Tracking Seasonality – Just Do It
With the majority of businesses, the passing of time causes a change in customer behavior. The laws of physics state that an object in motion will remain in motion, however without proper study, one cannot predict where that object will go or how it will act. The same applies to your customer base. If you don’t keep track of where your customers are coming from, what they are looking at, and where they end up, then you will not be able to accurately predict how they ultimately come to the decision to make a purchase.
In the world of online marketing, which encompasses Search Engine Optimization and Pay-Per-Click advertising, a business has every advantage they could possibly need. We can track what site a customer came from, what keywords they typed to get to your site, how long they stayed, what pages they went to. We can tell all sorts of things about your online customer base, but you HAVE to have tracking set up in order to know where to go next.
Seasonality is a big factor in the paid search world. If you are in the moving, storage, or real estate industries, your business may peak in the summer months when students are moving out of the dorms for the summer, or people are moving because the weather is more pleasant. If you do not have Google Analytics installed on your website you will never know exactly how big of a jump in traffic and conversions you get in May, and what a sharp decrease they take in September when the weather starts getting cooler.
If you haven’t set up Analytics on your site just yet, but would still like to know how seasonality affects your business, check your monthly or quarterly taxes for profit estimates. If you look over the course of 2-5 years, you will more than likely begin to see a pattern. Please take into consideration large events that may have taken place, such as a change in ownership, location, or large marketing promotions that may have been rolled out.
In addition to using Google Analytics to track your seasonality, install incoming call tracking to accurately report the volume of calls you receive during specific time periods. You can even screen call quality through these systems, as all your calls will be recorded. In some instances, you can track them down to the keyword that someone typed in to produce the ad in the first place. These tools are invaluable in assisting a business to accurately read their customer base and plan accordingly.
Once you have determined whether or not you have a peak season (winter, summer, etc.), month, week, day, or even time of day, adjust your goals accordingly. Last year during October you may have pulled in $55K in revenue, but this year in October, make a goal to surpass that by 35%. Adjust your budget allocation, ad copy, and bids according to your seasonality. Without goals, your business is a race horse with a blindfold, meandering down the track with no finish line in sight. Know where you have been, and where you want to go with your marketing ventures to better gauge the success of your campaigns.