From DM News' Special Report on Web Analytics: Why the Need for Web Analytics Consultants?

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There is little argument that your online presence is growing in importance and scale with the passing of each year. With this growing importance comes a strong need for analytics that speak to you about how your clients and prospects are experiencing your company and your brand online.

Many professionals turn to Web analytics firms to provide the marketing data they need. Literally, hundreds of on-demand reports are now available at your fingertips telling you all about the behavior of your online visitors and their buying patterns. Within a few short days you are immersed in data, which for some, becomes the dreaded "Death by Numbers" syndrome.

[DM News' Special Report on Web Analytics is available as a PDF file. To download the article click here or on the image.]

DM News Special Report on Web Analytics

Prior to Web analytics, you relied on your gut feel and instinct. Now you are empowered with real-time data, right? Yes, but remember the old adage that a little bit of information can be a dangerous thing?

It is very important that you took this first step to capture this critical information, but now you need to consolidate the right information at the right time and communicate it to the right audience to make it actionable. This is where the support of an expert professional services consultant from your Web analytics vendor or marketing agency can make all the difference.

They know how to harness the power of online data and already have put their knowledge to use for hundreds, in some cases thousands, of clients. Web analytics consultants can fast-track you to developing a culture of measurement and action-oriented marketing.

If you are a little overwhelmed at first, don't worry, you are not alone. Many companies find themselves surrounded by data, but are still at a loss for the real meaningful information, which will allow them to take action. The top challenges that businesses are having with Web analytics today, include interpreting the data, developing the right reports and acting upon their findings. Turning insights into action is the leading challenge facing marketers who aspire to use the latest Web analytics to optimize their online business.

Turning Insights into Action:

Many companies are turning to professional Web analytics consultants to help them face these challenges. A seasoned Web analytics pro can assist you in setting up a foundation to successfully tap into the power of marketing analytics to improve your online and offline marketing; drive more revenue; and save the company money by increasing the use of online customer services.

There is an absolute wealth of information that a Web analytics professional can help you harness. The power comes from knowing exactly which data to gather and how to consolidate it into meaningful and actionable information that will drive your online marketing plans. Having an expert consultant work with you can remove the guesswork and fast track you into using the most advanced best practices in the industry. Many companies consider their marketing data to be their secret weapon against their competition.

Companies often want to move quickly to optimize their online marketing activities through improving the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns and acquisition strategies to focusing on improving their site conversion points and overall customer retention.

Marketing analytics consultants can assist you in setting up your initial key performance indicators that you will use to benchmark your success to establishing your routine reports and then focusing on key areas for optimization.

Build a Culture of Measurement

There are key things that you can do to establish a foundation for building a culture of measurement and accountability in your organization. First, assure that you have a solid, professional Web analytics implementation, so that your data is sound and accurate. Second, train your people on how to access and interpret the data. Third, develop a practice of frequently reviewing and putting into action the findings of your analysis.

Communication is Critical

Make your information relevant to the audience that is reading it and make it impossible to ignore. It is often a good idea to work with your vendor's professional services team to develop a set of solid reports that are tailored to your business model. Make sure the data is presented in an easy to understand and easy-to-access format. Put the information into the format that your organization can most easily digest. For example, if your company is based on Microsoft Office, put the reports in Excel, Word, PowerPoint or even e-mail format and build your communication strategy in such a way that there is little to no effort required by your company to access and respond to the insights.

Keep in mind that not all information is appropriate for every audience. Customize your reporting so that it is relevant to the person receiving it and make the data as actionable as possible providing solutions not problems.

Conversions are King

If you are looking for the silver bullet to focus your energy on, something that will generate the fastest ROI possible on your Web analytics investment, I recommend you start your efforts by focusing on conversion optimization. Conversions can take many forms, focusing on either revenue generation or cost avoidance. A conversion can mean any response to a call to action on your Web site, including lead generation efforts such as downloading a white paper; retention efforts such as signing up for your company newsletter; or, of course, completing a purchase of your product or services online. Conversions also can be measured by what people are not doing, such as picking up the telephone and calling you. The cost of supporting clients and prospects online is a fraction of the cost of a live person supporting that customer. A successful conversion can be a person finding directions, store hours or scheduling an appointment online without calling your company. The right data in the hands of an expert consultant can be a very powerful and profitable investment for your organization.

A seasoned professional services team will assist you in transitioning from a "Death by Numbers" paralysis mode into a fine-tuned action oriented and client-centric organization.

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