How do you measure business success? Is it by their total revenue? Is it by employee engagement or customer loyalty?
Northsail understands that the best way to find success is through the numbers; after all, they never lie. We always crunch the numbers ahead of taking on client projects, so that we can ensure that we're always delivering projects on-time, on-spec, and on-budget. Otherwise, we simply won't take it on.
If your business isn't finding the kind of success and scalability that you were hoping for when you started, it's time to take a step back and think about whether you're tracking all the metrics necessary to ensure your marketing campaigns are a success.
But what are key metrics? What benefits can you see by starting to monitor them more closely? Before we get to some tips for improving your metric tracking, let's discuss the basics.
Key metrics (also sometimes called Key Performance Indicators), are the vital pieces of data that you can collect based on your business, which help determine whether you're reaching key objectives.
Everything from basket size to conversion rate could be considered various types of key metrics. The metrics that are most valuable to your business, depend on what you're trying to track and what type of business you’re running.
Regardless of which type of metrics you're tracking, they should be providing valuable insights into where your marketing efforts are succeeding and where they can use improvement.
The most common metrics that you'll see websites tracking include:
This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to tracking basic metrics and using them to improve your sales funnel, but as you can see, these critical metrics can help shape almost every part of your business.
Can you drive a car while blindfolded? Even if you said yes, would you want to? It would be a dangerous, potentially disastrous idea.
And yet, why would you run a business without tracking any of your key metrics? Without them, there's no way for you to properly gauge the success of your marketing campaigns. In turn, without these valuable insights, you can't run quality assurance on your marketing, which makes it harder to strategize and improve your efforts in the future.
Put simply, it means you're running your business blindfolded. And even if you think that you might be able to do it, would you really want to?
Insights provided by key metrics are the number one way to make your business more successful, while also finding ways to add value and engagement to your customer experience.
Customer satisfaction has a huge impact on a lot of other key metrics, which can dramatically affect your business' profitability.
Part of providing good customer service is ensuring that your customer interactions are quick and provide the information/assistance that they're looking for.
If your response rate is too long getting back to a customer that has a simple question, (or worse, you can't provide a suitable answer), it negatively impacts your customer relationships.
This can lead to them purchasing less from you in the future (which means lost revenue from their customer lifetime), or they may stop supporting your business entirely.
Conversely, a happy customer that got answers quickly and painlessly will appreciate the exceptional service. Over time, this can improve your customer retention rates and reduce your customer acquisition costs.
When your path-to-purchase is a muddled line that looks like a crazy straw, it's a lot harder to keep track of even the basic metrics that you need to judge your short-term successes.
This might seem like a big challenge; especially if you've got a lot of different marketing channels that you use to guide potential customers into your sales funnel. Yet, it's absolutely worth the effort.
Take the time to run mock customer journeys, and see how clearly it guides the guest down your funnel. If you find that it gets hung up, distracted, or even dissuaded at any point during that journey, you need to do some reworking.
Once you have clear customer journeys in place for each channel, you'll not only see your conversions increase, but it will be much easier to track the key metrics you need to succeed.
You may not want to try this option, as it means dealing with confrontation. However, we can't stress enough how invaluable it is to not only talk to your unhappy customers, but address their concerns.
Customer behaviors change when they're upset about a previous experience. They'll buy less from you (or not at all), and they'll stop promoting you to their friends and family, because they don't want them to experience the same frustrations.
Yet, one of the easiest ways to manage this problem is to simply talk to these unhappy customers. Take the time to talk to them individually (and publicly, if they reached out on social media).
Tell them that you understand their concern, and offer them some sort of solution. If you can't provide a clear solution, offer an apology and some kind of discount or bonus as compensation for their frustration.
A little bit of extra effort goes a long way with these people, and you never know, a once unhappy customer can flip to become one of your biggest brand champions. All they need is a bit of personal attention and understanding.
Most importantly, though, these insights can help you determine why your metrics might be suffering, or if there’s a problem that needs to be addressed in your customer journey.
Speaking of social media metrics, you can't neglect keeping an eye on these social metrics.
Social metrics give you a clear view into where your social media campaigns are hitting the mark, and where they're... not.
With the rise of social media popularity over the last few years (particularly from an ecommerce perspective), social media performance can have a huge impact on your other key metrics. It's one of the most common places that you can engage and excite customers that may not already be in your sales funnel.
With a bit of extra effort here, you can improve your whole overall SEO strategy by starting with bolstering your social media channels.
Not to mention that social media is one of the biggest sources of word of mouth for any ecommerce business these days. So, you really can't afford to overlook these invaluable metrics.
Yes, you can track some of your key metrics through Google Analytics, but there are other metric tracking software options out there, which can help broaden the range of KPIs you're tracking.
For example, conversion tracking tools can identify your average customer basket size, clarify revenue timelines by creating heat maps, as well as show what percentage of your in-store or online visitors are choosing to participate in your contests and promotions.
On the flip side, marketing campaign trackers can help demonstrate how successful your PPC campaigns are, as well as identify which of your marketing channels are performing the best and which need a bit of extra attention.
Sure, using Google Analytics is a good idea, but just make sure it isn't the only tool in your toolbelt.
You might be surprised by how much each individual employee can bring to the table, when it comes to improving your key metric tracking.
Obviously, this doesn't apply as much to the ecommerce portion of the business, but if you're having trouble tracking your in-store metrics effectively, your floor team can be an invaluable resource on their own.
Your POS system should help track things like your basket size and daily conversion timelines, but other things can't be tracked so easily - including your ongoing in-store customer experience.
When you change things around in-store with your visual merchandising, be sure to get your sales team to gauge customer reactions to the changes. This will help you make small improvements over the course of every promotion you run, so you can maximize their effectiveness.
Also, have your sales team keep track of how many times in any given day someone enters your retail store, but leaves without purchasing anything. Online you can track those things with bounce rates or abandoned carts, but in-store this figure can be easily overlooked.
If that number seems high, it's a good idea to take a look at both your floor design as well as your sales team training. There are ways to keep people from walking away, without being pushy.
Not every metric that you could be tracking will seem like an obvious choice for you when you're getting started, and that's okay - understanding how to manage business performance metrics is a learning curve, and it can take some time to get good at it.
One tip to help boost the effectiveness of tracking your key performance metrics is to bring in an outside consultant. Someone who has the expertise necessary to help identify your most valuable metrics, and then put processes in place to help you start monitoring them more effectively.
Asking for help as a business owner is never something to be ashamed of. In fact, the most successful business owners are the ones that realize that they don't know everything. Instead of trying to bumble through managing it themselves, they ask for help from those who understand metrics better than they do.
Yes, this can be a bit of strain on your marketing dollars if you're a startup, but it absolutely brings value with it. Not only can you find ways to improve your long-term marketing ROI, but you'll feel more confident about the marketing strategies that you implement along the way.
Now that you understand a bit about how metrics work and the kinds of things that you should be tracking for your business, it's important to note that our newest service - Horizon - allows you to track some metrics directly within the platform.
This way, you can quickly and easily create high-performance landing pages, build custom customer data forms and widgets, and track all your ongoing campaigns from a single, intuitive dashboard.
Best of all, you can try Horizon for free for 30 days - no obligation or payments required. We won't even take your credit card information until after your trial is completed.
So, if you're ready to take back control of your website and your metrics, without the need for a developer, let us show you how Horizon can start saving you time and money.
We’ll send you important updates about the early access program and your free invite when we are ready.
Your contact information will only be used for the early access program, not for future sales and marketing.