It’s pretty easy to figure out that the most important word in “direct to fan marketing” is FAN. As Ms. Sharon Jones says, you’ve got to give the people what they want. But what do they want? And how do you figure it out?
Enter: analytics! These stats are critically important, yet they can be pretty daunting to someone with little technology literacy. Analytics are basically a snapshot of how people find you online, what they do once they get there, how long they hang out, what they read, and a little bit of demographic and geographic info about them. Being able to measure movement of traffic and popularity of certain posts, among other capabilities, opens up doors for more focused, strategic planning for you and your music.
Basically, web analytics give you the ability to study the impact that a website, post, photograph, etc. might have on your fans and followers. This is a serious tool for musicians to grow their fan base and connect with the fans for several reasons:
- Data-driven decision making
- Consistent strengthening and growth
- Measurable results
Data-driven decision making: you can understand what stories or blogs your audience wants to read by measuring page visits, and you’ll know how to attract more visitors to the site in the first place by seeing where most of your traffic (clicks into the website) are coming from. Look for trends — are they always coming for blog posts that you share via your Twitter account? Keep it up! And conversely, what do you see that isn’t working that you can give up on? Don’t waste your time OR reinvent the wheel. Track what works and keep it up.
With web analytics, you can continuously build your fan engagement with your content by using a measure-improve-repeat model. By doing this, you are constantly adapting to what your market wants and needs instead of engaging them at irregular intervals (i.e.: one post a month with huge engagement and then radio silence for weeks on end).
Plus, using web analytics means that you can see the fruits of your labors! It’s a nice balance to all those very necessary efforts — like flyer hanging, street teaming, etc. — that you never really have a way to accurately measure. By calculating your ROI (return on investment) through clicks, average time on the site and page views, you can validate your actions.
To get you started, here are some great analytics options:
- Facebook Insights (free) provides very detailed information about your follower counts, likes, comments on posts and more. (Just click ‘view Insights’ on your admin dashboard!)
- Twitalyzer (free) gives a view of your account’s impact on customers, based on followers, retweet level, and how often an account replies and engages in conversation.
- ClickTale (free to $990) reports on every action and click of your visitors and creates a heat map of interest for your site.
- 4QbyiPerceptions (free) lets you understand the WHY around your visitors: Why are they here? Why or why not are they completing what they do? Are they satisfied?
- Kissinsights from Kiss Metrics (free to $29/month) allows you to get simple, short comments from your visitors to questions that you can input.
- And of course, Google Analytics is totally free and is a must-have for any artist’s website. There’s no excuse not to be tracking valuable data!
OK, now that we have discussed why web analytics are important, what should you focus on when studying analytics?
- The basics: visits, unique visits, page views, time on site, bounce rate (who’s coming to the site and leaving immediately?)
- Site traffic: where are your visitors coming from? What pages are they spending the most time on? What is their behavior when they reach your site? (Do they click on ‘music’ from ‘about’? What do you want them to do?)
- Entry and exit points
- Conversion rates
So what in the world do you do with these numbers? There are so many different statistics and they all start running together, right? The important thing to remember is not to become overwhelmed by the information. The numbers help you to improve and build upon your content strategy and engagement with your fan base — as long as you take the time to understand them and use them to make the necessary changes. Once you can see how people are behaving on your site and how they’re getting there, you have the information you need to implement changes to your strategy to either keep up those great stats OR influence change and engage more effectively with your fans.