guest post: 3 important things you must know about your online shop

Today I’m happy to share a guest post from Meredith of Smaller Box.  Meredith has a new ebook out that’s all about harnessing the power of Google Analytics.  And today, she’s sharing 3 things you must know about your online shop, and why they’re important.  Thanks, Meredith!

Conversion Source
The most important thing you can know about your online business is where your conversions come from. A conversion simply means a customer completed a desired action. The most common type of conversion we care about is making a purchase, but secondary conversions also matter. You may consider joining a mailing list, clicking your Twitter “follow” link, clicking your Facebook “like” button, etc. all conversions. Your goal is to get as many conversions as possible.

Why you should care about source:
If you know where your conversions come from, you can invest more in marketing activities that are driving them. Imagine 30% come from organic search, 40% come from banner ads and another 30% come from branding. You now have a list of the things that are most effective and this information is actionable. You can increase you ad spending, you can do a deeper dive into your current SEO and find new terms to optimize for and work on getting more links to boost your search rank. If you found instead that the majority of your conversions were coming from editorial placements and Adwords, you’d want to spend your time on more PR and increase your Adwords spend. Knowing what you’re doing right is extremely important, so you can keep doing more of it.

Brand Strength
A very important goal for most businesses is to be the leader at what they do. If you wanted to buy a book you might go straight to Amazon or Barnes & Noble. You might not search for a book store. Brands like Amazon and Barnes & Noble are so incredibly strong that people just go directly to them without even thinking about what else might be out there. Ultimately you want people to think this way about your company. If you sell bags, you want them to go straight to you when they need a bag. If you sell jewelry, you want them going straight to you for jewelry. In order for this to happen, you need a strong brand. Growing a strong brand that’s well-known with your target market takes time, but you want to see things trending in a positive direction.

In order to monitor the progress of your brand strength you want to know what percentage of site traffic comes from people going directly to your URL and what percentage of sales comes from people going directly to your URL. You also want to know what percentage of site traffic and sales come from people searching on your brand and product names.

Why you should care about brand strength:
Ultimately a strong brand will make you more profitable. When you’re a new company you have to pay for every bit of business you get. You spend money on ads, you spend time on PR, you probably spend more than you earn when you’re just starting out. You are doing this to establish your brand name. Once your brand is out there though, you’ll find you need to spend less and less. Those customers coming straight to your URL or searching your company name aren’t costing you promotional dollars any more. They know who you are and they want what you have. The more business like this that you can create, the more money you’ll make. In order for this to happen, you need to make sure your brand strength is heading in the right direction and growing over time.

Timeline for Average Sales Cycle
Do your customers place an order the first time they visit or does it take several visits? Do they purchase the first day they visit or do they return weeks later to place orders? If you study your customer behavior you may find on average they don’t convert immediately. For my online shop I’ve found that only 34% of visitors convert on their first visit. Another 33% convert in 2-3 visits, the remaining 3rd visit 4 or more times before converting.

Why you should care about timeline:
If customers don’t convert immediately, you need to modify your marketing to nurture a longer sales cycle. You may want to amp up your efforts to get secondary conversions (such as Facebook likes or newsletter sign ups). You may want to focus more on developing blog content that keeps visitors coming back. You may also want to establish a remarketing program, so you can keep your brand name in front of these prospects until they come back to place an order.

Help! I don’t know any of this about my business!
If you don’t know how to find this information about your business, check out my new ebook  “Harnessing Google Analytics to Make More Money, Grow Your Brand and Be a Better Marketer (Even if Technology Scares The Pants Off of You)”. This new ebook tells you how to find this information and so much more. I’ll teach you how to leverage Google Analytics most powerful reporting capabilities so you always have this information right at your fingertips 24/7!

I’ll share all my tips on how I use Google Analytics to be an expert on my business and make better and more profitable business decisions. I’ll show you how you can see where every order you receive came from. I’ll even show you how you can see where people who join your newsletter and click your Facebook “like” button came from. I’ll also explain how to use Google Analytics to determine how much you spend to earn $1.00.

You’ll learn to leverage Google’s custom reporting tools so you can create a reports on hard-to-find information. For example, you can create a report that tells you about all the sales and traffic that come from your brand name. (Imagine if your site were Craft MBA, by default Google Analytics would separate searches for “craft mba marketing” and “craft mba megan auman” and “craftmba” into separate lines. I can show you how to get Analytics to report on all of these searches in one master report that shows all searches on anything to do with the company name.)

Best of all, this book is written in plain easy-to-understand English. Perfect for those who are more artist than techie. The book includes helpful screen shots to guide you along every step of the way and uses real world examples of how to apply what you’re seeing to your business. The writing style is skimmable and easy-to-digest, so you can get down to the important info without any fluff.

fail fast or grow slow?


  1. says

    Such good info here. I look at my google analytics account daily but often have no idea what I am looking at. I am definitely going to focus on the conversion source.

  2. says

    There’s a ton of info in Analytics. The book I wrote offers a pretty detailed guided tour of each area and tells you how to actually apply the information you get from each area. I wrote it because Analytics can be so overwhelming and it’s not always easy to make sense of their more advanced features.

  3. says

    I, as an artist and designer, work on commission basis. Someone brings me their furniture, home, painting they want created/ designed and I create/design it. I often find that I am an exception on these types of analytics because I am not selling a product but myself and my ability. Is there a publication you know that would help me better target my audience? My website viewer is being sold on me…not a thing.

  4. Meredith says

    Blake, do people contact you via a contact form? If so, that is probably the conversion you’d want to track. I don’t know that attracting your customers is very different than attracting customers who buy products. You still need things like PR, SEO, advertising, social media, etc.


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