As you probably know membership sites are becoming more and more popular. They are a great way to offer your readers and followers extra value and attention. At the same time, running a successful membership program compensates you for all the hard work you’ve put into growing your site and level of expertise over the months and years. All that great content you’ve produced, and the relationships you have nurtured, are finally paying off financially.
Once you have converted your readers and fans into paying members, you might be tempted to let them roam free, enjoy themselves, and stop worrying about tracking their behavior. After all, your members have already been converted, right?
This is a common mistake that a lot of new membership site owners make and it can cost you dearly. Although you might want to focus fully on your marketing pages to attract and convert new members, it is crucial to not drop the ball on tracking your membership site analytics, too. After all, you want to make sure your members stay happy and don’t unsubscribe.
Thankfully, the ever powerful Google Analytics has some tricks and tools up its sleeve that can help you.
However, tracking traffic is only useful if you know what you’re looking for. Mark Twain once famously said: “Most people use statistics the way a drunkard uses a lamp post, more for support than illumination”. In the case of Google Analytics, many users keep track of their stats because they have read how important it is to do so, but often don’t actually know how to use the data they are collecting properly and to their advantage.
Here we will give you 5 ways you can use Google Analytics to better understand your membership site and your members’ behavior.
Segmentation is Essential
One of the most common mistakes made when tracking traffic on membership sites is not segmenting your users. The data you collect is nearly useless if you don’t distinguish between visitors and members. The demographics and behavior of the two groups can be drastically different. For example, you might find that your average visitor is between 30-45, whereas your members are, on average, 45-55. This can give you insight into how you can tweak your content and marketing strategy to the needs and preferences of your visitors in order to improve conversions.
Segment Even More
Google Analytics doesn’t only segment members and non-members. You can even track the different behavior of different membership levels. Let’s say you offer bronze, silver, and gold membership statuses. Wouldn’t it be awesome to know how these sub groups engage and interact on your site? Maybe you find out that some of the bronze content is your most popular. It might make more sense to offer it to silver members to encourage more upgrades.
Segmentation can also help you improve your SEO. Your most popular and engaging posts might only be available to members and not to visitors who have yet to sign up. You could take a couple of your most popular posts and make them available for free to improve SEO (Google doesn’t index content hidden behind a pay wall) or add a strong call to action and offer the post for free in exchange for a newsletter sign up. This quality content could be just the incentive that is needed to convert your readers into members.
Goal Conversion Tracking
One of the most powerful functions of Google Analytics is the Goals feature, which helps you keep track of your conversions. Traditionally, these might be conversions on landing pages or for email newsletter sign ups, but the Goals feature can also be used to track other conversions that are relevant specifically to membership sites, such as upgrades between different membership levels. You could even use the A/B testing function to compare two different upgrade pages and see which one is more effective at converting silver members to gold members and so on.
Analyzing Site Searches
Most businesses use Google Analytics to find out which keywords users are typing into search engines to bring them to their site, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Did you know that you are able to use Google Analytics to track the keywords your readers are typing into the search box on your site? A simple search box is an essential feature of nearly every website. It helps your readers navigate and find relevant content more easily.
Knowing exactly what they are searching for once they have arrived on your site can give you great insight into what might be missing. If your members are frequently searching for a certain keyword within your site, you should use that as an incentive to provide great content on that topic. If you are already providing the content then maybe you should place it in a more prominent place on your site so that users find it more easily.
Examine User Engagement
By now we all know how important it is to track engagement on social media, as well as on marketing sites and blogs. It is easy to forget that high engagement rates are still important even after we have signed up a new member.
A drop in engagement can be the first sign of a member who is on the way to unsubscribing. It is much easier to keep your members engaged and happy than it is to lure them back to your site once they’ve unsubscribed. So don’t forget to keep a close eye on your engagement and keep on producing the great content that your members signed up for in the first place.
Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful tool that, if used properly, can give you great insight into your membership site. Tracking the right data will help you convert more of your readers to members, ensure that your members are engaged and happy, and even help increase upgrades to a higher membership levels.
Google adds more features to this service all the time, so make sure you stay on top of it by browsing through the available tools and checking in regularly. Hopefully, this will encourage your business to take action today and use some, or all, of these awesome features.
Which data are you tracking on your membership site? Has Google Analytics helped you better understand your members? Please share in the comments below.