Are prospective clients visiting your website?

Improve your website's performance with Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free online tool that you can use to learn who's visiting your firm's website and where they're going. Using key performance indicators (KPIs) as your guide, you can collect website data that will help you generate leads and grow your business. (If you haven't set up Google Analytics yet, here's how to get started.)

Let's look at how you can put Google Analytics to work for your firm.

Fishing for leads 
Online marketing is a lot like fishing. Your social media posts, digital ads, webinars, videos, and more are all hooks out in the water. When someone sees your content and clicks, now they're on the line, but what do you do with them? You haul them into your boat, of course. That's where your website comes in.

Many RIA firms put their website at the center of their marketing strategy. It's where prospective clients can find out more about whatever drew them in and where you can encourage them to take the next step—usually sharing their contact information.

With your website playing such an important role, it's critical that you collect data about how clients are using your website.

Collect digital leads via your website 

Man in boat graphic with 4 fishing poles representing Videos, Digital Ads, Social Media and Webinars.

What can you learn from Google Analytics?
Google Analytics can provide a lot of data, but starting out you only need to focus on a few specific data points, such as:

  • Referrals: Every time someone clicks from a separate web page to get to your website, it's called a referral. Basically, referrals tell you which specific marketing tactics are driving website traffic. If you see a bump in your website visits (or "sessions") in Google Analytics, you can check to see whether it was that Thanksgiving social media post or your new ad for a portfolio balancing whitepaper that brought in new traffic.
  • Landing pages: Most websites have a lot of pages. When people visit your site, where do they go first? Google Analytics can show you which pages are the most popular "landing" points. From there, you can investigate further. For example, if the most popular landing page is an advisor's bio, that's useful information. It not only tells you that a lot of people are interested in that advisor, you can also then look at the referrals to that landing page to see where visitors were coming from to find the advisor's bio.
  • Pages/Session: It's great if people are coming to your website. But are they staying? Google Analytics can show you how many other pages visitors click to when they come to your site.
  • Average session duration: Are people visiting your website and then bouncing out after a few seconds? If so, you might not be doing enough to hold their interest. The average session duration lets you see if visitors are taking time to learn more about your firm.
  • Bounce rate: This is the percentage of website visitors who leave without taking any action. For example, if someone mistakenly believes your website is a life coach or a business consultant, they'll click away quickly. Tracking bounce rate is a useful tool for evaluating whether your website delivers on what your marketing and SEO promises.
  • Conversions: A more advanced feature of Google Analytics is to count conversions. This requires setting up goals in Google Analytics. With a little training or some outside help from a consultant, you can begin tracking actions website visitors take such as calling your firm, downloading a white paper, or filling out a form.
Icon graphic representing flow of Referrals to Landing pages to Conversions

The top four sources of digital referrals
Website referrals often come from a few main sources. Each offers the potential to bring in new clients.

  • Social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Instagram can drive traffic to your website. With social media, it will be important to look at your bounce rate. Is your website delivering what your social media posts are promising? If not, you'll need to adjust.
  • Third-party websites: Guest columns on popular websites, philanthropic sponsorships, news mentions, and more can drive traffic to your website. This is a great way to introduce your firm to a new audience.
  • Digital ads: You might be familiar with banner ads on investment websites, but did you know you can also use Google's search engine to advertise? Using targeted keywords in Google AdWords, you can help your website can show up at the top of a Google search.
  • Independent Difference: Schwab is getting the word out about the value RIAs can provide investors. Our national advertising campaign drives prospective clients to FindYourIndependentAdvisor.com, where they can connect with a local advisor. Your firm can take advantage of this opportunity (the Advisor Directory) by getting listed in the directory and creating a landing page that includes a lead capture form.

Keep testing and learning
The real value of Google Analytics is the ability to quickly make adjustments to your marketing strategy based on data. Are your Tweets not leading to website visits? Maybe you shift your focus to Facebook or LinkedIn. Are videos bringing a lot of people to your website? Maybe a video series will multiply the value of your efforts.

A nimble, data-driven marketing approach takes commitment. Consider making Google Analytics part of your regular workflow and share the data with your colleagues to help them understand both the value of your marketing and how they can help. If you don't have capacity or know-how within your firm to use Google Analytics data strategically, consider working with a consultant.

Whatever approach you take to Google Analytics, getting started is the main thing. Over time, you'll find how to get the right value from this powerful tool.

What you can do next