Data is a girl’s best friend.
Maybe that’s not how the saying goes, but it should be, because data makes what I do possible. And there’s a good chance it’s a driving force in your business, too — or it should be.
Like a good friend, data can hold you accountable. Your analytics can let you know when you’re going off the rails a little bit and give you the reality check only your BFF can.
You know which friend I’m talking about.
While you and your organization’s analytics might not have matching friendship bracelets, it’s a good idea to get cozy with those numbers — and the story they’re telling. That way, you can address key challenges.
4 Communication Challenges Your Organization May Be Facing
- You don’t have any leads (or people answering your calls to action).
- You have plenty of leads, but none of them are engaging with you.
- You have a broad spectrum of services, but most of your clients have only heard of one or two.
- You’re struggling to get referrals.
Our job as marketers is to fix these breakdowns.
But you can’t just jump in and start making changes without a plan. That’s where your content strategy and analytics goals are key.
What Makes A Good Analytics Goal?
There are all sorts of acronyms and approaches to goal setting. You may love writing S.M.A.R.T. goals or you might plan out projects with a Gantt chart or two (or three or four). Or maybe you look at the world and set your goals through the lens of your organization’s key performance indicators (KPIs).
There are just as many ways to approach your goals as there are goals to set — how do you actually go about it?
Having worked with data for over 15 years now, I’ve developed my own approach for setting goals. Like any other skill, it takes practice, and my process has developed over time.
Whether I’m working with one of our healthcare clients or with my awesome CareContent team, it’s in my Queen Bee Role to set content goals and run the analytics to support them.
Here’s how I go about it.
1. Start With Your Strategic Goals
Determine which of those four communication problems you want to address. Are you looking for increased traffic? Engagement? Appointment requests? Membership Inquiries?
Figure out which of these is your number one priority, so you can build your goals — and your next content strategy steps — to match it.
2. Do Some Research
You want to know what the trends are for performance in your industry, so you can compare. Is your email open rate significantly below the industry standard? Are you actually doing better in some areas than you thought you were?
This will allow you to make the best decisions about what to invest in.
3. Set A Timeframe
If you’re familiar with S.M.A.R.T. goals, this may already be a part of your goal setting process. A timeframe keeps your goals realistic and shows which metrics will be most useful to you at this time.
You want to ensure that you are setting a timeframe for your goal that will allow you to actually analyze your metrics to see if there are substantial changes. Quarterly reports are great for this.
4. Write Down Your Goal
Based on your business goal, research, and timeframe, set your goal.
Write it down.
Share it with your team.
And get ready to collect the data that shows how you did.
This process does not begin and end with goal setting. It doesn’t even end with collecting the data to see if you met whatever your goal is.
You need to experiment and try out new things to achieve that goal. You may produce different kinds of content, run an ad campaign, or overhaul your website. But, if something doesn’t work how you think it will, ask your team probing questions to get at the root of your communication challenges.
How Do I Determine What Metrics To Measure?
With a brain that thrives on data and patterns, I love it when questions have simple answers.
This is not one of those questions.
For example, if you wanted your website to drive more engagement and conversions, your top three measurements of interest might be traffic, time on page, and pages per visit.
But if you were ramping up your email strategy to drive appointments, you might focus on open rate, bounce rate, and clicks instead.
The metrics that you make a priority to measure have to line up with your business goals — they have to be able to prove that you’ve been successful in doing the thing you’ve set out to do.
Time To Set Analytics Goals That Actually Work
If you take nothing else away, remember this: Data can tell you truths and lies.
If you want to find the data that shows that you’re a rockstar — you can. If you want to find data that paints the bleakest picture — you can.
But just because you can find the data to tell any story you want, that doesn’t mean you should. Ultimately, data is a tool that helps us get better. But it’s on us to use it honestly and effectively. Good goals can help you do just that.