What if you could get inside the minds of your clients or of prospects who are considering calling you. What if you could discover what’s important to them, what attracted their attention, and what made them decide to contact you.

Well, you can do that using Google Analytics, and it’s free. Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful tool that gives you insights into how people use your website. The data tells you as much about the people who visit your site as it does about how well the site is working.

Most Google Analytics users are aware of just one set of data — how people navigate through their site — but you can get a lot more: most popular pages, how long visitors stay on your site, how many pages they view, how many people “bounce” off your site and from which pages, and so on. You can get this data for any given date, and you can display it as a graph to make it easier to monitor trends over time.

How & Why

Two facets of Google Analytics are particularly powerful yet seldom used. The first tells you what words people use to search for your site, whether they are using a computer or a mobile device, and what city or state they are from. These are all critical benchmarks you can use to help improve the visibility of your website, garner insights on growing markets, and keep up with changes to the technology your clients are using.

Equally powerful but also seldom-used is Google Analytics data showing how people make the transition from surfing your website to taking an action and becoming a lead. You can gather data on how many people filled out your “Contact Us” form as well as which pages they viewed before “converting.” Given that these Web users are actual leads, this kind of insight into their behavior is invaluable.

At our company, we use these benchmarks to uncover trends and to ensure that our website provides the information that people want and makes it easy for them to find it and use it. But we also use this behavioral data to get into the minds of our customers and prospects, not just for our website but for all our marketing and sales endeavors.

To learn more, take the “product tour” at google.com/analytics. And did I mention that it’s free?

—Bruce Case is president of Case Design/Remodeling. bcase@casedesign.com

For most Google Analytics users, the dashboard is the first thing you see when viewing reports. Dashboards are customizable, so you can choose exactly which data you want to display.