammer by search engine ‘spiders’ (automatic indexers built to visit your site).
- Links: another way to improve SEO is to have as many quality links directed to your page as possible. To assist in this process, you may wish to integrate several links with your business. This can be done by:
a. Linking all external social media platforms back to your page
b. Developing relationships with other credible websites and link your website to theirs– vice versa.
A boat retailer, in this case, might consider linking with possible related webpages, such as a credible boating safety equipment business, etc.
- Content: including lots of relevant and up to date information is also extremely important for SEO. One of the most effective ways to do this is to include a blog in your webpage with a plenitude of resources and content that viewers will find informative or will enjoy. This will also provide you with the opportunity to include more links and keywords as well. The boating retailer, for example, might consider a blog on boating safety or fun boating activities, such as tubing, to enjoy with the family on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. You may also wish to include a behind the scenes look at everyday operations to generate trust amongst your potential clients.
- Create a mobile friendly webpage: mobile accessibility will be something that Google spiders will be interested in as well. SEO will want to ensure that you are easily accessible.
- Discount and promotional offers: Be sure to address these promotions in your social media and you will gain extra links to your page.
So you’ve created a facebook page- a great initial step to the establishment of a web presence indeed. Needless to say, unfortunately it’s not enough. In today’s growing technological world, having a website for your business means everything in terms of marketing. As one of the most powerful marketing tools, a website is the foundation to any successful business. Its importance lies in its ability to expose your brand to a global market, while still focusing on your primary clientele.
In this day and age, prior to investing in a business, many consumers will turn to the internet as their one and only source of information regarding your product or service. If you are not readily accessible through search engines, let’s be honest-you might as well not exist. People will often read other reviews, to have a better understanding of the general operations of your business. For this reason, business owners should not only consider creating a webpage for their product or service, but should also be primarily concerned with ensuring their page is well maintained and easily accessible though search engine optimization techniques.
The establishment of an online presence starts with the validity of your website provider. Hiring someone to do it for you is a viable option, but shouldn’t be your only. There are many e-commerce web hosting services that can allow for do-it-yourself options. The best part of their services? They are simple to use and won’t require much additional knowledge of coding or web design to build your own professional looking business website.
Selecting the appropriate E-commerce solution service is crucial. Most business owners often have specific needs, and finding the platform most applicable to your services can be a tall order. Choose the wrong service and you could be sacrificing your website credibility. You could be looking at a loss of revenue, where potential customers may not be able to access your products or services. It may also have a negative effect in terms of your search engine ranking. If your site is down or if it is operating slowly when search engines are attempting to visit, your search ranking may be lowered. You may also be at risk for a security or malware attack if the webpage does not have a reputable server.
Ensure that the service will be both accessible and safe year round. Here are some things to remember when choosing webhosting providers:
- Understand the different options that are available: make sure to research them to test their validity.
- Superior customer service: search for webproviders with fast and knwoedlgeable customer support services.
- Ability to scale: as your business grows and generates more traffic, your webhost provider will need to scale.
- Good reputation: you have established which features your business will need in terms of services, ensure that you find one who has left an overall positive impression on other customers.
It is often said that the inability to adapt results in failure to survive. Whether referring to the evolutionary world or in reference to the business world– both appear to be on the same playing field. Due to the rapid influx of technological changes we are witnessing in the last ten years alone, it’s becoming increasingly clear that change is imperative. We’re noticing to a greater degree that businesses who wish to stick with their old habits without embracing the vulnerability of change though various new prospects, will eventually succumb to the same fate as the extinction of countless species.
We recognize that in business it can be a constant battle between generating revenue and enhancing margins while maintaining a healthy balance of risk management. The relative importance of each of these areas will ultimately depend on your type of business, in addition to its precise location. However, in their respective ways, each of these sectors are fundamentally important to increase strategic development.
Several notable changing trends include:
- Globalization: using the internet as a key source to creating a globally recognized brand. Expanding your business to encompass larger markets.
- Digitalization: where former traditional business models, including marketing, financing, and general operations should be regenerated and introduced to new and evolving technologies and data solutions. Never limit your exposure and seek to explore new social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest.
- Mobility: use of mobile friendly business applications for unlimited access to your product. Use these programs to dominate your selected market. Increased accessibility to your product will provide new ways to connect and share with your customers, employees and other stakeholders.
- Data: concentrating on and maintaining consumer trends and statistics generated through new data techniques will enable your business to locate current gaps in existing strategies.
- Analytics: gathering this information, making informed decisions on new approaches to increase customer service and revolutionize your business to meet current demands is more critical now than it ever has been.
The opportunities are endless in the global digital age and business is all about adapting to these changes. What you make of these opportunities will shape the future of your business. Growing your skill set and enhancing your knowledge to utilize new tools and services will offer a global reach. Remember to try new things, recognize the risks and believe in the growth possibilities.
“Do what you love and the money will follow” is a popular bit of advice that has been passed on throughout the ages. It’s a beautiful piece of guidance that can be very true. Frankly, the same can be said when reversing the saying. When you have money, it’s very easy to do what you love. Sometimes, as most business owners will acknowledge, acquiring extra funding can be a headache. But all hope is not be lost as you can easily do what you love and the money will follow— if other people love what you do as well. If you have considered acquiring loans, and have explored other additional financing opportunities with limited success, crowdfunding may be a viable option to consider.
Crowdfunding is the process of fundraising money from a collective and anonymous group of people who are interested in supporting your business idea. Crowdfunding is used for networking and exposing your brand over the internet to gain support in the sustainability and growth of your business.
Some reasons to consider crowdfunding are the following:
- You won’t have to give up a percentage of your business in exchange for the additional funding- it is granted based on the recognition of the possibility of success in your venture.
- Crowdfunding your idea will encourage you to set realistic goals and look to achieve those goals.
- When it comes to crowdfunding or similar websites, those individuals looking to support your idea, will likely be inclined to tell their friends about your business. In this way, even at the very least without even acquiring additional funding, it can prove to be a great marketing tool as well.
- If you do receive funding from your supporters, it’s likely that those individuals will become customers of yours.
Here are some crowdfunding websites to consider:
- Kickstarter: the most recognized crowdfunding website across Canada, the US and the UK. Kickstarter focuses on creative endeavours in particular, including design, the arts, gaming and technology. Mostly, Kickstarter can accept original products that can have remarkably successful campaigns, including approximately 50 that have generated more than one million dollars in funding. For more information on how to run a successful kickstarter campaign see: https://www.mint.com/blog/how-to/tips-on-running-a-successful-kickstarter-campaign-0313/
- Indiegogo: a worldwide crowdfunding platform that support businesses, artists and non-profits. They launched in 2008 with the goal of making sure that anyone interested in business could have their dreams realized. For more information on crowdfunding tips with indiegogo visit their webpage:
- Rockethub: also a worldwide crowdfunding platform that has assisted businesses, governments, educators, and communities realize their financing goals. See their webpage for more information on how to launch a successful crowdfunding page: http://www.rockethub.com/education
- Fundable: is a crowdfunding platform that functions to allow start-up businesses the ability to offer rewards or equity in exchange for funding. According to the website, start-ups that typically offers rewards will raise up to $50,000, and start-ups that offer equity can expect to raise even more. For more information see their webpage: http://www.fundable.com/blog/gearing-up-for-a-successful-crowdfund
One last word to help you get funded:
Before you decide to pursue crowdfunding, ensure that you include a high quality and confident video that can convince your viewers to support your business idea. When thinking of possible incentives, ensure that you are offering quality rewards that are worth investing in. You will want to promote your existence on these pages as much as possible, whether through social media outlets or by word of mouth to ensure your business gets out to the public. Always remember that the best quality photos and videos can always go viral on social platforms like Pinterest- so invest your energy on developing great photos representing your brand.