I’ve been asked all the time why I track metrics. My response is always the same: I ask them “Why don’t you track your metrics?” Their answer doesn’t surprise me. It’s always something like “It takes too much time,” or “Numbers are boring.” While I can sympathize with a dislike of math, I was never one to get excited for calculus class, tracking your metrics is the only way to check the health of your marketing strategy.
No scientist would execute an experiment without recording results. No championship baseball team (Congrats Royals!) would finish a game or season without reviewing their stats. So why would you work so hard on your marketing without reviewing your metrics?
For the most part, you know when you’re healthy. Every day you wake up, you feel fine, go to work and come home. Our bodies tell us when we’re unhealthy. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get regular check-ups. These checkups help you identify things you may not be feeling on a daily basis that may be hurting your health. If you’re healthy, these check-ups serve as an opportunity to reaffirm everything you’re doing to stay healthy. Besides, don’t you always get a bit excited when you get a good test result?
As a business owner, you may view your business the same way. You know your bottom line and when business is booming. You know when things slow down and business may be hard to come by. You can feel it.
Much like your check up with your doctor, checking your metrics can show you why your business is healthy, and may bring your attention to something that you may not be able to “feel.” And the best thing is that you don’t have to see a professional to diagnose the problem. You just have to know what you’re looking for.
What to Look For
Metrics may look like numbers, but really they tell a story. All you have to do is learn the language to understand the story your metrics tell.
Recently, I wrote a post outlining the top 4 content marketing metrics, what they mean and how to fix it. Once you have an idea of what each of those metrics mean, you can begin to read the story of your website. Be sure to look for any spikes in activity and compare that to any blog posts you’ve made live or any other marketing activity that coincides with the activity.
How often to look for it
I always check metrics weekly, but I’m in the business of digital marketing, and this doesn’t make sense for most business owners. I’d suggest at least recording your metrics once a month. This way you’ll have enough data to see trends over a longer period of time. Content marketing takes time to work correctly; these long-term trends will give you the best picture of your plans’ effectiveness.
What are you waiting for?
It doesn’t take a big time commitment to track your metrics, but it does take some time to learn what to look for. Take the time, learn all you can about metrics and it will help you save time and energy with your marketing efforts.
Alex Boyer is a Community Manager and Content Ninja for Duct Tape Marketing. You can connect with him on Twitter @AlexBoyerKC