Understanding Seasonality in Your Business

Is Your Internet Marketing Working

Exposing How Web Analytics and Data Can Empower Your Small Business and Ensure that Your Internet Marketing Is Working!

If you haven’t met me in person or had a phone call with me yet, I must admit that I am a bit of a nerd. Reviewing data and exposing trends in Internet analytics is one of my favorite things to do with our team and our customers. It’s an amazing feeling to show a customer that we helped drive 300% more traffic to their website since deciding to partner with TrustWorkz.

Marcus Lemonis of the TV show The Profit recently told a new partner of his, “You can lie to me, but the numbers always tell the truth.” Whether you’re reviewing your monthly revenue, party bookings, or Internet traffic, it’s important to look over your data from multiple view points to help paint the full picture. What good is it to look at your month to month revenues, which may show an increase, but perform worse this year than you did in the last? Reviewing more data will help you put the health your business into perspective so that you can be sure that you are growing.

Putting the Highs and the Lows Into Perspective

The trouble with reviewing month to month data is that it can skew your perspective of how the business is performing. Many family entertainment centers boom during the winter, when more people want to have fun with their family inside. If you focus on growth from November to December, you might think that an increase of $15,000 in revenue is a great thing. However, your month to month data is only telling a small portion of the story, and it is being masked by the seasonality of your business. Assuming your business has been open for more than a year, the real story could be that your revenue is up by 25% if you compare December of this year to December of last year. That’s a huge improvement, and you might miss it if you don’t review your reports thoroughly.

Many business owners and operators already practice reviewing year over year and seasonal trends in revenue, expenses, and profit. Keep this in mind when reviewing your Family Entertainment Center Internet marketing data as well. It’s easy to forget when reviewing your Internet data that less or more people visited your business according to certain seasons. If you’re not careful, it can be very disheartening to see a downward trend after a seasonal peak as it moves into your slow season.

Tools for Reviewing Data and Seasonal Trends

Reporting and research tools will help you measure, analyze, and compare your Internet traffic so that you can easily discover whether or not your digital marketing efforts are progressing for your business. A common misconception is that quality tools are financially out of reach for small businesses. While many analytic tools provide a lot of extra data, you can still pull a wealth of information from tools that are available without the hefty price tag. Here are three free tools that you can use to keep track of your Internet marketing.

  • Google Analytics: This tool will help you track your website’s traffic. Discover how many people are visiting your website, how they use it, how they found you, and more! Google Analytics is essential to helping you track whether your Internet marketing is improving, stagnant, or tanking. Once you have a year of data, you can begin to compare how your data compares year over year. Data from Google Analytics will tell you a lot about the quality of who is visiting your website.
  • Google Webmaster Tools: Google has unfortunately hidden information about the keywords used in Google search to find your website. However, Google Webmaster Tools will tell you which terms are ranking, their position, and how many times those terms were clicked to lead Google users to your website. The Webmasters Tool also allows you to manage the health of your website, communicate with Google how you prefer that they crawl your website, and monitor it for any issues that would affect your visibility in Google search.
  • Google Trends: At the first sign of your traffic dipping or increasing from month to month, you should check Google Trends. This tool will allow you to review historic trends in Google search. If you are a bowling center, you should search for “Bowling” in Google Trends (chart shared below).


How You Can Use These Tools

The data above will show you that during the spring and summer months, “bowling” is searched less frequently. This indicates that bowling centers are historically less popular during the warm months, but really start to heat up as the fall and winter seasons begin. With this data, I can confidently explain to a bowling center that they should expect to see a dip in visitors to their website around March and April.

Once we have a year’s worth of data from Google Analytics, I can then show the bowling center that even though their month to month traffic is down 10% from February to March, their year over year data is actually up 25%. This means that, even though the bowling center is in their slow season, they have improved their exposure dramatically year over year and are continuing to grow their business.

Make sure that the time and money you are spending on the Internet is paying off. Understanding seasonal trends will help you put the data into perspective and help manage expectations when the slow seasons come around. If you’re Internet marketing is working, you should find good news in your monthly reports. You just need to know where the data is hidden!

Photo via Gratisography

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About Kevin Ekmark

Kevin is a founding partner at TrustWorkz, Inc. He also blogs about marketing and leadership on his personal website. You can follow along or contact Kevin on Twitter via @KevinEkmark or on LinkedIn.