Many of our clients admit that making data-driven decisions didn’t always come easy to them. Once we begin working together, however, we quickly see that it’s not because of their aversion to numbers. 

The actual reason they are overwhelmed by the numbers is that they don’t give a clear picture of what’s happening in their business in general, and in their marketing in particular. 

Looking at a bunch of rather random numbers leaves our clients with more questions than answers. Those numbers make them feel powerless and sap their energy. 

And while in their area of expertise our clients truly have superpowers, looking at their numbers makes them feel… let’s just say, less than brilliant. 

Here’s why. 

I’m sure you can relate that the data we need to make decisions with for our online businesses is everywhere and nowhere—email marketing software, social media profiles, landing page tool, ad campaign manager, payment processor, business bank account, to name just a few.

Metrics

On the plus side, every platform comes with a robust reporting capability. It allows us to track, slice and dice, and dig deeper and deeper into the data.

On the minus side, every one of those sets of numbers lives in their own silos with different metrics that matter in different ways. More often than not, those metrics are not even comparable. 

As a result, having our teams report on all those numbers is not very helpful. 

So, what do we do? How do we figure out what metrics matter and are worth tracking? 

Here’s my proven method.

First, map out your customer journey. 

A customer journey map is nothing else but a visual of how you’re guiding your audience along the path of: 

  1. Becoming aware of you => 
  2. Building trust in you that you can solve their problem => 
  3. Giving you their money to solve their problem 

To map out your customer journey, use a flowchart software (like Lucidchart) or just a bunch of post-it notes to list individual steps. 

Say, you sell an evergreen course using an automated webinar. Your customer journey map might look like this:

Customer Journey Map

Second, decide what metrics matter.

Metrics that matter are the numbers that allow you to see how well your marketing funnel performs and guide your action to make the funnel perform better. 

Brainstorm the list of metrics. Be careful, though, not to go overboard—you won’t need every number your different software makes available to you. 

The best way to check if you should track a metric or not is by asking yourself: “What would we do if we had this information?” And, more importantly: “Would we actually do that?”  

For example, if you are deciding whether to track your email open rates, your answer might be: “Tracking our open rates will allow us to see what emails generate the most engagement. Once we know that we’ll be able to create more content of that type.” 

If you’re actually going to do that, great! Track the metric. If, however, it’s not a priority at this point, toss the metric and don’t track the number. Seriously! Don’t track anything for tracking sake. 

Your goal is to figure out the most critical numbers for where you are right now. You can always add more once you have the capacity to take more action on your numbers. 

Going back to our webinar funnel example. 

The basic set of numbers that will allow you to see how well your funnel performs might be:

  1. How many people registered for the webinar
  2. How many people actually attended the webinar
  3. How many of those people went to examine the course landing page
  4. How many of those proceeded to the cart page 
  5. How many of those actually completed the purchase

It’s basically your customer journey in numbers.

In addition to that, you might also want to track:

  1. How many people went to the course landing page from a follow-up email 
  2. How many of those proceeded to the cart page 
  3. How many of those actually completed the purchase

Ultimately, you can also add to the list of metrics you track:

  1. The emails responsible for most sales
  2. The traffic sources that brought the most buyers (not just the volume of people)
  3. The cost-effectiveness of different ways you drive traffic to the webinar registration page

You may notice that while it’s relatively straightforward to get answers to the first set of questions, it’s not as easy to do that for the last set. That’s because tracking those last metrics requires you to upgrade your tracking setup.

That’s the reason I suggest you start tracking the numbers that are relatively simple to get. 

Having access to those numbers alone will make a huge difference. Once you see that your funnel is working and you are ready to scale it, it might be worth investing in a more robust tracking setup so that you could clearly see what in your funnel needs further improvement.

So, what makes metrics matter?

Their ability to tell a story about the customer journey and give you back control of your funnel, because you know how the funnel is producing results. 

Metrics that matter allow you to take super focused action because they show you where exactly the breakdown happened. 

For example, one week your numbers might show:

The story your metrics tell

And then two weeks later they might show:

The story your metrics tell

Can you tell me what part of your funnel requires your attention? Of course, you can! 

We’ll discuss different kinds of actions you can take based on what your numbers show in my next post. What I want to leave you with today is this:

If all you were tracking was the amount of money you spend on getting people to the webinar registration page and the number of courses sold, you’d have to guess why you went down from 35 to 30 course sales. 

There would be a number of things that could need fixing—the type of people you’re sending to the webinar registration page, webinar content, landing page copy, cart page link, etc.

However, when you track metrics that matter and your numbers tell you a story of how your funnel works, you don’t need to send your team on a wild goose chase to figure out what happened. Instead, you can take focused action and fix your funnel confidently and fast.

HOW TO TURN YOUR NUMBERS SOUP INTO A CRYSTAL BALL

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