Many people are familiar with the line most often attributed to Peter Drucker: “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” This is especially true if you’re a small business person with a close eye on budget! Measurement helps you determine the return on your investment of time, money and effort. Measurement matters!
What to measure?
This is a critical question. A tool like Google Analytics will give you hundreds of numbers – traffic, duration of visit, referring website, bounce rate, number of pages viewed, among dozens of others. Social media platforms will tell you how many people liked or shared or commented on your post. Click-through rates, cost-per-click, time to load, page authority… there are no end of numbers that you can look at to understand how your website, SEO, advertising or email marketing are performing. But what matters to you?
Where do I start?
Start with your goals: what are you trying to achieve? For example, if you are running an email campaign, what do you want recipients to do with the message? Open, read and then click a link to buy? Okay, then you’re going to be interested in your email platform’s numbers around open rate and click-through. And then, of course, how many who clicked through actually bought something on your website (or landing page), so you’re going to be interested in conversion rates from email, spend per visitor from email, and maybe how many took advantage of a discount code, if you provided one in your email.
So, what does success look like?
Obviously, success in the previous example boils down to money! But how much money can you expect? You’ll want to do a little research to determine what an average open rate is for your industry and compare it to previous email campaigns you’ve run to see what is reasonable for you to achieve. Spoiler: it won’t be anywhere close to 100%! For your industry, it may average around 2%. So, a 3% open rate may look terrible on the face of things, but if it’s twice the industry average: wow! Knowing what is reasonable to expect will help you better determine what is success.
Then you want to determine how many of the people clicking through are likely to be tire-kickers who aren’t ready to convert versus those that are eager to get the deal. Perhaps there are upsell opportunities along with the original deal that can bump each convert up in spend. How many are likely to take advantage?
Another example: when you create a Facebook advertising campaign, you need to know what you are trying to achieve with the campaign: are you looking to grow your audience by getting in front of people likely to engage your ad? Do you want to drive sales? Boost your followers? Collect email addresses? These may be very different audiences, and knowing what you want to achieve – what success will look like – will help you achieve greater results.
Man, this sounds complex!
Well, it kind of is! Having access to numbers isn’t the same as understanding how to use those numbers. Analytics are easy to collect, but analysis is hard! Some numbers are flashy and ultimately not as meaningful as they seem. Number of likes in social media, for example, is really a vanity metric: people may “like” you but are they buying, clicking, sharing, growing your business in some way? If not, then it’s not a meaningful number to look at. Traffic to your website won’t mean anything if no one stops to buy anything while they’re there. Getting your ad in front of thousand new eyeballs won’t help if no one is responding to your call of action.
Maximize – and measure – the value of your digital footprint in all that you do. If your organic search traffic appears low, invest some time (and likely money, sorry!) in researching what customers are searching for expecting to find products or services like yours – and then critically evaluate whether your website is doing everything it can to get in front of those eyeballs. If your ad results are disappointing, look critically at your call to action to see if it’s persuasive enough for your target audience. Without those numbers to guide you in making decisions, you’re shooting in the dark.
Testing, testing, A/B/C…
Big companies with compelling digital footprints rarely take a spray-and-pray approach to their online activities. That means that they test different versions of their website, their email campaigns, their advertising and so on. You may have heard of this as A/B testing – where you test different subject lines, calls to action, graphics, preview text, etc. in your email campaigns to see what your audience responds to more. You send these test campaigns to a small subset of your target audience to gauge response before you send to the rest of the list.
Testing is a great way to get data on effectiveness of messaging and design before committing to a course of action. It’s a great way to confirm – or not! – a course of action before going all in. Those test numbers should be closely analyzed to see what resonates and let the numbers guide your actions.
Make better, data-driven decisions
There’s another old saying: if you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got. Use the numbers to help you make changes to your online marketing efforts to boost your bottom line, your audience engagement, and your email list. Numbers always trump sentiment: do what works best, empirically, even if it’s not what you’ve always done.
Unrivald Digital loves numbers: we can help you determine what “good” is – and isn’t! Our clients receive regular measurement reports from us, along with explanations of what the numbers mean. If you’re not a data analyst, this support can make a difference between choosing the familiar path or breaking trail and doing things in a new way to increase your rate of success. Give us a call today!