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When it comes to your marketing efforts, you always want to track some level of return on investment. For your website, this means you need to understand what’s happening regarding visitor behavior, and you need to have a goal you can track and measure against. Frankly, if you aren’t going to measure your marketing efforts, you are wasting your time, energy and money.
Now, before you go and throw your website out the window because you aren’t really paying attention to your web analytics, let’s explore setting up a very simple, but important, goal for your site: Tracking how a visitor gets to your “Contact” or “Free Consultation” form.
Goals are a powerful feature of any web analytics platform. Google Analytics offers Goals for a variety of purposes—for example, engagement tracking, such as sharing a blog post with a social network, or inquiry tracking, such as submitting a contact form. Goals can be really simple or fairly complex, depending on what you want to track and measure. Tracking a contact form is a fairly simple goal to set up.
If you are using contact forms on your website, you probably get an email notification when someone submits an inquiry or a consultation request. You might wonder why you need to set up a Goal to track them, too. The reason is that by tracking this goal you can get metrics, such as the percentage of site visits to goal completion. This metric can help you identify usability issues with your website. For example, it might point to navigation issues. Do visitors come to your attorney profiles and then leave? What is the path most visitors take before they submit a form? This is data you will never have unless you set up a Goal to measure what’s involved.
Remember, your website is a marketing tool so you want to see how effective it is in gaining new clients. Goals assist you in this evaluation, so let’s set up a Goal to track your contact form.
We are going to assume that you have administrative privileges to your Google Analytics account and are logged into Google Analytics. To set up a Goal we need to drill down to the specific web property’s profile settings. It will take a few clicks to get to the right location.
To begin, click on the Admin link on the right side of the orange Google Analytics toolbar.
You will be presented with a list of all the accounts you are tracking with Google Analytics, associated with your email address. This could be your practice’s website or several sites—your website, blog and microsites for various practice niches, for example. Click on the account associated with your law firm website.
Once you’ve selected your firm website, click the associated web property on the Properties tab.
Next, select the correct profile for your site.
Then click on the Goals tab from the selected profile.
Once you are on the Goals tab, you will see a list of any goals you have set up. (Most likely, nothing will be listed here.) To set up a new goal, click “Create a Goal” or “Goals.” Now let’s walk through a series of steps to set up your goal.
1. Goal setup. Recently, Google introduced Goals templates to assist with setting up Goals correctly. (Note: To enable templates, you must identify your industry category in your Google Analytics account. If you haven’t done this, go to the Property Settings tab on the Properties menu and select “Law/Government” for your industry category.) If you have templates enabled, you can select a template that matches your goal. For this example, we will select “Contact us” under the Inquiry menu, and then click “Next Step.”
If you do not have templates enabled, start at the next screen.
2. Describe your Goal. There are various types of goals, so it is important to name yours something specific. For our example—setting up a Goal that tracks when a visitor submits a contact form—we will call it “Contact Us Form Submission.”
Next you will select “Destination” as the Goal type.
3. Enter Goal details. First, you need to know the URL destination you want to track. For this example, we want to track the “thank you” page that appears after a visitor submits a consultation request. To get this URL, you can look it up in your content management system, or go ahead and fill out the form and see what shows in the URL bar when you get to the “thank you” page. Copy and paste that URL minus the http://www.mysite.com/. It should look something like this: /contact-us/thank-you
Next, decide if you want to assign a monetary value to each goal. This is optional. Monetary value of tracking an inquiry like this is not the same as tracking a sale. However, you may decide that each free consultation request is worth an hour or two of your billable time. If you want to track this value, toggle that to “on” and place that dollar value in the field that appears.
The final step is deciding if you want to track a specific “funnel,” or steps a visitor has to take, to complete the form. Again, this is optional. You may want to leave the funnel open and analyze the path visitors take before they decide to use the contact form. Or you may want to track a very specific path a visitor should take to submitting a form. If you want to track a funnel, fill out the next set of fields with the pages you want your visitors to view before they fill out the form. Otherwise, leave this blank.
Click “Save” or “Create Goal.”
Now that your Goal is set up, you can view the Goal data in Google Analytics. Simply expand the Conversion menu on the left, expand the Goals drop-down menu, and then select Overview. This page and the other pages in Goals will allow you to analyze your goals against the overall traffic of your website. The last three reports in the menu, Reverse Goal Path, Goal Funnel Visualization and Goal Flow offer great visual reports on how visitors complete the goal. Goals are also included in several other reports in Google Analytics as a column of data.
Now get analyzing and start seeing how your website is converting visitors to prospects!
Frederick Faulkner IV is Principal at AIE Digital, LLC, and helps organizations be more successful online. Previously, Fred was the Manager of Digital Marketing at the American Bar Association, where he was responsible for the association’s website and many digital efforts, including working on creation of the award-winning ABAJournal.com. Fred is a Google Analytics Qualified Individual, loves the Internet, and is an amateur photographer. Connect with Fred on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.
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