Sunday, March 24, 2013

Vegetarians Eat Up Web Analytics

Vegetarians Eat Up Web Analytics

For online marketers, here is some food for thought: approximately 10 million vegetarians live in the United States. Millions more admit they want to adopt a "more vegetarian" lifestyle by reducing their intake of meat and dairy. The first step to cultivating this market is a well-designed Web site. But to make competitors green with envy, companies must utilize Web analytics.

Web analytics helps sellers understand:

who and where their customers are;

what keywords attract them to the Web site;

what information they seek; and,

on what page and why they leave the site.

In the diverse vegetarian market, online behavior is hard to predict. People buy products for a wide variety of reasons --everything from health and weight loss to expressing political and social concerns. Vegetarian consumers run the gamut in terms of age, geographic location, education, income, and buying habits.

For these reasons, Web analytics plays a critical role in Web site performance: tools such as Google(TM) Analytics and Omniture(TM) allow sellers to pinpoint their customers and sharpen marketing programs.

What to advertise. Keyword analysis reveals the search terms visitors use on search engines to enter the site. Besides refining the customer profile, keyword analysis improves keyword-optimized Web site content and pay-per-click, or PPC, advertising. Keyword analysis of internal site search terms provides valuable marketing insight as well.

Where to advertise. Referrer data shows the volume of traffic each search engine sends to the site, helping marketers determine where to focus their PPC efforts. Understanding where to advertise stretches ad budgets, increases click-through rates, and adds customers.

How to advertise. Advertising campaigns continuously improve thanks to Web analytics. With split testing, marketers can compare click-through and conversion rates for slightly different e-mail blasts, newsletters, and PPC ads. As they systematically refine their approach with stronger content, graphics, and page navigation, marketers gain the edge in search engine visibility and site traffic.

Total customer satisfaction. New and existing customer profiling is possible with advanced analytics tools. Sometimes behavior differs in important ways. For example, if a disproportionate number of new visitors exit from a particular page, it may indicate confusing language or navigation that returning customers grudgingly put up with. If regular customers always order supplement "A" with food item "B", the products might be bundled to attract new business.

In the vegetarian world, using guesswork for Web site development and search marketing bears little fruit. With analytics tools readily available at little or no cost, it is easy enough to transform an online business from small potatoes into a healthy pile of crisp, green lettuce!

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