How to Use Analytics to Boost Your Course Sales

Here’s what your website analytics can tell you about your sales process.

Now that you’ve learned how to gather analytics data on your website, what should you do with it? Website analytics can tell you a lot about how visitors are interacting with your webpages and emails, but knowing how that data should inform your marketing strategy is another matter. Here are four key ways you can use analytics to boost your course sales.

1. How can you increase the click rate on your calls-to-action?

Now that you can see where your visitors are clicking on the page and track their mouse movements, how can you use that data to inform the positioning of your call-to-action buttons?

This may seem like a simple problem, but it’s actually one many website owners don’t think through. They might have a great headline, warm images, and great testimonials, but it’s not obvious to visitors where they should go in order to make a purchase and join the course. The website feels like a glossy brochure, but it dead-ends.

A call-to-action (CTA) is a button or link on the site that tells visitors what to do next. It can be something as simple as “learn more” or “register now,” or even “start my course,” but it should be easy to spot and placed in an intuitive location the page.

If your visitors are click elsewhere on the page, it could be a sign that your CTA button isn’t noticeable enough. This is often the case when a button is too small, or if the button style isn’t bold enough. Similarly, mouse tracking analytics don’t just show you where your visitors aren’t looking, they can also show you where a better location for your button might be.

Think about what CTAs you’re using and what the words on them might be. The wording should be both compelling and descriptive of what the button will do (i.e. “start the course” is better than “click here”). If no one’s clicking through, make your button larger and use a brighter color, then see how your visitors react.

2. Where is your website traffic coming from?

If you have GoogleAnalytics enabled, you will be able to gather some basic information about where your website traffic is coming from. In general, this breaks down into a few categories:

  • Direct traffic. Someone came to your website directly by typing your address into their browser address bar.
  • Organic search. Someone searched for a related term (“online computer programming course”) and you appeared somewhere in the search results.
  • Paid referrals. You’re using Google AdWords or some other digital advertisement, and your visitor has clicked on your ad.
  • Referral traffic. Someone followed a link on a different website (a blog, a review, social media) and has found your course that way.

This information can be incredibly useful if you’re trying to decide how to better invest your marketing and advertising budget. For instance, if you get a lot of traffic from Facebook or some other social media network, that’s a good sign that you should continue to invest in marketing to Facebook.

Conversely, if you’re running a number of paid ad campaigns but not getting a lot of traffic from them, this data might suggest it’s time to end those campaigns and try something new.

3. What pages convert the most sales?

In sales terms, “page conversions” is all about which pages are best at convincing a visitor to perform an action (usually whatever the CTA is about). If you’re trying to sell an online course, your “conversion rate” would be a measure of the percentage of visitors to a certain page who then became customers. (Or who signed up for your newsletter, or who filled out a form, or who did whatever you were hoping they would do when they landed on that page.)

Now, let’s say you have three different pages on your website that might convert a visitor to a learner: your home page, your course page, and a special landing page designed to go with an ad campaign. Without analytics, you can only see how many new learners you have each week, but not where they’re coming from. With analytics, you can see which of those three pages does the best job of bringing in more students.

With that knowledge at your fingertips, you can made several decisions. For instance, you can try to identify the factors from the successful page that help it convert more visitors and apply them to the other pages. Or, you can try to direct more qualified traffic to the high-converting page. Either way, analytics has shown you where your top performers reside.

4. How effective are your email campaigns?

Regular emails are a great way to test various writing and design styles in order to discover what works best. While you don’t want to completely change everything in every email, by varying one thing at a time and comparing open rate and click-throughs, you can slowly learn more about what resonates with your visitors.

For instance, most email subject lines are 40–50 characters long in order to accommodate cell phone widths. But you may find that a slightly longer subject line gives your readers just a little more context for your email, improving open and conversion rates.

Your email campaigns are also a great way to learn more about what content your subscribers find most interesting, and what CTAs they’re most likely to click on. Just remember to limit other variables as much as possible in your tests, and to keep them going long enough to gather a useful sample size of data.

Analytics deliver the clues you need to improve your site performance.

Understanding website analytics can be tricky, but it’s worth taking the time to learn. Without user data, you’re making decisions based on guesswork rather than real learner feedback. And that’s going to have a negative impact on your course sales as well as your visitor experience.

We all know how important course analytics are to improving your online course and delivering a better experience to your learners. Website analytics are simply a way of starting that process earlier in the user experience, when your future learners are still curious visitors to your site, new to your course and unsure about signing up. By employing visitor data thoughtfully, you increase your sales and improve customer satisfaction at the same time.

Author

Laura is a marketing specialist with experience presenting at WordPress events in Ann Arbor and Vienna. She speaks Russian and German and holds a double MA (Hons) in History and Russian Studies from the University of Edinburgh.

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