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Welcome to part 5 of my 6 part series on marketing resolutions for 2019. Resolution number four is “I resolve to trust the data.”
Data is something most people feel passionate about – either love it or hate it.
Our gut instincts about marketing can only take us so far – that’s why we need to learn to trust the data. Data gives you insights into how your prospects are responding to your efforts. You can see how they’re navigating your website, which emails they’re opening and clicking on, how much of your videos they’re watching, and which ads are driving more conversions. When you trust the data, you don’t have to guess what’s working – you’ll know. Your marketing gets easier when you trust the data to help you make better decisions.
You’re probably used to tracking financial data for your business – things like income and expenses and the inevitable tax payments. Your marketing data is just as important, as it provides leading indicators for how those income reports are going to look.
There are thousands of metrics you can track in your business. It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers that make us feel good, like tracking page views and social media followers, ignoring the real indicators of how well our business is doing – like conversions and click-throughs.
That’s not to say these feel-good metrics aren’t valuable. After all, someone can’t convert on your landing page if they don’t visit it first. You can’t measure a click-through rate without having email subscribers. And you want all of those numbers to be increasing – a sign that your marketing is working!
If you need a deeper dive into what metrics to track in your business, check out Minimum Viable Marketing. I cover action-oriented metrics for website measurement, email marketing, and a variety of amplification platforms. Plus, there are free workbooks to help you track all those metrics available on the companion website.
What does all this have to do with trusting the data? Well, before you can trust something, you need to know where to find it, and what it means.
Let’s look at an example. In late 2018, I got tired of Pinterest. (Hey, I’m only human!) The pinning and repining and testing different pin designs… I’m sure it would be more fun if I was creating content about crafts or food (or pretty much anything photo-worthy), but creating compelling graphics about marketing is a snooze-fest.
So, I let it go for a little while. And my website traffic and conversion rates reflected it. Now I need to get back on the Pinterest wagon to continue to grow my business as one of my key amplification channels. I have to trust the data – that Pinterest is a major source of traffic for me – instead of walking away because it didn’t suit me at the moment.
In your business, you need to know your numbers, and trust what they’re telling you. What are your primary sources of traffic? What channels have the highest conversion rate? How about what’s driving the highest ROI or order size?
Unfortunately, sometimes that information reveals inconvenient truths. Like knowing that Pinterest drives the majority of traffic to your website. Or your ad campaigns aren’t performing as well as you’d like to believe. You may even discover that your customer churn rates are out of an acceptable range.
If you don’t know this information, you can’t change it. You can’t take the steps you need to continue to grow your traffic, or reduce your churn. Or to double-down on the things that are working, like that Facebook ad campaign.
There will always be a time and place for your gut instincts – just be sure to validate them against the cold, hard, number facts.