Monthly Archives: March 2010

A bit of a generic/strategy about web marketing and tracking to set a foundation for future posts about methods.

A web page isn’t much help to anyone unless someone sees it.  Every small business needs marketing, and every website needs traffic.  If you are a small business, and you want to leverage a website, you need a marketing plan.

I’ve spent the past 20 years switching between technical, management and marketing fields in the software industry, and one thing that I’ve learned is that being clear about the benefit marketing provides is essential to being successful.

From my perspective there are basically two types of marketing:

Mind-share / Branding Marketing (Positioning)

Trying to capture a potential customer’s mind, so you can occupy a space in their world in my assessment is a form of positioning.  A lot of television and print advertising is focused on this type of marketing, and there’s a lot of push among small businesses to do this well.  The catch is that it can be very hard to track effectiveness for this type of marketing, so as a result, we rarely are able to measure return on investment for our marketing money.  For small businesses without a huge marketing budget, I do not recommend investing a lot of money into this type of advertising, even on those local yellow pages ads or heavy branding concepts and videos.

For most small business owners a few cost-effective positioning and branding concepts work well.

  • Clearly communicate what you offer, what you do for clients, and how you help them.
  • Use a logo or design that sticks with people, something memorable.
  • Use naming, identity and images that are easy to understand and remember.

For small businesses, I think this is enough.  Actually, last year, I went to a lecture by the founder of one of the largest online retailers of outdoor gear, and it was his lecture that solidified this opinion for me – beyond design money, he never spent a dollar on marketing he couldn’t track…and he still had one of the #1 brands.  That convinced me of my opinion.

If you are interested in reference material on positioning, I suggest these books.  Al Ries & Jack Trout’s book is the classic – a must read for any marketing professional. You can find them in the strategy section of my recommendations, and here:

Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, 20th Anniversary Edition (by Al Ries and Jack Trout)

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk! (by Al Ries and Jack Trout)

Lead Generation / Relationship Marketing

The second type of marketing, this is when you run some kind of a program, sometimes called a “lead generation” program, designed to reach out to people and bring in potential leads for your business.  Any advertising program that specifically targets people with whom you want to do business.  This is probably 90% of the marketing most small businesses should do online, and I would categorize even Twitter, Facebook and social networking into this category…because essentially what we’re doing is building relationships to people, connections to people, who are interested in what we have to offer.

The magic combination in this type of marketing is called “name, number and permission to call (or email)” – once you’re in contact with the people, closing business is a function of sales work, which is different (we will talk about good sales techniques and where to learn them in a future post).  What we are after here is our potential client’s name, their contact information, and permission to contact them because they are interested in what we have to offer them.

The really great (and important) thing about Lead Generation Marketing is that we can track return on investment pretty clearly and effectively, and this is where good web statistics come in.

Lead Generation Marketing breaks down into steps (not entirely linear, some may be concurrent, such as #5 and #6):

  1. Craft a message (this is where your basic brand marketing is so important)
  2. Find an audience
  3. Reach out to the audience (call this a “program”)
  4. Track your responses (Analytics is a MUST for this)
  5. Gather contact information
  6. Close sales

Now, you may close sales from the first point of contact, like when someone responds to an online program with a purchase, its really great when that happens, but we need to make our business model work without that because unless you’re in an “impulse-buy” business where your product and/or service is cheap and easy to buy right away, most people take time to make a decision, even if they are interested.

In Part II of this series, we will talk about each of these steps and what makes good business sense in each step.

A “how-to” post about installing Google Analytics in WordPress.  Soon we’ll cover some strategy, traffic building and why web analytics are important, plus information on what to read in Google Analytics.

This post will describe how to set up my current favorite Google Analytics plug-in for WordPress.  I’ll be doing a Joomla plug-in soon, for those of you that use Joomla.

I personally prefer Google Analytics because they are free, relatively easy to set-up and provide more information than most need anyway.  The interface isn’t the easiest to read, but I think the fact that they are free, and provide the info needed makes up for that.  Plus, Google Analytics are ubiquitous on the web, so there are a lot of plug-ins that support them.  Just about everybody has Analytics these days, including Godaddy, Yahoo, etc…frankly so far I haven’t seen anyone giving away what Google gives away.

There are two ways to get Google Analytics into your WordPress blog; you can link the source code into the template, or you can install a plug-in.  Both methods have pros and cons.  I’d like to suggest the plug-in because if you change your template, the analytics will remain without coding.  If you like to run WordPress without many plug-ins then you’ll want to put the code in the template.

First, you need a Google Analytics account.  Go to analytics.google.com and sign up using your Google Login.  If you don’t have a Google Login, get one.  You can invite other Google Accounts to get into analytics to share information, so set up analytics in your account first and then invite them.

The piece of information you need is the tracking ID: UA-XXXXXXXX-X which you will pull out of the block of code Google gives you as you set up the analytics account.

My favorite WordPress plugin for Google Analytics at the moment is Google Analyticator by Ronald Heft because it adds a widget to the dashboard of WordPress with some basic analytics data, it works, and its pretty easy to setup.

To install that plugin, just go to “Plugins” in the WordPress dashboard, pick “Add New”, search on “Google Analyticator” and click “Install” on the right side.

Once its installed, click on “Activate this plugin” to activate it.  After the page reloads, click on “Settings” on the left-hand side to open the Settings menu and click on “Google Analytics” to enter your specific setup information.

There are two settings you have to change to get analytics tracking your site.

First, you have to enable the plug-in on the drop down menu at the top.

Second, you have to enter your tracking ID, that number that goes UA-XXXXXXXX-X which you get from the Google Analytics code block (which you will see setting up a new analytics account), right after the part that says “getTracker”:

<script type=”text/javascript”>
var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “http://www.”);
document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src=’” + gaJsHost + “google-analytics.com/ga.js’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”));
</script>
<script type=”text/javascript”>
try {
var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-XXXXXXXX-X“);
pageTracker._trackPageview();
} catch(err) {}</script>

After you’ve entered your Tracking ID and enabled the plugin scroll down and click on update.  (And by the way, if you’re embedding the code into your Template instead, that’s the code.  It should go in the Footer.php file, or at the bottom of Index.php, right above the </body> tag.)

Now, if you want your WordPress dashboard to display your analytics information, you have to also authenticate the plug-in with Google, so that it can pull the data.  Just click on the Authenticate this plugin link right under where you enabled the plug-in and log into Google.  If you’re doing this for a client, make sure and use THEIR Google account so that only their analytics accounts show up, if you have multiple ones, they’ll be visible in WordPress.

Its nice to have that little bit of analytics data right in the WordPress control panel.

So that’s it, if you got all these steps, then within 24 hours you will start seeing analytics data in your Google Analytics account!

http://ronaldheft.com/code/analyticator/