What do dieticians encourage people to do when they want to improve their nutrition? Write down everything they eat. What do personal trainers ask people to do when they want to improve their fitness? Keep an exercise log. What do financial advisors tell people to do when they want to improve their money management skills? Create a written budget. No matter what you want to improve, the first step is to identify your current position so you can measure your progress.
The same concept holds true in business. You can’t grow your business if you don’t really have an understanding of where you are now. And you can’t maintain momentum if the only time you ever look at your stats is when someone asks you about them. So I tell the mompreneurs I work with “If you treasure it, then measure it.”
As a marketer, I’m a bit of a data geek, but some of this doesn’t come naturally to me so I have to remind myself of the value of monitoring the numbers. While this may not be the fun part of owning a business, it’s an important one. Here are some simple tools to get you started:
1. Website Traffic. The best tool for most small businesses to measure website traffic is Google Analytics. It’s free, easy to install and packed with valuable insight. The only problem I have with Google Analytics is that I can easily fall down the rabbit hole and spend way too much time exploring and researching data I don’t need. I’m no expert so I’m sure there’s a lot that I’m missing, but the data I find valuable to monitor in Google Analytics includes:
- Unique Monthly Visitors – how many people visit my site?
- Page Views – how many of my pages are people visiting?
- Average Visit Duration – how long are readers spending on my site?
- Referrals – where is my traffic coming from?
- Keywords – what words are people using when they search for my site?
I also take a look at demographic information such as age, gender and country; the use of mobile devices; and the most popular pages. I don’t necessarily track those categories every month but I know how to find the information when I need it. You can also use Google Analytics to track your conversion rate and determine how successful a specific page is.
2. Subscriber List Building. If you’re building a business or ministry then you are probably communicating with your clients, customers, readers, listeners, members, patients, students, fans, donors, etc. in some way. If you’re using an email marketing solution such as Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, Aweber, Direct Pay or one of the many other platforms, you should have a wealth of insight available to you. I typically monitor the following:
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