Know Your Audience
All about my first blog customer using Google Analytics
One of the first things I do every morning is to check my blog’s stats. How many users did I have yesterday? What did they view? And did I finally make any money? On this particular day, the answer is YES! I made my first sale, $0.40! It’s not much, but every blog has to start somewhere and I wanted to learn as much as possible from that sale. Let’s take a look at the blog post that drove the sale, what social media brought them to my site and what data can I find out about this customer?
The first sale
After deciding my blog niche would be focused on marrying travel adventures with book recommendations, I started writing book reviews and those reviews are some of the best-crafted content on my site. I say “crafted” because working on those posts felt more like journalism than trying to sell something. For those reviews, I reached out to the book’s authors and asked for photos. And so far, every time I have asked, they have been gracious enough to provide me with some. This is the post that resulted in the sale, it’s a book review for Devil’s Teeth by Susan Casey. The book is about sharks of the Farallon Islands.
Because my audience is made up of more women than men, I’m going to give my mystery customer a name. Let’s call her Fara, in honor of the book she bought. By looking at my Amazon Affiliate reports, I know that Fara purchased the book as a Kindle Paid E-Book for $9.99. I built the link that she clicked using Amazon Associates Link Builder which is a WordPress.org plugin. The specific link that she clicked, is the one at the very bottom of the post that looks like this:
Using Google Analytics
When viewing Google Analytics, I can see information about my audience. When I narrow down the search to only see data from the exact date of purchase, I find that I had 9 users on my site that day. Not much, I know. My blog is only 6 weeks old and that day I didn’t publish anything new.
Now I’m going to get into a lot of technical details about how I found the information that I did. I do not claim to be an expert, but I did find that going through this exercise to be very useful. I learned a lot about Google Analytics and how to read some of the data that it provides. Which in turn, let me get to know my readers.
Under the Audience category on the left, I can see data based on the user’s location, behavior, technology, etc. So starting with Users Flow, this tells me that only 1 person viewed that specific book review on that day and that person is in the United States. Now I know where Fara is from.
In the drop down menu of this screen, I can find out even more info. I discover that Fara is located in San Francisco, that she was viewing my blog in English on the in-app Safari browser on a mobile device with a screen resolution of 768×1024.
Getting to know Fara, my first blog customer
Next, I go into Behavior > Landing Pages. Here I see Fara’s session duration. She spent 8 minutes and 20 seconds on that page. Timing myself, it took me about 5 minutes and 30 seconds to read that book review so I have to assume that Fara was reading the entire book review! Nice one Fara! *high five*
Next, going into Acquisition knowing that Fara is the only user to have a long session duration on this day, I discover that she was referred to me from Facebook on a mobile device.
In Audience > Devices I see that only one user with a session duration of 8m 20s used an Apple iPad Pro, that must be my Fara.
Follow the bread crumbs
Let’s recap. I know that my first blog customer whom I named Fara is in San Francisco, California. She came to my blog through Facebook and purchased an e-book on her iPad after spending 8 minutes and 20 seconds reading my entire book review. That is a lot of very useful information. I inadvertently made part of my Reader Persona.
Now I think to myself, where in Facebook could she have come from? Since I know that she didn’t come to my home page, she came directly to THAT book review, that is telling. Over the past week, I joined several Facebook groups with the purpose of advertising my book reviews. I joined three groups, two of them were for book lovers and one was for people living in San Francisco. My informed guess is that Fara was part of that San Francisco Facebook group and clicked on my book review from there.
1. Get your site set up with robust analytics and research your users. Even if you don’t yet have a paying customer, it will help you to get to know your audience.
2. Don’t be afraid of content that takes a long time to read. If it’s quality content and it captures the reader’s attention, you can make a sale from it.
3. Go to where your readers are. Join Facebook groups where the group members would be happy to read your content.
I’m not saying this is what you must do to get a sale. I’m just giving you the inside information about what worked for me and how I got my first paying blog customer. Having only one person view that page that day, probably made my investigation easier but like I said before, it was a very useful exercise to get to know my audience and to get more comfortable using Google Analytics. I hope that this will be an inspiration to new bloggers who are still working to get their first sale. Keep at it! I also have to give a special thank you to Fara, you will forever be my first!If you’d like to receive more travel tips, you can subscribe to the mailing list below or follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter.