When you start something new, it’s tempting to focus on the flashy metrics. Number of FaceBook likes, thumbs up, view count, and the like. The problem is that these stats often don’t have anything at all to do with how successful your efforts are… and by the way, what does success even mean for your project? As bad as it can be to focus on the wrong metrics, it’s easy to make the even worse mistake of not tracking anything at all. Many marketing projects are time consuming and costly. If you can’t articulate what success would look like or don’t have any way to measure that success, you’ll have no idea if your effort was worthwhile.

The Right Goals

When you start a new project, think through what your goals are. The goals of Diverse Energy should align with your overall objectives. If you are trying to increase sales from email marketing, your next email should have goals supporting that. You might focus on testing out subject lines to get a better open rate, experiment with banners to get a higher click through rate, or create new landing pages and see if they convert better. On the other hand, you’re main goal shouldn’t be to win a design award because of how cool your emails look. That’s a nice ego boost, but doesn’t have much to do with increased sales.

Or, let’s say you’re goal is to decrease support calls on a system you sell. You decide to create  a series of videos showing how to start up the system and use it. Great idea! Your goal for these videos is for everyone who buys your system to watch them. Your goal shouldn’t be to have a huge view count or lots of likes. We will circle back to this in a minute.

You should also set goals that you have some way of measuring. Is your goal to have higher customer satisfaction? How would you measure that? Surveys? Number of complaints? Percentage of repeat customers? However you choose to measure it, it should be as objective as possible and be something that your system is able to report on. Ever heard of SMART goals? It’s a good way to make sure you create the best possible goals.

The Best Stats

Knowing your goals, the ones that matter, helps you know what stats are important to track. It’s easy to go down the rabbit hole of analytics. Google Analytics, Facebook, YouTube, and the rest have an enormous amount of data, enough to keep you occupied for hours. You can see where your visitors come from, what page they land on, their ages, what device they were using, how long they stayed around… It goes on and on. Anytime you look at a statistic, you should ask yourself:

  • How does this relate to my goal?
  • Is there anything actionable based on this?

If the stat changes but there’s nothing you change because of it, and if it has nothing to do with your goals, you don’t need to look at it.

YouTube Statistics And View Count

When you post a YouTube video, one of the most natural stats you’ll care about is how many views it has. More views is better, right? I worked with a company a few years back that made an amazing video. It got over a million views (this from an industry whose videos usually get around a thousand views)! As great as this was, 99.9% of the viewers watched because the video was cool but they weren’t potential customers.

Today I was watching YouTube demo videos of shipping software. Partly based on these videos I’m going to decide on a several thousand dollar per year software purchase. Most of these videos had less than 200 views. These videos aren’t exciting and nobody watches them for fun. But, I’d guess that they accomplish their objective beautifully.

Remember your real goals. Is it better to serve a cool video to 1,000,000 viewers with 1,000 of them being potential buyers or a targeted and informative video to 1,000 visitors that are all potential buyers? The targeted “boring” video was probably a lot easier to make.

Of course, all of this depends on what you sell and what you hope to accomplish. For some people, view count is the metric to track. The point is to set your goals and identify the stats that matter, the ones that are actionable and tell you meaningful information about your goals.

Automate Reports

You likely have statistics that you will look at regularly over a long period of time. Revenue, profit, conversion rate, bounce rate, etc. Why not automate those reports? Many of your tools likely have easy to set up auto reporting. Google Analytics, for example, let’s you set up reports that will email to you however often you want (learn more with this tutorial). This is a great time saver!

Go Make Your Site And Business Better!

You probably have loads of great ideas for improving things, making your content more compelling, and making your business more efficient. Of course, you’ll want to know if your efforts are moving the dial. Make sure to set appropriate goals and make sure that you have some way of measuring your success. These two simple things will make your efforts more effective.

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