Long-time Grok readers already know that we regularly use buying stages as a part of our OnTarget subscription analysis. This kind of approach to making your website better definitely can get more conversions on your site, as evidenced by this case study Melissa Burdon wrote about the first test she ran with one of her clients. If you have no idea what buying stages are, here is a brief introduction. We categorize prospects into one of these three categories based on their intent or propensity to buy:
Get details about these 3 stages of the buying process and how they apply to various website goals in Brendan Regan’s post “The 3 Stages of the Buying Process: Expanded Definitions.”
Having an awareness that there are 3 stages of the buying process for prospects who visit your site can help you to create content that speaks to all 3 buying stages to get more conversions on your website by:
One method we use with our clients to get an understanding of their site’s performance for each buying stage segment is to create custom segments in Google Analytics. Doing this can be a great way to start to form your own hypothesis about where to begin testing on your site as well. Here’s what you need to do:
The first step to creating custom segments by buying stage is to pull a sample of your top keywords. Look to your Google Analytics Traffic Sources (you can even specify by paid or non-paid keywords) for this list. We suggest at minimum listing your top 50 keywords.
Once you have this list, you can sort them into buying stage categories by the intent (or level of commitment to your particular product) behind the keyword. For example, let’s say that you’re company name is “Socks Rock” and you specialize in selling custom design socks. An example of an early stage keyword to your site could be “socks,” a middle stage keyword could be “custom design socks,” and a late stage keyword could be “socksrock.”
Once you have your list of segmented keywords, the next step is to create your custom segments in Google Analytics. Brendan recently wrote a detailed article you can read to get step-by-step instructions to create custom segments. To create a custom segment for buying stages, use the “Traffic Sources” dimension and a condition of “regular expression.” Then simply enter the keywords for each category separated by a pipe. Of course you’ll need to do this for each buying stage. Once you have created your segments, you can select custom segments to get an idea of how many visitors you have on site for each segment and how well each segment is converting.
Here is an example of the dashboard in Google Analytics for one of our clients with the “All Visits,” “Early Stage,” “Middle Stage,” and “Late Stage” custom segments selected (click on the image at left to enlarge). Just by taking a quick glance, you can see that the majority of visitors landing on the site are from early stage keywords, however visitors that came to the site from middle and late stage keywords had more pageviews and viewed more pages per visit.
Seeing data like this could be a hint to take a look at what early stage keywords are driving traffic to the site, and to check out their associated landing pages. You may want to test one of these landing pages against a revised version that provides prospects with more information aimed at early stage needs. This example only skims the surface of what you can do with custom segments to gain invaluable insight into your visitors. If you’d like to get specific direction from a website conversion specialist about what to do on your site, reach out and ask how we can help.