Out of all the wonderful business opportunities available in the modern age - easy shopping, easy communication, instant access to information and digital products, simple credit card transactions, transferring files, etc. – the most powerful tools in all of commerce come in the form of analytics and the ability to manage customer information. Don’t believe it? Think about the entire marketing world in the 21st century …

Analytics and data tracking are the reason large companies, retail stores, websites, and other businesses collect your phone number at the cash register, and the reason you submit your email address when you register for a free website – it’s all part of a method used to record and analyze consumer behavior in an effort to create more targeted advertising and better, more useful products and services.

But this stuff isn’t reserved for the biggest companies and the most sophisticated technology. It’s going on all around us, and it’s available to anyone, even you.

Are you using analytics to get the most out of your website and marketing efforts?

Tools like Google Analytics and KISSmetrics, among others, allow website owners to see an incredible amount of detail about the ways people use their sites – from incoming traffic sources, to how long people spend on each page, to who’s clicking which links, to who’s sharing what to social media, and so on.

Being able to track where users are coming from and what they click on is critical to understanding whether a marketing campaign is working or not, and with it, understanding if the ROI even makes the campaign worthwhile.

Now, not all data is the same, of course. If our site got 10,000 visitors in a day, that would be incredible! For Amazon, those would be pretty dismal figures. But that’s the thing – analytics data is just data. It doesn’t do any good without interpretation and context.

So, once you’re collecting data, you can start to look at these kinds of questions:

  • Should we continue to feature this product?
  • Where are my site visitors located?
  • What page of my site is the most popular?
  • Was that last email promotion worth the expense?

And that’s just a glimpse! Finding the answers to these questions will open all sorts of possibilities. If you know which page is the most popular, you can analyze why that is and incorporate those features into more of your site. If you see where (geographically) your largest amount of visitors are coming from, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of your target demographic, and be able to identify opportunities for in-person and non-digital marketing efforts. If traffic to a featured product page is on the decline, maybe it’s time to switch things up.

Analytics also provides the opportunity to A/B test two versions of the same page, providing benchmarks for setting future goals, illustrating different patterns of customer behavior, and showing you where people are faltering in your sales funnel. Pretty much anything you want to know, there’s data and analysis out there to help you find out!

The point is this: knowledge is power.

The more you know about your website, your business, and your customers, the better suited you'll be to meet and exceed expectations. Being able to collect and accurately interpret the boatloads of data that digital commerce provides is key to success in the 21st century.

Are you making the most of the information available to you?

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