Feeling completely overwhelmed by your data and metrics? 

You are not alone my friend.

I have seen countless entrepreneurs struggle to understand their data and allow it to be the driving force behind their decisions.

And yet, if they could just get to that place, they would be much more profitable.

In today’s episode of the Not For Lazy Marketers Podcast, I’m providing you with all the clarity you need to eliminate all of your data and metric overwhelm.

My promise to you is that you’ll walk away from this episode knowing what your next move is, where your attention should be being spent, and what is or isn’t working in your funnel.

Send me a DM on Instagram (@emilyhirsh) and let me know what clarity around your numbers this episode gives you!

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Emily Hirsh:

Hello my friends. How are you guys doing? Welcome back to the podcast and welcome if you are new. I’m excited, as always, about today’s episode, but I always love talking about data and numbers. One thing I have noticed time and time again is how most people in marketing really struggle with tying meaning to numbers, from knowing what they need to track, to not feeling overwhelmed with their numbers, and to actually have numbers drive decisions. Currently, I am building a new company, which I haven’t been very subtle with the hints around what that is, and it does have to do with data, numbers, tracking, and marketing. My inspiration truly for starting this company and what I am building is that people struggled so much with numbers and allowing numbers to drive their marketing decisions, but yet, if they could get to that place they would make so much more money.

So in the meantime, I don’t have the solution that will fix it for you. A software, or a product, or anything isn’t going to fix it for you unless you know how to look at data. That’s the one thing I want to talk about today is addressing that data overwhelm. I see this so often in our clients, and people who want to work with us, in groups and masterminds, in trainings, and any place. When I talk about somebody about their marketing, most of the time I bring it to data and I ask, what’s this number? What’s this number? I’m trying to get context around that to make decisions. I would say over half the time for sure, people don’t have those answers and people don’t have context around their data.

One thing I’ve also noticed in a lot of people, or in a lot of situations, is that people will either report on numbers or they’ll have numbers, but then they don’t have meaning behind the numbers. Something that we do on our team with clients, but also my own marketing team, because there’s obviously like a lot more numbers than just ads too. You’ve got email open rates, we’ve got our podcast download, we have our social media followers. I mean, marketing is all just numbers, but you can just sit there and regurgitate those numbers, or you can add commentary to those numbers. You can add “hey, this is either going well or it’s not going well,” and that should be driving your actions. For us, that’s driving our quarterly planning, our monthly goals in the marketing and sales department, because we shouldn’t be making decisions without those numbers.

I think that’s oftentimes the gap. Two things. One, I think people don’t even know a lot of times what numbers to track, and two, even if they have those numbers or they ask a team member to go pull those numbers, are they figuring out how to pull those numbers, they don’t even know what it means and how to make decisions from that. Numbers don’t mean anything if you can’t tie that meaning to them. You can’t tie that connection to be able to go make those decisions, because it should be driving your goals. It should be driving what you need to go and improve. 

So I have some points addressing the data overwhelm. My goal with this new company, and my goal with our existing clients and the way we do tracking, is to constantly provide clarity to people in their business, with their marketing to make sure you know what your next move is, you know where your attention should be being spent, and you know what isn’t working. So here’s my suggestions with data. 

Number one, any metric that you want to know, you need to tie meaning to it. If you just look at your marketing strategy as a whole, what you should do is map out all the places that there is an action somebody would take. Imagine somebody going through the step-by-step process of your strategy and figure out what are the actions they’d want to take because if there’s an action tied to it, there’s a metric tied to that action. For example, in a standard funnel, you would have your first action is clicking on your ad. How many people are clicking on your ad and what is that costing you? Then from there, they’re going to some place. They’re going to a page sales page or a landing page that is an opt-in. What are they doing there? What’s that action? What’s your landing page conversion. Then from there, that’s where things can vary, because you’re either buying a product with upsells or they’re signing up for a webinar. Then there are specific actions with that. Are they showing up to the webinar? 

But if you just document your customer journey and you say my journey is these actions, click on my ad, sign up for my webinar, watch my webinar, buy my offer. So there’s four actions right there. If it’s a product, it’s click on my ad, buy my product, add more quantities to my cart, purchase my upsell. There’s my actions. If it’s a lead generation, then it’s just click on my ad, sign up for my lead magnet. You get where I’m going with that. So define first the actions that you want people to take and the meaning behind those metrics.

What you never want to be doing and what’s going to cause overwhelm for you is tracking data, just because you’re trying to pull a lot of numbers. For example, with ads you’ve got cost per click, you’ve got click-through rate, you’ve got cost per impression, you’ve got landing page view, or whatever is listed on there. There’s a lot of data you can look at, but to make it simple for you, unless you understand data already and you can take it to the next level. Like our team obviously looks at click-through rate and cost per impression and cost per click, but for you, you could just look at cost per click and that would give you enough of a story to know if your ads are working or not. Then landing page conversion, same thing. You can make it complicated, or you can just list out your actions and tie the metric to that action, and then tying meaning to that.

Then cost per click, that’s tied to my ad results, so tie meaning to that. Then what does it mean if you’re not getting enough clicks? What does it mean if you are getting enough clicks? What is enough clicks for you? What is your goal cost per click? Sometimes you are completely guessing because you haven’t run ads before and you can adjust those numbers later and that’s okay, but having that meaning behind it. 

If I were to ask you what is your customer journey and what are all the actions somebody should take? Then what is the meaning behind that? If somebody isn’t clicking on your ads, what does that mean? Where’s the problem? If you can challenge yourself to have that understanding, because I believe even if you outsource all of your marketing, even if you have it an amazing agency like ours and you have that outsourced, you still need to understand these numbers because this speaks to your business and allows you to have that authority and deeper understanding and dig deeper where you feel like you need to dig deeper.

So that’s my first piece of advice. Tie meaning to all your metrics. Don’t just report on metrics, just because. The way this looks for us as a marketing department as a whole is we can report on we got this many podcasts downloads, or we got this many new social media followers. What we do is we usually compare that, which goes into another one of my points, but there’s meaning behind that. We look at, for example, we just did this for our quarterly planning. We said, okay, here’s our goal number of applications. So then we worked backwards and said, okay, that means we needed to get this many leads. Well, we really started with sales. We need this many applications, which means we need this many leads, which means we need to spend this much. 

So that ties into goals, which is another one of my points, but there’s meaning there for me. I have a customer journey. I know all the action points. I know where I need to go deeper if something isn’t working or change something if it’s not hitting our metrics. I also understand the connection between a person going through your strategy, and your customer journey, and taking action, and your metrics and numbers. If you don’t know what click-through rate is, and you’re like, “I’ve got this click-through rate,” but it has no meaning for you, that is not valuable at all with your data. So don’t even go there until you understand it. The best way I can advise that is by tying it to actions in the funnel and then looking at that as like a single person taking those actions.

The second piece of my advice with data overwhelm and addressing that is creating different viewpoints points and ways that you can look at your data. So first of all, measuring data in a funnel as a whole is critical. One thing we do as a team, and this is one of the inspirations behind what I’m building, is I see oftentimes a lot of piece together data, right? Because one of the things in our industry, especially when you have something like a webinar funnel, is you have a lot of places where data’s coming in. You’ve got your Facebook ads, which would usually then go to an opt-in, but then from there it’s like a drop-off, right? What’s happening when those people opt-in? Is it a webinar? What about them attending the webinar that then jumps over to a different software of reporting, which has got your webinar show up rate and your completion rate and all those numbers that matter to that story we’re creating. Then from there, we’ve got the sales, which all the sales don’t happen immediately on the webinar. They might happen in the email follow-up, they might happen in a month from now, they might happen in six months from now, so creating different viewpoints and ways that you look at your data is important. 

First of all, make sure that when you look at any data in your marketing, it’s one whole funnel from beginning to end. So you’re looking at the ad, and then you’re looking at the opt-in or the purchase, and then you’re looking at whatever that next action is if it’s a webinar, or you’re looking at that data and then you’re looking at the sales data. Going from beginning to end, and not having Facebook ads be separate than your funnel reporting because it’s just all together and it all ties together. You need to know from beginning to end from when I spent that dollar to making that dollar at the very end, what does that journey look like? Tie meaning to that, which allows you to find the holes. 

The other piece is about different stories and viewpoints. You’re going to potentially see something completely different if you just look at last week’s data compared to the last 30 days or the last six months. Ideally you’re able to look closely, like recently in the last seven days at your data, and then you’re able to zoom out and say, let me look at the full month, or let me look at six months, or let me look at 12 months, because what that does is allows you to, as you’re getting more data, you’ve got, okay, for example, let me give you this. This is better context.

We have a client who’s been with us for a year and a half. She recently went through, about three months ago, a time where her results really were going down because of iOS. We weren’t getting sales, we had to go address this. We had to go figure this out. We were able to pull an entire year’s worth of data, which gave us very solid benchmarks, gave us where we should be, where we were last year at this time. It gave us that viewpoint of a year and then we were able to pull the last month and we were able to compare exactly the cost per click in her full year, average to her one now, landing page conversion to her year average to now. What that allows you to see is your gaps. For example, if your average, for the whole year, cost per click was $2, but in the last 30 days, you’re paying $4 cost per click, there’s your problem, right? Your cost per click has doubled compared to your average. 

A lot of times people ask me when do I make decisions to change my ads or to change my funnel strategy? Some of it comes down to knowing have your results dipped from a better average you were able to maintain in the recent days or have they never been good? If you create different viewpoints of saying here is what the last 30 days looks like and then here’s what the last seven days or even last three days looks like, allows you to compare those numbers to see has the cost gone way up? Are we on track? Are we doing better? Where does that stand? I think a lot of times people don’t know those windows. 

For us, we like to look at last three days, last seven days, then we do a 30 day report, and then usually quarterly too. Then for some, depending on the client, a year is really great as well to compare. However, also if you have a funnel or a customer journey, like my own, that’s very long-term and people are on my list for a while before buying, because I sell high ticket, it’s really important that you get that quarterly viewpoint or longer. I mean, we have clients who it takes an average of six to eight months to convert their clients, and they’re very high ticket, in the financial space doing lead-generation. So if we just reported in a month and we said, here’s what we spent, here’s what we made, it’s done, it wouldn’t be accurate because a lot of those leads are still in the process of being nurtured and communicated with and converting, to be honest. So you need to look at those viewpoints. 

That’s where one of the other pieces that we do for our clients, but I’m also building, is being able to go back and look at all your sales and say, what’s the first point of contact they had, what’s the last point of contact they had, and how long did they sit on my list before buying? It is extremely valuable data. There is no other software out there that allows you to do that without manually having to do this, because it’s all disconnected. You’ve got your ads, your CRM software, your landing page software, webinars, your purchase in Stripe, it’s all disconnected. So you need to be creating that completed journey and then looking at it from different viewpoints so that you can, just like the previous point I had of tying meaning to the metrics, now you’re tying meaning to the stories of your data. You’re creating stories of your customer journey and finding where people are dropping off, but you’re also trying to find what’s working. 

So if you look at a viewpoint of your whole funnel conversion, and then you’ve got, let’s say another funnel or another way people can come on your list and you see that 85 or 90% of your buyers are doing this one thing, why would you keep doing another thing? Why would you keep putting any effort or resources into another funnel that you may have, and why not shift everything to that thing that’s working? When we go into my own company’s marketing planning, or we’re talking with clients and strategizing, we are coming back to the data and answering two things, what is working and what is not working, and how do we do more of what is working. That can only be told to you through data. 

The final piece to addressing data overwhelm is comparing actual data with goals. I mentioned this in the first point, but your data doesn’t have a lot of meaning if you’re just like, I got $2 cost per click. Okay, that’s great, but what are you trying to get? What do you need to get to hit your cost per lead goal? Play around with that. We just did this for a funnel we’re kind of relaunching and is going to become our core funnel. We had to go back and say, okay, if we got this many leads, we were doing quarterly planning, and I said in 90 days from now, what would be a success for us? It was like, okay, well, if we got this many leads, how many applications, how many sales would we get? Would that be good enough? Do we need to adjust that? We had to actually play with our sales conversion that we had, because it was like, that wouldn’t be enough. Our cost per lead or average cost per lead is too high, we have to hit, we decided, a 4% application conversion at minimum to make it worth it. That’s where our target goes.

Tracking data is awesome. Tying metrics to stories, creating those viewpoints, trying to create a story of what your data means. But also, that helps when you can tie it back to goals, because otherwise it’s like, that’s great you got a $2 cost per click. Is that good for you? What does that mean for your cost per lead because of your landing page conversion, and then what does that mean for your sales. I know that it’s sometimes hard playing with those numbers. 

I think people do struggle with this, and I think I am naturally good at this, but part of it that I want to encourage you guys to do is when you’re creating these goals, especially if you don’t have data, you really can’t mess it up that much even if you just guess. It’s better to have a guess and then be off than have nothing at all. If you’re like, “oh my gosh, I haven’t run ads before. I don’t know what to put for my cost per click,” put $2. And if you’re like, “oh my gosh, I have not had a landing page. I don’t know what to put,” put 30%. Just put something to have a baseline and then you can go and adjust it. You can always adjust goals, but you need to have a goal. You need to have a benchmark. 

That’s true for marketing, and business, and everything. Sometimes you are guessing and you want to be as concrete as possible, but especially if you haven’t run ads before, you may not have solid goals that you know, but you need to put a benchmark down because that tells you was this successful or not? Then it allows you to take those stories and those metrics that have meaning behind them and actually then say, okay, is this where we want it to be? It gives you the concrete answers to what you need. 

So those are my suggestions on trying to address overwhelm around data around numbers. You need to know your numbers. Your numbers should drive all of your decisions in marketing. If you don’t have them, go out and get numbers. Choose the testing budget. I’ve walked you guys through that process in the past of choosing a testing budget, spending it to just get numbers, to know where you stand. That is the first step, because that should then drive marketing decisions, business decisions, where resources go, where your time goes, where your money goes. All of that should be driven by data and by what is working and what’s not. The first step is to not let it overwhelm you, but to have meaning and understanding behind your data so you can track it, so you can analyze it, and so you can take action on it.

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