Which Marketing Metrics Are The Right Ones To Track For Your Business

Effective Marketing Requires Tracking The Right Metrics To Measure ROI

In this episode, Bob and Jesse are once again joined by Sue Ginsburg to explore the value of tracking metrics for your business. The trio discuss the importance of creating baseline metrics for your marketing and SEO goals to create a tangible direction for your tracking, and the need to define success by your business needs in the moment to avoid being deceived by vanity metrics. By using metrics properly, you can be sure you’re getting a reasonable ROI and that you’re allocating time and money correctly!

We are also looking for your questions! Use the contact form to send us a message or leave us a voice mail with a question you think could help your business to have answered. If we use your voice mail question on the show, you are eligible for a free Intrycks shirt! A snazzy incentive. Listen today for great tips and more!

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What you’ll learn

  • How to identify which metrics are right for your business.
  • The crucial difference between vanity metrics and useful metrics.
  • The importance of setting a metrics baseline.

Here is the Transcript for Episode 80

Caleb Baumgartner: Welcome once again to Local SEO Tactics, your source for SEO tips and tricks to get found online. I am producer Caleb Baumgartner here today to present you with our latest episode. Today, Sue Ginsburg, once again, joins Bob and Jesse to do a deep dive on tracking metrics for your business. In today’s age, it’s easy to gather a ton of data, but how do you know what’s useful for you and your business? Sue explains the value of setting a baseline, knowing what’s most helpful for your business to track, and more. As always, if you have any questions that you think could help your business, we’d love to answer them. Look at our contact form for ways to leave us an email, or give us a call. Thanks for checking us out and enjoy the show.

Jesse Dolan: Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics, where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I’m your host, Jesse Dolan, joined here by Bob Brennan and Sue Ginsburg for our second edition of a question and answer. We’ve got to come up with a show within a show tagline here. If anybody’s out there who’s got a good idea here, hit us up on the show page. But our second edition of a question and answer format with Sue Ginsburg. If you haven’t caught the first episode, check back, I think two episodes that go here on localSEOtactics.com, and the first version of this with Sue. First of many, this is the second one here. Before we get into it, Bob, we should probably let everybody… Maybe they didn’t check out the first one. Let them know who Sue is and why she’s important to us and why we’re doing this show. Do you want to give her a quick intro?

Bob Brennan: Yeah, that’s a good point. Sue brings quite a bit of credibility to us, in a lot of levels. She’s got decades of experience at a corporate level marketing, really working with Fortune 100 companies like 3M, Quaker, Apple, many others. And we’re just excited to get her perspective. We’re at, let’s say, a street level. We’ve worked from the street up to a certain degree. But Sue is coming from the top down and it’s making for a perfect combination to help everyone out. So we’re excited to have Sue join us. And with that, Sue, we’re going to let you throw out your first, first couple of questions or ideas. Go ahead.

Sue Ginsburg: That’s great. Thank you, and it’s really good to be here. Really good to be here. Today I thought we’d continue talking about the importance of marketing metrics and go a little bit deeper on which metrics are the right ones for you to track for your business. Today’s thought opener is a quote from Kirk Westwood, the founder and CEO of Glass River Media, and that is, “Be wary of the dopamine hit of vanity metrics.” And basically that’s what I’m going to be talking about today and hoping to help everybody who’s listening avoid tracking the wrong metrics. Again, I understand most business owners don’t have the time and sometimes the interest to track, analyze, and translate their marketing metrics into real-time actions. That’s something that, when you work with us, we do that. And some of us actually like doing that.

In this day and age, when there are so many marketing metrics that you can measure, the question now becomes which one is the right one to track? Every business owner, marketing manager, CEO, CMO wants more impactful marketing with a better ROI, and the question again becomes what metrics do you track to help get that? The bottom line is effective marketing requires tracking the correct metrics and taking relevant action to boost them, with the operative word there being the correct metrics. What is the right metrics? That’s the big question. So let me share a story that illustrates this point exactly. I’ve always been a big proponent of tracking metrics to understand what’s working, what isn’t, what do we need to change, where can we pivot to make our marketing work better for us? It’s not just tracking all metrics, it’s tracking those metrics that will give you the information that makes sense for you and your business to know, which is going to be different depending on what your business is.

A few years ago, one of my sons started a business and he seemed to be, in my perspective, obsessed with how many likes he was getting on Facebook, on Instagram, and on LinkedIn, if at that time he was even on LinkedIn. And after listening to him give his twice daily updates on how many likes he was up to, I asked him the simple question, “Is it likes that you’re looking for or customers? What is it that is going to help your business?” And that’s exactly my point. With so much marketing being done online now and on the different social channels, it’s important to keep your focus on tracking what matters most to you. Is it likes? Is it shares? Or is it customers that you’re looking for? That’s what you want to be focusing on and tracking.

So my question for you today, Jesse and Bob, you’re both business owners, expertises in a little bit different areas. I know that you’re both very well-versed in tracking and tracking the right metric. Do you have anything you can share with us on best practices for the timeframe of tracking? Is it year over year? Is it month over month? Is it weekday over weekday? How do you help a business or how in your own businesses do you decide what the right timeframe is to track for success so you can see what’s what’s working and what isn’t.

Jesse Dolan: I think I’ll probably throw it to Bob here in a second, but just to set the stage, I think as hard as the… You didn’t directly ask this part, but you’re talking about it. The right metrics? In my mind, I’m thinking if there’s one, what would it be? I know on the last episode we talked about something important like keyword ranking. That’s where things start. But if I could only ever track one thing, and Bob, I’m pretty sure you’re going to say the same thing, is phone calls. If you take phone calls as a business. If you don’t, then maybe your emails are… But those leads. How many leads am I getting, i.e. phone calls. So you correct me an override me if you want there, Bob, but I’m pretty sure you’re going to be thinking phone calls too. And then more to Sue’s direct point, the how often do you check the phone calls? Is that something a day by day number of calls, do you think? Week to week? Month to month? What are your thoughts on that?

Bob Brennan: Yeah, I look at it day to day and it drives my people nuts, but I’m looking for that curve, I’m looking for that hockey curve, that hockey stick curve, just like the one back there. But basically it’s that day to day, week to week, month to month, ideally over for 90 days. And then I’m going really goofy and I’m looking at what time of the day for a reason, and was there a snowstorm or is it pre-holiday, post-holiday, all those other dynamics. But yeah, I’m looking at it pretty… Eight different ways.

Jesse Dolan: Sorry, Sue. The business really does operate on a daily basis. The number of phone calls, let’s just say for a general business, that’s your lifeblood. Or people walking in your store, or again, people may be emailing you, but those leads coming in, you need them on a daily basis. So to direct Sue’s question, daily. I mean, why not look at it daily if that matters to your engine every day? So do you think that there’s… What can you tease out of that, Bob, if you’re looking at a daily, if something was crazy up or crazy down, you need to see that happen for a week of, like you said, the hockey stick growth versus one anomaly for a day. Does anything tweak if you see that?

Bob Brennan: Obviously you got to look at the short term and long term and then throw out the caveat too, it all depends. If you’re a retail service, if you’re a high end professional service like an architect or what have you, those numbers are going to be vastly different. But the one thing I would throw out there too is a clean slate. So before you embark on a campaign, understand what your metrics are before you introduce that campaign. If it’s a new website for a new service you’re providing, if you’re just tuning up your website for SEO purposes, understand what… “Okay, this is our baseline. We get 20 calls a month or we get two calls a day,” or whatever it is. “This is our baseline. This is where we’re starting.”

Because oftentimes within our own company, or if we’re working with a client, we’ll go ahead and we’ll do our work and we’re excited because we see keywords moving up and everything else and we’ll say, “Hey, how’s it going?” They shrug their shoulders and, “I don’t know,” type of deal. I think it’s really important before anybody starts any work is, “Okay, what’s your baseline?” And then from there, then you can begin to measure. But if nobody knows what the baseline is, then everybody’s guessing. And it may be obvious, but at the same time if it isn’t, then it’s hard to know where you need to adjust, whether it’s keywords or whatever. Does that make sense now?

Jesse Dolan: The performance of it, yeah.

Sue Ginsburg: I was just going to share, Bob, I really what you said about even going down to the micro metric level of hours of the day. And I was going to share a story of a dental clinic that we work with, when they were first starting out, they were paying attention to which days of the week and which hours were most popular, were the most busy for their patients to come in. And by doing that, they realized that they could take Wednesday afternoons off and let the office work half a day on Wednesdays, and it would barely impact their business. And if they weren’t looking at that, that’s a great example. Or another example is I know a dentist who he chooses to have his weekend be Friday and Saturdays. And he’s open on Sundays. He’s the only one on Sundays open. So guest who’s cleaning up on dental visits because he has different hours than everybody else? That’s from looking at when the people were coming in and when the emergency calls were coming in.

Jesse Dolan: Oh, wow. Oh yeah. And that makes sense. I think another cool, as Bob is talking, examples running through my head, not for a specific client. Like, you’re saying there Sue, but more of a specific usage case. Bob, we’ve done all kinds of experiments over the years for business, whether it be a billboard or a radio commercial or things like that. Speaking of measuring your phone calls as a metric, and particularly if it’s a day to day if you’re running radio ads. Also taking the approach that you can measure these things differently, like a different campaign. You can have a tracking number, a recordable phone number for tracking just the phone calls that came in on that billboard. That’s not your primary business phone number. That’s a unique number only on that billboard. Or if it was a radio ad, just was only mentioned on that radio ad.

Or back to the SEO world, if you’re trying something on some new website or maybe a new landing page on your website, or you got some hot offer, call this number, you can have that number be different than your other numbers to put that in its own box. And if you’re throwing money at that, especially, if you’re paying for advertising, not just organic SEO, but a pay-per-click unit, radio, or billboards, getting outside of digital, you want to know if that’s working and you want to know day by day if that’s working out, so you can cut that sucker if it’s not and having the different number, that different track, that different analytic right there is pretty dang key, so you can answer the question, is it working or not? Which as we know with marketing, you want to pour more money in if it’s working and you want to stop it if it’s not. So campaign by campaign there.

Sue Ginsburg: Jesse, I would edit what you just said. You want to look at what’s working and keep doing that. You want to look at what isn’t working and stop it and pivot to what is working. That’s where you put the dollars behind. More of what’s working.

Jesse Dolan: That is a great clarification, Sue, you’re absolutely right. Yep, that’s a very good point. All right, Sue, did you need any further feedback from us or do you think we got some pretty good answers there for everybody on that one?

Sue Ginsburg: Really good answers, really helpful signs of both of you being very good business people. What I would say to the listeners, if you remember one thing and only one thing about choosing the right marketing metric to track is this. Define what constitutes success for your marketing by what your business needs at that point in time. Is it leads that your marketing is driving, or is it brand awareness? Two entirely different things, different strategies, different tools, and different metrics. Don’t confuse your results by looking at the wrong metric. Bottom line is knowing which marketing metrics you track is a function of what you want your marketing to accomplish, and thinking in that way is how you get the best ROI for your marketing dollars, and in the end, that’s what we’re all looking for, how to spend our money wisely.

Jesse Dolan: Perfect. Very good. So with that, this is a question that Sue posed, and if you guys out there have questions that are similar, maybe you want to even expand on that, if you liked anything that we said, but you want to dig a little deeper. If you’ve got something else out of left field that’s a completely different topic. The construct of this type of episode with Sue is question and answer based. We want to know what problems you’re having out there, what questions you have, what challenges you’re having. You can reach out to us, localSEOtactics.com, go down to the bottom left corner, click the link for submit a question, and you can submit it, just type it in and send it off and we’ll use it on the show.

But if you’d to take it a step further and I record that, leave us a voicemail, there’ll be a number on there for you to call. If we use it on the show, we’d love to send you a free Intrycks t-shirt. You can’t feel it, but it’s super soft, super comfortable, good fitting t-shirt. You’re going to like it. It’s not some cheesy cheap t-shirt. And yeah, if we use it on the show, we’d love to send you a free t-shirt. Even more so, we would just love to get your questions submitted. So go localSEOtactics.com, bottom left corner, click submit a question and let us know what you’re thinking. And we’ll do more of these with Sue in the future and see if we can’t keep helping everybody out. So either of you, do you have any closing thoughts?

Bob Brennan: Nope.

Jesse Dolan: We’re good?

Bob Brennan: Good.

Sue Ginsburg: I’ll say we’re all about helping the clients and the better we can help you, the better that helps us, so please send in your questions, call in your questions. You get to hear Jesse’s familiar voice giving you instruction when you use the phone to call in.

Jesse Dolan: On the voicemail, yeah. Exactly. All right. Well that does it for this episode. Thanks for tuning in everybody and we’ll catch you next time. Take care.

Bob Brennan: Bye now.

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