ATTENTION: No spreadsheets were created or harmed in the writing of this blog. All number-talk ahead is easy to digest and powerful to implement — I promise!
Likes, follows, and shares — oh my 😉
You’re probably familiar with these ‘metrics’ and have even glanced at them on your Instagram Business insights. You might also keep tabs on how you’re doing by checking the number of new subscribers to your email list or looking at your sales for the week on Stripe.
Every number has its place in business, but if all you’re doing is peeking at your numbers haphazardly and deciding that an increase in sales and subscribers means your business is healthy…we need to have a lil’ heart to heart.
In this blog, we will talk about what vanity metrics are, the impact of emotional decision-making on your business, and how to take a better approach to your metrics — so you can keep things as simple, streamlined, and stress-free as possible.
So many business owners get distracted by the surface-level numbers we call vanity metrics. They compare their Instagram following with viral creators and businesses with half a million followers and thousands of likes on every post. If you do this, too, you’re probably familiar with the downward spiral of self-doubt and overwhelm it can create when your numbers seem ‘low’ and the dopamine high of ‘I’M WINNING!’ you can feel when you hit a milestone like ten thousand followers.
When someone tells me how their business is doing using social media stats or the number of visitors to their website every month, they might as well be saying that thousands of people have been impacted by their work because they stood on a busy street corner and shouted their mission statement. Yikes! I believe in success and numbers you can really sink your teeth into.
Vanity metrics can lead you towards pie-in-the-sky goals with no real purpose (or profit) behind them. That means your direction, vision, and message can really get twisted by the impact of vanity metrics. There is a better way.
When you’re engrossed in vanity metrics, you can easily think that bigger numbers = bigger success and more money. And while that *might* be true in some cases, it doesn’t actually account for the nuances and actual operations of your business. Vanity metrics won’t help you plan for growth or identify what’s working for you.
And as long as you’re looking at *any* one metric in isolation without any context, you’ll be prone to emotional decision-making. This happens when service-based business owners book five consults in a week and feel like things are going great — so they slow down their marketing efforts. Or when they only book two consultations in three weeks, they panic, thinking that their business is about to crash and burn.
Whether consultations are being booked or not, we still don’t have enough information to inform any business decisions accurately.
Data, numbers, and metrics can sound downright snore-worthy, I get it. But if you want to make accurate, informed, and non-emotional decisions in your business that will actually move the needle then you’re going to have to let yourself fall in love with them. Dang!
I’m here to do everything I can to help. I’d love to start with a real-life example of data-driven decision-making in action.
Let’s say you’re launching a new offer and selling it through a webinar. You finish the webinar and have two people purchase. Your initial thought might be, ‘This is horrible! I only got two people into my program. Forget this. I’m scrapping this webinar thing. Clearly, it’s not working.’ You sob as you digitally flush your Google Docs down the trash toilet and mourn the many hours you wasted on your content, emails, and marketing.
Now…what would have happened if you’d used data-driven decision-making?
Before your webinar, you’d already know how many people had signed up for the webinar and how many people were likely to show up. Based on industry standards or your past results, you’d also have some idea how many people would buy from that webinar. This would result in:
If you find yourself in the latter camp, you would look at your registrations, attendance, and conversions to identify where you can improve.
“Anything that is measured and watched, improves.”
– Bob Parsons, founder of GoDaddy
When you make emotional decisions, you skip all of the strategic steps that can actually build success and keep throwing spaghetti at the wall, hoping something will stick the first time you try it.
There are many different things you can track in business, so let’s talk about what metrics you should be tracking.
Of course, I can’t give you one-size-fits-all advice, but I can share some basic tips that will help you plan which metrics to track and analyze in your business.
Fun Fancy Fact: Certain numbers are sometimes referred to as ‘KPIs’ or Key Performance Indicators. This is just business lingo for ‘a very important number we track that tells us if our business is successful.’
In general, you’ll want to track metrics like:
To determine if a metric is worth tracking for you, ask yourself these questions:
If you’re running a webinar, like in my previous example, you’d want to track the number of visitors to your webinar landing page, webinar registrations, email open and click through rates, webinar attendance, sales, and email stats for your post-webinar sequence, too.
These are all metrics that can impact decisions in your business, that you can intentionally influence, and that drive the end result you want — sales!
A Word on Social Media Metrics: Social media stats can be useful for planning your marketing efforts and will be meaningful, in particular, to social media experts you may work with. That said, don’t over-focus on these or make them mean you’re doing well in business or not. Focus on your more dependable stats to determine the longevity of your business success.
Earlier, I mentioned how knowing industry standards and your past metrics can help you recognize if your results are typical and how much they can be improved. This means your data can also give you a glimpse into the future.
Let’s say you know you close 50% of your sales calls. With that information, you can look ahead at your calendar for the week with six sales calls booked and know that you’ll end up with at least three new clients.
As you dig into your metrics, remember that you get to have fun and experiment with this. You can start tracking something and, later on, decide you really don’t need that metric because there are more important things for you to look at. Don’t be afraid to just get started because the more data you have, the more insights you can gain — especially when you’re being intentional and learning along the way!
If you’re thinking, “Okay, Alexis, I hear you…but I’m still allergic to anything even remotely resembling accounting or math.” I’d be happy to hop on a call with you to see how my OBM services could take metrics off your plate and help you make better data-driven decisions in your business. Just click here to contact me, tell me a bit about your business, and get a complimentary consultation on the books!
July 11, 2023