While running a workshop last week on developing an online presence, one delegate said they collected all the statistics generated from their website and filed them in a drawer. At least they are doing that. But to not to look at the figures means they are missing a trick or two.
Measuring how well you are doing is crucial for anything. Otherwise how will you know the progress you are making? I had a long-time client whose mantra was Lord Kelvin’s, ‘If you can not measure it, you can not improve it’, and that meant we always knew how well we were doing and how much was being achieved. At the start of any project we established benchmarks of where we currently were and where we wanted to be and over the months we could assess what worked and what did not.
If you’ve worked on your strategy you will have built in some sort of measurement criteria, noting how many followers and interaction you wish to gain for your customers to start to recognise you and your brand. Today there’s a lot of help, unlike the old days when you had to establish how many people had read your feature in a magazine and acted upon it. All social media channels and websites (outside Google Analytics) provide them as part of the software, making it easy for you to analyse which blog posts or updates attract the most likes and engagement. It’s about ‘engaging hearts, not eyeballs’, so while you want to target the highest number of people possible it’s essential they are the right people, the ones who will buy your product and services. Today the focus is on quality not quantity.
The tools provided by different channels vary somewhat but all provide data, usually in graphic form, where you can analyse how successful your posts have been. One important metric is assessing the different key words people use to access your website or blog, helping you to understand more about your potential client base. If you’re not already using these words as part of your text you should start doing so, though not in a forced manner.
Start the process by recording the position you are in today. What kind of activity does your website generate? How long do people stay on your website and how many different pages do they look at? The best way to assess this is by using the Google Analytic tool. How else do your customers find out about your business? Are they followers on the social media channels you operate on? How many actively interact with the information you post up?
Part of your communication plan will look at the different channels you are using and which are the most successful. It’s a good time here, when developing your plan, to look at types of communication you are not currently using and assessing whether it would be worth while trying something new. Once you have your measurement procedure in place it will be easy to see whether these work or don’t, though some processes may take longer than others.
Once you have established the position you are in you need to think about where you want to be in say three or six months time. You may have a new product or service you are launching or wish to continue generating more sales from an existing range. By linking your business plans to your communication activity it is easy to review and measure the progress that is being made. Without this you could be putting time and money into activity that is not paying the right dividends.
5 Top tips
- Your measurement process stems from the original strategy
- Make your objectives SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) so they will be measured from day one
- Develop a set of benchmarks as an ongoing reference point
- Make sure you measure your progress frequently – on a weekly and monthly schedule, even if the longer target is for six months
- Measuring your progress helps you to review what is and isn’t working so you can amend your plans accordingly