Looking at your digital footprint holistically is essential, but using Google Analytics with your development page can provide key insights into your growth strategies.
Google Analytics can be one of the most powerful tools for marketers in franchise development. While many professionals understand its power to uncover insights into your brand’s marketing and digital strategy, many are not using it to its full potential or are making some common, but crucial mistakes.
Franchise development professionals should follow these 10 tips to optimize Google Analytics for the strongest leads.
1. Check the referral source. This is the top metric to monitor on Google Analytics. Where is all of your traffic coming from? What initiatives are most successful in driving people to your website. This is step number one, before looking into what users are doing once they are on the site.
“In franchising, every brand is chasing this unicorn moment — the one thing that brings them magical leads. The referral source won’t help you find the unicorn because it doesn’t exist,” explains No Limit Agency Chief Brand Strategist, Nick Powills, “but it will help guide you toward data that reveals what is directing traffic to your site.”
2. Remember, not all traffic is created equal. You’ve checked the referral source, but some traffic may not be what it seems. Powills explains, “some traffic to your site can be misinterpreted; consumers landing in the wrong place, competitors evaluating your brand or suppliers looking to work with you.”
3. Look into time spent on the site by users. It’s important to know if the people you are sending to your site are actually staying there. Determining if users stay will help show if you are reaching the right people, those who are actually interested in learning more about your franchise brand and may one day invest.
4. Evaluate the bounce rate. “Your ads may technically be working online, but you may be driving people that are undercapitalized, and you may be wasting marketing dollars on the wrong people,” said Sean Fitzgerald, No Limit Agency Chief Development Strategist.
5. Consider website traffic when analyzing your development pipeline. As a franchisor, you know how long it takes people to make a decision to buy into your brand, and it will likely take more than one website visit or form to drive that life-changing decision. With that in mind, some percentage of your pipeline value should be informed by website traffic.
“The traffic on your site that hasn’t filled out a form is still important to your potential pipeline. I recommend including one percent of total traffic as realistic potential buyers of your brand,” said Powills.
6. Add conversion tracking to your site. Brands often overlook this opportunity. Conversion tracking gives you the ability to see what actions users are taking once on your site. That allows you to see which initiatives are driving traffic, and which are driving conversions.
But Fitzgerald warns against putting too much stock in conversion tracking. “While it is a good indicator, it is not the golden rule. You will only be able to see users that take the action directly from the link you are tracking. If they open another window to search, they won’t be tracked.”
7. Keep in mind, not everything is trackable. Users can take many different paths to find your site and learn about your brand. They might read an article about your brand, but instead of clicking on the hyperlink, they search for the brand on Google. “Overanalyzing is one mistake many people make. Look at the data as a collective review of your activity,” said Fitzgerald.
8. Your franchise development website is only one part of your brand’s web footprint. Make sure to look at all of your initiatives collectively in addition to the Google Analytics from your franchise development website. Social media pages and your brand’s consumer site are good resources for candidates who may be researching your brand before getting in touch with the franchise development team.
“We’ve run campaigns where the Google Analytics showed traffic to the consumer site increasing in areas where we did franchise development initiatives. Someone might look at the analytics and misread that,” said Fitzgerald.
9. Dedicate more of your budget to geographic locations where you see higher amounts of traffic. If there is a particular city, state or region responding to your messaging, put more focus there. Many brands strive for a localized approach in franchising, and looking at the site’s performance in specific regions through Google Analytics can help with that strategy. Powills notes, “concentric growth has proven time and time again to be the best way to grow a franchise brand.”
10. Google Analytics is not perfect! The amount of time it takes someone to decide to buy a franchise and the fact that not everything is trackable can skew the data. Fitzgerald recommends “using Google Analytics as a dashboard of indicators, but make sure not to overanalyze it.”