Getting the Most From Your Analytics Data: Are You Reaching Your Target Audience?

jpeg-4Collecting data and gathering information is only valuable if you match this data with tangible outcomes and goals. Identify key goals for your website, then use your analytics data to determine if these goals are being met. Common goals might include:

>> Increasing the number of registrations or member sign-ups

>> Increasing the number of downloads for free or paid products

>> Increasing the number of views for key pages

>> Increasing the number of returning visitors

One of Google Analytics’ best features is that it allows you to run a variety of reports that are relevant to your website. You can filter reports for any number of variables to cross-analyze your data. For example, you can compare how much time a new visitor is spending on your site compared to a returning visitor.

Once you have settled in on your goals, you can work on optimizing your site for those goals and use your analytics data to see if your efforts are bringing you closer to the desired result. Often your website is one of the biggest connections to your target audience, and its only logical to check up on its health and progress.

If you need a little kickstart with Google Analytics, try reading the Google Analytics User Guide. You also might want to check out Avinash Kaushik’s Web Analytics blog. Kaushik wrote the bestselling book “Web Analytics – An Hour a Day” and maintains an up to date blog with useful analytics information.

Occam’s Razor: Web Analytics Blog

How Well is Your Website Working for You? Understanding Google Analytics Data

jpeg-3You already know that Google Analytics is an invaluable tool for helping you work on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Google Analytics allows you to track trends over time.

For example, if you make a major change to the content of your website, then you will be able to use Google Analytics to compare visitor behavior before and after the change. Knowing how the change effects your visitors will help you determine whether or not the change you made is effective.

In this post, we’ll go over the different types of data Google Analytics provides you and what that means for your website. Here are a few of the most important kinds of data Google Analytics will show you:

  • Bounce rate: Bounce rate is the percentage of people who land on a page on your site and then immediately leave without penetrating your site any further. A high bounce rate (over 50%) might mean visitors didn’t find the content of that page compelling enough to keep them exploring the site. Keep in mind that a bounce rate can vary depending on what type of site you have or what type of content is included on the landing page. For example, many people visit a blog just to quickly read the most recent post. This isn’t necessarily bad.
  • How people reached your site: Your analytics data will tell you which visitors found you directly by typing in your URL, which were referred to you by another site, and which found you through a search engine.
  • Direct traffic, or default traffic, includes visitors who typed in your web address or who used a bookmark.
  • Referral traffic consists of visitors who came to your site from an outside link: an affiliate link, a directory, or maybe from a link you posted on your Twitter or LinkedIn. Google Analytics will tell you what site the referral visitor came from so you can know which sites are giving you the most traffic.
  • Search engine visitors are those who used a major search engine to find your site or who clicked through a linked post as part of a paid search campaign. As Google Analytics will tell you which search engine the visitor used, then you are able to analyze this data along with the keywords used in their search to find out which search engines are working best for you and why.
  • Traffic from Keywords: Analyzing the keywords visitors used to find your site and looking at your bounce rate can give you some idea of what your visitors were expecting to find on your site. A high bounce rate can indicate that you have not met their expectations for the keywords they used in the search engine. Knowing this would help you to find new keywords for your website and to optimize your site better to meet visitor expectations.

Using the data from Google Analytics will help you to better understand your visitors and ensure that they’re getting what they want from your site.

Google Analytics: The Free Key to Better Search Engine Optimization

jpegIf you’re trying to bring more traffic to your website (and who isn’t?), then you’ve begun to dabble in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). While daunting at first, SEO can be made much easier with Google Analytics, a free tool that allows you to learn more about your website visitors.

Google Analytics is a handy program that allows you to learn more about your website visitors. You can use Google Analytics to find out where your website visitors came from, the keywords they used to search for you, how long they were on your site (to the second!), how many pages they visited and more. This invaluable and easy to use tool will help you streamline your SEO and online marketing strategies.

To install Google Analytics onto your website, go to the Google Analytics website and open a free account. You will receive an html code to put on your website – it’ll just take your web designer a few minutes to insert the code. Data will become available to you in 24 hours or less once the code has been put on your site.

You may already be getting statistics from your web designer or hosting company, but with Google Analytics you can see in depth data for yourself in just seconds. Google Analytics will give you charts and graphs which will enable you to view the statistics of your website traffic.

You can begin optimizing your website within weeks of installing analytics. If you pay careful attention to the data you receive, you can make smart, efficient changes that will increase traffic to your site.

If you’re using multiple SEO techniques, chances are you don’t really know which ones are effective and which ones aren’t. With Google Analytics you can see exactly which of your online efforts are bringing in the best results, allowing you to focus your energy on the methods that work. If you are ready to try out Google Analytics or just want to see an example of how it works, visit their website here.

3 Reasons to Choose iContact over Constant Contact

First off, let me tell you that I am receiving no compensation from iContact nor do I have a customer service horror story about Constant Contact.  What follows is simply my opinion.

Why I think that non-profits should use iContact instead of Constant Contact for their mass e-mail communications.

1.  iContact is cheaper.

Here is a pretty graphic from their website illustrating this fact:


2.  iContact gives you added features without extra cost.

With iContact, you get lots of other great features without spending extra money.  The two biggies for me are the fact that you can do surveys and have a public newsletter archive.  These are two very powerful tools for non-profits.  We all know how useful a survey can be but have you ever thought about what you could do if you could post a URL to your last e-newsletter?  This is what the public archive allows you to do.  Not only can you send messages to the people on your list, but you can share that same message with your Facebook fans, Twitter follwers, blog readers, etc.

3.  Better control of custom HTML.

Let’s say you have paid a designer to create a custom HTML e-mail template for you.  That is super for the first month when they are sending it out for you.  But what do you do in the upcoming months when you don’t have super HTML skills?  iContact provides three tabs that let you easily access the HTML as well as make edits in a preview fashion that doesn’t require any HTML knowledge.



Are you wondering if they have a non-profit rate?  Yes, they do.  And they have all of the list segmentation tools and stats that you are used to.  If you are using Constant Contact consider saving a lot of money per year and switch to iContact.

Arts .Org Web Rock Stars

There are lots of great examples of large corporations and companies who are using the web and social media in innovative ways.  These are excellent inspiration for us arts marketers.  I find myself wondering, “That is great, but how would I apply that?”  Or, “That would be really cool, but we don’t have a need for something that involved.”

That said, where are the arts .orgs that we can use for inspiration?  Who is out there doing really great things?  I’ve got three examples for you that demonstrate using different aspects of the web and social media:



This interactive brochure is, quite simply, awesome.  It has all of the elements of a regular brochure (as the name suggests) plus sound clips, performance videos, and video commentary.  This is truly a prime example of true audience engagement through the use of an organization website.  Bravo!



In a fantastic little daily ode to #operaplot, Eric McKeever of Opera Columbus tweets an opera plot in haiku form.  There are no prizes if you guess the correct opera, just personal satisfaction and an @reply for your Twitter username.  I have found myself racking my brain many times at his clever prose, clearly showing the value of this small (and FREE) way to get your audience involved.



So many arts .orgs have YouTube channels, but many of them are simply repositories for performance videos.  Whilst that is a very valid use of a YouTube channel, it lands a bit flat in terms of engagement.  New York City Ballet‘s YouTube channel is a fantastic example of the power of original, behind-the-scenes content.  One of my favorite videos features endearing footage and commentary of the dancers when the were children.


All three of these examples can be used as a foundation for projects at any size arts .org.  Looking for a first fore into video?  Create a simple vlog that would require minimal editing.  Hesitant to dive into Twitter?  Maybe put more effort into your Facebook fan page.  Don’t have the budget for complex web features?  Simply post links to additional content (YouTube, outside websites, etc.) on your site.  Be creative!

4 Tips To Help You Write a Group Sales Intro Letter

Do you want to include a letter with your group sales brochure?  Not sure where to start?
In general, letters to ticket buyers (or potential ticket buyers) should be rather short (no more than 3 paragraphs) and written in a personable tone.  Consider these thoughts when you craft the letter:
1.  Remember that the group leader needs to feel comfortable with you.  They are about to start a long-term relationship with you – there is a certain amount of trust involved.
2.  Put yourself in the shoes of the group leader.  What would make you take the leap of faith to get your group tickets?  It may be the fact that you have a flexible payment plan.  It may be that you are looking for premium seating.  It may be that you want to be able to cancel the order at any time without penalty.
3.  Tell them something they don’t already know.  Is there some neat factoid or piece of information that they might not know?  This could be something related to one of the shows or about the organization as a whole.  
4.  Remember that the average group leader doesn’t really want a “sales pitch.”  They just want good seats for their group and a smooth process to get them. 
Go ahead and be brave!  Go with your gut instinct.  Your brochure is going to sell the product.  The letter is to get people to buy the product from you personally.

Brochures A-Go-Go

Ladies and gentlemen:  it’s that time of year again!  Time for group sales brochures!

As per usual, e-mail me a PDF of your brochure and I’ll post it online so we can all learn and share.

More Arts .Orgs on Twitter!

An updated list of arts organizations on Twitter: 


ldn_snf / London Sinfonietta

Balletmiami / Cuban Ballet Miami

WNYBallet / Western NY Ballet

BoulderBallet / Boulder Ballet

joffreyballet / The Joffrey Ballet

PghBallet / Pittsburgh Ballet

ALSymphony / Alabama Symphony

SanDiegoSymph / San Diego Symphony

HouSymphony / Houston Symphony

fairfaxsymphony / Fairfax Symphony

NYYouthSymphony / NY Youth Symphony

FryeArtMuseum / Frye Art Museum

longbeachopera / Long Beach Opera

KravisCenter / Kravis Center

BocaRatonMusem / BocaRatonMuseum

aspenmusic / Aspen Music Festival

SymphonyNS / Symphony Nova Scotia

CityBalletSD / City Ballet SD

CincyPlay / Cincinnati Playhouse

cincinnatichoir / Cincinnati Choir

nationalballet /

DallasSymphony / Dallas Symphony

amaopera / Amarillo Opera

peninsulasymph / Peninsula Symphony

DetroitSymphony / Detroit Symphony

ncsymphony / NC Symphony

PortsSymphOrch / Portsmouth Symphony

CO_Symphony / Colorado Symphony

seattlesymphony / Seattle Symphony

CarolinaBallet / Carolina Ballet

NVBallet / NV Ballet Theatre

BalletDM / Ballet Des Moines

scottishballet / Scottish Ballet

ColoradoBallet / Colorado Ballet

MetOpera / Metropolitan Opera

SeattleOpera / Seattle Opera

LyricOperaSD / Lyric Opera SD

TheAtlantaOpera / The Atlanta Opera

FlaglerMuseum / Flagler Museum

CalgaryOpera / Calgary Opera

HouGrandOpera / Houston Grand Opera

philamuseum / Phila. Museum of Art

Opera_North / Opera North

MarinSymphony / Marin Symphony

spokanesymphony / Spokane Symphony

gvillesymphony / Greenville Symphony

coronasymphony / Corona Symphony

FVSymphony / Fox Valley Symphony

V_S_O / Vancouver Symphony

Indy_Symphony / Indy Symphony

TorontoSymphony / Toronto Symphony

SanFranSymphony / San Fran Symphony

C_S_O / Columbus Symphony

londonsymphony / London Symphony Orch

OrlandoBallet / Orlando Ballet

okcballet / Oklahoma City Ballet

AtlantaBallet / Atlanta Ballet

TBTheater / Texas Ballet Theater

opera_exhibit / OPERA Amsterdam

sarasotaopera / Sarasota Opera

OperasCanadian / Operas Canadian

WNOtweet / Welsh National Opera

OperaColumbus / Opera Columbus

RoyalOperaHouse / Royal Opera House

cincinnatiopera / Cincinnati Opera

VancouverOpera / Vancouver Opera

NashvilleBallet / Nashville Ballet

sfballet / San Francisco Ballet

HoustonBallet / Houston Ballet

BirminghamOpera / Birmingham Opera Co

SacramentoOpera / Sacramento Opera

MNOPERA / The Minnesota Opera

AustinOpera / Austin Lyric Opera

kcopera / Lyric Opera of KC

NashvilleOpera / Nashville Opera

LondonLyric / London Lyric Opera

CanadianOpera / CanadianOperaCompany

ChicagoOpera / ChicagoOperaTheater


BaltSymphony / Baltimore Symphony

chicagosymphony / Chicago Symphony


LACOtweets / LA Chamber Orchestra

operatheater / Center City Opera

vaopera / Virginia Opera

operaboston / Opera Boston

ARSymphony / Arkansas Symphony

nashvillesymph / Nashville Symphony

atlantasymphony / Atlanta Symphony

nwsymphony / New World Symphony

MuseumModernArt / Museum of Modern Art

Box Office vs. Group Sales

My newest (cyber) friend is Erin Vargo who is the Audience Development and Group Sales Manager at The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle.  She recently sent me a very interesting blog post from the off-stage right blog:

Better box office and front of house service keeps your customers coming back – almost as much as your programming

She accompanied the link with her thoughts:

In my past life, I worked in marketing and PR for big box retail (Borders, followed briefly by B&N), and I am in total agreement about the massive disconnect between the “front lines” and the folks who often make the decisions.

We happen to have some of the best frontline staff anywhere, here at the theatre. And there’s certainly less of a gap in terms of the people who actually provide customer service and the folks in director-level positions. BUT still – for group sales in particular – I think we can learn from this.

As sellers of group tickets, as caretakers of the “big evening out” for people, as customer service representatives ourselves, we directly affect our income by virtue of the service we provide, and the information we gather. We have changed several practices here, based on repeated feedback from customers (for example, allowing multiple credit cards to be added and charged for a group; adding phone access to promotions formerly accessible online only, etc.). Then we let them know that we listened and changes our ways because we value them. It makes a difference.

How do you see our role? Do you have thoughts about the dynamic the employees on the front-lines as sources for positive change? I’m interested to know what you think.

I would like to ask this same question to all of you out there:  what are your thoughts?

Know Your Audience!