As a marketer, you have a plethora of data at your fingertips. That is both a good thing and a bad thing. It is great because it helps you make better decisions. But it can also be overwhelming. Data from your website, from you social media posts, from your emails – what do you do with it all?
The first step: breathe.
The second step: make a plan.
Before you can understand what to do with the data, you need to know what data you have. Different distribution methods will produce different data. And not all data is created equal. Every metric tells a different story and will help you answer different questions. If you are looking for a way to collate all of that data, there are several ways you can do it. It could be as simple as a spreadsheet or as complex as a platform like Datorama or Domo to connect all your data in one view.
If you are just beginning to work with your data, here are some common metrics and what story they tell:
WHAT IT TELLS YOU
How did the people who visit your website find it? Acquisition can tell you where those visitors were before the landed on your website? Did they click on a link in a paid ad? Did they come from a social media site? Or did they come from organic search?
A high bounce rate indicates that a large number of people who found themselves on your website did not find what they were looking for and left your site quickly. This means your content was not what they were expecting to find or not appealing to them.
Depending on what type of conversion you are measuring (web form completions, purchase, newsletter subscriptions, etc), this metric will tell you what percentage of people who land on your website complete that action.
This is an umbrella term that covers several different metrics. In general, engagement measured how involved your followers are with your content. It encompasses likes, comments, shares, and clicks.
Impressions and reach are both included in determining awareness. These both tell the story of how many people were shown your content, either in their feed or through someone sharing it, as well as the potential that their connections might also see it.
Must as it sounds, this is the number of people who actually open your email. This data point might indicate that your subject line is not enticing enough for a subscriber to want to read the contents.
CPC (cost per click)
The cost that you paid from your planned budget based on the number of times your ad was actually clicked. You generally want a lower CPC.
CTR (click thru rate)
This metric is measured on several different channels and will tell you how frequently or how many times people have clicked a link that you have provided. You can publish all the content you want, but if people don’t eventually take action, you are not going to move them down the funnel towards purchase.
Once you have mastered the basics of collecting, reviewing, and understanding your data, you can get into more advanced measurement that will give you even more insights into your audience, how they interact with your content, and how that leads to sales.
Learn more about data points that that are not based in numbers here.
Yes, there are such things as bad goals. How can that be? Take these two examples:
Goal 1: Increase sales of my widgets.
Goal 2: Increase sales of my widgets by 20% by the end of the year.
Can you tell which one is a good goal and which one is a bad goal? Of course, you can. The second goal is more specific and precise. It gives you something to measure your success by. This is because it uses components of a framework called SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound ). Sometimes it is a little harder to tell a bad goal from a good goal. How about these examples:
Goal 1: Increase our email database by 500 recipients by the end of the month.
Goal 2: Increase our email database by 5,000 recipients by the end of the month.
These both have measurable goals – both in number and in timing. So, which one is good and which one is bad? It is a trick question. Either one of them could be good, depending on your business. If your business currently has 2,000 names in your email list, maybe 500 new recipients is a good number. However, if your business currently has 100,000 names, 500 is probably a bad goal. Why? Your goals need to be proportional to your current situation. The company with 100,000 names on their email list should set a more worthy goal of adding 5,000 recipients.
Another consideration is the potential audience pool. If you are in a very niche industry and your email list already contains 90% of the potential pool of possible targets, then perhaps a small goal number is warranted. You also need to match your goal with your potential resources. If you create goals that will require a $1 million marketing budget to achieve, but your budget is only $100,000, you aren’t going to meet those goals. You are setting yourself up for failure if you don’t match your goals with all of these factors.
This may not be what you want to hear, but it is what you need to understand in order to be effective at any type of marketing, let alone the specific niche of content marketing.
As humans, we are unique beings. We have a brain and a heart. We have emotions and feelings.
We use our senses to help us make decisions about a person when we meet them. What do they look like? Are they dressed nicely or are they disheveled? Do they smile? How hard do they shake your hand? Do they look you in the eye?
We use past experiences. Do they remind you of someone else that you had a good or bad experience with? Do they work for a company you like or one that you don’t?
We use other information. In what context are you meeting them? Did someone else give you a heads up about this person?
We use all of this data to make a determination about another person. And it is the same with businesses. Our audience uses all of these things to make a determination about whether to do business with companies. What will they think of you? Think of your business ‘courting’ new customers.
What is your appearance? Is your website neat and user-friendly? Or is it sloppy and loud?
How do you sound? Do you use colloquialisms in your marketing? Or do you sound like a legal contract?
Do you look people in the eye? Do you meet people where they are? Or do you come at them from an angle?
How hard do you shake their hand? Are you ‘in their face’? Or are you more subtle?
Do you smile? Is your marketing light and welcoming? Or dark and off-putting?
Did a friend tell your customer target about you? Do you know who your company’s advocates are? And are you engaging with them?
These are all things you need to think about when you are creating your marketing. And it is ok to get a second opinion. We all get tunnel vision about our own businesses and our own work.
If you are looking for that second opinion, contact me to learn how I can help.