The website had been live for a month and it was all going downhill.
It didn’t start out like this. There were hundreds of hours poured into making everything just right and carefully crafted campaigns sending visitors every day. The first reports showed good revenue and a frankly fantastic sales conversion rate of 3%.
But the next time I looked, it was 2%. Then 1.5%. What was going wrong?
Well, nothing. It was exactly what I expected. But to a stressed-out business owner, these numbers looked terrifying. The site is failing!
Why would two people interpret such obviously bad results so differently?
A long time ago, when I worked in retail, I envied the prim, organised merchandisers whose sole responsibility (as far as I could tell from behind the counter) was to fluff around with enticing displays of gifts and stationery.
I know I’m not the only one!
Now as Etsy sellers, we get to “merchandise” our own online shops every day.
Check how our listing thumbnails look all together in the catalogue.
Pour over a new product page to make sure every detail is perfect.
Go through our shop policies with a fine tooth comb to make sure we aren’t accidentally committing ourselves to replacing unwanted items with a lifetime supply of Starbucks…
And I know—because I’ve spent my fair share of time there—that we do a lot of this “fluffing around” in our public shop front. You know – the exact same view that our buyers see.
The pages of our shop where our Google Analytics code runs. Those pages.
Oh… I think we have a little problem to fix.
The smell of your morning coffee still lingers in the air as your daily task list looms.
Gotta answer those customer questions…
Better update those old product descriptions…
What about that new Instagram photo challenge?
Oh and making some beautiful things. You know – the whole reason your shop exists.
Thank goodness for that coffee!
It’s hard work running a small business, especially when your online shop needs so much marketing and promotion to keep making sales. Sometimes it feels like you do more “business” than “making”.
So what I’m about to suggest might sound a little scary. We’re going to go even deeper into “business”.
The level of strategy and KPIs.
Key performance indicators? Really??!
Don’t worry, these aren’t the “awkward closed-door meetings with your boss” kind of KPI. These are the kind that focus how you measure your shop’s performance and tell you when to have a celebratory drink.
If you don’t know what success should look like, how will you know when you get there? How will you know when to crack that champagne?!
You need to figure out what your “success metrics” are, first.
I think I’m lucky. I get to talk to people about digital analytics almost every day. (Hey, it’s fun for me, ok?)
But over the years I’ve noticed something a bit silly.
Everyone’s always talking about how to measure more stuff and see more reports.
They need to capture every movement of every visitor.
They want to dip their fingers into a swirling ocean of numbers.
They’re desperate for a veritable avalanche of interactive charts straight off the set of Minority Report.
And it’s all a complete waste of time if you don’t know how to take the next step.
The most important work you will do in Analytics isn’t setting up traffic attribution or installing dashboards. It’s actually analysing your data.
And wow, can that be a daunting prospect! Where on earth do you start? What should you look at first? How do you know when something is important and what can you even do about it??
Luckily, there’s a simple place to start and it’s called segmentation. It’s the bread and butter of analysis, is super easy to learn and will make finding those important insights so much easier.
Not all traffic is equal. It’s incredibly important to be able to identify valuable visitors.
Visits that lead to sales.
Unfortunately, you can’t track Etsy sales in Google Analytics right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have conversion rates. I’m not talking purchase conversions here (sales) but goals that imply something good: engagement, getting-close-to-the-sale-ness. Then you can say what percentage of your visits met this criteria, and whether some traffic sources, products etc. performed better than others.
Let’s call this an Engagement Rate!
If you’re here, you’ve probably noticed something weird going on in your Google Analytics reports. And if you haven’t noticed anything weird, follow along and you might get a surprise.
Analytics can usually tell you, very precisely, where your visitors came from, both geographically and on the web. As you’ll find out in future posts, that’s tricky to get right when you run an Etsy shop, but there’s one problem that almost every site has these days: referral spam.
“Referral spam” is when useless, fake or malicious websites show up as having sent traffic to your site. They haven’t. At least not real people visitors.