You Can’t Fool Me – I’ve Got Data
It’s surprising to me the wide range of metrics that business owners will use to establish if their business is;
- Doing well, or
- Not doing so well.
Some of these example include;
Ringing Phone – “The phone isn’t ringing as much anymore”
Movement of Staff – “They are not running around any more”
Is The Phone Plugged In?
Now I appreciate that you have been using these scientific methods for a long time and I’m sure over the years they have proved valuable to you. I don’t know how because I’m not sure what feedback can be gained from “the phone isn’t ringing”.
People that come to me and say “the phone isn’t ringing” and expect me to wave a magic wand and make the phone ring are usually taken aback when my response is…”Is it plugged in?”.
The reason I HAVE to say this is because that metric being used to comment against my work is completely useless to me to give any kind of guidance, advice or tangible actions. Occam’s Razor, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.
As I’ve got actual tangible data which shows me where your website traffic is coming from, how they are interacting with your website, how many online orders you’ve had on your online store, how many calls have come from Google Adwords, how many people have clicked on your phone number to call you on a mobile device, these are the metrics that I am bringing to the table.
What Should You Track?
Opening yourself up to a world where you can use actual data, which is collected on your behalf to be informed and make business decisions is crucial in Digital Marketing.
This is why tracking your digital marketing efforts is so crucial. This doesn’t have to be in-depth, tracking every element on your website can be data overkill, so what are the crucial elements?
- Source of Traffic
- Macro Goals
- Micro Goals (if required)
Traffic and the source of the traffic is easy to track. Install Google Analytics on your website and this data will automatically appear in your dashboard.
Macro and Micro Goals is a little bit more difficult, this is because it requires some technical know-how to implement and you need to actually establish what your goals are, in other words, what gives value to your business.
These goals should relate to your Key Performance Indicators, what you measure when you want to know if something is going well or going badly. Key goals would obviously be leads generated, so contact forms filled out or phone calls made. A micro goal maybe something like someone signing up to a newsletter or downloading a free eBook you provide.
You know when you are going overboard with goals when you start tracking things like traffic arriving on a content page. You may feel like this is a valuable metric but in the grander scale of things it’s a little unnecessary.
Just like the amount of traffic finding your site, there is no value to it unless it converts or achieves something.
The Techy Bit
Now if your site was built by an agency then you can ask them to implement Google Analytics (if they haven’t done so already) and to track your specified Goals. I would recommend getting a professional to implement tracking if you don’t have one, get one. The most important point here is ask them what they are tracking and how they track it.
The reason to ask “how” they are tracking it is simple. I’ve seen far too many sites tracking traffic landing on a “Contact Us” page and then being counted as a “Conversion”. It’s not a conversion, there could be any number of reasons why a person has gone to your contact page, for example, they might want to know where you are based.
If you feel you have the little bit of technical know how in which to implement tracking yourself I would recommend looking into a Google tool called “Google Tag Manager”, in basic terms, it’s a invisable little box on your website where you can “put in” all your tracking codes without all the needless learning about web development. It’s great if you want to implement some other tracking tools to your site too like Facebook Pixel and Adwords Conversion codes. All the heavy lifting is done by Google Tag Manager.
Having this data will open your eyes to reasons why certain things are happening, however it’s useless without context so keeping notes of changes made or work you’ve done which will impact your digital marketing is just as important to make actual decisions. Google Analytics has a nice hidden feature called Annotations so you can mark this on your data like a post it note.
Now when you say…
“The phone isn’t ringing…”
You can look at your data and see what it says about your traffic, your goal conversions etc.
THEN… you if there is something wrong you can see what changes were made that could have affected it.
This is the value of your data and that is how you drive your digital marketing forward.