3 Sources of information about your market, category and brand

Website analytics are rather like accounting systems in that they look back at what has happened and, whilst the past can be used to be help predict the future, a Balanced Scorecard approach needs to draw on other, forward-looking information.

Fortunately such data is easily available if you know where to look:

1)  Track what people are looking for

Website analytics search reports are excellent indications of what is working in terms of driving visitors to your site.  But how can you find out about that vast majority that haven'™t come to your site?  What are they looking for?

Even if you feel that Pay Per Click advertising (PPC) is not for you, there are free tools available that were created to understand what people are searching for. One obvious example is Google'™s "Keyword Tool" (https://adwords.google.com/o/KeywordTool), which provides you both Global and Local Search volumes not just of the keyword you type in, but all variations on it (including many you may not have thought of!). You can apply various filters and even enter your competitor'™s URL to find out how their site is optimised for search and therefore getting traffic for.

2)  Understand what people are saying

Social Media provides a wonderful opportunity to listen in to conversations about your own brand, your competitors and the market in general.

Being a new industry there are still many vendors with offerings at every level of sophistication (and price!).  As a minimum you should be regularly monitoring a variety of key phrases through a free tool such as Twitter or HootSuite and, if you want to interact with those conversations, consider tools like Radian6 or uberVu, which add a level of automation and aggregate reporting on metrics such as "sentiment".

3)  See what people are doing

This is where digital analytics finally comes into its own.  What Search phrases drive Visitors?  What do they search for when they get there?  Do they search for things but cannot find them?  Also, even if you think you only have a website, your visitors will get different views of you on their pc, tablet and SmartPhone.  Studies have shown people browse on a tablet and then go and buy on a pc.  Is that true for you?  Do you understand how behaviour changes dependent on the device and can you use that?

Bring it all together

To ensure that you keep ahead of the game, you should be using everything at your disposal, making it available to the key staff in your organisation and building it into the culture to use it to inform decisions.  The information is there in a way is has never been before;“ use it, your competitors will! 

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