If your small business relies on local consumers to survive, here’s 3 things you can do to better understand your customers by utilizing Google Analytics on your website.
So you’re a small local business, struggling to get foot traffic in the door, and even more so, struggling to understand what is bringing in the customers you DO get. You’ve hired a web designer, or built a small website yourself. Maybe you’ve outsourced some Search Engine Optimization (SEO), or read some blog posts on it and played around a bit yourself.
It’s Tuesday afternoon. The store is empty, and you have a little time to focus on growing the business. Here’s three things you can do that will help you grow your local business short term AND long term.
Google Analytics for Local Small Business
Free and effective, Google Analytics is step one to understanding what might be bringing people to your front door. Go sign up for it, install it, and let it do it’s thing. It takes a little bit for it to collect a meaningful amount of data, especially if your website is receiving low traffic, but the insights you will gain into your small business will be plentiful if you’re patient.
If you require assistance, we can help: Contact Small Business Analytics Consulting.
Now that that’s done, and we’re waiting for data, what do we do now?
Segment Your Local Web Traffic
How far do you think people are willing to drive to come see you? If you can answer that question, you can create a Custom Segment in Google Analytics that allows you to view web visitors from just those areas. If it’s an entire State, you use the Region parameter. If you live in a larger state, you can pick out specific cities and towns near your store using the City parameter.
The importance of this is twofold.
1.) You can answer the question: “If I get 50 people on my new website a day, why isn’t my brick and mortar store traffic picking up?” By utilizing the segment filtering, you might find that most of those 50 web visitors live way outside your service/shopping area. Then it’s time to go talk to your SEO about localizing your website.
2.) You can find out what local people are searching for. If all of your local traffic is for a few certain key terms, you can make some determinations about which of your products and services SHOULD be the most popular with people walking in the door. That helps you plan inventory levels, and as a small business owner, you know EXACTLY how important that is.
Set Up Email Reports in Google Analytics
Now we’re getting somewhere. We’ve installed Google Analytics, and we’ve set up one segment (and please do more! It’s a sandbox, you’re not going to hurt anything). And as the days go on, we’re collecting good, actionable data. One problem remains though. Someone needs to, you know, look at it.
Sometimes all of our best intentions simply aren’t enough to keep us on task. Sometimes we forget to log into Google Analytics for a few weeks. Or a month. Or longer.
So how do we assure we look at our web data at timely intervals?
My recommendation is to pick 3 reports that mean something to you, and have them emailed from Google on a morning every week that you know you have time. If Tuesdays are tortuously slow, pick Tuesdays. If you like Sunday AM’s for learning something new, then Sunday it is.
Yes, I know. You don’t always open your email either. But with the email reports sitting there every week nagging you, you’re bound to look more frequently. And that’s important.