Basic Google Analytics Guide for Small Business

builtvisible“Google Analytics is a digital analytics solution that collects data about your digital presence. How does it do this? Well at a high level you need to add the small snippet of code that contains your Unique ID pertaining to your specific GA property (UA-XXXXXX-X) on all your pages. This code collects information and sends it to the Analytics servers by attaching parameters to a single-pixel GIF image request.” –Kaitlin Ziessler

Google Analytics is a vital piece to understanding the data that represents your digital presence. If you are a beginner or interested in a refresher course on Google Analytics, I have a solid resource for you. In “Google Analytics Resource Guide of Epic Proportions” , author Kaitlin Ziessler of BuiltVisible.com presents a thorough but approachable guide. The guide is long but chock full of very useful information.

Learning Google Analytics

The following is the outline of subject matter covered in Ms. Ziessler’s work:

Types of Google Analytics Tracking

Basic Setup

What Are We Tracking?

Improving Google Analytics

Frequent Issues with Google Analytics

Help Yourself

Conclusion

There is a lot to absorb but it will be worth the effort. If you are grappling with understand where your traffic is originating, how it impacts your website statistics, and how to lead visitors to the land of conversion then this guide is for you.

Six Methods to Understanding Who Are Your Customers

Trail T CoveDo you want to understand how to connect with your current customer base, new prospective clients, and anyone looking for the products or services your firm offers? Seth Godin asks six questions in his post “Who are your customers?” that require us to connect with how in-touch we are with the people that help us thrive.

Seth Godin’s 6 Questions: Who Are Your Customers?

  • What do they believe?
  • Who do they trust?
  • What are they afraid of and who do they love?
  • What are they seeking?
  • Who are their friends?
  • What do they talk about?

If you can’t answer each question then some research is in order. Where do you begin to answer any of these questions?

6 Methods to Learn: Who Are Your Customers?

Finding answers is not always easy or an intuitive process. The following are some simple methods to get started in understanding who are your customers?

  • Survey: create a customer survey, add an incentive to increase your response rates, asking your customers the questions you need answered
  • Sales Department: poll your salesforce and provide incentives for everyone to ensure you receive the most accurate information. Concentrate on those employees in direct contact with your customers and customer service
  • Industry: attend industry conventions and events and listen for intelligence about your firm, product, and services
  • Offers: create a digital e-mailing, a post card campaign, or advertising campaign that provides value to your customer base for their intelligence about your brand in return
  • Monitor: identify and listen within the channels your customers use to talk about your products, services, and industry. Gather intelligence
  • Town Hall: provide a live town hall meeting where your customers can comfortably voice their feedback, solutions to possible problems, and opinions.

Essentially, the answers will come to the surface through your crowdsourcing efforts if you allow your customers and prospective customers to provide their feedback in an environment that encourages sharing.

Content Writing for the Non Writer

Writing ContentGoogle’s move away from old school link building as the cornerstone of search engine optimization, to a more content friendly algorithm, places the importance of content creation front and center for many companies. If you are a marketing consultant, work in a marketing department, or own a small business you must understand how to create the types of content that your clients will benefit from and continue to support. Here are some ideas that may help you.

Where do I start?

Blogging: Before you begin formulating your content, you must have a publishing platform that matches your goals. For people tasked with writing for their brand, a well positioned blog sitting on your website’s domain is the ultimate place to begin. Blogging software, most notably WordPress, provides marketers with the platform to begin creating messages (posts) that will support your product(s) and service(s).

Where do I create my content?

Setting: Many people will disagree with this statement but the fact is there is no correct setting, place, library, office, or dungeon that fits every person. If you need total silence and privacy you know a place that works best for you. On the other hand, if you thrive on social noise and chaos a local coffee house may suit your needs. Think about the most comfortable place you enjoy thinking; that may be your spot.

How do I get my ideas?

Dreaming: One of the best places I find ideas for content is while dreaming during a restful night’s sleep. I have  dreamed about writing ideas and acted upon them the next day. If you are passionate about your company, sleep is the perfect launching pad for ideas. An important tip is to keep a pad of paper and pen on your nightstand. If you awaken with an idea write down notes documenting your ideas.

Niche: Another place to research is your business niche. What is the latest news? Who are the most influential players? Why has the niche moved in a certain direction? Where is the next trend coming from in your niche? Look for evidence of something new or developing.

Experience: Detail your experience(s) that have an impact on your business. Tell a customer story that illustrates the impact your product or service plays in their life. Testimonials are great but you don’t necessarily need a testimonial to write a great piece of content

Social Media: Twitter is my leading idea engine! The shear volume of content I can tap into at any given moment is amazing. Whether mining my real time stream, my lists containing tweets from niche specific accounts, competitor’s lists, trending subjects, or hashtags, Twitter is the mainstay of fresh breaking news and information.

Events: Networking events, conferences, lunch and learns, business trips, and client meetings are some of the live in-person events you attend each year. Look for great stories to tell from your experiences.

The Most Basic and Powerful Steps to Launch Your Social Media Marketing Efforts

KnifeIf you are just beginning to invest in social media for your marketing efforts then you are in the due diligence phase of adoption. Although you may have had great reasons for not adopting earlier, the fact of the matter is your organization is playing a desperate game of catch up with the competition. Here are three tools you need to establish: a publishing platform for your marketing messages, a distribution network to spread the word, and a professional networking engine.

Blogging

The most important piece of your social media marketing plan is a publishing platform. Blogs provide the publishing mechanism that allows small, medium, and global firms to publish their story, vital statistics, and ongoing activities. The most successful companies understand that their blog provides consumers with a look inside the organization, a place to learn, and a place to communicate and interact with the firm. The benefits of search engine optimization and brand awareness are ancillary byproducts of the firm’s efforts to provide the most compelling content on their products, services, and people.

Twitter

Although there are many social networks available to individuals and companies, the most powerful distribution network that supports a firm’s ability to reach consumers on a massive scale with lightening speed is Twitter. With 200 million active users, Twitter is a ultra rich environment for many firm’s to find, listen to, and engage with their consumers and prospective customers.

Linkedin

Considered the business network for job seekers, Linkedin is an important solution for connecting. Whether your sales reps are looking for prospects, you are proving your expertise, networking, or distributing blog articles about your company’s offerings, Linkedin can play an important role in any organization.

In 2013 there are many new social networks and tools to support your organization’s marketing efforts. Before you begin, explore the new networks like Google+ and  Pinterest. Understand your goals and research what networks your customers are utilizing on a consistent basis.

Dean head shotDean Guadagni is Inner Architect’s chief communications strategist with 20+ years of business development, sales management, and national account management experience. Dean is the author of a nationally recognized self-help business guide whose articles have been published by Reuters.com, Nielsen.com, FoxBusiness.com, Ziff Davis Enterprise’s “Microsoft Watch”, Computer Shopper, and the Chicago Sun-Times. Prior to joining Inner Architect, Dean worked with management consulting firm Domus Consulting Group, whose mission was to help real estate brokerages and affiliates develop technology marketing strategies in real estate.

Dean is a frequent public speaker and workshop facilitator on social media strategies, blogging, and networking. He is a graduate of San Francisco State University with a BA degree in Speech Communications.

Unshorten.It: Open Unidentifed Links with Confidence

This guest post from Innerarchitect.com, digital marketing agency based in San Francisco, takes a look at content curation security. Opening links in today’s world is often a dangerous activity.

Safety in today’s Web world is often threatened by a wide array of malware, hackers, and unscrupulous cookies designed to steal your information. Marketers are often faced with security issues when curating content in their everyday duties. With the now industry standard link shortening services, marketers are faced with opening links that have no identifying attributes. What lurks behind a shortened link can be nothing but a great article or something that could cause real problems- until now.

Unshorten.It

Unshorten.It is a tool designed to take the fear out of opening unidentifiable shortened links. According to Unshorten.It “Unshorten.It takes any bullets for you, analyzing the website for safety and letting you see it before you decide whether to proceed.”   Unshorten.It provides:

  • Identifies the URL the link points to
  • Title and description tags of the target web page
  • Screenshot of the target website
  • Safety ratings as provided by Web of Trust 
  • Alerts you if the website is found in the HPHosts blacklist

Unshorten.It Results

Unshorten.It for each shortened link input returns a post title, destination URL, description, and safety ratings:

And the final output a screenshot: