Author Archives: Ben

5 eCommerce Metrics You Need to Grow Your Business

5 ECommerce Metrics that Matter

  • The Pro of managing an ecommerce business: it’s entirely measureable!
  • The Con of managing an ecommerce business: it’s entirely measurable (and those metrics need to be tracked and interpreted). Ugh…

Ecommerce metrics, or KPI’s (key performance indicators), are legitimate game-changers provided you know which ones demand your focus. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s kick things off with this in mind:

You can’t manage what you can’t measure,

and you can’t improve what you can’t manage.

 

This axiom permeates throughout all aspects of digital marketing, but is especially poignant when it comes to ecommerce solutions that directly boost the bottom line.

Sales are the name of the game and if there’s a way to measure how your audience responds to your online store and how that might affect your revenue, then it’s worth using those metrics to your advantage.

The data is available; it’s only a matter of investing time into understanding what to measure and how to interpret those measurements that may stand between you and your online business’ next big shift to greatness.

 

How to Begin Tracking Ecommerce Metrics

Get a baseline. Start off by understanding where you are right now. See if you notice any trends or interesting data. If something surprises or confuses you (for better or worse) make a note of it. Diving into data won’t do very much if you don’t have a firm baseline from which to measure against. So, it’s helpful to get a quick point of reference and determine which data points interest you the most.

Stick with a consistent measurable time frame. While looking at actionable ecommerce data on a daily basis is a reasonable goal to work towards, to begin it’s more important to grasp the bigger sales trends at play. Days and even weeks can be volatile, so breaking measurements out into monthly data, or more specifically, groupings of weeks (because months often end at mid-week) will be most helpful.

Example: Collect and review data every Monday through Sunday and then evaluate the overall picture over a four-week span of time.

Define your goals. Who are any of us kidding? When it comes to running an ecommerce-based business, the top goal is likely to increase sales. We get it and we support it! However, in order to drive your bottom line, you may need to boost your website traffic and boost conversion rates and boost click-through rates…it goes on and on, but it’s helpful to start off by defining some (small) goals. Have an attainable target or targets in mind. Then, as you learn more, you can (and should) adjust and add.

Which Ecommerce Metrics Matter Most?

The answer you don’t want to hear is that it depends. But really, your professional business goals will dictate what matters most to you, your customers, and your bank account. That said, here’s a rundown of what are typically the most relevant ecommerce metrics to track and understand. Ready? Let’s dive into some data…

 

#1 Ecommerce Metric: Total Ecommerce Site Traffic

This is, after all, a numbers game. More website visitors equal more sales conversions (more on that later), so start by understanding the big picture. More specifically…

  • How many people visit your website each month?
  • Where are these folks coming from? Are they finding your website through digital marketing ads, social media networks, Google searches?
  • How long are visitors staying on your site?
  • What is their journey? Which pages are they visiting and in what order?
  • What is your ecommerce site’s bounce rate? (Bounce rate measures the percentage of viewers who leave — or bounce — after viewing only one web page).

Having this ongoing snapshot view of your ecommerce site will help guide you to better decision-making when it comes to marketing, advertising, and design — ultimately getting a better understanding of your audience and how to best sell to them.

And speaking of your audience…

 

#2 Ecommerce Metric: Audience Analysis

It’s essential to know exactly who your audience is so you can understand how to best engage them and sell to them. Things to measure:

  • Age, sex, location? Getting a grasp of audience demographics makes a tremendous difference from a sales perspective. Are these rural or city folks? Can their geographical location tell you anything about their annual income or how much they might be willing to spend on your services? Different messaging should be used to target specific audiences.
  • Time of day? Is your audience more apt to shop in the wee early hours on Thursdays? Are they weekend afternoon shoppers? If you don’t know, you can’t target and make the most of these timely opportunities.
  • Seasonality? Do you get more visitors during the holidays? Major sales events? Is yours a seasonal business? This info will inform your marketing strategy and let you know what’s working or flubbing, so know these answers cold.
  • Device type? Are people viewing your site through mobile devices, laptops, phones, and what kinds? This is good to know so you can tweak your ecommerce site design to maximize your viewer’s user experience and most efficiently lead them to your call to action.

Here’s a sample web analytics dashboard from Cyfe that analyzes audience demographics at a glance. Number of visitors, geographic location, and more are featured in this custom dashboard.

Cyfe Web Analytics Dashboard

 

#3 Ecommerce Metric: Conversion Rate

This is the big one. Because you’ve been so astute and already know your total ecommerce site traffic (see #1 Ecommerce Metric), you can figure out your total conversion rate by measuring how many of those site visitors make a purchase. Divide your number of sales by total visitors and voila! you have your conversion rate. Your sales conversion rate instantly measures your ecommerce success or shortcomings, so get on this metric fast.

EXPERT TIP: Once you become an ecommerce metric master, you can track conversion rates from all different sources to determine which sources of traffic are most profitable to your company.

Dive into sales that convert from visitors who came from each source of traffic and pit them against each other. Such as LinkedIn vs. Facebook vs. Reddit vs. email vs. organic search. All of these will help you determine your overall marketing strategy.

To start, focus on increasing your conversion month-over-month.

 

#4 Ecommerce Metric: Average Order Value (AOV)

Hopefully it’s a given that you should know how much revenue you’re bringing in on a regular basis. Assuming you have that key data, check out your AOV next. AOV tells you the average of how much your buyers are spending per order. It’s up to you to determine what’s spending a little vs. what’s spending a lot, but knowing your AOV will dictate your next steps.

Example: If you have a lot of ecommerce site visitors spending a little cash, you need a lot more visitors to earn more cash. Conversely, if you find that visitors are spending a great deal on one or two items, perhaps it’s time to rethink how to either focus your marketing strategy on those products or to sell related add-ons that will keep your AOV on an upward trajectory.

 

#5 Ecommerce Metric: Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate

Understanding your customer’s journey through your ecommerce site is perhaps most relevant at the final point of sale — the shopping cart. It is (unfortunately) common for shoppers to fill up their cart and hit the road before confirming a final purchase. It’s naturally in the best interest of online business owners to avoid this!

Some (kind of) good news: The average shopping cart abandonment rate for major corporations is a whopping 69%, so don’t be alarmed if you think yours is high. The key here again is the act of measuring data. Knowing your shopping cart abandonment rate is half the battle. If you know what it is, you can work at reducing it. How you reduce it is up to you. You might find that you need to adjust your messaging, reminders, or your targeted email marketing campaigns, if that’s your thing. But remember that you can’t do anything worthwhile, other than guess, without first analyzing the metrics.

 

Stop Guessing! Use Ecommerce Metrics.

There are infinite more ecommerce metrics to study up and learn, but these five will kick you off in the right direction before you’re ready to tackle more.

Know this: ecommerce metrics, perhaps more than any other digital marketing metrics, are directly linked to your bottom line. They are incredibly powerful insights into your audience that are immediately actionable and should be taken very seriously.

If you’re not measuring your ecommerce site metrics, you’re guessing. And sure, you’re smart and you can probably make some fairly intelligent guesses, but the data will undoubtedly guide you to eliminating costly errors. So, what are you waiting for? Get in there, get the data, and get the sales!

Not sure what metrics you need to be measuring for your ecommerce goals? Check out our FREE Beginner’s Guide to Choosing the Right Marketing KPIs for Your Business.
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Marketing Agency 101: Proving Marketing ROI to Your Clients

Marketing Agency 101

One of the hardest things for any marketer or marketing agency to do is to prove their worth, or the return on investment (ROI) of their marketing campaigns. Sure, there are some generic metrics that some clients may be happy with, but what about those clients that have to justify their spend with you each month and need to understand exactly what their ROI is and whether it’s trending up or down? You need a better system of proving marketing ROI in order to better understand your campaigns, keep your current clients happy, get your current clients to re-sign with you, and even to sign new clients in the future. So where do you start?

Well, the first step is to understand what ROI is. Sure we’ve all heard the ROI buzz word as it gets thrown around by every business and marketer in the world, but do you actually understand how to calculate it? Do you understand what a “good” return on investment is? Well, if you don’t (even if you’re too embarrassed to raise your hand), we’ve got your crash course ready. Here we go!

Return on investment (ROI) is a measure of the profit earned from each investment or campaign. You should be calculating the ROI on each campaign whether it’s inbound or outbound marketing and reporting on it. Some marketing tactics can be much more difficult to calculate than others based on their outbound nature. Campaigns like billboards, television commercials, radio ads, and direct mail are typically much harder to track than digital tactics like email campaigns, content offers, and search engine optimization, but your clients are going to want to know and understand their marketing ROI no matter what kind of campaign you’re running.

To calculate your marketing ROI the formula is:

(Gross Profit – Marketing Investment)

Marketing Investment

Return on investment is typically expressed as a percentage (which is why you would then multiply it by 100 at the end of the expression). [MarketingMo]

Like we mentioned before, some tactics and campaigns can be much easier to track than others. If you’re a “traditional” marketing agency and you are running a “traditional” marketing campaign for your clients including some of those outbound tactics that we outlined above, there may be some guess work involved in your return number in the equation. Most marketing campaigns like this try several tactics in order to get a better understanding of their effect such as using a special phone number dedicated to that campaign, unique landing pages, and even “code words” that are used at the time of purchase for a discount. These can be fairly effective in helping you to understand the return on the campaign.

For campaigns that are easier to track, typically digital campaigns, we just need to collect the data, analyze it, and report on it. But, how do we do that exactly? Let’s check out our 7 step plan to produce marketing ROI for your clients!

 

  1. Determine your KPIs

Though this is not necessarily part of the marketing agency’s job in marketing for their clients, it’s important that the agency clearly understands which KPIs (key performance indicators) are most important to the success of their clients. KPIs are a set of quantifiable measures that a company uses to gauge its performance over time [Investopedia]

These metrics, whether you’re developing them with your client or they already exist, will go a long way in understanding what is important to the business and what you will need to work on producing in order to keep them happy, profitable, and a client as long as possible. Though KPIs aren’t necessarily included in the ROI calculation, they will be considered by your client as if they were. If a KPI for your client is organic traffic to their website, it may not be used directly to calculate gross profit, but actually takes it another step past that ROI calculation to see where that gross profit actually came from and answers questions such as:

  • How much traffic must you produce in order to grow our profit by 10%?
  • What would happen if we invested in increasing our organic traffic by 1,000 visitors per month?
  • How many organic visitors must we attract in order to convert one lead? And, how many leads must we produce in order to close one sale?

This is all very important information that you should be able to report on to your clients.

 

  1. Determine your client’s marketing costs

Now it’s time to really dive into the marketing return on investment equation.

First, we must understand what the client is paying in costs for every piece of the campaign. This will number will likely include many of these items:

  • Media costs
  • Creative costs
  • Printing costs
  • Software or technical costs
  • Management time (such as account management charges from your agency)
  • Cost of sales
  • Labor costs
  • And many others depending on your client’s unique business, setup, and your relationship with them.

When you’ve determined the overall costs for each tactic in your marketing campaigns you can then extrapolate that for each campaign as a whole. Remember – successful agencies will report on overall ROI of their campaigns as well as ROI of each tactic. This will help you and your client to understand where potential areas of growth are, tactics that may not be performing like you’d expect (good or bad) are, and tactics that may be outperforming your expectations that you may want to focus more on.

 

  1. Determine if you’ll use customer lifetime value & calculate CLV

One of the hardest things to get business owners, especially small business owners, to understand is customer lifetime value.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is defined as a prediction of all the value a business will derive from their entire relationship with a customer. [Custora University]

Many business owners will look at a single sale as the value of that customer so it’s likely going to be your responsibility to help them to understand that the value of that one sale is likely not all of the value that that individual customer provides. As with any marketing campaign, you are likely attempting to create a long-term customer, not just a single sale.

Once you’ve got buy in from your client on the importance of looking at CLV, not just the value of one purchase, it’s time to calculate the lifetime value of a customer from each campaign. For a predictive CLV, we use this calculation:

[(Avg. Monthly Transactions X Avg. Order Value) Avg. Gross Margin] x Avg. Lifespan in Months

 This will likely be a process you’ll need to work with your client in order to produce and you’ll need to measure your results for each client as you gain them, but using your client’s CLV will help you identify where your most valuable customers are coming from and show the value of your agency past that single purchase.

 

  1. Establish ROI threshold

The process of establishing a floor and goal for the ROI of each campaign will help you work towards better and better ROI and keep your clients happy. By doing this, you’ll do several things that are helpful for your internal process including:

  • Set reasonable expectations
  • Gain more control over the marketing budget
  • Gain more control over the campaign with autonomy to cut and increase spends as necessary to reach your ROI goals

Every marketing agency has had struggles with clients around each of these points, but taking the time to establish your ROI thresholds will help you temper client expectations (because we all know they expect the world) and it will also open the door to conversations about higher budgets for high performing campaigns. Win – Win!

 

  1. Create ROI dashboard

Next, we recommend creating a return on investment dashboard for each client (or campaign) depending on how intricate the tracking will be.

One thing that separates good agencies from great agencies is giving clients the ability to monitor their performance in real time. It’s great to be an agency that provides monthly analytics. It’s better to be an agency that allows their clients to continuously monitor results, it is after all, their money at work.

Need a good solution to help you build out your ROI dashboards and share them in real time with your clients? Give Cyfe a try! You can get started for FREE!

 

  1. Measure ROI of each tactic AND campaign

Like we’ve mentioned several times already, it’s important to measure not only campaign success and ROI, but the success and ROI of each tactic individually. Doing so will help you identify tactics that may be costing your client a lot of their budget, but is not resulting in leads, customers, and revenue like expected as well as tactics that may be outperforming your expectations and deserve more of the budget.

 

  1. Optimize based on your findings

Measuring the ROI of each tactic and each campaign leads right into optimization. Taking the data that you’ve produced through these exercises will help you be more flexible with your campaigns and align your client’s budget with tactics that perform well and result in generated customers and revenue.

No client wants to work for an “order taker” type of agency. You’re supposed to be the expert and thus should be making ongoing recommendations based on your analytics. Measuring ROI for your clients and their individual tactics and campaigns will give you all the information that you need in order to make recommendations to reallocate budget to better performing tactics or campaigns and even request higher budgets (meaning more money in your pocket) for campaigns that are performing like rock stars. Who doesn’t want more money?

Now, this whole process kind of falls apart if your clients don’t understand the KPIs that are most important to their success in marketing and business. Help them develop their unique KPIs with our FREE eBook, The Beginner’s Guide to Choosing the Right Marketing KPIs for Your Business. Download it now!

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3 Financial Metrics Every Small Business Should Track

3 Financial Metrics Every Small Business Should Track

Small businesses need to find the edge over the competition wherever possible. A major element in that concept is tracking the right business metrics. There are several key indicators that help you decide when your business is due for growth, whether you have a bottleneck in your path to success, or if there is a hole in your strategy. In this post, we will go over some of the most important financial metrics to keep an eye on.

 

1. Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)

This is key. Without breaking out your cost of goods sold over time, across different products, and through other difference-makers, you won’t understand where your profits come from. It is all very well and good to see big revenue numbers, but without taking into account your production costs, you aren’t really learning anything about the health and long-term viability of the business model. This is especially important for a young and growing business, because it is tempting to generate a lot of revenue with low prices to gain market share early on. However, if you can’t start generating an actual profit over your costs, you will eventually burn through your cash.
There are a few things you can learn from your cost of goods sold. First of all, you can see how your costs are changing. Even in isolation, this is useful to know. You can see if your production is getting more efficient and reducing your costs, for example, or if switching suppliers affected costs. That helps you make sure your costs aren’t creeping up or eating into more of your margin unexpectedly. This is especially important during expansion, because new products often cost the most to sell at launch, with costs coming down. If you expect costs to decrease over time, then you should see indicators of that in the cost of goods sold.
You also need to be able to break out the margins of each product. It is okay to have a loss leader that you take a thin loss on if that leads to more purchases of profitable items later on, but you can’t handle sustained losses. The last few years of the tech sector should be enough to show anyone how dangerous it is to build your business model around years of losses, especially when there is no concrete plan to swing into the black.
Cost of goods sold is one of the most crucial financial metrics both in aggregate and in fine detail, so keep a close eye on it. It could be the key to many things, from pricing and growth to R&D and support.

2. Customer Acquisition Cost

Next up we have another cost. Customer acquisition costs are all the costs associated with converting a lead into a customer, and they generally consist primarily of marketing and sales dollars. This is an area where it’s easy to overspend. If your CAC is too high, then you need to find a way to increase conversions or to spend less money and get the same results. Spend too much on sales and marketing and you will run into problems; the margin of revenue over cost of goods sold will get wiped out when you take into account CAC. Sales and marketing are both highly complex fields in today’s business world, so it isn’t easy to find the best and most efficient approaches for your needs, but spending some time on sharpening your strategy is key.
Most marketing (and much of the sales process, especially at big companies) today has at least some online component, and it might be completely online. Online marketing tactics such as email and social media tend to be cheap and high-volume, so they are attractive to small businesses. Some of the big costs come in, however, on larger tactics such as SEO and web design. It is increasingly common to outsource these to marketing companies. This is not necessarily a bad move. It’s rare for a small business to have the internal talent and time to spend on SEO-oriented web design so it makes sense to seek out those who do and partner with them. However, costs can potentially run high when working with outside vendors, and what makes matters more difficult is the necessity of paying for the work before the increased revenues from new sales come in. In addition, accounting can be a little tricky as well, if you don’t remember to include some of these costs in your total CAC.
As with cost of goods sold, CAC is useful if you can break it out by type of customer, the channel, the things the customers buy, and so on. That will help you see where your marketing is most effective, what kind of groups you are efficiently converting, and whether high-CAC customers go on to buy enough to justify the costs to acquire them. This last point is important. If you are trying to increase conversions among a particular group and are spending a lot on marketing, more conversions don’t mean more profits if those customers are buying low-margin items. When possible, increase the efficiency of your marketing by funneling potential customers to products with better margins.
CAC is also a key financial metric to keep you focused on retention. Visualize how much you need to spend to bring in a new customer and how much uncertainty there is associated with that process. For less money and less effort, you can keep existing customers and make them into repeat business. The saying in business is “the best customers are the ones you already have” and that holds true even today.

3. Cash Burn Rate

You’ve heard the phrase, “you have to spend money to make money.” Nowhere is this phrase more relevant than in business. If you want to expand and make a splash, you need to be willing to invest early on in the life of your business. However, that doesn’t mean you have to use up all your cash in the first six months, either. Half of all small businesses fail in the first year and one-third fail in the first two years. The main reason for this high failure rate is a lack of cash flow. Businesses simply run out of money to sustain. The founders fail to foresee how long it will take before their company starts to turn a profit, or underestimate the day-to-day costs of operating. To be safe, always go into a new business with the mentality that you might need to eat a year’s worth of costs before profit comes in. The cash burn rate is the right metric to monitor how much longer you can stay afloat.
While the first two metrics we discussed were specific types of cost, the cash burn rate is more overarching because it provides an all-inclusive look at sustainability. It’s easy to calculate how much longer you can maintain your current state and when you will need to start turning a profit.
The cash burn rate is also a good reality check for business owners. It’s easy to get excited in the early days of big spending and growth. Checking in with your burn rate helps you see just how unsustainable that is, keeping you grounded and in tune with long-term realism. That initial growth phase won’t last forever, and by looking at your monthly or annual pace for spending, you’ll see that your revenue will fall short of expenditures until you start to convert efficiently and build a loyal customer base. Cash burn rate doesn’t tell you where your money is going or whether it is being well spent, so you’ll need to connect the dots a little to decide whether you are making good use of your resources. It is most useful as a sort of ticking clock, a countdown of when you’ll be forced to seek exterior financing or shut down. The more you can reduce your burn rate while increasing revenue, the quicker you can swing into profitability.

All three of these metrics are costs. You want to focus on costs because they guide many decisions in all realms of business. These are also metrics that many owners underappreciate. They key in on helping you reach profitability and avoiding burnout. In the modern, heady market with startups and online platforms making entrepreneurship accessible, it’s more important than ever to stay calm and locked-in on the long-term sustainability goal. For every Facebook, there are a thousand new businesses that flame out and go unnoticed because they never developed a way to make a profit. By focusing on these three core metrics, you’ll see exactly where and how you can improve your efficiency. Consider this an introduction to the world of business intelligence. The right data can change your entire perspective and deliver powerful insight across each part of your business. That includes visualizations and graphs as well as raw data. Look into getting a good BI dashboard that can bring these and other metrics within easy reach.

Ready to start building out your BI dashboard and start measuring these important KPIs? Take Cyfe for a test drive! Build your first dashboard for free! No credit card. No obligation. Just insight!

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What are Closed-Loop Analytics?

What are Closed Loop Analytics?

It’s no secret that analytics are the one of the most powerful tools we, as marketers, have access to today. Between tracking website traffic using Google Analytics to measuring the cost-per-click of your latest Facebook advertising campaign, companies have access to more information about their business and their customers than ever before. This is great news because not only does it mean that you can prove the effectiveness of your marketing, it also means that, given the right amount of analysis, you are able to uncover powerful insights about your customers and your sales process giving you more power than ever.

The sheer volume of metrics and analytics available allows us to track nearly everything our businesses do in a given time period but that can be somewhat overwhelming. After all, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to be able to connect all of your campaign and transaction data together so you can more easily determine which platforms and channels are delivering the most value and track your entire customer lifecycle from beginning to end? Good news! You can. It’s called closed-loop analytics. Let’s take a look at what this means, how you can implement it into your organization and how it will help you draw more educated correlations and insights about your business.

 

What are closed-loop analytics?

Closed-loop analytics lends insight into the entire customer lifecycle – from the time they first interact with you, to the time they become a customer. When implementing closed-loop reporting, you are “closing the loop” between the data collected by marketing and the data collected by sales. Implementing a closed-loop reporting process allows markerters to make decisions on actions that occur further down the funnel than they are normally able to.

 

Why closed-loop analytics are important

Historically marketers have dealt primarily with top-of-the-funnel lead generation tactics and analytics and salespeople have dealt with the lead-to-customer transition and metrics. With closed-loop analytics, marketers are able to evaluate how their efforts are performing through the entire business lifecycle from visitor all the way through customer. This allows marketers to draw insights and make decisions based on actions further down the funnel on what drives the greatest ROI for the business. This is great for marketers and for high-level executives, as marketers are able to make more informed decisions about how to spend their marketing budgets and high-level executives are able to more accurately measure the effectiveness of marketing in driving bottom-of-the-funnel conversions.

Closed-loop analytics help companies transform (and track) anonymous web visitors into leads who can then be converted into customers. It also allows us, as marketers, to see what channels and tactics are ultimately creating leads, conversions and sales.

 

Where to start with closed-loop reporting

Now that you understand the benefits of closed-loop analytics, how do you implement them into your organization?

In practice, closed-loop analytics is comprised of comparing data between two or more analytics tools. As you probably know, marketers typically track their campaigns using an audience-tracking tool such as Google Analytics. Likewise, the sales team usually tracks their prospects and leads using a CRM platform. Closed-loop analytics require that the person measuring the metrics look at tracking platforms that both the marketing team and sales team rely on in order to get a full view of the customer lifecycle.

While there are some audience-tracking tools and CRMs that work together, since sales and marketing have historically been separate departments and functions within a company, many businesses are using softwares that don’t talk to each other. That’s ok! You can still implement closed-loop analytics and you don’t even have to upend the company processes by implementing all new software. Sure it’s going to take a little more effort on your part to analyze metrics in two different places, but it is possible. Let’s take a look at how you can use your existing process to implement closed-loop analytics:

A successful sale (at it’s most simple) usually has four stages:

  1. Visitors arrives at your website
  2. Visitor browses your website
  3. Visitor converts to a lead by filling out a form
  4. Lead becomes a customer

Most marketing tools track your customer through stages one and two, some will bring it all the way through stage three but few will track through stage four since leads typically are turned over to the sales and taken away from marketing completely at this point. So how can we track all four stages? Let’s go stage by stage:

  1. Visitor arrives at your website
    As a marketer, you are probably already familiar with metrics that measure visitors arriving at your website but since each step of the process is a crucial component of closed-loop reporting, allow us to explain anyway.

    Even the most simple audience-tracking tools will track the source of a visitor when they land on your website. Whether your visitors are coming from organic results, PPC, social media, email marketing or any of your other marketing tactics, it’s important to understand where your visitors are coming from first and foremost.

    Here is a pretty basic sample report pulled from Google Analytics showing the sources of this website’s visitors. You’ll notice from this report that the majority of visits are direct (or there’s no known source) followed by organic search.
    Google Analytics Visitor Source

    Your results might indicate that you’re receiving more traffic from your social media profiles than your SEO results. Regardless of where your traffic is coming from, understanding your sources is the first step in determining what efforts are most effective in bringing in new customers.

  2. Visitor browses your website
    Once you have captured your website visitors, you can begin tracking additional information about them and how they navigate your website. Some valuable information that you’ll want to look at includes what pages they visit, in what order they visit those pages and how long they stay on each page. Ideally you would be able to track this information for each individual user, but if your audience-tracking software provides this information in aggregate (as Google Analytics does), that’s a good starting place too.

    Here is a sample of how Google Analytics provides page view information:

Google Analytics Page View Information

Page visit information will help you determine what content is valuable to your visitors and how they are engaging with the content on your website.

  1. Visitor converts to a lead by filling out a form
    Most simple audience-tracking software does not, by design, show you which visitors on your site convert by filling out a form. Instead, these people will be converted to leads and sent to a salesperson by email and/or entered into the sales CRM. Most companies stop their marketing efforts here as the leads are turned over to salespeople for nurturing. When implementing closed-loop reporting, however, you want to continue your tracking through this stage and the next. The good news is that although simple audience-tracking software isn’t set up to track these conversions, there are a few options for you to capture and analyze information on visitors who become leads:

    1. Implement a software that tracks form conversions
    2. Customize your current software to track form conversions
      Many audience-tracking softwares will allow you to create a way to track conversions. For example, if you are using Google Analytics, you can set up a Goal to track conversions in addition to all of your other metrics.
    3. Track them in the sales CRM
      One way that many salespeople receive leads is through visitors on the website converting by filling out a form. When this happens, it’s likely that the salesperson will either get an email with information about that lead and manually enter it into the CRM, or it will be automatically entered into the CRM.
  2. Lead becomes a customer
    Traditionally, marketing’s job ends once the lead enters the CRM and sales picks it up from there. But with closed-loop analytics, marketing continues to track the lead through to becoming a customer (or to becoming a closed – lost deal) to determine which of their efforts result in leads that do buy and which result in leads that don’t buy. This is the step in which it starts to become complicated to determine which tactics lead to sales and which don’t without software that tracks actions of individual users.

 

Closed-loop marketing not only allows marketers to better understand their efforts, it also helps the entire company determine whether what they’re doing is effectively bringing in new customers or not, something that businesses are traditionally not great at understanding. In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute, only 21 percent of B2B marketers are successful at tracking ROI. Shifting to closed-loop reporting is a huge step in solving that challenge. In addition to better understanding your customer metrics, closed-loop reporting also enables marketing and sales teams to work more closely together. This is sure to lead to more effective marketing and more informed salespeople.

Whether your company measures using closed-loop analytics or not, choosing the correct KPIs to measure is crucial to ensuring that your efforts are targeted towards your overall business goals. Not sure how to choose which KPIs to track? Check out our FREE The Beginner’s Guide to Choosing the Right Marketing KPIs for Your Business eBook today!

7 Sales Analytics Metrics Every Company Should Be Monitoring

Sales Metrics to Kick Your Business into Higher Gear

All businesses are looking to increase sales, right? We’ve certainly never encountered a business who’s told us that they would like to decrease sales. Whether your busienss is suffering from a decrease in sales or just looking to kick it into higher gear, sales analytics metrics are the first step towards increasing your sales.

Sales analytics metrics exist to help you understand the effectiveness of your current sales process. Understanding your current process and the health of your sales pipeline will help you identify areas of opportunity or pieces that aren’t as effective as they could be and improve the overall success of your pipeline. Tracking these metrics historically will help you to analyze trends in your results with more clarity and you will even begin to start forecasting future trends and opportunities.

Let’s take a look at the seven sales analytics metrics every company should be monitoring and how they can help you understand the strength of your overall sales process and pipeline.

 

  1. Number of Open Opportunities

One of the most important numbers to look at is the number of open opportunities each representative is working at a given time. By determining how many opportunities are created and available to your sales reps, you can get an idea of whether you are generating enough new opportunities.

Is this number low? That means you aren’t providing your sales representatives with enough opportunities for them to pursue. Given that 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales, a low number of open opportunities will lead to a low number of overall sales and lower revenue.

In this case you want to take a look at your MQL-to-SQL (link to content offer when live) ratio. If this percentage is decreasing over time that means you’re having a problem converting marketing qualified leads into sales qualified leads. This might mean that your definition of a sales qualified lead is too strict or that your ideal customer is changing and the sales process needs to change in concert with that change. Take a look at the criteria you’ve put in place for converting a MQL to a SQL and determine whether it’s time to make a change in that criteria.

EXPERT TIP:

Another thing you can use this metric for is to evaluate the spread of opportunities amongst your different sales reps. Reps working too many open opportunities aren’t able to spend much time on each opportunity to qualify and close those people and will thus become ineffective salespeople. Making sure opportunities are divided adequately amongst your sales team (after taking experience level, time needed to service an opportunity and deal size under consideration) will help ensure that your salespeople have enough time to work with each prospect until they are ready to make a purchase.

 

  1. Total Closed Opportunities

Just because you have a lot of open opportunities does not mean that you’re sales process is working correctly. That’s why you want to also consider the total number of closed opportunities (both closed – won and closed – lost opportunities).

Imagine, for example, that you have a sales rep that’s being provided with 10 open opportunities per day but only closing 10 of those per month. In that scenario you need to determine why your rep is closing so few of their open opportunities. It’s possible that they don’t understand how to properly close a deal or they’re just letting potential business fall through the cracks. No matter the reason, this is cause for concern and is something that you should address with that sales rep so that future opportunities aren’t left by the wayside.

 

  1. Win Rate

Win rate will help you understand the success rate of your sales team and can be calculated using a simple equation:

(Closed Won Opportunities)/(Total Closed Opportunities) 

This metric will help you identify which, if any reps, are struggling to close deals. By identifying the sales reps that are struggling to win deals, you can work with those reps to determine where they are struggling and how you can help them win more deals. If conversion rates are low in the early stages, your team might be struggling with rapport building, qualification or even product knowledge and demos. By contrast, if conversions are low in the latter stages of the funnel, they might be struggling with managing objections, gaining commitment, or their negotiation or closing skills.

 

  1. Deal Size

In the short term, knowing the average sales price of all closed – won deals will make it easier for you to identify opportunities that fall outside the normal deal size. Larger (3x or greater) opportunities tend to have smaller win rates and longer sales cycles and should be called out as such in the your system so it can be monitored adequately.

In the long-term, this metric will help you track when and by what margin you start beginning to win bigger deals. If you average deal size increases significantly, that might mean you’re attracting larger deals and your pipeline is changing. Larger deals also might cause your pipeline to change as deals of a larger cost tend to take longer on average to convert than those of a smaller cost.

EXPERT TIP:

If you notice an increase in smaller deals, it might be something you want to look into. It’s possible that your sales team is foregoing larger deals because smaller deals are easier to win. Or they might be giving too many discounts that are affecting your pipeline.

 

  1. Sales Cycle Length

Your sales cycle is the average time it takes your team to win a deal. This metric should be measured starting from when the lead comes in and ending when the deal is closed. Sales cycle lengths depend on a lot of different factors including your industry, sales price, etc. As such, no one sales cycle length works for all industries or even all businesses in the same industry. Therefore, it’s most important here to measure this from a historical perspective so you can identify whether your sales cycle is increasing or decreasing in length.

This will also help you identify any place in the sales cycle where prospects get hung up or spend an unusual amount of time. This will inform you which skills you should coach your sales team on to decrease the amount of time a prospect lives in that stage of the sales cycle.

You can also use this metric to identify the likelihood that new prospects will become buyers. After all, there is a high correlation between the amount of time an opportunity spends in a stage and the likelihood of it becoming a won deal. Use historical data to identify deals that are less likely to close based on the amount of time they have remained in a particular stage of the pipeline.

 

  1. Cost of Sales to Revenue Ratio

This metric reflects the overall efficiency of the sales division without having to look at numbers for individual sales reps. Total costs should include salaries, commissions and expenses for your sales team. Over time, evaluating the cost of sales to revenue ratio will help you understand the level of investment needed to reach a certain performance level. This will, in turn, help you estimate how much money you need to put into sales in order to reach certain revenue goals.

 

  1. Specific Actions

While analyzing big picture metrics is incredibly important to understanding the overall performance of your team, it’s also crucial to evaluate performance based on measurable actions taken by the sales team. Identifying the most influential actions and setting KPIs based on those actions will keep your sales team on track and will help them understand what actions they should be spending their time doing.

Here are a few examples of action-based metrics you can measure for your sales team as a whole or even for individual reps:

  • Number of outreach emails sent
  • Number of first contact calls made
  • Number of follow-up calls made
  • Number of follow-up emails sent
  • Number of meetings scheduled
  • Number of demos given
  • Number of proposals sent

There are tons of additional sales analytics metrics that a business can measure but starting with some of these high-level metrics will help you get a feel for your overall pipeline and determine whether your overall process is effective or needs to be revised in order to be more successful. Businesses are always looking to hit revenue numbers and manage their teams successfully. In order to do both of these, it’s important to start focusing on some of the most critical sales metrics. The seven metrics above should be a good starting point for understanding your overall pipeline and identifying any areas of opportunity within your overall sales cycle.

 

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What is the Difference Between Business Intelligence and Business Analytics?

Business Intelligence vs Business Analytics

Business intelligence and business analytics both revolve around how a business can tap into available data to improve its decision-making. However, many people are unsure what separates the two terms, if anything. In this post, we’ll explain the difference between business intelligence and business analytics so you know what each of them is referring to and what that means for your own business. We will examine two different viewpoints. The first involves how business intelligence and business analytics describe different approaches to using data and gathering insight. The second focuses on how usage of the terms themselves has changed and what that means for their application.

Business Intelligence vs. Business Analytics: A Difference in Time 

One way to differentiate business intelligence and business analytics is that both use data, but business intelligence uses historical data to learn from past decisions while business analytics is forward-looking and attempts to predict what will happen in the future. For example, business intelligence might describe a company’s attempt to examine why a marketing campaign did not draw as much interested as expected. Business analytics would use marketing data to predict how consumers would respond to a different campaign in the future.

Both approaches are important, and one is not greater or lesser than the other. The two are complementary in that they provide different insights and draw upon different sources. Neither one can answer all of the questions and solve all the problems a business has. They also call for different statistical techniques: forecasting is a different form of statistics compared to drawing conclusions from past data.

The difference is, to a degree, academic. Any business needs to understand its past and be able to look into the future if it wants to succeed. But it is still worthwhile to separate them because they require different datasets, skills, and tools. That means different employees will be working on each and each may use different vendors to supply the necessary software. From a logistical perspective, then, BI and BA can be defined by the extent to which they need different resources. This can vary from company to company. In some organizations there might in fact be considerable overlap, while in others the gap might be large. This comes down to the IT culture of each company and how it prefers to collect and process its data.

The insights drawn from each approach play into the company’s overall strategy. Business intelligence helps to show what works and what doesn’t work in retrospect. That’s critical for honing in on strengths and shoring up weaknesses. It’s difficult for a business to thrive when it cannot understand what attributes of its product are the most and least attractive. BI also guides how well the company met its goals. For example, products and campaigns typically have intended audiences that are the targets of marketing and design. Proper use of BI allows the company to determine if it succeeded in reaching that audience. Business analytics then carries the insights into the future. The company can attempt to model a particular change or new campaign to see how well it will do based on projections.

While the goals and tools in each approach differ, both rely on gathering as much data with as high quality as possible. Not having enough data means that you cannot rely on the conclusions you draw because the sample size is too small. Low sample sizes just don’t provide enough evidence to support insight. Likewise, if the data is hard to access, stored in a difficult format, or isn’t detailed enough, then it will be difficult to arrive at useful conclusions no matter what approach you are taking. The company needs to make an active effort to gather and clean data so that both processes can proceed smoothly. To that end, the exact border where business intelligence ends and business analytics begins perhaps matters less than a company’s data culture. Data is a resource and the business needs to be prepared to make full use of it in whatever capacity it can. That takes effort and investment of staff time and infrastructure. Moreover, as data and analysis in general becomes increasingly accessible thanks to cloud computing and inexpensive storage, the boundary will continue to blur. The end result is that it boils down to data and exploiting that data for all the information and guidance it can yield, no matter what the name of the process is.

A Difference in Terms

That leads us into another viewpoint on the difference between business intelligence and business analytics, which is that there is no real meaningful difference. According to this view, making use of data and information has been a part of business for many decades. The only thing that has changed is the terms we use to describe that process. The evolution comes as a result of vendors and other stakeholders who want to distinguish their new offerings from what came before. They introduce progressively newer ways to describe their products in order to convey how the most recent edition adds more value than previous generations. As a result, business analytics has simply begun to replace business intelligence as the way to discuss business-data products and services.

There is some evidence for this effect. If you use the Google Trends tool to compare “business intelligence” with “business analytics” you will immediately observe that usage of BI has been declining steadily while the usage of BA has been increasing over the last several years. That might indicate that the two are not really complements, but that industry use has shifted from one term to another. In other words, BA is just the newer version of BI, but they both refer to the same thing: using data to solve problems.

That is not to say that the distinction is without any meaning at all. It does matter that the business world wants to change how it describes data, because there is a real shift occurring now. Several recent advances have made it possible for more and more businesses to collect, store, and analyze data at a scale that was previously too expensive to contemplate. At the same time, giants like Google have demonstrated that it is entirely possible to let data lead product development and improvement. Data can lead you toward growth even before you have a completely settled business plan. Simply coming up with a way to collect data and then figuring out how to monetize it later has become a common theme in many startups. While that approach has its limitations, it certainly demonstrates just how powerful it is to come up with a unique way to gather or organize data.

The newest data products and services can handle greater sizes and scales of datasets than ever before and can do so with simpler interfaces and more powerful tools. That means less staff time and less training is necessary to tap into data’s power. A clean GUI and simple, approachable analytical tools means you do not need to have a fully-trained data scientist on staff to take advantage of the data you have. On top of that, the emphasis on cloud readiness means that the company does not need to own its own data architecture. That is a significant improvement because data storage and administration in-house can be expensive and time consuming. Cloud solutions are increasingly cheap, secure, and remotely accessible. The new world of business analytics is not just about coming up with new techniques or applications, but the open access to those tools.

Another major new trend is the ability to integrate different data projects together. For example, while it may be useful for marketing, sales, and customer support to all collect data, there are even more gains to be had by combining all of that data together into a single birds-eye view of the customer encounter. That concept is known as customer relationship management, or CRM, and it’s transforming how businesses approach their operations. CRM software draws data from every department and combines it for new insight that would not have been visible from one alone. CRM as an analytical toolkit is becoming cheaper and easier to use just like other forms of analytics.

All of this comes down to saying that the change from using the term “business intelligence” to “business analytics” denotes an important change in the relationship between business managers and data. Now, managers and owners need to be more conversant with what data can do and how they need to proactively harvest data to generate future returns. The importance of data hasn’t changed, but its accessibility has.

The bottom line is that the question of business intelligence vs. business analytics is secondary to the greater point: now is the time to commit to establishing standards and a method for using data. There are more tools and solutions available than ever before. Whether it comes from social media interaction, website and app interaction, purchasing and financing, email marketing, support, or any other source, it is hard to justify not taking advantage of the available data to guide how you create and market your product.

There are tons of different business intelligence and analytics metrics you can track. It can get a little overwhelming! Setting key performance indicators can help you spend your time analyzing only the most important metrics for your business. Not sure where to start?

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6 Tips to Create the Perfect Data Dashboard

Cyfe on display on wall mount

So you’ve taken the plunge and you’re diving into setting up a data dashboard (and hopefully several) to track your business, operations, financial, and/or marketing metrics and KPIs. Your problem now is that you’ve got SO MANY OPTIONS! We understand. In today’s digital world, we’ve got an information overload. We can track almost anything so thinking about adding all of that to a data dashboard is a little overwhelming.

The trick is being efficient, targeted, and organized in your dashboards. Let’s dive into 6 tips that we’ve developed to help you report on what you should be reporting, to whom you should be reporting, and in a digestible way that isn’t overwhelming to the recipient.

  1. Determine the purpose

There are a seemingly endless number of data dashboards that you could build. The first step to creating the perfect dashboard is determining its purpose – and if a dashboard is actually necessary. Forcing a dashboard when one isn’t really necessary is a great way to waste a couple hours. We’ve seen it done several different ways, but here are three dashboard purposes that we think are pivotal for any business:

  • Operational Dashboard

An operational dashboard is a dashboard that you would use to monitor information that helps you identify efficiencies, issues, and opportunities in real-time. This type of dashboard would likely include information like website traffic through Google Analytics, messages through Basecamp, bank balances through Quickbooks or Freshbooks, customer support through Desk or Zendesk, and even upcoming events through Google Calendar.

This dashboard is one that will likely be monitored each day and will drive some of your actions and decision processes.

  • Strategic Dashboard

A strategic dashboard is one that will likely matter most to an executive, business owner, or board of directors. It’s a dashboard that would likely monitor items related to your businesses’ KPIs (key performance indicators) and should give you a high level view of the health of the business. This type of dashboard would likely include information like trending information through Google Trends, sales through Infusionsoft, Shopify, or Eventbrite, and even information on your conversion funnel through Unbounce.

A strategic dashboard will be different for each industry and each business because there are different metrics that matter most to each business, but these are some of the most common that are associated with most business’s key performance indicators.

  • Marketing Dashboard

A marketing dashboard is where you’ll track the effectiveness, progress, and return on investment of your marketing initiatives through all different channels. Really any sort of marketing campaign can be (and should be) tracked in a marketing dashboard, including traditional or offline marketing initiatives like print advertising and radio ads. This type of dashboard would likely include information like pay-per-click costs, clicks, impressions, and conversions through Google Adwords and Bing Ads, call logs through Marchex, email marketing effectiveness (opens, unsubscribes, bounces, clicks, etc.) through any of the many email marketing programs available, Moz ranks, social media analytics, and search engine optimization progress including keyword ranks and crawl errors.

This dashboard should give you a good idea of what is effective and what is lagging. A marketing dashboard should help you identify not only the tactics that are performing best and worst, but also the campaigns and content types that are performing best and worst.

  • Financial Dashboard

Your financial dashboard is a way to keep up with the financials of your business and have a snapshot at hand at all times. This can include information like your income, expenses, sales, customers, invoices, balances, vendors, subscriptions, deals, and proposals. It can be very inconvenient to have to log into each bank account, your accounting software, your ecommerce shop, and anywhere else your financial information may be in order to get a snapshot of how well you’re performing. Creating a financial data dashboard is a great way to get that information conveniently and to also measure it against previous cycles.

  • Competitors Dashboard

A competitor dashboard is an underutilized type of dashboard, but can be very enlightening and beneficial to your business growth. Within this dashboard you can monitor your competitor’s content through an RSS feed, social media growth and content, Moz rankings, keyword rankings, traffic ranking, reach, and even page views per user.

We all want to know what our competition is doing and understand what they’re doing well and not so well so that we can capitalize and grow our business. Creating a competitors dashboard is the first step.

 

  1. Determine the recipient

Next, you want to determine who the dashboard is actually for. Who is going to be monitoring it? As you can imagine, a dashboard for the CEO of the company and a dashboard for the marketing manager are likely going to be very different and the information that is important to each of these people is likely vastly different. It will also help you determine how in-depth the tracking and analytics actually need to go. Does it need to be just an overview or does it need to go into more specifics? Is it meant to be a very targeted board or a 30,000 foot view of the business?

As with any kind of content or report, keeping in mind who your audience is, is extremely important to the overall effectiveness of the material.

 

  1. Left to right

Now you’re on to building your data dashboard. Making sure that your content reads left to right is very important. We will all start at the top left (the most prime position on your dashboard) and move right. It seems logical and obvious right now, but it’s a very common mistake. So, because this is our natural course of reading, putting your most important or highest priority information on the top left is a best practice. Building out your dashboard should involve a fair amount of strategic placing. Information should be organized from most important on the top left to least important on the bottom right. Just thinking about it, if your viewer is going to skip something, get distracted, or not finish reading through the dashboard, the information in the bottom right is going to be the information that is missed. Don’t let that be your most important information.

 

  1. What’s actually important?

Like we talked about before, what’s actually important to one person may not be important to another. We also talked about the information overload that we’ve all got as businesses.

So – just because you can report on a metric doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. Building out a super elaborate data dashboard is likely not your best course of action. It’s better to focus on your five to ten most important metrics and report on those for that particular dashboard. This obviously isn’t a strict cut off, but the more information you have on one dashboard, the more likely it is that something will be overlooked.

 

  1. Design

We’ve all seen the beautiful and amazingly designed dashboards that have tons of different colors, images, fonts, and backgrounds, and if you’re like most people, you were probably extremely distracted. There is just so much going on that it’s hard to actually focus on what’s important – the data. When it comes to the design of your dashboard, less is always more. Pick a handful (at most) of colors to focus on, stick to a single font, keep your images to a minimum (likely just a logo is necessary – if even that), and don’t use a background that overpowers the data.

You didn’t put all this effort into setting up useful dashboards that can help your business or specific divisions of your business grow just to have the data go unnoticed.

 

  1. Grouping

When you’re creating your data dashboard(s) you should really focus on specific topics and groups. Grouping content together in a comprehensible way is important to getting a complete overview and to making sure that your reader can actually digest the information presented.

For example, if you’re presenting on finances, grouping your Quickbooks information like income, expenses, recent payments, outstanding balances, customers, and vendors together will help you understand the information better in context than it will if that information is scattered throughout the financial dashboard with your leads, opportunities, proposals, and ticket sales from several other services or softwares.

 

Setting up a data dashboard, or several, can be a fun and exciting process, but it’s important to understand these six tips and utilize them from the start. With so much information that each of our businesses has, so many different sources of information, and all the extra clutter and design options, it’s easy to get carried away and end up undoing all of your work because it’s not a well set up dashboard.

 

Now that we’ve gone through all these tips, it’s time for you to start your own! Get started with Cyfe now! It’s FREE!

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Still a little unsure of where to start with your dashboards? Check out some of our favorite examples:

Startup Dashboard

Social Media Dashboard

Marketing Dashboard

Client Dashboard

Web Analytics Dashboard

Finance Dashboard

Sales Dashboard

Project Management Dashboard

IT Dashboard

How to Use Twitter Analytics Tools to Grow Your Business

Twitter Cyfe Blog

It’s no secret that Twitter is one of the most powerful and influential social media platforms out there, but it’s surprising how many businesses are not leveraging the power of Twitter to grow their business. While each tweet may only be 140 characters, there is so much information to be had that can be leveraged for your business.

We all know that Twitter is a great way to share quick updates, content, engage with your customers and get access to news by the second, but the analytics and data available from Twitter may be the platform’s best feature. Most businesses are making the mistake of only focusing on simple metrics like followers and likes, but effectively using Twitter analytics tools, you can monitor your brand awareness, who is talking about your brand, what is happening with your competitors, and much more.

Now, this definitely is not to say that metrics like followers and likes are not important, of course they are. We just urge you to dive a bit deeper and doing so will likely help you understand why you’re gaining or losing followers or why your tweets are getting more retweets or likes.

There are three sides to the analytics that you should be monitoring from Twitter; internal analytics, ad analytics, and search analytics. Each has a very distinct role for your business and monitoring each is very important to your marketing success on Twitter. Let’s dive in, starting with the most common analytics, internal analytics.

 

Internal analytics

These are the most commonly followed and monitored analytics and include metrics such as followers, following, number of tweets, the number of lists that you’ve been added to and mentions of your handle, but that is where most marketers are stopping. There are so many more internal analytics that are important to your brand. Here are a couple of our favorites that you should be monitoring:

  • Influencers

We expect influencer marketing to continue to grow throughout 2017 and beyond so understanding who your most influential followers are will give you the ability to start targeting them and hopefully establish a good relationship with them to help promote your brand. The way influence is measured is using the Klout Score. The Klout Score is a score between 1-100 representing each account’s influence, the higher the score the more influence that account has based on social media analytics. Right now, Klout measures influence from nine different social networks including the world’s most popular networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Continuing to monitor your most influential followers and your own Klout Score are very important to your marketing efforts and will only become more and more important throughout the coming year. As you can see below, we have one follower with a high Klout Score of 71. To put that into context, Justin Bieber has a Klout Score of 92, Zooey Deschanel has a score of 86. It would be in our best interest to continue to engage with Ann and work to build that relationship.

Looking to increase your Klout Score? It’s all based on your ability to influence decisions. This means you should be active on as many networks as possible, posting consistently, and getting engagement on your posts throughout all networks. Putting out great content consistently is the key to not only a higher Klout Score, but to a successful content marketing strategy on social media.

Twitter Influencers

Twitter Klout Score in Cyfe

  • Top Tweets

It is also important to understand your audience and what kinds of content is resonating with them most. Understanding this will help you to produce better and more interesting content that your followers can’t help but engage with. Engagement can come in several forms on Twitter including likes, retweets, replies. Replies and retweets are more beneficial for your business for obvious reasons, but understanding which tweets are getting the most overall engagement (total likes, retweets, and replies) will help you to understand what your followers are really interested in. Here is an example from Social Media Examiner’s content. As you can see, they’ve had a lot of success with some of these tweets, particularly their top tweet with 244 total engagements. Producing more content like these top posts will continue to engage their following while boosting their brand recognition and awareness. Now don’t be fooled, just because Social Media Examiner is a large content brand doesn’t mean that everything that they’ve produced has been a huge hit. They’ve had to monitor, measure, and understand these same metrics in order to help with their content creation process just like you’ll need to.

Twitter Top Tweets in Cyfe

 

Ad Analytics

Social media is becoming more and more of a pay-to-play game. Twitter has not become as ad heavy as Facebook has, but we don’t expect it to take long for Twitter to be on that level. With about 317 million Twitter users as of the third quarter of 2016 according to Statista, the network is going to be forced to push more of a pay per click advertising model sooner rather than later. Twitter ads have been around since 2010 and are growing in popularity. In fact, CNBC reported that Twitter ad revenue grew 6% last quarter. We expect to see ad prices decrease and popularity to continue to grow. As many businesses are finding out, staying in front of your followers on Twitter can prove to be very difficult due to the ever updating system that Twitter employs. Each tweet only has a shelf life of about sixty minutes. Nothing really sticks around long unless it’s engaged with at a high rate. We expect Twitter ads will become almost mandatory sooner rather than later similar to Facebook Ads.

Now, once you’ve taken the plunge and start advertising with Twitter, it’s important to monitor and optimize based on your analytics to get your costs as low as possible while reaching as many people in your target market as possible. Here are some important metrics to understand and measure:

  • CPM

CPM stands for cost per 1,000 impressions. This is the average cost that you’re paying to reach 1,000 impressions. It’s important to note and understand that an impression is NOT necessarily a unique user. This does not mean that this is your average cost to reach 1,000 people, but simply that your ad has been viewed 1,000 times. The average CPM on Twitter is about $9 – $11. It can obviously be lower depending on targeting and optimization. It is a process and monitoring your CPM closely will make it possible for you to continue to get lower and lower costs.

  • CPF

Your CPF is the average cost that you are paying per new follower. If the objective of your ad is to gain Twitter followers then you will want to monitor your CPF closely. On average, the cost per follower from a Twitter ad is between $2.50 – $3.50. Managing and measuring your result may give you the ability to lower your bid and still maintain the rate of new followers from your ads that you’d like.

Twitter Ads in Cyfe

 

Search Analytics

The final type of analytics that you should be monitoring that we’re going to touch on is search analytics. Twitter is a very large search engine and there is a lot that you can monitor for your brand and your competitors through the use of Twitter analytics tools. Here are some of our favorites that you should be monitoring:

  • Mentions of Competitors

Every business has competition, whether it’s a very obvious competitor (ex. T-Mobile and Verizon) or something more indirect, we’ve got competition. Monitoring what your competitors are doing and who is talking about them is important. Setting up tracking to monitor your competitors’ tweets as well as a search widget to monitor any time someone mentions their handle or their business name can help you learn who may be looking for an alternative to them, what they’re doing right, and how you can capitalize on it. Nothing is private anymore so we encourage you to use the tools at your disposal to learn from your competitors’ successes and failures.

competitor-research-dashboard-twitter-mentions

  • Keyword & Hashtag Monitoring

Inevitably there are going to be people out there that need what your business does, but that don’t currently do business with you or maybe they don’t even know your business exists. Monitoring keywords and hashtags that can signal someone that may be in need of your services can be a great way to introduce your company and earn new customers from Twitter. We recommend focusing on keywords and phrases that someone may tweet about with a problem that your business solves. For example, if you’re a business that sells products to help athlete recover from muscle and joint injuries, monitoring keywords like sprain, strain, muscle pull, pulled muscle, and even more specific keyword phrases like pulled hamstring can shed light on people in the Twitterverse that are in need of what your business offers.

Now that you see that there is more to Twitter than just 140 characters and followers you can start to make Twitter work to help actually grow your business! Start implementing these Twitter analytics tools today and monitor them every day!

Not sure how constantly monitor these analytics? Get your FOREVER FREE Cyfe Dashboard today! No credit card, no commitment, no joke! Start monitoring your analytics on Twitter and dozens of other popular services today! It’s the only dashboard you’ll ever need!

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10 Questions Every Marketer Should Ask When Preparing Data for Analysis

10 Things Marketers Should Ask When Preparing Data for Analysis

In the past five to ten years, the field of marketing has shifted significantly from a field of branding and awareness where success was measured by vague measurements like how a customer felt about your brand to a scientific field based on precise metrics and optimizations and insane levels of tracking your customers. Even CEOs and business owners are catching on to the fact that there is a wealth of data available for each and every marketing tactic you pursue and the availability of that data can drastically change how you approach your marketing.

Businesses that are using data to determine what customers are looking for and how they go about their buying journey are able to constantly reach millions of targeted consumers. When implemented well, data can be the engine that powers your brand. And you can take advantage of both the right channel and data-driven marketing trends to get your message to the right people at the right time.

As a marketer you probably spend a good amount of time setting up tracking pixels and determining how to measure site visits, clicks, etc., but are you spending the right amount of time analyzing your data and drawing insights from that data that you can use to optimize your marketing?  Having tracking and analytics set up for all your marketing efforts is just the first step in your data process. You also need to ensure that you are regularly analyzing your data and making determinations based on those numbers and trends. But how do you know what data to analyze and how to go about preparing your data to ensure you’re looking for the right information and gaining valuable insights? Let’s take a look at the 10 questions every marketer should ask when preparing data for analysis.

 

  1. What are our overall business goals?

The first thing you want to consider when pulling data is your overall business goals. Your CEO or business owner probably established these goals at the beginning of your company’s fiscal year. Some common business goals include growing the business’ revenue by X amount or gaining X number of new customers. Determining whether your marketing efforts are working towards accomplishing these goals is likely to be of the utmost importance to the higher ups at your company and you, as a marketer want to ensure that you’re proving to them that their marketing dollars are being well spent and are working towards reaching their overall business goals for the year. In order to prove this, you want to make sure to pull analytics that help show how marketing is helping to accomplish these goals.

EXPERT TIP: Depending on your business goals, you might have to pull some business data in addition to your marketing data in order to determine whether marketing is helping you reach your business goals. For example, if one of your business goals is to increase your average sales price by $20 per purchase, you’ll have to not only look at the customers you’re converting through your marketing tactics but also how much they are spending per purchase.

 

  1. What are our overall marketing goals?

As with your overall business goals (but perhaps a little more obviously), you want to take a hard look at your overall marketing goals to ensure that the data you’re analyzing will help you determine whether or not your marketing is working towards those goals.

EXPERT TIP: When setting your marketing goals, you want to make sure that they are SMART goals that you will be able to use data to measure. For more information about setting SMART marketing goals, check out this helpful article.

 

  1. What data are we currently measuring? How does that data help us reach our goals?

Obviously you can’t analyze data that you don’t have so when you go to pull data to analyze, you’ll need to take a look at what you are currently tracking. If what you’re currently tracking isn’t related to your overall goals, you may want to consider changing up your analytics.

 

  1. How does that data help us determine if we are reaching our goals?

Ideally you will have set up your data to pull based on your overall business and marketing goals and the marketing tactics in your plan. For example, if one of your marketing goals is to convert more visitors into leads, you want to ensure that you’ve set up your website analytics to track the number of people converting to leads by signing up for your email newsletter or filling out a form on your website.

 

  1. What timeframe should I be looking at?

The answer to this question depends on a number of business factors and how your superiors want to look at the data. Does your company track sales on a weekly or monthly basis? When does your CFO check revenue gains? Does your CEO look for customer increases on a quarterly basis? When is the last time you did an in-depth analysis of your marketing data? All of these are things you’ll want to consider when determining what timeframes to consider.

EXPERT TIP: You’ll also want to consider where in the fiscal year your company is. If it’s the end of your year, you’ll probably want to conduct a deeper analysis than if you’re only two months in.

 

  1. What marketing tactics did we use in this timeframe?

This is probably one of the more obvious questions to ask, as you definitely want to make sure that you’re measuring the tactics that you actually put effort behind. This doesn’t, however, mean that you want to ignore metrics coming from other sources. There are tactics that you’ll want to pay attention to regardless of whether or not you actually focused on those tactics.

 

  1. Who are these metrics important to?

Before determining what you will analyze, you should determine to whom you are presenting this information. Think about it, the information that will be of interest to your Director of Marketing will likely not be as important to your CEO and visa versa. Much like you target your marketing messaging to your audience, you want to make sure you’re targeting your data messaging to the correct audience. This might mean you need to pull multiple pieces of data for different people but, we promise, it will be worth it if you’re presenting the correct information to the correct person.

 

  1. What types of data do I want to pull?

Now that you know what data you have access to, the next step in this process is to determine what you want to pull. Make sure you’re taking everything you learned in the last seven questions into account when you’re deciding what you want to pull. All of the data that you ultimately analyze should be based on your company’s goals and efforts.

 

  1. How should I organize the data to analyze it properly?

It’s no secret that reading data can be complicated even for the most experienced data scientist let alone your CEO who is really great at running the business but isn’t so great at understanding what a conversion percentage is. It’s your job to organize the data in a way that even the least experienced person at your company can draw conclusions and understand what the data means. This might mean you need to put in a little extra work on your end. You might want to forego individual numbers and instead plug everything into a chart to show the upward progression.

 

  1. Do I have to report on everything I track?

This is one we can answer for you… The answer is NO! You’re most likely tracking a lot of data and there is no reason you should feel obligated to pull, analyze and ultimately report on every little piece of it. (Unless, of course, your superior has asked that of you.) As we touched on earlier, some of the data you’re tracking will not be of value to the person you’re presenting your findings to, maybe you’re tracking it so you can better optimize your campaigns. Other pieces of data aren’t relevant for your overall business or marketing goals and therefore wouldn’t be of use to your superiors when determining whether your marketing is working towards your end goals. No matter what the reason is, the fact of the matter is that you probably won’t have to report on all of your metrics, unless you are asked to do so.

Regardless of the type of business you’re working in, you should definitely be spending time analyzing your metrics, as they will help you determine the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Ensuring that you are paying attention to the most important data for your business will help ensure that your efforts are working towards your overall business and marketing goals and helping grow the business.

Are you struggling with keeping all of your marketing analytics in one place? Using multiple softwares to track your data can be a huge time suck! We can help! Cyfe’s all-in-one business dashboard helps you easily monitor all your business data from one place. Click here to start your Forever Free dashboard.

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6 Things to Look for When Monitoring Your Small Business Analytics

Monitoring your Small Business

It’s no secret that understanding and optimizing your marketing and sales efforts based on your analytics is very important for your small business. Those companies that understand, monitor, and adjust their business practices based on the data from their small business analytics are the companies that grow fastest, adjust for past and future trends, and quickly move to the head of their industry.

In today’s world, there is no lack of information. We’ve got all of the information that we could need, but now it’s on us as small business owners to capitalize on this information. The biggest problem for many small businesses is understanding where to start, what is actually important, what they should be focusing their attention on when it comes to their small business analytics.

With so many tools out there from website traffic analytics like Google Analytics, Alexa, and Quantcast to marketing and advertising analytics tools like those provided by social media pages, Google Adwords, and Moz, it’s easy to see how we can become overwhelmed and frustrated. There is just SO MUCH INFORMATION!

Well, we’re here to help you cut through the clutter and get to what really matters to your business. Here are our six things to look for when monitoring your analytics for your small business.

  1. Trends

You can’t immediately see trends once you start monitoring your analytics, but once you’ve set up your tracking you can start to see trends within three to six months. It’s all about patterns.

See, analytics without context can be extremely deceiving. It’s similar to taking a quote out of context. Taking a look at a day’s, week’s, or even month’s worth of analytical data on its own is probably inaccurate. When we really start to see information that we can make adjustments from is after a reasonable amount of time (three, six, even 12 months of data). Analytics can’t be viewed in a vacuum. You’ve got to get enough information for it to be an accurate representation of your customers, visitors, sales, social media engagement, etc.

EXPERT TIP: Trends to specifically focus on include:

  • The source of your website traffic or customer traffic – if you start to see that an extraordinary amount of traffic or customers comes from a specific source, adjust your thinking and start focusing on that source more. Your customers are obviously spending their time there.
  • Keyword rankings – it’s important to your search engine optimization efforts to monitor the keywords that are important to your business and understand what effect new content has on those rankings. If you’re seeing that you’re easily moving up the rankings for a specific keyword or cluster of keywords by producing content around them, adjust and create more content along those lines.
  • Customer LTV – your customer lifetime value is a very important number to understand in your business. This is the value of each customer over the entire time that they work with your business. Monitoring the types of customers that come from which marketing initiatives will help you understand where to spend more of your marketing dollars. We all have customers that we don’t want and customers that we seek out. Not everyone is a good fit for every business. Because of this, we need to understand which marketing efforts are bringing in the customers we want and which are bringing in the less desirable customers.
  1. Traffic

Website traffic is a very important metric for almost every business in the world. Are you getting enough website traffic? Silly question, everyone’s answer is, “No! We want more traffic”. With your website traffic it’s important to understand not only your monthly, quarterly, or yearly traffic totals, but also who is actually coming to your website. The answers may actually surprise you. Many business owners have found that the people actually visiting their website are different than those they expected to be visiting. This could mean that you are actually targeting the wrong group of people (age, demographics, geography, etc.) and need to adjust your messaging to attract the group that you really want or it may mean that you have a great opportunity to expand your targeting to a new segment that you didn’t expect. Either way, it’s important to know and understand these things.

  1. Sources

We touched on this earlier, but it’s very important to understand where your traffic, leads, and customers are coming from. Are they traditionally coming from social media, backlinks, organic search, paid search, direct? Then you can dive down even further – are they coming from Facebook more than Twitter? From a specific website or blog post? From specific keywords? Understanding where they are coming from will help you understand where the majority of your time should be spent marketing. Remember not to focus on a single day or week or even month of data. Those can easily be flukes. The more data you include, the more accurate representation you’ll have.

  1. Bounce Rate

Your bounce rate is the percentage of website visitors that go to your website and leave before visiting any other page on your site. This can be due to a number of factors, but most likely, they’re not easily finding the content that they were looking for. If your bounce rate is trending up (which is bad – you want as low of a bounce rate as possible), then you may want to look at simplifying your website and/or adding content to your site that speaks to your target personas. Bounce rates are also known to have an affect on your search engine rankings. Google (and other search engines) don’t want to show your site in search results if visitors are consistently bouncing because they take that to mean that you are not what these people are searching for.

EXPERT TIP: It’s important to know which changes make which impact so changing everything may not be a good idea, at least not at the same time. We recommend making a single change and monitoring the data, then making another change.

  1. Engagement

Engagement rates are an important metric in all marketing campaigns including email marketing, social media, website calls-to-action, blogging, and more. Understanding the kinds of content that are producing the most engagement will help you to drill down and understand who your most engaged customers are and what they’re most interested in. Producing more of that content will only attract more people to you and result in new prospects and new customers. Engagement can come in the form of likes, follows, reposts, open rates, click through rates, bounce rates, time spent on your site, form fills, and more. Monitor those trends and which pieces of content or pages are performing best and worst to help you understand what is most impactful and which content to avoid.

  1. Financials

It’s no secret that your financials are what will make or break your business. Staying on top of your invoices, expenses, transactions, sales, customers, vendors, and everything that goes into the financials of your company are probably the most important metrics that you can monitor. The problem is that most of us aren’t accountants so we don’t necessarily know what we’re looking at and understanding if it’s progressing in the right direction is another beast all together. While we recommend that every business work with a CPA or accountant to make sure that their financials are in good shape, we also recommend that you take an active part in managing your numbers. Setting up a simple dashboard that monitors the money coming in, the money going out, and your accounts receivable will give you a great basic measure of how your business is doing financially. These metrics should be monitored every single day to ensure accuracy and future success.

We are all busy with our businesses and a lot of focus is placed on creating a great customer experience, training our teams, creating new products, and marketing, but actively monitoring our analytics is key to attracting new customers and maintaining relationships with those customers. In fact, in a report by Baynote found that 93% of businesses found that analytics evaluation was the most important factor in attracting customers and customer retention.

Baynote survey analytics evaluation

Understanding, monitoring, and optimizing your efforts based on your analytics is what separates the good small businesses from the great small businesses that become medium sized businesses. There is so much information out there that you can use to grow your business and evolve your processes, but the key is to know what to look for and know how to get that information. We invite you to get started with a custom FOREVER FREE Cyfe dashboard!

No matter which metrics matter most to your business or industry, we can help you measure, monitor, and optimize your efforts through our 200+ integrations and easy to read dashboard layout. Start today and start making decisions based on analytics to grow your small business!

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