Everyday you receive hundreds of visitors from all over the world. You can’t shut down your website while you go to sleep and then reopen it like you would with a retail business. Who are these people and why are they coming to your website? If you don’t have answers to these questions, you are missing out on the opportunity to make more money. In other words, you are flushing money down the toilet and you don’t even know about it.
Few days ago, I’ve discussed why it is important to know your customer to be successful. In this article, I am going to discuss how you can get to know your customer/audience.
With features such as the comment system, feedback forms and or user registration on your website, you may already know about some of your visitors. This is a very small number compared to the number of visitors you don’t get to interact with. These are the folks that you are really missing out on. They are your true potentials that will allow you to make lots of money. They hold the key and you need to do everything you can to get to know them. In order to be an effective marketer, you need to be proactive and get to know your audience.
By getting to know your audience, you can improve your content, you can shift your sales pages, you can introduce new products and affiliate programs, you can improve your ratio of conversation, you can improve your marketing strategy and eventually you can make more money.
In order to understand your audience, you can take the approach to collect all possible data about them and then analyze the data to improve your game. Therefore, I will take you through data collection in three steps: one to collect useful data with existing tools, collect data using statistical analysis and finally go one step beyond to get data directly from the visitors. This article will only focus on collecting data. In the near future, I will elaborate on how you can use this information to more than double the amount of money you make today.
Collect Data with Existing Tools
Like I said above, you already have a few means to collect data on users that visit your site. Most of these data is collected in the backend system you may be using. For example, if you run a blog on wordpress, your wordpress system will collect information on those who leave comments, feedbacks and user registration. This data is very important because this tells you the kind of people that you have successfully converted to participate on your site.
You have to be engaged with your users to successfully build a profitable website. You need to follow the comments that are left behind by visitors. You should respond to comments and sometimes you should take their comment and generate content from it. You should then give the credit to the user for providing you with an idea to generate that content. This will allow you to learn more about existing users but it will also encourage new users to participate.
If your site allows user registration, it will allow you to collect as much data as you want about that user. Many websites tend to keep the user registration forms short so they can encourage users to register. However, once they register, most websites allow users to update their profile, etc. This is where you can get more detail about users. This information will help you to target your marketing efforts.
Many sites have feedback forms on their website. I am not sure how many of them take advantage of the feedback they receive from users. If you don’t have a feedback form or a contact us form, make sure you create one. Not a lot of people will send feedback but those who choose to send feedback, you will definitely get lots of useful information that you can take advantage of.
If you are not using a traffic analytical tool such at the Google Analytics, you should get one right away. Most of these tools are free to begin with; hence you should take advantage of it. This sort of tool provides you with a lot more information about visitor patterns. They provide you with information far beyond what you may need to improve your marketing strategy. I am going to focus on a few key features of these tools so you get a sense of what to look for.
Knowing where your visitors are coming from is important so you can focus more and more on improving the strategy to drive even more people from the same source. This is where you find out if your marketing strategy is successful in driving visitors to your site. If you spend time promoting your website on Twitter, you will see the amount of traffic coming from Twitter with these analytical tools. This information tells you the interests of your audience.
This is the best tool to find out the interests of your visitors. If people are coming from search engines, you should be able to track down the keywords they searched for before they reached your site. This piece of information is “key” because you can continue to focus on improving your content so you can drive more people to your website. This tells you which keywords are working for you and which aren’t. Knowing this information, allows you to focus on improving the ones that are not working for you.
Time on site/Bounce Rate/Loyalty
Finally this information tells you how much they love your site! So all of the above tools provide you with information as to who they are and where they come from. This information tells you if your website is sticky or not. If you find that the numbers low for these three key elements, you need to make adjustments to your website and the way you present your content. Lots of people may be visiting your site, but if they don’t stick around to read what you have to say, then you are wasting your time.
In order for you to distinguish between what is working and what is not working on your site, you need to dig into users interest a little bit further. This tool will tell you where the users are spending more time within your website. This tool will provide you with information that you can take advantage of to improve the content on your site. If you see users spending more time on one particular page within your site, you may want to consider changing the design and look of other pages OR work on improving contents on other pages. In other words, you can at least find out what sort of information on your site is drawing the most attention.
The above are just a few key features of analytical tools. You can use other features if you wish but the above features should be sufficient to let you know what is working on your site and what is not working. It will also tell you why people are coming to your site.
Get Data Directly From Your Audience using Polls, Surveys and Other Features
As your business grows, you may have the need to get to know your visitors even more. In order to get more details, you can implement the following tools.
Polls are quick and are painless for people to complete. It usually takes a few minutes for someone to complete a polling question. Therefore this approach is easy to implement and probably will have more participants. You can choose how often you want to run a poll on your site to better understand your audience. You can plan out a polling strategy that spans our over a number of months. Then hit the users with a series of questions every week (or however you prefer) that will better inform you of who they are and what they are looking for once you’ve completed the full questionnaire.
Surveys are sometimes difficult to pull through. In my experience, it is very difficult to get people to participate on a survey because it takes more time for them to complete a survey than a poll. However, a survey can be targeted and it will provide you with the best information once completed. You should plan out your survey so it will convince the user to complete it. You should try to keep it short in order to increase participation. You should also think about giving away a free product in return for them to complete a survey. This will motivate the visitors to participate.
On Site Features
With Web 2.0, it is very simple for you to create features that are embedded within your site that will allow user interaction. By following the user interaction, coupled with statistical analysis of content served, you can collect a lot of information about users. You can build features that will fulfill your need to improve the game. For example, if you want to know what sort of products and services will better serve your audience, you may want to build an interactive tool that asks for people to click on products they like. By collecting that data, you will know which product ranks to the top. Once you have that information, you can either create a product that you can sell on your site or signup for an affiliate program and offer that product on your site.
The intension of this article is to provide you with a quick glimpse of available tools to get to know your audience. The features and tools explained in this article are just to get you started. You can be creative and come up with many other features that will help you improve your marketing strategy and eventually allow you to make lots of money with your website.