Everyone knows how important it is to measure the results you are getting with anything you do in business. It’s all about numbers in business, right? This is especially true when it comes to marketing, but how you measure and what you do with that information are as important to your success as whether you measure. There are certain metrics that are good predictors of success or markers of growth, and others that may look like good indicators but are really not linked to success. This is where strategic decision making and analytical skills come in handy.
With email marketing, for example, most businesses use the same four metrics: Deliverability, open rate, click through rate (or engagement), and unsubscribes. If you measure these, you may think they tell you a lot about your email marketing program, but what do they really tell you? If I receive your email (deliverability) and read it (open rate) click through to your website (engagement), but then unsubscribe, is that because I did not want your emails anymore, or was there something I saw on your website that prompted me to unsubscribe?
Could it have been something totally unrelated to your marketing, such as an email address I no longer use, so I re-subscribed so I did not miss out on getting your content? The second scenario is as likely as the first, and easy enough to check, but would you ordinarily check it? And even if you did manage to determine why someone unsubscribed from an email, what would you be able to do with that information?
There are other common scenarios involving website statistics from Google Analytics (and if you’re not looking at your GA account, you should be). Most business leaders monitor website traffic. They look at the number of visitors, number of pageviews, bounce rate, and sometimes even number of sessions and session duration. I have even seen times when the business leader can tell exactly which pages received the most visits, and where the traffic came from, which pages were entry pages and which were exit pages. But how many visits does it take to develop a warm lead or a sale? Beyond the raw data and the definition of what numbers may mean, how do you connect the dots from your website to your cash drawer?
When you consider which statistics you will track, the goal should be to track the results to some point along the customer journey, and each point should connect to the next until you can connect to a sales metric. And even more importantly, those statistics should include some that contribute to your ability to refine your process, shorten the sales cycle, improve total revenue, or decrease your costs. Otherwise it’s not worth measuring. Metrics are critical, but what you do with the data provided by those metrics is how you will grow your business.
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