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Driving Your Business with Dashboards

Imagine tooling down the highway at a high rate of speed without the aid of a dashboard – you wouldn’t know how fast you are going, how your car is doing, even if you had enough gas to get to where you were going.

Just as a dashboard helps power your car – a dashboard is an important tool when it comes to easily accessing how well a business is doing. Measurement is the key to success, but you have to measure what matters. There are so many things we can measure, but some of them are just vanity statistics that really don’t drive our business forward. To make sure you are on the right track to measuring what’s important for your business, I’ve put a list of metrics together that I like to measure and keep an eye on. Hopefully, this will help you when creating which metrics matter for your company.

Key Performance Indicators

A common challenge I hear from many business owners is not knowing what to track and how to track it. It’s important for a business to create a list of key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor that will help to give them a better idea of the health of their company. Move beyond the obvious, like revenue, shares, and likes, and focus on the real drivers that bring money in the door. To identify your KPIs, it’s important that you know your core objectives for the year, and build out your key metrics to track from there.

  • Sales revenue
  • Attribution channels – what sales channels drove what revenue?
  • Cost per lead
  • Cost per acquisition

Examples of questions you may need to know include:

  • What’s the lifetime value of your customer?
  • What’s your marketing ROI?
  • What’s your inbound marketing ROI?
  • What’s your outbound marketing ROI?
  • What’s your traffic to lead ratio? How many website visits does it take to make a sale?
  • What search terms drive the most conversions?
  • Which marketing campaign drove the most sales?
  • How many sales or leads were captured via social media marketing efforts?
  • Which commercial drove the most telephone calls?

You also need to identify, what I like to call, your North Star Metric. This is your guiding metric where if you pay full attention to it, more value will be created and you’ll be able to move your business forward.

Types of dashboards

Dashboards are really just tools that allow you to have an easy way to check-in and review your metrics. There are many types of dashboards that you can create, that can revolve around:

  • Email
  • SEO
  • Advertising
  • Social

There are some tremendous tools available for small businesses at a very low cost to create these dashboards. One of my favorites is a tool called Cyfe, which is an all-in-one online business dashboard that allows you to monitor social media, analytics, marketing, sales, support, infrastructure…the works! I’m also a fan of Gecko Board and Google Analytics Dashboards. You can also check out Dashboard Junkie for some ready-made dashboards and tracking ideas.

For internal purposes, having the right information easily accessible is more important than making your dashboards look pretty. In fact, I just use Google Sheets to create my dashboards of internal tracking, like referrals.

Want to learn more? Join us on May 15 for our next system webinar that will go into more depth about driving business with dashboards. Click here to register.

What tools do you use to create your dashboards? What is your North Star Metric?

3 Winner of the Social Media Library

In case you missed my post on Friday I offered one signed copy of One these seven books: Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, New Community Rules by Tamar Weinberg, Six Pixels of Separation by Mitch Joel, Web Analytics 2.0 by Avinash Kaushik, Duct Tape Marketing by well, me, Whuffle Factor by Tara Hunt and CrushIt by Gary Vaynerchuk to the person that most creatively answers the following: I get the biggest return for my business using social media when I [fill in the blank] – Here’s the original post if you missed it

Between the blog comments, emails and tweets over 100 people responded, so picking one best answer was a bit on the ridiculous side.

It was awesome to see so much positive response to the use of social media. Go back to the post and read the comments, they read like a list of testimonials for the power of social media in small business.

To me, the most significant theme that came across was the realization of the power of combining offline and online to create even more impact. I am just finishing the rewrites for next book and this is a central theme of the book.

“I get the biggest return for my business using social media when I combine my online activity with my offline activity”
“…when I couple it with good ol’ fashion “meet and greet”.”
“I get the biggest return for my business using social media when I use all possible forms of marketing, provide great content, and link everything together.”

There were a couple other popular threads as well:

Engagement
“I get the biggest return for my business using social media is when I am completely present with followers”
“I get the biggest return for my business using social media when I engage with the community.”
“I get the biggest return for my business using social media when I engage in honest conversations everyday.”

Give first
“I get the biggest return for my business using social media when I take dry ideas and turn them into stories people enjoy, comment on, and pass along to others.”
“I get the biggest return for my business using social media when I: Give Generously”
“I get the biggest return for my business using social media when I pay it forward.”
“I get the biggest return for my business using social media by keeping my focus on sharing useful and interesting info rather than a hard sell.”

Listen
“I get the biggest return for my business using social media when I listen, then listen, then listen some more before doing anything else.”
“I get the biggest return for my business using social media when I engage in a conversation. Can’t talk “to” the clients. Gotta talk “with.”
“I get the biggest return for my business using social media when I stop thinking I know everything and start to listen to my costumers!”

Oh, and who won? The winner is:
“I have been working on building my personal brand and by doing so I have utilized social networks. I am a recent graduate (2008) and have been volunteering at many social media conferences in hopes to land a position in the field.

I think these books would help me center myself as a better freelancer until I land my full time gig or to help me become a better person in business.”

Jamie Favreau

I have to admit that as a dad of kids doing the same right now, I had a soft spot for Jamie’s plea. There were so many great responses, thanks all for playing.