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The Rough Notes Company Inc.

2020: YOUR BEST YEAR YET

2020: YOUR BEST YEAR YET

2020: YOUR BEST YEAR YET
December 23
07:07 2019

Tactical Tech

By Chris Paradiso

2020: YOUR BEST YEAR YET

Using data to drive engagement

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” —Benjamin Franklin

The million-dollar question is this: Are your digital marketing efforts working? If you’re not sure how to answer that question, there may be a problem.

It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, whether you’re an individual or an agency or outside the insurance space altogether, to be successful, you need to know where you are and then, where needed, improve your position in relation to that. How can we ever eliminate weaknesses if we never identify them? And how can we capitalize on our strengths if we don’t recognize them to begin with?

Only through accurate, clean data will we be able to move forward as an industry and achieve success.

The good news is, it’s possible to push your weaknesses aside and improve your agency’s website (also known as your marketing powerhouse) and other customer-facing platforms. The foundation of such improvement is the use of metrics and analytics within your agency. You need to find strong, quantifiable data, and that starts with Google Analytics.

Google Analytics 101

Google Analytics is a service that you can link to your agency’s website to provide you with extremely accurate data about your website’s activity, visitor engagement, audience demographics and geographic location, how people behaved on your website, and more. Go to analytics.google.com to get started. Once there, click “Sign Up” on the right side, and get the ball rolling by following the series of prompts for such things as both your and your website’s information.

You’ll need to post a privacy policy online that lets visitors know your website tracks user behaviors. For a sample privacy policy, check out ours at www.paradisoinsurance.com/privacy-policy/. If you’re not exactly sure what you’re doing when it comes to writing one, seek professional help from a website designer or an SEO specialist; that’s where we go for help at our agency.

Tracking website metrics

After setting up your Google Analytics account and properly linking your website’s information, you’ll be able to start viewing tracked data—incredibly powerful data, if you ask me. Key metrics you’ll find right on the main dashboard when you sign in are: the number of sessions, users, page views, pages per session, average session duration, bounce rate, and percentage of new sessions on your website. We’ll talk about each of these metrics individually, but first, it’s important to note that within Google Analytics you can adjust the time frame of your measured data in the upper right corner of any screen. After choosing the time frame you’d like to view, you can look at your data accordingly.

First, you have your number of sessions; that’s basically how many times your website is accessed. Your users count is the number of people who have accessed your website. Page views is the total number of your website’s pages that were accessed. Pages per session is the average number of web pages someone visited while they were on your website; average session duration is how much time the average person spends on your website after accessing it.

You can also track your bounce rate, which tells you how many people exited your website after viewing only one landing page. The last metric is the percentage of new sessions, which documents how many people who are accessing your website are visiting for the first time.

We also pay close attention to the top five sources/mediums to our website, because this shows what places on the Internet are bringing the most traffic to your agency website. For example, our top five sources over a month could be Google searches, Facebook, mobile Facebook, Pinterest, and Bing. Knowing that these platforms are bringing us the most visitors, we can be sure to focus our efforts on pushing out more quality content to them to capitalize on what is already working.

Data-driven improvement

Once you have data in front of you, what are you supposed to do with it? Thankfully, Google is very specific and detailed in its tracking, and this lets us look for specific ways we can maximize, optimize, and/or improve our online presence with all aspects of our digital marketing.

First, you will need to analyze some of the data on your Analytics dashboard. I know, that sounds kind of redundant. For each metric we discussed, you can click to produce a graph or visual representation of the data. If you see data dipped down lower than you’d like, click on that low point to get a detailed report about what happened on that day, and then figure out where you went wrong to eliminate your weaknesses. Similarly, you can also take a look at every day or spot on your charts where your data was very healthy; again, figure out why and then replicate that process in the future to get similar traction or results.

For example, if one day showed a huge dip on my graph of users, I may want to investigate what happened on that day. If I click on it and realize that it was Christmas Day, then nothing may be wrong, because you’ll almost always have less traffic on a holiday. But, if I click into a day we had a dip and see that it’s a regular workday, and there were no outside influences that factored into my data, then it’s time to look at our posts and content for the day. We can compare the good days to the bad to see which content or posts performed better, and then leverage our future posts to get more engagement online.

Other metrics

Besides social platforms, which I’ll address in my next column, there are some other places to focus on tracking and data-driven improvement. One metric we track is for activity on a widget on our website called ResponseiQ. This widget lets our customers enter their phone number and receive a call from our agency in a matter of seconds. Additionally, if our agency is closed, then the customer/prospect can schedule a call during business hours, and we’ll connect with them at that exact moment with the help of ResponseiQ’s automated system. It’s a fantastic tool, and we get around 10 calls per month on average through it. The only reason we know this is that we track our calls using the built-in analytics; we can, in turn, check which phone numbers line up with accounts that were closed in our agency’s management system to figure out the bottom line of whether or not this tool is helping our agency.

We also track our Rocket Referrals survey responses. Rocket Referrals is another automated tool, one that pushes out emails to clients on our behalf and asks them to rate our agency from 0-10 based on the service they received from us. For responses that get an eight or higher, the survey results are automatically published to our agency’s testimonials webpage. If a client provides a lower rating, our retention team reaches out to make sure we fix any problems that were brought up. For responses above an eight, our team sends them a handwritten thank you letter with a gift card for a free cup of coffee and a request that they kindly leave a review on our Google and/or Facebook pages.

If we weren’t tracking responses (and monitoring closely), we could have lost business along the way. In a business of renewals, we simply cannot have that happening.

Conclusion

As I mentioned, in the next column we’ll look more closely at tracking social platforms. But for now, I hope you see how critical this process is and how beneficial it can be when executed correctly. Given the continued advancements in technology and social media on the horizon, it’s my opinion that businesses that do not take these metrics into consideration will suffer greatly and will not be able to advance like those that do.

Only through accurate, clean data will we be able to move forward as an industry and achieve success.

The author

Chris Paradiso is president of Paradiso Financial & Insurance Services, headquartered in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. His agency won PIA National’s Excellence in Social Media Award in 2013. He also heads up Paradiso Presents, LLC, which provides social media consulting, seminars and workshops to help agencies thrive in the online marketing world. Contact Chris via email at cparadiso@paradisoinsurance.com.

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