How to Overcome Data Dump and Conquer Analytics

It’s easy to fall prey to accumulating tons of data. But how many businesses actually know how to utilize this monster of data they’ve collected? When data needs to be presented, why go through slide after slide of super-small text just to fit all the analytics in? Will any of the information stick in the client’s mind with that much content to sift through? Without having a specific purpose or end-goal in mind, you may as well not talk about data at all. Don’t waste company time on info that is only interesting. Instead, center on what will make a difference.

It’s time to make these analytics presentations not only easier for you, but for all involved. Get out of the data dumping habit, and learn how to share your analytics the right way.

It’s time to hone in on only the data that is "need to know". Data that will help improve your business rather than just be intriguing to look at.

You Need More Than Metrics...You Need KPIs

There can be plenty of interesting metrics in your collective social data. Metrics range from page views (and who doesn’t want to see how many times people clicked your blog right?), impressions, followers, and time on page. These are all interesting factors to look over, but how do these numbers connect with business success? Here enters the importance of KPIs. These metrics are specific to your core business outcomes.

KPIs that could be imperative for your company include monthly active users, loyalty members, and conversion rates. These adhere more specifically to how your company may want to improve. If these numbers are low, you know where you need to improve. If they’re high, you can see what you’re doing right.

Now don’t go overboard and consider too many analytics as a KPI. That misses the point. Pick maybe a few per department. Get as specific as possible. Narrow it down. Don’t dump tons of info into a small funnel.

Shoot Towards a Target

It takes a lot of hard work to forecast what targets your company should aim for. With this in mind, remember to target KPIs that are worthy of this hard work. The analytics you’ll uncover will be well-worth the time.

What does your company consider as an indicator of success? Before you comb through data, make a specific numerical target. Without these, there won’t be a way to chart whether performance is good or bad.

With time, your company will be much faster in finding helpful information, forecasting company plans, and directing money solely towards analytics that make a real difference.

Now get out there and conquer your mountain of data! Impress those clients and prove that your company knows how to make a campaign successful. After all, you’ll have that right data and analytics to prove it.


7 KPIs Your Company NEEDS To Be Tracking

Are you aware of what makes your marketing campaigns successful or unsuccessful? Do you have the power of KPI in your marketing toolbelt? This knowledge is imperative and crucial to running a business. You need to know what is and what isn’t working in your marketing efforts. This data is known as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and they are essential to reaching your goals. Living in the social media age makes it so easy to measure analytics to chart your successes and failures. If you don’t already track KPIs, then it’s time to get started.

Measuring your company’s KPIs will not only allow you to understand your company better but to help you improve your success.

“If you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it” -Chuck McMahon

Here are 7 KPIs your company needs to track:

  • Website Traffic to Website Lead

The people that visit your website are prospects to become paying customers. Understanding your website traffic allows you to discover what type of people are drawn to your site and how many of them return to it to make a purchase. Improving these conversion rates is a common goal for businesses. Tracking the ratio between website traffic and conversion rates (that then become leads) helps you understand who’s interested in your company and how you can hook them to your brand.

Website Traffic Analytics can include:

-Number of Sessions

-Number of Users

-Number of Page Views

-Average Session Duration

-Bounce Rate

The funnel from website traffic to customers is listed below.

Visitors - Leads - MQLs (Marketing Qualified Lead= more engaged) - SQLs (Sales Qualified Lead= worthy of a sales call follow-up) - Quotes - Customers

  • Blog Post Visits

Do your customers like the blog content you create? Researching which of your articles received a higher click-through rate and even what time of day they usually visit your blog is extremely helpful. Curating your content towards what your visitors want will drive more people to your site and invite them to return more often.

Blog posts are a huge traffic driver, which is why almost every online business has a blog page on their site. Don’t forget to remind your audience when your newest blog is live, either through an email newsletter or social media. If you don’t post about it, most people won’t know it’s there.

Keep up with writing your blog. Many companies fail to maintain consistent blog writing and lose traffic because of it.

  • Sales Growth and Leads

Be sure to chart your sales revenue. It will take time to compile, but the results will be well worth it. Recognizing what marketing tactics caused dips or rising in the amount of money made will help you understand what worked and what didn’t.

No company wants to pay for something that isn’t earning them money. Charting revenue allows a company to recognize where they should and shouldn’t put their funds.

  • Cost of Customer Acquisition (COCA)

Cost of customer acquisition is when a company has convinced a prospective customer to officially make a purchase. To calculate the cost of obtaining customers through marketing tactics, divide the total marketing investment (the amount of money you spent on sales) by the number of customers acquired. The numbers don’t lie. They’ll tell you how your marketing campaign really went.

  • Customer Lifetime Value

To maintain customer value and extend their connection with your company, reach out to your current customers. Keeping up communication with these customers will increase their satisfaction, help you discover new leads, and retain your customers even longer. After all, the biggest goal for a business should be converting average buyers into lifetime customers.

To calculate the lifetime value of a customer, multiply the average sale per customer by the average number of times a customer buys per year and by the average retention time in months or years for a general customer.

  • Landing Page Conversion Rates

No matter how attractive your landing page, if it isn’t increasing conversion rates, it isn’t working. Make sure that the content and design you’ve crafted for your landing page is driving more than simply traffic, but customer purchases as well. Be sure to monitor your landing page’s conversion rate as often as possible. If a campaign doesn’t seem to be doing as well, update the page with either more persuasive copy, clearer, and more navigable design, or with positive customer testimonials.

  • Social Media Traffic:

Tracking the metrics from your social media can prove just how much (or how little) traffic it’s bringing your business. Social media is a free tool that all companies should utilize and maintain. No matter the social media accounts you use, don’t forget to chart the leads, customers, and percentage of traffic to see how it’s improving your sales.

Mobile is now one of the most popular ways that people visit sites on the internet. Be sure that if a customer clicks to a landing page from your social media, that your website is optimized for mobile and still easy to navigate.

Want to learn more about COCA and Social Media? Keep an eye out for our upcoming blog! We’ll get into the nitty-gritty on how to utilize these.


Market With YOUR Origin Story

How do you make your company stand out? Is there a secret formula for finding success and triumphing over the competition? Truth is, there really is a way to market yourself without using up all your dough and resources (so you don't need to seek out a magic genie to grant your wish for a profitable brand). The process is so simple and sadly, not enough small businesses take advantage of it. The secret is this: Tell your company's story.

No one has the same unique story as you. Utilize that! Think like a skilled movie producer. What attracts us to a film is not how many (or how few) awards it's gotten, but it's the plot that draws us in.

A great example comes from superheroes. Every superhero has an origin story. Would you be as drawn to Spiderman if you had never heard how he got his powers? Would he seem very relatable if we never learned about Gwen Stacy or Uncle Ben? No. You wouldn't feel as interested in what happens because he seems too distant from your own life. It's important to bridge that gap between the brand and their audience.

Now let's transfer that to your business.

Let's say you own a dog food company called "KibbleBits". You're starting a marketing campaign and planning on using TV ads, along with social media, to increase customer awareness.

Which of these ads stands out more to you? "Buy my dog food, KibbleBits! It has real, fresh ingredients for your beloved pet." OR  "I've grown up with pets my whole life, and when I saw that my collie, Scooter, was hardly eating his food. I decided to make a change in his diet. Then my company KibbleBits was born."

Which ad do you think a customer would connect with more? The second one! It shows a person behind the product and a reason for what they do. It creates a human connection between businessman and customer.

Use your social media to connect with your customers. If you do own a dog food company, share videos of cute dogs running around, discuss trending topics like the Olympics (maybe add that dog-sledding should be included this year), and of course share pictures of your dog and how you came up with the idea for your business.

Whatever your business is, it has a story. Tell people how your company came to be. Your brand's story is unique to you and no one else can claim it as their own. Show your customers what you're all about and why they should listen to what you have to say. Give them a story to latch onto.


Extra, Extra...Social, Tech, Creative, Insight, Success FYI!.... Click for links that stick.

We at Avant8 value your time. In this light we’ve scoured the net for 3 of the best Articles & Lists & Links you may have missed this week. Staying updated & in the know is essential to success. Don’t be left behind.

We do the searching while you do the enjoying. Get caught up with us!

A Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Insights

READ HERE

10 Laws of Social Media Marketing

READ HERE

3 Critical Metrics in Measuring Community Engagement

READ HERE

Your Business Strategy: Firm Focus Or Piece Of Paper?

 

How is your business strategy being implemented?

Do your employees understand your firm’s current goals? Is it viewed and updated often or is it tucked away at the bottom of your desk drawer? A business strategy is at the root of what your business is and where it is going, without it you may just end up going through the motions and wake up one day to find you are far behind where you want to be. Here are some key points about building a business strategy that will help ensure growth:

  • "Vision without action is a daydream. Action with without vision is a nightmare.”- Japanese Proverb

Anyone who has managed people on any level can relate to that quote. The most important part of a strategy is actually having one. This goes beyond just having a list of goals. What are you doing to accomplish your goals? Are there specific plans of attack next to them? Is there a timeline? It’s not enough to have goals, you need specific plans to accomplish them. More over your strategy needs to be treated like it is important or else it won’t be. This means having it properly formatted and well put together, viewing it often, and keeping it in a safe place.

  • “The result of bad communication is a disconnection between strategy and execution.” - Chuck Martin, former Vice President IBM

Your business strategy won’t mean a thing if you are the only one who knows about. Almost every employee should have an idea of where the business is going and how it intends to get there. Now this doesn’t mean you should share all your trade secrets, but it does mean creating internal messaging. Maintaining a consistent internal message within your organization keeps your whole team moving in the same direction: it provides purpose, focus and coordination. Without these employees won’t feel like they are “a part” of something and will go off in different directions. Cohesiveness goes a long way towards growing your business.

  • “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”- Winston Churchill

When performance is measured performance improves. No matter how clever your strategy is for your current environment it can become useless if you are not paying attention. Even very well established corporations can suffer under the growing pains of changes in the market place (the internet is a great example of this). Update and refine your strategy, adjust your messaging, and you will be successful and stay successful.

By following this advice you can take your business strategy, make it a shared vision amongst your employees, keep track of it and make your goals become a reality. A business strategy, properly utilized, is the focus your employees will draw from and the plan you will use to keep driving forward.


Hiring As A Start-Up: 5 Options You Need To Know

          The biggest running expense for almost every business is the payroll, and when you are a start-up adding full time staff  can be outright impossible. You need the help, but how are going to stay on a path towards success? Here are 5 alternatives to hiring you need to know:

  • Retrain Current Employees- A very simple way to save money is to retrain employees you already have. Many workers enjoy picking up new skills or becoming more efficient at there job and will jump at the opportunity. Whether teaching or paying for courses, retraining will pay off in the long run.
  • Outsourcing- Outsourcing is a viable option for even the smallest of businesses. Many services are available from foreign sources for a tenth of the cost, with no payroll taxes or workers comp! It can easy to find bad sources though, so be sure to look close at who you are hiring.
  • Do It Yourself- One of the simplest solutions to do it yourself. There are a surprising amount of seemingly difficult skills that can be picked up with a bit of work. This is the cheapest option, by how efficient it is depends on you.
  • Overtime And Worker Incentive- Business waxes and wanes, there are busy season and slow season, and sometimes a big order comes in that you aren't prepared for. Overtime may seem expensive on paper, but if it saves you from hiring a whole new employee it is more than worth it. This same truth applies to work incentives.
  • Contracting And Temp Employees- Several services do not need to be in-house. Janitorial work, delivery, security, payroll accounting, and website design are all examples of work that can be done by hiring a service or agency. Services from agencies are vetted easily and are comparably inexpensive.
  • Change Who You Are Hiring- Some start-ups may not be right for experienced older hires. If your start-up is new to the field or doing a lot of research, then hiring a fresh graduate can be a great solution for saving money. Graduates are used to doing a lot of research and have a fresh eye for the industry, valuable assets if you start-up is changing the game in its space, and are cheaper than older, more experienced hires. Another option is find current college students who are need of internships, your intern (and you) will be happy they are being paid in experience and knowledge.

       Entrepreneurs (especially start ups) need to be careful where their money is going. By slimming down the number of employees you have, you can increase the size of profit by an incredible amount. There are businesses out there worth $500,000 with only two full time employees, how many will you have when you get there?


Great Bootstrapping Advice For Start Ups... As featured in Forbes.com

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Recently our CEO Ross McGarvey was featured in Forbes.com, sharing some advice on how to boot strap as a start up if you have a bad credit score or in Ross' case, no credit score at all! Please note that Ross moved to the US in 2009 from Scotland and thus didn't have a credit history in America. Despite this, he knew he wanted to run a successful business, but had to kind of think out of the box to achieve his goals without traditional business funding options.  Here are some of the points he shared to achieve success without cash to hand or the chance to borrow some...

  • Never be afraid to learn something new: Realize that success will likely require you to do things you’ve never done before. In fact, you’ll probably have to spend a significant amount of time doing the things a bigger company would probably hire someone else to do. Don’t be afraid of learning new skills. Having been through this myself, in one business, I had to learn to be a digital retouch artist to fill the gaps in my business. Since I couldn’t afford to pay my retouch artists overtime, I often stayed until the wee hours of the morning to help keep our workload under control and meet our deadlines.
  • Don’t get caught up in the idea that you must have money to succeed: Of course, capital makes things easier, but McGarvey suggests you can bootstrap, you can reach out to friends, you may even need to sacrifice, but if you’re really passionate about what you’re doing, you can figure it out. He also suggests networking, but you’ll have to work the room. He argues you can find people willing to help you at networking events, you just need to do more than stand around hoping someone approaches you—you need to do the “approaching.”
  • Overcome the obstacle of “I don’t know how to do it”: You’ll likely need to learn and do some things that aren’t in your wheelhouse right now. Jump in and learn what you don’t know now and don’t be afraid.
  • Define what you need (the skills or expertise) and start searching for the right person: McGarvey says the startup community is such a thriving group, you’ll be able to find the right partner if you look. If you can’t offer a big salary and benefits package, you’ll likely have to give up some equity, but it can be worth it. The right partner might have the skill set you need to take your idea to the next, and more profitable, level.

Read the full article here at http://www.forbes.com/sites/tykiisel/2013/11/13/credit-score-what-credit-score/