Stop! You’re Measuring the Wrong Things

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Here’s another very common scenario. A business owner comes to us saying they want more leads.  But when those leads are delivered and don’t convert, they’re upset. Let’s be honest here. It wasn’t leads that were wanted – it was sales.

Client: “I want to see my web traffic go from 20 visitors a day to 200 visitors a day.”

Me: “Okay – that’s really easy to do. But is that what you really want? Or are you looking for the right 200 visitors a day?

Client: ”Yes, I want to get the right people visiting my site. How do we do that?”

Me: “Great – Who’s the right visitor? What does the profile of that person look like?”

Client: “I want to drive women self-purchasers between ages 40-65.”

Me: “This is getting more precise. Great! Now I have to wonder – what value will you realize from having those people visiting your website?”

Client: “The people who visit our site will know who we are now. So we have more opportunity to do business with them.”

Me: “How do you know you have an opportunity to work with them? The goal you are defining is visits to a site – not time spent or actions taken on the site. If a visitor lands on your site and leaves in under 10 seconds, will they remember you? How much can they learn about you that quickly?”

What did you take away from this conversation?

I bet when you read through this exchange you thought – of course that’s what the client wanted! We all want to drive the right customer. However, in this world, you’re going to find that most vendors provide what you tell them you want – not necessarily what the logical implications of your request suggest. When we’re not clear about what we want, we measure the wrong things.

There are lots of ways to increase traffic to a website. Setting up a simple spam bot will send your traffic numbers through the roof. If you want genuine human beings to visit your site, a few dollars will buy you the time and fleeting attention of people from all around the world. If this news makes you happy, it’s because you’re valuing traffic without reason.

If you’ve thought that you’d like your website traffic to increase, but you’ve never thought about why, don’t feel bad. Most people forgot about the importance of specificity because of the default reporting tools focus on total traffic.

However; without a detailed examination, most businesses are reviewing reports based on the first line of traffic growth instead of what they wanted — specific traffic growth and engagement.

What we’re taught to measure and what we should measure are two different things.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting a busy website. Having a lot of traffic is desirable – if you’re getting high quality website traffic; the right people, who want what you have to offer and are open to doing business with you. But do you know who the right people are?

You may think you do. Lots of business owners operate with a vague understanding of who their customer is. I’ve had more than a few clients say, “Everyone is our customer.” That’s simply not true. No business – not even the world’s largest companies, Wal-Mart and Amazon – has everyone as a potential customer. What helps the big brands achieve the position they have is the fact that they’ve used a lot of sophisticated data analysis tools to really understand their customer.

Luckily, smart scales. What works for Wal-Mart and Amazon will work for you too – and because you’re a smaller business, with fewer customers to understand, you’re going to be able to achieve actionable insights faster, using the data capture and analysis tools you probably already have in place.

What happens when we get what we said we want instead of what we meant?

Here’s another very common scenario. A business owner comes to us saying they want more leads. But when those leads are delivered and don’t convert, they’re upset. Let’s be honest here. It wasn’t leads that were wanted – it was sales.

Increasing leads and increasing sales are two different outcomes. They’re related to each other, but achieving each requires paying attention to different data points. Confusion here is a critical error. When we ask the wrong questions, the answers we get won’t help us make good decisions.

Why do we ask the wrong things?

Part of the answer is that data literacy is only now becoming a relevant skill for a great many professions. Lots of business owners are used to learning as they go, but the way data is talked about makes it seem really complicated and difficult – and when you’ve got 6 million other things that require your attention, you try to do the best you can with the tools you’ve got.

Which brings us to the issue of dashboards. Whether you’re looking at your Google Analytics or your email marketing metrics or your social media reports, the default presentation of information in reports was created by engineers who knew the end user needed information but never asked what information was necessary. This isn’t to say this information is bad – it’s just not necessarily what you need to make good decisions.

The Good News Is…

It’s never too late to start measuring the right things. The information you need is in your data. Knowing what’s important and why it’s important is a vital first step. Being able to access, understand and make use of your data doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process. Dashboards are designed to be customized, so sophisticated users will realize more value from the platform.

Guess what? That’s going to be you. And I promise it won’t hurt a bit.

Summary
Stop! You’re Measuring the Wrong Things
Article Name
Stop! You’re Measuring the Wrong Things
Description
There’s nothing wrong with wanting a busy website. Having a lot of traffic is desirable – if you’re getting high quality website traffic; the right people, who want what you have to offer and are open to doing business with you. But do you know who the right people are?
Author
Technology Therapy

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