Heard about Google Analytics, but not sure how to start using it for your self-storage business? You’re in the right place. Read on to get the details on what this tool is and how to begin leveraging its power.
What Is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a free Web-analytics service, offered by Google, that comes with optional, premium (paid) features. One of the most widely used Web-analytics services, it’s been around since the early 2000s. Google Analytics allows you to track and understand your customers’ Web behavior, enabling you to see what your website visitors are looking for and whether you’re effectively converting leads.
Why Do You Need It?
Wouldn’t it be nice to be all-knowing? To know exactly when, where and why potential customers decide to visit your website? To understand the real reasons they chose you—or didn’t—for their self-storage needs? Well, Google Analytics is the closest you can get. The intelligent tool allows you to track and understand customers’ behavior from start to finish so you can hone your marketing strategy and save money on advertising. Here are just a few of the questions you can answer:
- How many people are visiting my website every month?
- From what part of town are my customers coming?
- Are my prospects accessing my website from desktop computers or mobile devices?
- What search engines are people using to find my website?
- What social media site is most effective at sending people to my website?
- Which of my marketing tactics is bringing in the most leads?
- Which of my Web pages are the most popular?
- How many website leads have I converted to paying customers?
- What path did converted visitors follow on my website?
- Is my website slow to load when using certain mobile devices or Web browsers?
Now that you have an overview, let’s expand on some of the most noteworthy information you can gather from your Google Analytics statistics.
When prospects walk into your office and chat about their storage needs, they’ll often comment on how they found out about your services. It could be they were referred by a friend who had a good experience with you, or they noticed your eye-catching sign on their daily drive to work. These comments give you some insight into what’s working to bring in leads. Shouldn’t Web marketing be the same?
With Google Analytics, you can track the origin of every website visitor and use this information to hone your marketing strategy. Once you know where most of your leads are coming from—whether it be organic search results, Facebook or pay-per-click ads—you’ll be able to eliminate wasteful spending and put more effort into what’s really working.
With Google Analytics data, you’ll know everything there is to know about your online traffic, including where visitors live. You won’t be able to access their sensitive information, just their continent, country, region, city and metro area. This helps thousands of businesses large and small pinpoint the regions that are bringing in the most leads. It’s simple to use, easy to analyze, and can help you save additional bucks on advertising.
Google’s geolocation tool is especially useful if your business is in a large metro area. If you find you’re underperforming in neighboring townships or your leads are coming from somewhere unexpected, you can tailor your website content to target those markets. You can also focus your pay-per-click or social media ads on underperforming areas that could use a little love. By keeping track from month to month, you’ll be able to monitor visitors’ geolocation stats and see how your latest marketing efforts are affecting your website numbers.
Tracking your website’s bounce rate (the percentage of visitors who navigate away after viewing only one page) is key to increasing conversions and measuring the quality of your website. When your bounce rate is high, it means a lot of people are leaving from your landing page without browsing any further, and it may be time to reassess.
If your website is ugly, outdated, slow to load or difficult to view on mobile devices, you might be scaring away visitors. To improve your bounce rate, you may need to redesign your home page to more prominently display your “call to action,” which includes your action-focused messaging such as “Contact us” or “View available units.” If users aren’t sure how to complete an action on your page, they’ll quickly get frustrated and head back to search results to find an easier-to-use website.
If your bounce rate is high, you’re likely bleeding leads and sending prospects to competitors with better sites. Remember: A high bounce rate means lost revenue. Make sure you’re monitoring this number from month to month, as a decrease could be a sign you need to make Web improvements.
How Do You Begin?
If you have a professionally designed website, you may already have a Google Analytics account for tracking performance. If not, all you’ll need to begin is a Google account. Follow these steps to get started:
1. Contact your Web-marketing provider. If you’re working with a professional Web-design company, it’ll be able to gather your Google Analytics information for you, allowing you to access reporting and data logs. If you have administrative access on your website, you may be able to log in and view these reports behind the scenes. If your website is connected to your facility management software, you may also be able to view Google Analytics data in your dashboard via custom reports and graphs. Contact your Web-marketing provider to find out how you can access data obtained from your Analytics reports.
2. Become a power user via free online tutorials. While Google Analytics may seem intimidating at first, there are plenty of free resources that explain how to use it. You can take free online courses from Google Analytics Academy or view free how-to YouTube tutorials by search engine optimization specialists. If you enjoy looking at data or just want to improve your business, you’ll gain a wealth of knowledge and understanding from learning more about this tool.
Now that you know how to use Google’s free analytics, give your website a performance checkup and see how your digital marketing stacks up. If your website visitors aren’t converting or if they’re leaving from your home page without taking any action, your website might need a facelift. Check out your stats today to improve your online marketing effectiveness.
Jana Haecherl is a marketing-content writer for storEDGE, which offers a comprehensive suite of technology solutions designed specifically for the self-storage industry. She enjoys bringing technology, Web marketing, and industry news and tips to self-storage owners and managers. For more information, call 913.954.4110; visit www.storedge.com.