Every Friday since the pandemic shut things down last March (here in the U.S.), we’ve highlighted communicators and marketers who at first were trying to figure out which part of the sky just fell on them in My Hot Mess. Then we shifted to those who are crushing the pandemic with Survive & ThriveNow it’s time to get back to business, even if it’s not totally normal. We’re going to do that with an Ask Me Anything series—an elevation of our previous Spin Sucks Question series.

Welcome back to another Ask Me Anything, which is a new series where we talk to our friends, our viewers, and our community. about what they would like to know.

I also take up Susan Cellura on her dare to eat Harry Potter jelly beans while recording this video—so I have my intern join me for the fun.

Let’s take a look at the mailbag.

There were several questions again this week, so let’s do a rapid-fire round:

  • For a freelancer without access to analytical and data tools, what are the best free sources to use to inform research and strategy?
  • What if my client or the IT team won’t let me have access to Google Analytics?
  • Are there other tools I can use that may inform my decision-making and give me data to measure results?
  • Now that you’re taking me up on the dare to eat the Harry Potter jelly beans, which one is your favorite?
  • What are you reading right now?

The Best Free Sources to Inform Research and Strategy Without Data?

This is easy!

Google Analytics. It’s free and everyone has it on their website.

It does the best job of information research and strategy—and it helps you craft metrics to measure results, too.

Sure, you’ll need to combine it with other (not free) tools, but it gives you a really good start.

And, if you’re a solo and don’t have a team to help or a data scientist as a bestie (I highly recommend that), it’s the easiest place to start without adding a bunch of stuff on top of it.

Help! I Can’t Get Access to Google Analytics!

I always joke to let me at the person who won’t let you have access to Google Analytics. Because that’s ridiculous.

There is no reason on earth you should not have access. They can give you “read-only” access.

You can’t hurt anything or take the website down or harm search results.

It’s ridiculous that they can’t add you as a user, just with read access, to be able to get the information and data that you need to retrain.

If you ask and you still don’t get it, call me. For real. I’ll handle it. This is something that makes me crazy and I will take them down!

(In such a nice way they won’t know what happened….but you and I will!)

What Other Tools Can I Use?


These are not necessarily free, like Analytics, but some of our favorites include:

There are all sorts of tools you can use—from free to premium.

But if you’re looking for something specific to your website, that will give you the data that you need to inform your research and your strategy and help you measure results, Google Analytics is the place to start.

How Were the Harry Potter Jelly Beans?

I should have shown you the disgusting mess on my desk when recording this video was complete.

But I did get a cinnamon one at the end, so I’ll go with that.

Why anyone thought it was a good idea to make disgusting jelly beans—and people actually pay money for them—tells me I’m not nearly as creative or willing to take risks as others.

What Are You Reading Right Now?

Right now, I’m reading “The Survivors.” It’s okay.

I just finished “The Four Winds,” which is Kristin Hannah’s new one. Superb. So good. She never disappoints. I devoured it.

Right before that, I read “The Vanishing Half.” Also superb. It was on Obama’s top book list from last year. If you don’t listen to me, listen to Obama!

Have a Question For Us?

If you have a question for a future AMA, you can drop it in the comments here or join us in the (free) Spin Sucks Community.

Ask it there, drop ideas for multitasking I can do while answering your questions, engage with your fellow marketers, ad have some fun.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich