Now that it’s the New Year, it’s a perfect time for you take stock of your startup marketing strategy, analyze how you did last year, and set up your plan for 2015. This is certainly true for us, as we had a whirlwind 2014. There are a lot of tools out there to choose from – many of which are free or, at least, “freemium” (partially free, with an additional cost for additional features). We just published a blog on a practical guide on how to successfully do startup marketing, which we compiled mostly from our learning at Denver Startup Week last Fall. This two part blog series takes startup marketing to the next step – looking at Google Analytics to understand how you’re currently doing (Part 1), and then taking a look at the most effective marketing tools we have leveraged in 2014 for growth hacking on a limited budget (Part 2). Read on to take a peak under our kimono, and learn about our recipe for startup marketing.
Before you can figure out which tools to add or subtract from your product marketer’s startup marketing toolbox, you first need to take stock of how you’re doing. We can do this through Google Analytics. As an example, let’s take a look at Baked & Branded’s Google Analytics performance for 2014.
You will also need to do this to get a baseline. Take a look at your Google Analytics performance of your website for the previous year (or previous month if you are just getting up and running with your startup and your startup marketing execution). Take a look at some of the basic metrics that Google Analytics offers – total number of session, unique users, average session duration, pages per session, and bounce rate are some of the high level numbers you will want to start monitoring. And, if you need more help, we recommend taking the Google Analytics fundamentals course offered by the Google Analytics Academy. Google offers it both for its Google Analytics for a Website, as well as Google Analytics for Mobile products. From these high level numbers, we can get a sense of how long visitors are staying on our site, that they’re probably not viewing as many pages as we would like (e.g. we need to do a better job linking calls to actions and links to the blog and other pages into our homepage). Similarly, a goal for 2015 will be to get that bounce rate down. The bounce rate is the ratio of people who click away from your site immediately over the total number of visitors. More engaging content means that people will stay and read more. The average bounce rate is around 50%, so this is obviously something we need to improve. Our new website unveiling later in the Spring should help with this.
Next, take a look in Google Analytics at the “Acquisition” section on the navigation pane to the left.
This tells you how well you are doing at things like organic search and SEO (are people finding you on Google based on your startup marketing tactics), are you effectively getting people to click on the links “directly” that Google couldn’t attribute to coming from a separate source – which can mean a number of things including:
- Typing the URL directly in to the browser
- Clicking a PDF link (for example, if you created a piece of content that had liinks embedded in it).
- Clicking a link in an email or email footer
- Visiting your site from a saved bookmark
- And more…
You can also see how many leads you got from social media marketing sources, as well as content marketing sources (referral links). And, if you tried any paid ads with those free Google Adwords, LinkedIn Ads, Facebook Ads, or Twitter Ads coupons, those will show up here as well in the “Other Advertising” section. You can click in to any of these to learn more. Here’s a closer look at how we did in social media startup marketing:
Twitter and Facebook clearly did the best for us, but some surprising sources like Hacker News and Scoop.it also made the list (we only started experimenting with these later in the year). Here’s a nice how-to guide from KISSmetrics on how to interpret social media analytics in Google Analytics.
The final Google Analytics screen to baseline is your “Referrals”:
Referrals help you figure out which websites your traffic came from. If you need help interpreting this data, or figuring our what to do with it, you may like this guide. Again, looking at these results, we can see that Twitter was a huge referral source for us, as was Y Combinator, Facebook and LinkedIn. There was also a good bit of traffic generated from some articles and blogs we published on other websites – just as Bitcoinbigfoot.com (since we accept Bitcoin), and Businesswire.com (news of our acquisition). Clicking in to Twitter, for example, will tell you which pieces of content drove the most traffic. For us, it was the link to our website, www.bakedandbranded.com.
Now you have the keys to the kingdom of Google Analytics to start poking around – you may find some amazing things! Of course, Google Analytics is just the tip of the iceberg – once you get a feel for what data is out there, and get a baseline to how you are currently doing, you can start layering in new tools, removing tactics that aren’t working, and modifying your content strategies based on what Google Analytics is telling you about your startup marketing.
That comes in our Part 2 of this blog. In the meantime, as always, feel free to contact us with your questions, or leave your comments below the blog!