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Understanding the Basics of Google Analytics

Understanding the Basics of Google Analytics

Posted on May 09, 2017 by Emily Ballard

Google Analytics is a potent tool for leveraging data to gain insight into your current audience, as well as develop a deeper understanding of how to reach your target audience. Top marketing professionals analyze data obtained through Google Analytics to identify how, and from where, website visitors are arriving (we’ll dig into this in a little bit). If you aren’t already utilizing this incredibly powerful service, here’s an overview on how you can make smarter, data-driven decisions that better your chances for more conversions and higher return on investment (ROI). Oh, and it’s free.


So the first thing you need to do is look at who has already been visiting your website. Google Analytics tells you almost everything about each visitor including their demographics, interests, location, behavior on the site, and what device they used to visit your site. From this, it generates relevant comparisons, using the copious amounts of data collected on each user. With access to such an extensive amount of data, Google Analytics allows you to get a clear picture of who is viewing your site and whether you should alter marketing initiatives in order to cater to your target audience.


Now that you’ve determined the makeup of your audience, the next step is discovering how users got to your site. The overview section (under acquisition) breaks down incoming site traffic into general sources: social media, email, direct visitors, organic searches, referrals from other websites, paid search and other. The information is then further digested into graphs to illustrate the percentage of users from each category, their session time, bounce rate and conversion rate. If the right people are already visiting your website, this feature of Google Analytics can help identify where and how to reach others like them.


The “Behavior Flow” chart that Google Analytics creates according to time period is the easiest tool, in my opinion, to analyze each user journey. This chart offers the ability to walk through the steps of each user journey, and possibly determine what drove them to each page. This feature provides in-depth data on the most and least visited pages of your website. Such specific data is beneficial to improving the less-viewed portions of your site, and maintaining those more frequently viewed. Considering this data within Google Analytics helps to identify the popular sections of your site, and thus point you in the right direction for which aspects need extra attention.


Now for the good stuff. Once you’ve identified your target audience, optimized your marketing initiatives and increased traffic to your website—you can sit back and watch the conversions roll in. Conversions tie in directly with your goals. For example, if your goal is for people to fill out a “Let’s Talk” form, Google Analytics can track how many visitors were served the form, and compare that to the number that completed it. Ecommerce businesses can track key performance indicators (KPI) like product performance, sales performance, transactions and time to purchase.

Knowing and understanding how each element of Google Analytics functions helps the tool to behave as a messenger, that keeps you informed about which areas of your website are successful and which are under-performing. What do you think is the most important aspect of Google Analytics? Be sure to let us know in the comments!

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Client Disrupts Entire Spa Industry

Client Disrupts Entire Spa Industry

Posted on May 04, 2017 by Emily Ballard

Technology has disrupted many industries in its rapid evolution over the past 50 years. Keeping up to speed with tech trends, much less staying ahead of the game, can be a real challenge. As a result of the demanding digital age we now live in, the vast majority of industries have integrated technology into their systems. With this in mind, the team at The Spa Mart knew to approach their new spa distribution venture with a strong emphasis on technology.  

That’s where HMG Creative came in. We were contacted by the development team, and immediately understood their vision for a top-notch eCommerce and online education website that would better serve spa professionals. We took their idea and molded it into a fresh, bold brand to encompass the values and traditions of the spa industry.

After completing The Spa Mart’s branding, we shifted gears into a six-month web development project that takes advantage of Magento 2.0, the successor to the widely popular eCommerce platform of the same name. We’ve also incorporated a system called Odoo, which is an inventory control manager that will allow The Spa Mart to better manage orders and control their back office system. Our client’s main goals were to build and nourish relationships with their customers, help their customers grow their own businesses and provide premium customer service. With the website functioning as the nucleus of their company, we integrated different customer journeys to provide optimal user experience for each customer depending on individual needs—whether they seek to purchase products or search for an online course.

The web-development project consisted of site hierarchy, user experience design, visual design and content strategy. Currently in the optimization and customization phase, the ability to continuously manage and optimize the site is a primary focus as we perfect the site’s flow. As they say—a high-quality, growth driven website is nothing without proper marketing. Taking this to heart, we are also currently in the process of developing a tailored digital marketing strategy to include powerful digital media management, such as pay-per-click advertising and retargeting.

The Spa Mart has been an incredible client, and our team here at HMG is grateful to be able to work with such amazing folks. We share the passion for building relationships and helping others grow their own businesses, so here’s to flourishing in doing what we love!

The Spa Mart’s site is currently active, fully responsive and hosted at HMG Creative.

If you would like more information on our services, leave us a comment or click here.

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SXSW 2017: Key Takeaways on Digital Marketing

SXSW 2017: Key Takeaways on Digital Marketing

Posted on Mar 13, 2017 by Emily Ballard

The world of marketing is ever-evolving, and though there is no universal marketing strategy that will “just work” for every type of company, some marketing professionals make it seem like they possess the secret formula. Now that digital marketing has taken over, there are many new aspects of marketing that we must take into consideration when creating our marketing strategies. I went to multiple masterclasses on digital marketing that were held during weekend one of SXSW, and I’m here to share my key takeaways on where to focus your efforts when creating your digital marketing strategy.

Digital Marketing:

Lawrence O’Connor spoke on the fundamentals of marketing and shared in-depth, valuable information on how to understand your target market. While I found the entire masterclass extremely valuable, these are the key points I took away when focusing on digital marketing:

  1. Know your business. Ask yourself these questions: Why does my business exist? Why should anyone care? What am I not willing to compromise? What are my goals and how will I get there?
  2. Don’t skip testing and keep track of your data. Try both qualitative and quantitative testing. For qualitative you can focus on surveys and interviews and for quantitative focus on user engagement. When focusing on engagement, always pay attention to your analytics. If you are constantly recording your analytics, you will see what is working for you and what’s not.
  3. Recognize which platform your target market uses most. From your data, you will see trends emerge for where the most engagement is occurring. You can then increase your engagement with your core-users, through strategic interactions in social media.

Creating Your Social Media Strategy:

Vin Clancy, social media expert and owner of Traffic and Copy, shared his insight on how to grow your business using only social media. Through his in-depth presentation covering social media strategies, the main focal points that stuck out for me were:

  1. Add value. Bring your expertise to the table and offer your knowledge. Nothing beats staying genuine and true to who you are.
  2. Show up every day. Posting every single day on social media keeps you relevant, and people will create a connection with you. Keep your content fresh and relevant, and focused when engaging with your followers.
  3. Use content scheduling. There are multiple websites such as Buffer, Hootsuite and Spredfast that you can schedule content up to months in advance on multiple platforms at a time. These are great tools to use when you are trying to reach your audience through multiple platforms, on a daily basis.

Both of these masterclasses dug way deeper into these marketing strategies and covered topics of which I could only scratch the surface with this post. These key takeaways will help in understanding the basics of digital marketing, and are essential to the early development of your marketing strategies.

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Retargeting: The Ideal Marketing Strategy for All Companies

Retargeting: The Ideal Marketing Strategy for All Companies

Posted on Mar 08, 2016 by Jenna Meltzer

Retargeting has proven to be one of the most cost-effective online marketing strategies in the digital world. This concept allows advertisers to target consumers who have previously interacted with a certain website. By using cookies, you are anonymously tracking visitors on your site and seeing where they go next, what other websites they are visiting, etc. to help better understand their target market.

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Digital Marketing Strategy For The Fourth Quarter

Digital Marketing Strategy For The Fourth Quarter

Posted on Sep 24, 2015 by Tanner Hertzog

The madness of starting another school year is finally starting to slow down. People are beginning to get back into their normal routines, and whether we like it or not, it’s time to accept that summer is coming to a close. We, personally, are looking forward to a breather from the Texas heat! Aside from saying goodbye to summer, it’s also time to prep for a strong finish to the last quarter of 2015. From our experience, digital marketing strategies can and does play a huge role in determining your success from quarter to quarter, so it should not be left on the “back burner.”

To help you in your final push towards the new year, we wanted to offer up some of our insights into building an even stronger digital marketing plan for your business. Regardless of what your company objectives are, each of these can provide a great deal of value in distinguishing yourself from your competition, building relationships with your audience, and increasing your profits.

Startup Stock Photos

 1. Publish Content Regularly  

 Your goal should be to develop a content strategy that encompasses the products and services that your  company offers. Not only that, but you want to show your audience that you are the industry leader in the  market. Consider posting content that illustrates your experience on a particular issue for your clients, or  write a feature story on one of your products. Also, don’ t be afraid to recycle older content. Often times, you  can simply repost content that you created years ago. Unless it is irrelevant, this is a great way to generate a  ton of content that is already proven to be successful. For more information about developing quality content, check out our blog post on incorporating appropriate and relevant content.

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The Guide to Take Big Brand Ideas by Rediscovering Your Own- Part 1: Get to Know Your Brand

Posted on Nov 28, 2012 by Amy Kauffman

Many professionals get jazzed up after reading a social media article, but the excitement and strategy escapes as soon as the page is minimized in exchange for the next enticing link in their Twitter feed.  I see it all too often, a quick high followed by complete memory-loss on what they have just read.  It sounds good on screen, but do those tid-bits of advice make it past your monitor?

Yes, Your Brand is Interesting, Now Keep Them Interested

Content marketing isn’t just for the Fortune 500 and effective social media isn’t reserved for the companies packed 20+ deep in their communications department. But your social strategy isn’t going to be served to you on a silver platter, either.  If you don’t change your actions, you are destined to get the same results. And that shouldn’t be a surprise.  Social media is fun to talk about, tough to implement and an even bigger challenge for companies to be creative and stay consistent.

Getting started is often the hardest part of any task, and social media is no different.  But having a better understanding of your brand will help you navigate and create a social media presence that truly makes an impact.  Get in touch with your company and only then can you begin to create fresh content and a strategy that you can rely on.

Rethink Your Role.

First, we must look at ourselves. If you are a business owner or a professional eager to make big changes with your online strategy for your company, own it. You are now a social media ambassador. You don’t have to be a PR professional or in your 20s to understand the social media game.  Thinking different is almost always a catalyst to act different. Don’t be afraid to jump in with both feet and explore ways to discover and redefine your brand and communication. Mental blocks are your fabricated obstructions, drop them.

Rethink with Your Brand. (If you don’t think you have a “brand,” you do.)

  • Find Your Voice:

The kind of content you create centers around a common tone. For some it’s professional, casual, witty, conversational or sarcastic if that’s your shtick. You can be a few things, but not everything. Decide now.

  • Identify Goals:

Like a dear friend of mine says: You have to know what you want to get what you want. Increase exposure, gain fans/followers, increase engagement/comments, get more newsletter subscribers, get new leads, position your brand as a resource, educate on a certain topic, find partners, etc.  Decide what you want to gain out of social media and make sure that all content addresses one of these goals.

  • Choose Channels:

Not all channels are for every company. Not everyone needs every social outlet under the sun. But brainstorm how each platform could be leveraged and decide what makes sense for you. And you don’t have to launch all platforms at once. Set yourself up for success. Start with Facebook, Twitter and a blog. Then branch out when you have mastered those tools and see how to effectively integrate others.

  • Identify Fans/Followers:

Know your audience and always keep them in mind. Outline in brief, categories of your fans and then things that interest them.  Clients, partners, prospects, local businesses, etc.   Create content tailored to your audience and what is important to them. This will help keep you on track when deciding what to post or blog about.

  • Have a Baseline:

To know where you are going you have to know where you have been. Note your number of fans and followers so you can track your growth as you move forward. Also use tools on Facebook to see current demographics, which posts were seen by the most people and what was the most viral.