Okay, it’s time for your cannabis business’s digital marketing program to get serious. Hopefully, you already have Google Analytics installed on your cannabis website. Unfortunately in 9 of 10 digital marketing programs we audit the implementation of Google Analytics is minimalist if implemented at all. To take the next step with Google Analytics and your digital marketing, you need to do more than the basics of counting visits to your site. You need to improve the picture created by the data generated by your website. But where do you start?

ideal customer personas

Who is this person? What drives them? What actions on your website would you like them to do? Start by looking at the profiles of your best customers. What attributes are shared by the top 20%? It typically won’t take long for the similarities to emerge. Talk to your best salespeople and get a sense of who it is at these firms they’re talking to. Your sales team should have a good grasp of what motivates this audience. Document these and publish them throughout your organization.

goals for tracking success

Setting up tracking goals in Google Analytics is an easy way to determine if visitors are doing what you want them to when they reach your site. The persona you developed will help identify and prioritize goals. Google Analytics allows for setting of a variety of goals and those might include sales (ecommerce enabled websites), form submissions (lead generation sites), engagement to assess effectiveness of content, or ideally a combination.

Google Analytics - Contact Page Goals

Think about the other activities on your site that indicate your connecting with the right audience. These may include visits to key pages (e.g. product detail pages), downloads (e.g. PDFs, case studies), video plays, or other site interactions you define. In addition to goal tracking Google Analytics allows tracking of site interactions via Event Tracking such as Flash and AJAX elements, site widgets, gadgets and other site content.

data filters

The old adage garbage in, garbage out holds true for analytics. Filters in Google Analytics enables removing data so that the visits from out of market or irrelevant audiences don’t cloud your view. One audience that is often overlooked when filtering is your own. Traffic can be excluded from specific domains and IP addresses. If the objective is gaining insights on perspective customers you’ll want to exclude traffic from your own organization. Filters can be used to isolate traffic. For example you may want to see how traffic to a particular subdirectory is interacting with site content.

For organizations that cater to geographic markets filters are essential. Out of market data is going to be an impairment to gaining valuable insights. Google Analytics includes both predefined filters to easily include/exclude certain traffic and custom filters to more precisely find your audience.

Google Analytics Filters

advanced segments

Occasionally you may want to analyze subsets of traffic. Advanced segmentation allows audiences to be isolated such as paid traffic, organic or mobile that led to conversions. Attributes of your site data can be broad (e.g. new vs. returning) or very specific such as visitors from a key location by way of a targeted campaign to select content.

Similar to Filters  you can use pre-defined segments or create custom segments in Google Analytics.

Google Analytics Advanced Segments

Google Analytics Demographics

custom dashboards and reports

What’s data without a report? Google’s got you covered here as well. In addition to the standard report views in Google Analytics, custom reports and dashboards can be created with a few clicks. Recently Google has developed a community oriented gallery of reports submitted by analytics professionals.  The custom dashboards can be edited and modified to suite your specific needs.

The key to a good dashboard is that it is focused and specific which leads to better readability. The ability for viewers to easily understand will improve absorbing the story your telling with the information. Dashboards tend to be more visual and high level. Reports add a layer of depth and may be more time-based. Think of a dashboard in your car. It communicates current status. A report will communicate relative performance over time.

Google Analytics Custom Dashboards and Reports

Now to bring this full circle think about what’s important to your ideal customer persona. Those attributes should be reflected in the data communicated via dashboards and reports. It’s easy to lose yourself in data. Even a modest website has the potential to generate a lot of data. When starting down the data analytics path keep it simple. There’s plenty of time to add complexity.

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