Today’s customer is a difficult one to advertise to. They use digital video recorders to skip television commercial. They forgo publically listed landline telephones in favor of private, mobile numbers so as to avoid telemarketers. They thumb through newspapers, magazines, and junk mail so quickly that paper advertisements become nothing more than a waste of resources. That seems to leave the internet as the only viable arena in which to advertise, but even that is becoming difficult. Adblocker and other extensions now make it possible for net-users to browse the web without browsing popups and banners ads. However, despite the fact that old as well as new advertising avenues are being blocked left and right, there is still one way that small businesses can draw in potential customers: through content marketing.

Content marketing doesn’t tell the customer what he or she should do; instead, it presents the customer with valuable or entertaining internet content, and then allows the consumer to make their own choices. Of course, for this ‘inbound’ strategy to be successful, businesses need to be able to create high-quality content that readers will appreciate. So, how do should they go about doing it? Well, by looking at the numbers, of course.  

Google Analytics is an invaluable tool for anyone who operates a blog as part of their online marketing strategy. If you aren’t analyzing which posts are the most popular, you’re indeed just throwing ideas at the wall and guessing as to what’s sticking. Analytics can be the best way to not only see what’s working, but to also really analyze what works for your business and to develop future content marketing ideas. At least 50.1% of websites use Google analytics to help them better understand and drive traffic. Here is how you can use Analytics more effectively in your efforts to successfully market your business.

1 – Find a Common Theme among Popular Posts

Website conversion rate is nearly 6 times higher for businesses that use content marketing than it is for those that don’t. That having been said, not all pieces of content are as effective as others. When viewing your blog’s statistics, you’ll be able to see your blog posts clearly ranked by popularity. When you look at the top five posts, you should try to determine if there is any common theme that unites them. For example, if you are a home repair service, perhaps your top posts all seem to be about DIY home improvement strategies. Or, if you are a cosmetics company, maybe detailed makeup tutorials consistently do better than simple product reviews.

Whatever theme you determine results in the most popular posts should be the basis for your future marketing strategies. If you have successfully pinpointed the one thing that your readers seem to love above all else, then you have the potential to create an entire strategy around it. To relate back to the above examples, that home improvement company could promote a “DIY week” on social media, offering coupons and incentives to those who submit their best DIY tips. The cosmetics company could hold a similar promotion, inviting readers to submit their own tutorials. The key is to, quite simply, give the people what they want. Let popular opinion determine your content, and promote that content in a way that makes sense with the subject matter.

2 – Look At the Keywords That Bring Readers to Your Blog

This is a simple tip that is essentially the basis for all online content marketing, and yet so many otherwise-sensible businesses seem to ignore it. 93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine, and those search engines run on search strings made up of keywords. One of the greatest benefits of Analytics is that it shows a clear path through which readers arrived at your website.

Once you have identified the keywords that seem to consistently bring readers to your blog, you need to feature them more often. Of course, simply stuffing keywords into your site willy-nilly is unethical, and likely to draw the attention of a Google site audit. However, by tailoring your site to fit these keywords in a natural way will not only allow you to capture more traffic, but you’ll also be able to provide your site visitors with more of what they want.  

General keyword data pertaining to your niche is fine, but there is no substitute for data on what’s actually already working for your business. The keywords that consistently bring readers to you should be used organically and frequently, to ensure that you claim a monopoly on those who seek out those terms online.

3 – Look at What’s Not Working

Analytics is a great way to get an idea of what’s working and what you should do more of in the future. However, it’s also vitally important to determine what’s not working. Just as you should analyze your top five posts for a common theme, you should do the same with your bottom five. Do posts about extremely general concepts always fall flat? Do readers seem to ignore posts that are overly promotional? If you can identify what consistently doesn’t work, you can eliminate it from your marketing strategy altogether. This will save your company from wasting time and energy on content and strategies that just plain don’t work for your business.

Remember, the ultimate reasons why you maintain a blog on your website is (1) to improve customer retention and engagement and (2) to try to connect with your potential customers. Don’t waste energy throwing ideas out into the universe and hoping that they work. Instead, take time to routinely analyze what’s working and what isn’t. By doing so, you can figure out what consistently drives people to your website and then base your marketing efforts around those common keywords and themes. Use this invaluable data to your advantage and create marketing campaigns that already have a built-in track record for success.

About the Author: Cameron Johnson is a business consultant and entrepreneur. Over the course of his career he has conducted case studies on both social media optimization and non-profit marketing. Cameron has also had the opportunity to speak at international business conferences and was recently recognized as one of the world’s top 100 advertising experts to follow on social media.