Making the Most of Google Analytics

Sterling Communications -Google Analytics on Computer

If you’re building or managing a website, Google Analytics is your best friend. It provides voluminous insight into visitor behaviors, demographics, and traffic on any site. Of course, because it’s such a robust tool, Google Analytics can also be challenging for new or inexperienced users; there is simply too much data and it’s hard to know what’s important. Categorization terminology such as “source,” “medium,” and “unique page views” can trip up new users or send them down time-consuming and unproductive rabbit holes. Furthermore, Google Analytics supports multiple ways to do similar things, which only adds to the confusion. All that said, I’ve found the most prevalent source of befuddlement for new Google Analytics users stems from not knowing why they are looking at the data. The question you should always ask yourself before diving in is, “What am I trying to find?”

Be specific. What exact problem do you need to solve? What key question do you need answered? What specifically do you want to know? Once you define what you’re looking for, you can target your use of Google Analytics. It will give you insight, and you can knowledgeably adjust website content or design to improve overall user experience.

If you’re a beginner, here are the three most important categories to focus on:

  • Location, which tells you where your visitors are coming from
  • Medium, which tells you how they got there (social media? Google? another site?)
  • Site content, which tells you what interests them most

Focusing on these three brackets will give you a solid foundation for understanding: 1) how your site is functioning in the greater digital ecosystem; 2) whether you’re drawing the visitors you desire; and 3) where to direct any improvement efforts.

Best Practices for Google Analytics

While every Google Analytics investigation is a unique endeavor, there are best practices for using the tool. My tips for new users are: (more…)

4 Steps for Turning Customers into Social Cheerleaders

Turn your customers into social cheerleaders with these Sterling PR tips

Photo Credit: Mike Morbeck, Flickr

Social media for business comes down to one thing: creating brand advocates. Knowing that, why do so many companies make the same mistake of spending too much time targeting non-customers, and too little time engaging existing customers?

The New York Times best-selling author Jay Baer points this out in his article “The Truth About Social Media Strategy.” Ultimately, he proposes, “The role of social media is to turn people who like you into people who love you.” Why? Because people who love your brand are more inclined to bang the table for you in conversations, both online and offline. (more…)

woman owned business

Why Corporate Culture Matters Most

Since Sterling opened its doors more than two decades ago, we’ve had lots of laughs, persevered through some difficult and scary economic cycles, evolved our service mix, attracted wonderful employees, and created many long-standing client relationships. All of that happened because we created a strong culture, worked hard, anticipated change, and added new skills to capitalize on market transitions.

corporate-culture-at-sterling-communications

Notice that I listed culture first? That’s because NOTHING is more critical than your corporate culture. It can guide you through heady times and help you survive the difficult times. While there are certainly central truths in any corporate culture, your corporate culture is something you must continually shape and nurture — it’s not something you can “set and forget.” (As we’ve seen, even legendary corporate cultures like HP’s can get lost over time if leaders focus simply on business unit performance and let the corporate culture languish.)

Your corporate culture is something you must continually shape and nurture—it’s not something you can “set and forget.”

Smarter people than I have written many articles on this topic, but from where I sit, corporate culture really boils down to three questions: (more…)

Creative Heroes in a Big Data World

creative-heroes

Marketing, once widely regarded as a pure art form, is now being injected with (data) science. In fact, pretty much everything we read and hear about these days around marketing innovation involves Big Data and analytics. Now, I’m all for proper targeting and effectiveness measurement, but I hope we’re not losing sight of something important here.

Think back to childhood. When you’re dangling one-handed from the monkey bars with your sweaty grip slipping fast, you’re not pinning your rescue hopes on the kid with the photographic memory and unrivaled aptitude for regurgitating facts to save the day. Most likely, that kid would offer you relevant but decidedly unhelpful information such as the number of playground deaths occurring in the US each year for the past five years.

Please, don’t send that kid. (more…)

Crowdfunding: Seeding a Bright Future for Entrepreneurs

crowdfunding

Crowdfunding has taken the Silicon Valley startup scene by storm. Once a pastime for early adopters, crowdfunding has gone mainstream on a global scale. $16.2B was raised in 2014 alone, up from $6B in 2013. The market is set to double again in 2015, surpassing the venture capital industry, which invests an average of $30B each year. Let Silicon Valley VCs focus on the next unicorn; upstarts with big dreams of their own can still ‘make it’ through the power of the people. (more…)

Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly to Avoid Google’s Mobilegeddon

Public domain via Wikipedia

Google updates its search algorithm up to 500-600 times per year. Normally these changes don’t turn heads. However, today Google launched a search engine algorithm update that some are referring to as Mobilegeddon.

The news? Google is giving preference to mobile-friendly sites when running searches from mobile devices.

The search engine giant assigns priority in search results to websites designed specifically to work on smartphones in an attempt to improve the experience when people search from their smartphones. Google wants developers to make their sites look and function better on smaller screens: for example, by using bigger text, and links that are farther apart and easier to tap. According to USA Today, more than half of all Google-based searches now come from mobile devices. With TechCrunch reporting that 44% of the Fortune 500 companies failing Google’s mobile-friendly tests, this is a big deal.

In short: if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, it could materially affect your company’s search rankings. (more…)

6 SEO Tips for Killer Content

It may be true that SEO has been around a long time, but it is still the most powerful earned, nonpaid source of traffic on the web.
— Rand Fishkin, Moz Founder

Content creation continues to spark discussion. Almost everyone has an opinion on what elements are most critical to success—some tout measuring ROI, others say having a documented content strategy is the most critical element, and still others believe everything hinges on reaching target markets across all the different stages of the buyer journey. That said, it seems that everyone can agree on this fundamental tenet: begin with your target audience in mind. This means being empathetic to how the people you want to know about you search for, consume, and share content.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, there’s a catch: it doesn’t matter how well-targeted your content is…if your target isn’t reading it. The good news is that SEO can help. SEO, like content development, is part science and part art; fully integrating your SEO and content marketing strategies ensures that your intended targets will easily find your content. (more…)

Unleash Your SlideShare Marketing Ninja: 10 Ways To Promote Your SlideShare & Generate Leads (Part 2)

This is the second installment of our two-part series on how to become “a SlideShare marketing ninja” (successfully using SlideShare as part of your B2B marketing campaign.) In this installment, we’ll outline a plan to actively market your SlideShare that will generate quality leads for your company. Please also read our first installment focused on creating a great SlideShare presentation.

(more…)