Online Tracking Tools to Grow Your Business
The last thing any photographer wants to do is crunch numbers. Web stats are somewhat reminiscent of doing taxes. That is, until… I uncover a golden nugget of information that will help produce more customers. Yes, I’m serious. Analyzing web metrics can grow your business. Here’s one of the lessons from my free photography marketing strategies email class.
Tracking Social Media
You can create a short but trackable link in social media posts at http://bit.ly. This activity can grow your business by getting the most bang out of every Tweet or Facebook post. Here’s an example of measuring some tweets I did with bit.ly while writing this.
I can quickly see the style and type of content that my audience will react to. Even in a small example, the difference between 4 clicks and 23 clicks can make a big impact on sales. Things you can track when talking on social sites:
- Style of the post – there are a million ways to deliver the same message. Does informal, instructive, inquisitive, direct, or shocking work better for your content?
- Timing of the post – posting something Monday morning instead of Sunday night can have a difference of 10x. Do the same post at different times to see which gets the most response
- Quantity of posts – the more you post, the more chances you get someone to click. Consider only 10 or 25% may see your post, either because they are offline, or simply missed it. How many times can you post the same thing before nobody clicks it anymore?
Tip: Hootsuite and Twitterfeed are two services I’ve used to schedule posts to my Twitter and Facebook accounts. It’s a lot easier to test and track when I can write 5 social posts at the same time, and schedule them to publish or repeat whenever I want.
Google Analytics is a free online system that tracks traffic to your website. The 3 most helpful reports to growing your business are:
- Content > Top Content
- Traffic Sources > Referring sites
- Traffic Sources > Keywords
Between these reports, you can see where your traffic is coming from and where users are going on your website. Each one helps uncover opportunities to get more traffic and to convert that traffic into real dollars.
From the left navigation in Google Analytics click Content then Top Content. By default you can see the top 10 URLs your audience visited while on your website, including how much time they spent on each URL. This report shows your most valuable pages so you can pay more attention to them. You may have a blog post, or a very old gallery that is one of the top visited pages on your website and perhaps you’re not doing everything you could possibly do on that page to get a sale. Make sure those pages are up to date with the latest information, best photos, recent awards, testimonials, and clear contact information. Spend 90% of your time on the top 10% of your pages and you may be able to double the amount of contact requests you receive.
Click Traffic Sources then Referring Sites for a list of all the sites that sent you traffic via a link. Look for forums, indicating someone there is talking about you and you need to talk back. If you have any paid ads on other sites, look to see how many people they are sending your way. Was it worth the money you invested? Find other blogs linking to you and thank them!
My report shows that I get more visitors from Facebook than Twitter, and next to zero traffic from Flickr. Was the time I put into Facebook worth the traffic I generated? Is my report telling me nobody looks for me on Flickr and I shouldn’t waste my time there?
Click Traffic Sources then Referring Sites for a list of all the keywords people clicked in search engines to reach your site. How many keywords don’t include your name? Uncover what people are looking for to find you and where there are gaps. If you want to be known for a particular phrase or venue in your area and it’s not in the list, take some steps toward search engine optimization to help users find you for those words. You may find a lot of traffic coming through a particular keyword, meaning it ranks well and generates client leads for you. Create more pages about that topic, or similar topics to get more traffic from the same source.
Tracking web stats weekly or monthly tells a photographer what works well so it can be repeated, and what doesn’t work well and should be avoided. Comparing numbers through tracking links and Google Analytics reports help to focus on the most valuable content in order to reach the most potential customers and turn them into new clients.
About Zach Prez
I’m a dad and social cyclist who loves to talk marketing over a cup of Lipton tea. I contribute to dozens of photography business sites. Connect with me on Facebook at http://facebook.com/zachprez. I wrote Photography Web Marketing Guide to help photographers get more clients with photography websites. At only $29, you’re going to make your money back with your first booking. It’s a no brainer.