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Marketing

3 Insights You Can Learn About Your Freelance Business from Google Analytics

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As a solo freelancer, you probably don’t have the budget to conduct big market research studies like the big guys to learn how to improve your business - things like how to improve your sales process, or where your customers are coming from, or a million other market research questions.

I’m here to tell you that you have a little tool (well maybe not so little) to give you the answers to many of these questions, which provides insights into how to grow your freelance business. That tool is Google Analytics.

Let’s get started with DIY market research in this lesson.

How Can I Improve My Sales Funnel?

Okay. So maybe you don’t have a big, fancy, elaborate sales funnel as a freelancer. But let me tell you - you DO have funnels in your business and you CAN use Google Analytics to show you how to improve them.

You may be saying, "No, really, my business isn’t fancy. I really don’t have any funnels."

Do you have a contact page? Do you have a services page? Do you have an email newsletter sign up? Do you have any multi-step process at all on your website? Then you, my friend, do have funnels. And Google Analytics can measure them.

With the Funnel Visualization view (found in Conversions - Goals in Standard Reporting), Google Analytics will show you exactly how many people are entering your funnel and where they are exiting.

With Google Analytics funnels, first set up each desired action as a goal. (Don’t have goals set up yet? Check out how to set up Google Analytics goals in my simple walkthrough).

With the Funnel Visualization view (found in Conversions - Goals in Standard Reporting), Google Analytics will show you exactly how many people are entering your funnel and where they are exiting.

Let’s say your email marketing sign up process looks like this: a visitor enters information into a contact form on your site, then the visitor is sent to a please confirm your email page, next the visitor is sent to a thank you page, after clicking a confirmation link in their email.

If Google Analytics shows you that a lot of people are getting to your Please Confirm Your Email page, but you’re not seeing a lot of signups, or they’re not proceeding to your Thank You page, then you have yourself a funnel problem -- but one you can handle. You know exactly where you’re losing signups, instead of wistfully wondering why no one is signing up for your newsletter. From here, you can work with your email service provider for ideas on how to plug this funnel hole.

Market Penetration (Where in the World Are Your Site Visitors Coming From?)

Not sure if you’re reaching the right geographic with your market? Google Analytics can show you exactly where your visitors are coming from.

To see your Google Analytics map, head to Audience > Demographics > Location in Standard Reporting. From here, you can see as high up as a continent level visitor count to as specific as city level.

How does this data help? Maybe a large percent of your visitors are three time zones away from you. This may indicate that your active communication (email marketing, twittering, teleconferences, etc.) could use some altering.

Perhaps your visitors don’t live anywhere near you and you need to increase your local SEO attention because you serve a local market. If location has any influence at all on the way you conduct business, this insight is one you could benefit from learning.

Who Are Your Biggest Referral Sources?

Online, that is. Google Analytics can tell you not only who’s sending you the most visitors, but also who’s sending you the best converting traffic.

Simply head to Conversions > Goal Flow in Standard Reporting. If you have your goals set up, this page will tell you EXACTLY what sources are sending you the most converting traffic.

How does this help? Knowing which online marketing channels are sending you actual conversions allows you to clear up some of your schedule. If you’ve been active with one specific channel or website for six months and haven’t seen any conversions, it’s time to think about dropping it.

If you wrote one post for a blog four months ago and regularly see conversions from it? Maybe it's time to write another for that same source or use that post as part of your portfolio that you show prospective clients.

Running a freelance business means how you choose to spend your time has a direct impact on how well your business does. These insights will help you choose more wisely.

Are there other insights you’d like to learn about your freelance business? How do you use analytics to strengthen your business. Let us know in the comments!

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