You did it! While 95% of startups fail, you rose to success.
Whether by luck or brilliance, your business has forged the model of success that keeps profits rolling in. But do you know what’s working, really working? And do you know what’s not working costing you big dollars?
There is nothing wrong with relying on intuition when making business decisions. However, now that you have the resources, the systems, and the people behind you, it’s time to supercharge your results.
You won’t be able to do it unless you start paying attention to the story your numbers are telling you of how you are accomplishing your results.
I’ve seen many businesses shocked to discover that they were sinking tens or even hundreds of thousands into campaigns that actually net them a loss year after year while spending little on campaigns that were providing them huge wins.
I’ve seen many other businesses at a crossroads not sure how to fix their marketing when their tried-and-true marketing tactics stopped working and their growth suddenly stalled.
Why does it happen? After all, measuring what matters is not groundbreaking advice.
Well, it happens because those businesses don’t see the story behind their numbers. Here’s why:
The Incomplete Story Problem
Most businesses keep an eye on their numbers. However, the numbers they are paying attention to are largely the “what” numbers. For example, what they’ve invested into a campaign versus what they’ve profited from it or what was their ad spent versus the number of program spots sold.
It’s a great start, but it’s like reading the first and the last chapter of the book and skipping the middle.
The middle, the “how did it happen,” part is the key, though. It reveals how healthy and profitable those campaigns actually are. More importantly, it reveals if they should pour more resources into their campaigns and scale them or make a few adjustments first.
For example, last year we worked with a client who was really intentional about tracking the performance of her marketing channels. She had just launched her membership and was determined to figure out what marketing channels to invest in to keep the momentum of growing her paid community going.
One of the marketing activities she tested was a challenge. The first edition of the challenge converted at 1.2% compared to 2% typical for her industry. Not bad for the first run!
However, when we analyzed the behavior of people going through the funnel, we noticed that the overwhelming majority of them were not completing the purchase. Many of the buyers were going to the cart only to return back to the sales page.
A few more clues and we were able to confirm our suspicion–those buyers were curious about the price of the membership available only at the bottom of the sales page.
A simple tweak of adding the price of the membership throughout the sales page resulted in the funnel conversion rate increase from 1.2% to 5.4%, making our client absolutely ecstatic!
Our client’s numbers revealed to us the weak point in her funnel. When it was fixed, we were able to more than quadruple her conversions.
If we skipped the “how did it happen” part of the story, we would have never noticed the problem and the client would continue losing a lot of potential members.
The Muddled Story Problem
The amount of content that businesses create nowadays to stay top of mind is astonishing. Most businesses are:
- Regularly emailing their list
- Investing in paid advertising
- Being present on at least 2-3 social media platforms
- Producing video and/or audio content
- Appearing on podcasts and/or getting featured in different online publications…
That’s a lot of work and a lot of numbers to keep track of!
What makes things even worse is that those metrics get captured in different platforms and, in some cases, curated by different departments or teams.
As a result, those numbers are just a collection of puzzle pieces that the business owner has to put together to be able to have a full picture of what’s working and what doesn’t.
Imagine having many of the individual pages of a story scattered all over your house. How much effort, do you think, it would take you to collect all the pages, attempt to put them in the right order, and try to figure out the plot?
Enormous! In a fast-growing business, the owner doesn’t have either the capacity or the time for it.
One of our clients came to us with this very problem. By all standards, they were a successful business making over $1.2mln in revenue.
Their frustration, however, was that because their numbers were telling them such a muddled story, they fell into the trap of growing by simply doing more and adding new team members to absorb the new workload.
To put the client back into the driver’s seat of their business we built for them a robust dashboard that arranged all their data points into a beautiful story with lots of images. The “chapters” included answers to questions like:
- Is my marketing attracting the right audience? What marketing channels are most effective at bringing paying clients?
- How are we taking someone from a stranger to a paying client? Are there any steps in the customer journey I should fix?
- How are customers finding us? How are my different traffic sources working together?
- How are people engaging with our sales pages? How should I adjust my content to get better results?
- Which marketing channels are losing us money—channels that, at the end of the day, consume more of our resources than generate revenue?
Having access to those valuable insights, our client was able to start focusing on marketing channels that were actually helping them accomplish their goals and grow their team in an intentional way.
As a result, they were able to add $450K to their bottom line in just 3 months.
The Incomprehensible Story Problem
The bigger the business the more numbers business owners have got to keep an eye on. Which can get pretty daunting. Especially for those who are allergic to spreadsheets.
However, in working with visionaries and creatives, we’ve found that:
Most business owners who dislike spreadsheets feel that way NOT because they are not “numbers people,” but because numbers in a spreadsheet don’t tell them a story.
Present that data so that a business owner can see what’s happening at a glance and in a way that the data answers questions that the business owner wants to have answers to, and they get addicted to their numbers.
That’s how one of our client’s relationship with numbers got transformed when they started using the dashboard we built for them.
One of the questions they kept coming back to the dashboard for was how they could further optimize their funnel of bringing in new membership site members.
With this client we went through several funnel optimization rounds and got to a pretty solid place. Looking at the numbers story we saw that spending even more resources on tweaking the funnel wouldn’t give us a significant return on investment.
We also saw that we had great potential for successfully launching a new stand-alone product. Though there were concerns that the new product might cannibalize the membership sales, the data was pointing us in the direction of a new offer.
The goal of the first very contained launch was to sell 150 units of this new product. When they closed the cart 1 week later they were at 512 sales. Not only did the sales of the new product not negatively affect the membership sales, they also helped the client to reach a new audience.
Without paying close attention to the story of their numbers our client would start losing money on optimizing their core campaign. They also wouldn’t be able to launch a new product so confidently, timely, and profitably.
It’s important to keep track of your numbers. But even more important is to get your numbers to tell you a story of how you are accomplishing your results.
When you do that, the next chapter of success of your business writes itself.