In this post, we will share with you four key tools that you can use to quickly and easily understand how your business looks and performs online. The good news is that these tools and services can all be set up and reviewed without the need for any complex training.
1. Set-Up a Google Analytics Account (Free)
This section is about getting set up with a number of tools that can help you instantly view the online performance of your most powerful online asset – your website. In fact, Google Analytics can help you do a lot more than simply track and monitor your website traffic. It is one of the most reliable and widely regarded tools for online performance, which is why it needs to be the first step you take when trying to understand and monitor your site’s online performance.
How Does It Work?
Simply put, you add a code that Google gives you, which tracks and reports on every action that your visitors take when they are on your website. Think of it as an old-fashioned bugging device that records each interaction that is taken. Once it has been set up, you do not need to do this again.
Why Is It Useful?
It’s free to use, and it’s easy to understand. Essentially, it is a tool that will help you obtain and store information about anyone who visits your website. Google Analytics can help you:
- See your audience
- Understand how visitors are getting to your website
- See what visitors are doing when they are on your site
- Record any conversions, such as sales/contacts/downloads
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You can use the data you get from the reports to help shape your online business, change your website if needed, see which pages visitors spend the most time on, see what pages people most frequently exit your site from and much more. With Google Analytics, you can obtain extremely valuable information regarding your website free of charge, which is why this tool is at the top of our list.
You can create a new Google Analytics account for your small business here.
2. Social Media Management Tools
Although this section will make a great blog post on its own, we are going to keep it short and sweet. If your business is not on social media yet, you’re missing out. The likelihood that new and existing customers are in some way active on social media is high. As this post is about key metrics, we won’t go on about this too much. However, social media will allow you to reach large audiences at a relatively low cost, especially when compared to traditional advertising costs. If you are not already convinced, then take a quick look at these powerful numbers!
- 95% of adults aged 18-34 follow their favourite and known brands on social media.
- Facebook alone managed to influence more than 50% of online purchases in 2015.
- 50+ Million small businesses use Facebook to connect and communicate with their customers.
One of the biggest challenges facing small business owners is time, and we understand that. For this reason, social media management tools have been placed at a noteworthy position on this list. Whether you choose to go all out on all of the popular social media platforms, or just 2 to 3 platforms, you and your business will benefit from the use of a social media management tool.
How Does It Work?
It connects seamlessly to your social media profiles and enables you to view, respond, and schedule posts across all of your social media channels with ease. One login and one instruction carried out on your behalf across all of your social media channels.
Why Is It Useful?
You get to plan your posts in advance and schedule them for a future release date, which is great for busy business owners who don’t have enough hours in the day! You can schedule your posts days, or weeks in advance. All you have to do is sit back while the tools do all the hard work! It saves you from the arduous task of having to log in, reformat, upload, edit, and post to each individual channel. Anything that can save you time and get you more business is a winner, in our opinion.
Social media management tools allow you to track what people are saying about your business online. They can even alert you if your business has been mentioned on one of the social media platforms you use. This feature helps you easily identify opportunities for engagement with people who might not already be connected to your brand online.
More importantly, it means you can respond quickly to customers and comments online, avoid duplicate responses, and last but not least, track and monitor any paid traffic versus organic traffic across all channels from one place.
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Some of the biggest names and links to their sites are listed below. All of these tools come with different plans, pricing, and benefits. Take a little time to work out which one is best for your business before committing.
Another insider tip – If there is no current offer listed for a free trial, just send the company a quick message and tell them you would like to evaluate their product before buying. They almost always oblige with either a 14 or 30-day free trial period.
If you are considering heavily investing in social media, there are many digital marketing consultants and agencies who would be more than happy to take the burden off your shoulders. You might even be thinking about hiring someone in-house to work on a strategy for your business. If this is the case, and you are evaluating business funding options for this purpose, Boost Capital could help you to secure the funds you need quickly. Find out more about our business loans here
3. Define Your Metrics
This third point is somewhat of an anomaly on our list. However, it is with good reason. At this point, we hope you are excited at the prospect of using some of the tools mentioned above to help you measure and track your online performance with ease. Before we go on, one significant metric that you will need to define is a base point for your online activities.
Set out your expectations. Use the above tools to get a clear understanding of where you are today, and where you would like to be in one, six or twelve months’ time. Have clear goals for your online business, as this will help guide your future actions and steer them in the same direction.
To help you get started, some of the key metrics to consider are below:
- What is your current audience size?
- Is it increasing/decreasing?
- What are your bounce/exit rates?
- How long are visitors spending on your site?
- Where are your visitors being acquired from and who are your top referrers?
- What are your conversion rates, are your visitors turning into sales?
This section of our post is a sense-check. Make sure you know where you are today and select a few key metrics that are important to your business goals; then focus on these. Both of the tools listed in sections 1 and 2 are powerful and come with A LOT of information. This can sometimes make it easy to get distracted. Stay focused and try to look only at what is important in helping your small business achieve its goals.
4. Email Marketing
Do you ever get days (or weeks) where you feel like you are being flooded with emails? Yet, you still find the time to read a few that are from recognizable companies, or ones that simply reach out and grab your attention. There are many people who believe email marketing is dead – it isn’t.
Another significant metric for your online business falls under this category. This is often something that gets overlooked. However, email marketing is still a powerful online tool and one, which if done correctly, can result in more business, better customer interactions and increased revenue at a VERY LOW COST.
How Does It Work?
Fortunately, mostly due to tracking codes that are identical to the ones that are used by Google, you can now measure how effective your email marketing efforts are. Coincidently, you can see exactly what is and isn’t working for your business.
There is a whole range of email marketing platforms that will help you manage your email marketing with ease. They are easy to set up, and some of them are even free or offer enticing free trials to help give you a taste of the system. All you need to do is import your list of emails and contacts to the platform, and your email marketing activities can begin.
Why Is It Useful?
They help you create clean and aesthetically pleasing looking emails by offering templates in a range of designs to suit your business. They come with built-in tracking codes that allow you to monitor which email addresses are bouncing (no longer in use), how many people are opening up your emails, who is clicking the links and more.
Email marketing software can provide you with details about who is still engaged with your brand, who is responding to emails, and who could potentially be interested in a product or service that you are offering. If one particular message gets a great response, and another does not, you can tailor your style of writing to adhere to what is most popular and what gets the most positive response when you send it out. This is also known as the click-rate ratio and the open-rate ratio.
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As mentioned earlier, there are many different email marketing software solutions. If you don’t already have one of these in place, take a look at some of the options below. These were highlighted recently as the top email marketing solutions for small businesses in 2018.
You no longer need to hire an expensive design agency to create newsletters and email templates. There are many tools online that are free, which allow you to do it for yourself. Canva is a great tool that can help you to create eye-catching graphics and newsletters to send to customers.
If you implement all of the above points and stick to these four simple tools, you will see a significant increase in both your awareness and your focus, as well as positive results from your online performance.
Don’t worry if you are not tech-savvy, or if you don’t have the time to do this. At Boost Capital, we offer a range of flexible business funding solutions that could give your business a quick injection of cash to help you really make an impact where it counts.