A strategy without data is just guessing. Guessing leads to a lot of trial and error. A lot of trial and error leads to wasted time. And correct me if I’m wrong, but extra time to waste isn’t something you have just sitting around.
(Insert brief pause so you can correct me if I am indeed wrong.)
Okay, you’re still here, so let’s talk about how to access the very data I use when helping clients with their marketing strategies!
What is Google Analytics?
I want to make this topic as approachable as possible because I was once massively intimidated by this glorious tool. Consider this blog Google Analytics for beginners – business edition!
That said, if you already know what Google Analytics is, feel free to skip ahead.
Basically, Google Analytics is a free tool for anyone who owns a website. It tracks a ton of data about the users on your site, how they found you, and what they do while they’re there.
Think of it like a digital guest book on steroids.
Do I Really Need Google Analytics?
Yes. The end.
But, seriously, valid question. I’ve told many photographers and creatives that they should install Google Analytics in the past and the number one response I get is… “I have analytics through Squarespace, so I should be good.”
Think again, lady! Don’t get me wrong. Squarespace Analytics has its own features that make it a great, easy to understand resource for your business.
However, where Squarespace Analytics is like a trusty Chevy Equinox that’ll get you from point A to point B, Google Analytics is like an Acura MDX with a heated steering wheel and air-conditioned seats. There are just so many more bells and whistles available to help your business grow.
We’re going to dive into the benefits of Google Analytics in detail in a second, but there is one feature alone that makes it worth installing, which is the behavior flow! This function allows you to see how users interact with your site: what page they land on first, where they click through to next, what page they drop off, etc.
Why is that important? Keep reading.
Benefits of Google Analytics for Business
In addition to the behavior flow, we can learn a TON about your site’s visitors and how they interact with your content. Having this data helps us make relevant, educated changes to your site to convert more visitors into inquiries.
Here’s what creative entrepreneurs can learn from Google Analytics:
- WHO is visiting your site.
- Demographics to make sure you’re attracting your target clients.
- Technology info to tell us what kind of device they’re visiting on, which helps to know how to optimize your design.
- WHERE the visitors are from (city, state, and country).
- This is especially important if you are a location-dependent service provider.
- WHAT pages / blogs are most popular.
- This will help you decide what your audience wants to see more of.
- WHERE the visitors found you.
- Did they come from Instagram, search results, or somewhere else? Knowing will help you figure out what marketing strategies are paying off.
- HOW each of those traffic avenues impact the visitors behavior.
- If people from Pinterest are sticking around a lot longer than those from Instagram, resulting in more inquiries, you may realize you need to put more energy into that marketing strategy.
- WHEN we’re losing people on your site.
- This tells us what pages need to be revamped to keep people around so we can convert them into either a client or member of our email list!
All of this data (and more) gives us insight into WHY potential clients are acting the way they are on our site. And instead of guessing, we can make calculated updates to your site to turn more visitors into inquiries.
Is Google My Business the Same as Google Analytics?
No. While they both work together to help you improve your SEO, they have different functions.
To oversimplify this for the sake of time, Google My Business allows you to show up on local, “near me” Google Map search results and collect online reviews. You can also learn what searches people are finding your Google My Business listing under, but that’s about it.
Google Analytics is the actual data for how people get to your site and how they behave while there.
If I had to relate this to Instagram, Google My Business is like using a hashtag or keyword in your bio. Google Analytics works like Instagram Insights, but better.
How to Set Up Google Analytics
Great question! This totally depends on who you have your site hosted through (ex. Squarespace, Showit, etc.).
I use Showit, which means installing Google Analytics is as easy as creating the free account by visiting analytics.google.com and installing the Google Analytics ID into my site settings by copying and pasting. It took me less than 10 minutes to get mine set up!
Luckily, Google has super helpful, easy-to-follow instructions for you no matter what platform you use!
What to Look for in Google Analytics
Here’s the tricky part. If you ask 100 people, you might get 100 different answers here. Remember – Google Analytics as all the bells and whistles, so there’s a ton you can learn and do in the dashboard. Seriously… interpreting Google Analytics could be a business of its own, so I won’t pretend I’m an expert.
That said, most small business owners just need a few key pieces of information to learn what I listed above under benefits. I use about 10-20 data points myself and with clients, depending on our goals.
If you want help interpreting some of these data points for your business so you can update your site strategically, I offer 1:1 Strategy Sessions. In 90 minutes, we can walk through where to find the information I look at, interpret your data, and create a list of changes you can implement to improve results.