How Google Analytics UTM Codes Will Help You Sell More Products and Book More Clients

This article is a guest post from Jevin Maltais of Quickjack Solutions.

As an entrepreneur or consultant, the options for marketing can be overwhelming. So which direction should you take?

As outlined in the book Traction, you ultimately need to try multiple channels and see which ones work the best. Only then can you double down your efforts on the highest-performing channels.

Email marketing is one of the most commonly-used marketing channels. Any email marketing tool will report open and clickthrough rates, and while these stats are helpful to figure out which emails best engage your subscribers, they don’t show which emails actually generate paying customers.

Here’s an example: When a Gmail user clicks on a link in your email, it shows up in Google Analytics as a “direct” source, which is entirely misleading – it should be “email,” right?

The reason: HTTPS traffic doesn’t include data in the referrer field as it could contain private information, which leaves Google Analytics entirely unsure where the person came from.

So, what’s the solution? UTM tags to the rescue! Using UTM tags adds more data to your links.

Which email the user clicked through

Instead of a link like this in your email:

Use a UTM-tagged link, like this one:

utm_source, utm_medium, and utm_campaign are all special tags that Google Analytics (and most modern analytics packages) will parse and remember for a particular user.

UTM stands for Urchin Traffic Monitor tags and was built into the analytics package Google later bought – what we know now as Google Analytics. UTM tags are specifically designed to provide better attribution for a click through to a particular source.

In this example, you’ll see a new traffic source called “Email.” You can dig down into that traffic source to see how people behaved on your site. Google Analytics will remember a user’s traffic source – in this case, email –  for up to a 90-day period. If they come back again a different way, Google Analytics will track that, too.

Drip has a great feature which allows you to add a UTM tag directly from the Insert a Hyperlink tool. Beauty!

Drip UTM Setup
Drip UTM Setup

Outside of Drip, when I build links, I personally still use (and recommend) the Google URL builder. It does feel silly doing it for such a simple task, but it’s really important to get this right.

Bonus Resource: A Complete Guide to The New Google URL Builder

Google URL Builder
Google URL Builder
Email Source
Email Source

Which email generated the most revenue

By visiting Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Source/Medium, you can start digging into which sources, mediums and campaigns performed the best.

The second piece to the puzzle is figuring out which email actually generated the most revenue. The key to this is setting up goals in Google Analytics. Goals usually have multiple steps (“actions” in Google Analytics) that bring people to a goal.

A common goal progression includes “visited landing page,” “started a trial,” “used a feature” and finally, “subscribed.” In our case, let’s keep it simple and only create a single action: “Payment.”

You can add goals for your site in the Admin tab of Google Analytics.

Analytics Goals Location

First set up the category, action and label that makes sense for your conversion. If your conversion is a sign up, you can try something like this:

Goal Setup

To find out more visit the “Google Analytics: About Events” link at the end of this post.

Now you need to trigger that event in Javascript. You need to have this trigger match the Goal exactly as you set it up earlier. This can be triggered on a page load, or something more complex within your Javascript logic. Make sure it’s triggered after everything is already loaded.

This would look something like:

ga('send', 'event', 'Payment', 'Signedup');

Now that you’ve attached the event to the goal, you can go into the Conversions -> Goals -> Overview section and select the Goal that you just created. You can then begin to explore the traffic sources that ultimately resulted in paid conversions.

What now?

After you have collected a decent sample set of clickthroughs and signups from your users, you can understand exactly what pushed them over the edge to not just click through, but to buy. 

If the content you wrote in that email really resonated with them, maybe you can use this content on your landing page. If not, perhaps you need to make particular features more obvious.

In any case, you now have more data to understand what makes your potential customers tick, and ultimately buy.

To find out more: