As a digital marketing agency, we’re often asked what the first thing a business should do to find online success (aside from building a website) and our answer is always the same – track everything. If you’ve been tracking activity then confirm the tracking is functional and methodologies are in place which are logical, cost-effective, and meet all applicable guidelines, regulations, and laws.
To be sure you’re on the right path we’ll begin at the very beginning with the proper installation of analytics software. It’ll pay to check your installation to ensure it’s functioning properly.
Proper Installation of Analytical Tracking Software
As a Google Partner, we recommend using Google Analytics as your analytics software. Over the years, we’ve found it to be the most robust option available that’s readily usable by those without a background in technology. Today, it’s recommended you set up a Universal Analytics property to get all the benefits it offers over traditional. It’s just sound planning as eventually other options will be deprecated.
There are two simple steps for setting up a Universal Analytics property in your account:
- Step #1: The very first step is checking whether or not you have an existing Google Analytics account and, if so, are you using Universal Analytics in your account. There are slightly different considerations based on whether you’ll be starting a new account or upgrading an existing one, but, assuming you’ve installed and run analytics over the last 12-18 months you’re already using UA. You can follow this link to check. In any case, you need to set up your Google Analytics account. Already done? Then move on to Step #2.
- Step #2: Now that you’ve properly created a Universal Analytics property in your account (this property being your website) it’s time to install the proper Universal Analytics tracking code for your technical environment. Again, depending on whether or not you’re setting up analytics for the first time or upgrading an existing account to UA there will be slightly different instructions you’ll need to follow. But, for the vast majority UA will already be implemented. In any event, you need to ensure the new UA code is properly implemented on every page of your website to be tracked.
Define Goals with Conversion Events
Once you’ve properly set up your Google Analytics account and implemented the tracking code across the website you can begin to think about the goals you have for your website property. A goal in analytics measures how well the site fulfills a specific, defined objective. Those fulfillment actions are called conversions and are vital to your business’ overall success. So for example, every time your contact form is filled out (completed conversion action) your contact thank you page loads (goal). Analytics keeps track of these conversions using goals established in-system. Let’s take a look at what’s involved.
- Creating A New Goal: The first step is deciding what your website goal will be and creating it inside Google Analytics. Google has some templates you can use if you don’t want to create your own. Or, you can use Google Smart Goals to get even better results from your efforts. The Analytics Help files we’ve shared below can walk you through the process much faster than we can, so visit them to get past Step #1!
- Goal Configuration Options: In Google Analytics you’re given multiple options for the type of goal you wish to create. These range from destination goals to screens per session goals and each track and record a specific kind of action. It’s important when using custom goals to ensure you choose the appropriate action type. That will guarantee you’re recording the correct activity and not skewing your conversion reporting.
- Value & Verify: Should your account meet the necessary prerequisites then you can use Smart Goals which require no setup whatsoever. We recommend using this only when you’re sure it could have no deleterious effects on your site reporting. In any case, you’ll need to assign a value to your goal that accurately reflects what that conversion action is worth to your business. Then verify goal setup using the system to generate a conversion rate. Take it with a grain of salt!
- Revising & Editing Goals: Once you have created a goal it’s yours to edit and revise at your discretion. Your Google Analytics dashboard will grant you unfettered access to your goals and allow you to modify them to your specifications. Make sure that your changes haven’t affected the functionality of your goal by verifying it again in-system. Remember, your goal will start recording data as soon as you create or edit it. This can be paused at your discretion as well.
Call Tracking Installation with Lead Scoring Capabilities
One of the most cost-effective ways a business utilizing digital marketing can keep tabs on their results is through the installation and proper usage of call tracking software with lead scoring capabilities. It’s the ideal way to stay on top of exactly what your website is doing for your business each and every day. Plus, it provides you with all the information you need to continually optimize your site’s performance. There are a variety of options for handling this, but we prefer two solutions above all the rest – CallRail and Google Forwarding Numbers. Let’s take a look at each to see what makes them so effective as digital marketing solutions:
- CallRail Call Tracking: When it comes to understanding your inbound calls there’s nothing that compares to CallRail’s software. It allows you to track calls and conversions activity in all of your marketing endeavors – from search to display, both online and off. They use dynamic number insertion to switch your number for one of their own assigned to your specific effort. This allows you to track your customer’s journey from beginning to end. And, lest we forget the best reason to use CallRail, each call is recorded to allow you to listen and score them individually. If you’re looking for the perfect Quality Control tool then CallRail was built for you.
- Google Call Forwarding Numbers: If your business uses Google Ads then you may already be familiar with Google Forwarding Numbers. These are the numbers you assign to your Call-Only Ad campaigns and Call Extensions that the system uses to track conversion actions. You insert the numbers and set up your conversion action for Calls from Ads. Then set a specific duration for the call and assign a value. We recommend using a call length of at least 3-5 minutes to filter out the calls that fail to convert due to factors outside your control. The more refined your conversion action, the more legitimate your conversion reporting will be and that’s vital to getting the most from your efforts in Google Ads.