Is your website reaching the right people for your business? If so, how do you know? If not, do you know how to reach the correct audience?
At a trade show, it’s easy to know who is visiting your booth. People are wearing company shirts and you’re collecting their business cards, and above all else you're conversing directly with them. Face to face. If you want to know who is visiting your LinkedIn page, you're one click away from accessing their business profile. On Twitter, people can tweet at you directly, and you have the ability to see who is favoriting and retweeting your tweets.
But who is visiting your site? With the right tools, you can find out exactly who is engaging with your content, and whether your content and promotion marketing efforts are targeting the right people. Let’s take a look at a few options that are simple to start out with and powerful once mastered.
Google Analytics: Demographics and Pageviews
How old are your visitors? Where do they live? Do you know their gender? In Google Analytics under Demographics, you can see the age and gender breakdown of your visitors. You can also see their location and language—variables that could drastically change the messaging and creative for your website. Hopefully, all of this data matches the audience you’ve been targeting, and if not, you now know that you need to recalibrate your messaging so it aligns with the audience engaging with your site.
Most websites target more than one audience, and have pages or sections devoted to each. J.Crew, for example, has sections of their website for Women, Men, Girls, etc.
Thrifty shoppers are likely heading straight to the Sale section. Trendy shoppers will visit the New Arrivals. What percentage are thrifty? How many are trendy? How do the buying behaviors change based on the audience? Breaking down your visitors by categories - for example, industry, functional roles, use cases, and size of company - allows you to see your reach and the shopping behavior of your visitors.
Google Ads: What ads are working?
Google Ads allows you to target audiences based on keywords. For example, in a given campaign, you may have multiple verticals, including universities and businesses. The language you should use when speaking to universities will be very different than when my target is the operations manager at a business. So, you can test headlines as well as supporting descriptions by writing a few variations and running them simultaneously.
Google Ads will do the work to rotate the ads and report on performance. It’s easy to know whether you’re reaching the right people, because you’re selecting the search terms where the ads will display. If you’re serving the right ads to the right people, they will click the ads. If they aren’t clicking, you know that either the search terms are reaching the wrong people or the descriptions are not prompting people to take action. Either way, you can dig in to find the problem—and solve it.
Ad performance is a great way to see what people are and are not responding to. And that data doesn’t only have to help you create better ads—it can be helpful across all of your content offerings. For example, you can use the data you get from each ad click to alter website text to match what activates each audience.
HubSpot: Prospects and profiles of visitors
HubSpot has a report that shows you by IP address who has visited your site. While it doesn't give you individual people—names or contact information or anything like that—if a business has registered their IP address, you can see what companies are visiting your website.
Similar to caller ID, many businesses show up in this report. This report is sort of like panning for gold, though, because some IP addresses are not registered. First of all, many or most people are working remotely right now, which means that even if they’re visiting your site during business hours, it’s on their home IP address. Even in more normal times, some visitors are viewing your site from a hotel or coffee shop, or doing so after hours. Others may be people that only visited a single page and left. But you’re still likely to find some companies you had no idea were engaged with your brand, and when you find that gold, it's worth the effort.
When people fill out a form on your website, you’ll be able to easily identify who exactly is visiting and engaging with your content. This will be a small subset of your traffic. But, it will tell you who is making it to your site, enjoying your content, and thereafter remaining engaged enough to be willing to provide their contact information. It's your best tool for learning whether the right people are visiting and encountering your content. Get to know the people, the pages they visit on your site, and how they found you.
Knowing is half the battle
Use of these three tools becomes more sophisticated as you master their basics. Hopefully, you already know who you want visiting your site. Now, it’s time to audit your traffic and see who you are actually reaching. As you get more expertise, you’ll be able to dig deeper and deeper to get better and better data— but that data is only the start.
With that data, you need to adjust...well, everything. If you’re not reaching the people you want to reach, perhaps it’s time to change your messaging to fit them better. Or maybe it’s even time to reassess whether the audience you think you want is the one that’s best suited to work with you. There’s a lot you can learn, but only if you really commit to gathering and analyzing the data that’s there. Once you do this, you can understand where you need to make adjustments to your digital strategy to reach—or change—your ideal audiences.
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