When it comes to monitoring your online business, the list of so-called “critical metrics” is constantly expanding. Things like social media engagement, keyword ranking, email open rates, conversion rates, click-through rates, bounce rates, and more all compete for your attention.
All of this data can be overwhelming.
The question is: what metrics really matter?
In the world of ecommerce – whether you sell products or services – the hands-down, undisputed, heavy-weight-champion metric … is your sales funnel.
Why? Because at the end of the day, nothing but sales pay the bills.
So, to enable you to monitor your entire sales funnel, here are four sources of data and exactly what you should do with them:
- Your Traffic
- Your Leads
- Your Sales
- Your Competition
Let’s start with the widest point of your sales funnel: your traffic.
Image Credit: Prosar.com
What is the temperature of your traffic: warm or cold?
Frost-bitten traffic or sizzling traffic is a major consideration you should take into account as you embark upon your ecommerce model. First, warm traffic is when the public saw your marketing messages and now have a favorable opinion of you because of it. Cold traffic consists of spending a lot of time and money to generate traffic.
Now, there are all kinds of web traffic, including:
- Organic: searchers type in keywords and phrases related to your company, product or website.
- Paid: visitors arrive at your website because of paid advertising.
- Referral: an Internet surfer comes across your website from a link at another webpage.
- Direct: people access your website by typing in your URL or clicking on a bookmark.
The key question is: what is your traffic actually doing for your website right now? Is it making any positive contribution? Are you stuck in cruise control?
Enhanced ecommerce tracking will help a business understand the onsite behavior of visitors and will help identify the measures that should be taken to get the action you desire from these visitors.
By starting with your traffic, you’ll be able to identify where your visitors are coming from and what sources are the most profitable.
The success of any ecommerce business is dependent on how effective it is at converting visitors into customers.
By monitoring your sales funnel, you can quantify the number of leads at each stage of the sales process and, based on your strategic direction, predict how many of these leads can be converted into actual customers.
Google Analytics remains the most popular dashboard to monitor your conversions.
This is done by creating “Goals” for every page a conversion is possible. Your home page and landing pages are great places to start.
Your “Goal” can be just about anything, from a sign-up to a play button to a form submission to a download. Just select one specific goal for each of your critical pages to measure exactly how many of your visitors actually become leads.
Increasing the number of conversions is a challenge that all sites faces. This can be achieved by performing A/B testing, writing clear and concise language, and, most importantly, creating trust a simple-to-use website.
The real power of creating Google Goals is the ability to not only see what’s working – your best performing pages – but what isn’t. Where are your visitors leaving your funnel and where do you need to improve?
Keep in mind that while revenue data, sales data, and transaction volumes are important, there is still a lot of information that can be derived from real data that can help you see the much bigger picture. Monitoring and tracking of your sales themselves provides this information and can give you detailed reports about your ecommerce operations every step of the way.
Most notably, you’ll be able to see how often your product or service is added to a shopping cart, how frequently it is converted, and which type of users abandon the transaction midway.
Identifying the pages that are hindering your sales as well as the pages that sell well are both key. This way, you know what elements you need to change to optimize your site’s performance as well as help you figure out or alter your marketing strategies for products that are not doing so well.
Moreover, this is also a good way of determining which products should be on your homepage.
Conversion Rate Experts, for example, wrote a case study explaining how they made $1 million for Moz in just one year with a single landing page and a handful of emails.
The landing page was designed specifically to track and promote sales:
- Long-form copy to tell a story.
- A curiosity-driven headline.
- Clear explanations of what user would receive at each conversion point.
- Highlighted what customers cared about.
- Incorporated video into its strategy.
- Made comparisons with other companies.
Your traffic, your leads, and your sales are all about you.
But, keeping track of what your competition is doing is also an invaluable way to gain insight into their websites and analyze critical data. This can include their traffic rankings, daily visitors, and search engine and keyword rankings.
Monitoring your competition not only keeps you up-to-date with the market but will also enable you to compare your website with that of your competitors so that you can capitalize on their strengths and improve upon their weaknesses.
It is understandable that with so many operations to manage, it can sometimes become overwhelming for businesses to find the time to monitor and analyze their competition. This is why there are several organizations that offer comprehensive services that can help immensely.
For example, Cyfe offers a wide spectrum of effective and useful features to help enhance your competitive analysis and marketing strategies:
- Monitoring of individual departments and multiple websites
- Real-time monitoring reports and historical data
- Custom data sources and widgets
It’s simple: you can monitor your own brand as well as your competitors and other online rivals all in one easy-to-use dashboard.
Fusing Your Sales Funnel with Real Data
The reality is … competition is tough.
In order to succeed, it is important to not only be aware of your strengths but to have the knowledge about the areas where you need to improve.
So, the four data sources to keep in mind are your traffic, your leads, your sales, and your competition. With these data sources, you’ll be able to monitor your entire ecommerce model effectively.
Monitoring and analyzing real data is the only to dramatically improve your market position and increase your sales. So get started today.
If you want a really childish explanation of game theory, it is that when everyone else goes around shouting ‘rock’, a few smart people should start to shout ‘paper’. And perhaps a few really smart and really ave people, figuring out this ‘paper’ strategy in advance, might even be emboldened to shout ‘scissors’. In Eurovision this year, Poland shouted ‘paper’; Austria shouted ‘scissors’.
The cunning real trick here is that, if you want to win Eurovision, it is better to do something distinctive than to do something conventionally good. That is not to say that the distinctive cannot be good or even great (France Gall’s and Serge Gainsbourg’s 1965 winning song ‘Poupe de cire, poupe de son’ was booed in rehearsals simply for not being a standard ballad; ‘Waterloo’ was highly unusual at the time). But the fact is that, even if you miraculously produce a conventional song that is 10 per cent better than the 15 other conventional ballads you are competing against, that 10 per cent advantage is never enough to drown out all the noise created by regional voting blocs, national rivalries and so forth. Better to go all or nothing — ‘Monte Carlo or bust’ — in this case by fronting someone with the second most famous facial hair of any Austrian in history. That way you will either win spectacularly or lose spectacularly, but you won’t end up coming fourth just because the bloody Scandies all voted for each other again.
The reason more people don’t try this is simple. It takes courage. When you fail conventionally you get sympathy; when you fail unconventionally you get blamed. It’s a behavioural bias known as defensive decision-making, and it affects almost everything.
When making any choice, our first instinct is not to choose the ‘best’ answer but the answer which minimises the harm we personally can suffer in the worst-case outcome. (‘Minimax’ is what John von Neumann calls this). Let’s say I have the deciding vote on Austria’s entry to Eurovision: if I pick some boring but worthy schlager and it loses, I keep my job. If I choose a drag artist with a beard and she loses, then the finger-pointing begins.
We owe Constant Lambert (1905-1951) a huge amount, and the flashes of illiance that survive from his short life only suggest the energy with which he established the possibilities for… Readmore
See full story on spectator.co.uk
About once a week, I take a look at my upcoming calendar… Especially where I know I’m going to be meeting a lot of people… And think about the interesting folks attending, speaking, or near to the venue.
I’ve read about networking experts doing this, and even talk to people who make a practice of it, but rarely do I find someone this committed to excellence in everything he does.
You may have heard of Jon Acuff. He is a New York Times Best-selling author and someone I’m certainly going to look for at Infusioncon next week in Phoenix
Here is one of the posts I liked very much today.
Social Media Secret Rhythm
In a few weeks I’m headed to Phoenix, AZ to speak at ICON14. I’m doing a breakout and when I’m done I hope to take some notes from folks like Seth Godin and Simon Sinek on the main stage.
After working with Infusionsoft for the last few months it will be my first time to meet the team that’s been such a huge help to me as I figure out how to be an entrepreneur.
The title of my talk is “the secret rhythm of social media.”
The whole talk would be too long for a blog post, but I will share one of the ideas that I think drives social media.
It’s a simple word really, but I swear it took me a long time to learn.
The word is “empathy.”
In the context of social media, I define empathy as “Understanding what someone needs and acting on it.”
There’s two parts to that idea. The first is “understanding what someone needs.”
Do you know how you do that? You spend time with them.
That’s it. That’s the bottom line. I lost touch with that when I got busy and stopped connecting as much as I used to on Twitter. You can track my ability to understand how to help people with social media based in part on how often I respond to tweets. In the last 7 months I’ve tried to increase that and I feel more connected than I have at other times. There are a lot of ways to respond with social media: twitter, facebook, blog comments, instagram, linkedin, etc. For me, it’s Twitter.
The second part of social media empathy is “acting on it.” If you know what someone needs and don’t act on it, you’re using “media,” not social media. You can take and take online only so long until people figure out you don’t care about them. You’re not here for them. You’re here for you. Eventually that catches up with you.
Empathy isn’t easy.
Good things never are.
They take time and hustle.
Want to serve people with social media?
Understand what they need and act on it.
– See more at: http://acuff.me/2014/04/secret-rhythm-social-media/#sthash.F0KCOcu0.dpuf
A good mood really is contagious, even on social media. According to a new study, the mood of your Facebook updates is directly influenced by the moods of those in your newsfeed. The study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of California, Yale, and Facebook, examined statuses on the popular social network with a particularly positive or negative emotional bent, as identified by algorithm.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of California, Yale, and Facebook, examined statuses on the popular social network with a particularly positive or negative emotional bent, as identified by algorithm. The researchers first proved that rainy days caused fewer positive statuses and more negative ones—even when the program eliminated statuses explicitly about the weather. During a rainy day, they found, a city’s number of negative posts will increase by 1.16%, and positive ones will decrease by %1.19.
The researchers then looked at friends of the rained-in parties—but ones who lived in other cities, where the weather was fine. This group was affected by their wetter friends: For every negative post from the rainy group, dry friends posted 1.29 more negative posts than would normally be expected. Positive posts had a slightly stronger effect, inspiring 1.75 more positive posts. “Effectively this means that 1-2 people were indirectly affected,” researcher Massimo Franceschettitold Quartz.Not exactly an epidemic of goodwill, but a notable increase. “We showed,” says Franceschetti, “that social networks can actually magnify and promote social synchrony. This could mean that social networks actually make the world more volatile, because people are more prone to synchronize emotionally with peers around the world.”
Contagious emotion isn’t a new idea: “We know that emotions are contagious in a sense,” saysFranceschetti. “When you go to a restaurant and you’re greeted with a smile, this makes you feel better. It improves your experience. But isolating this network effect on such a massive scale—with the help of a huge online social network—allows us to measure the contagion more effectively.” The authors hope that knowledge of this effect will inform everything from marketing tactics to acts of good will. “The benefit of a good action can spread,” says Franceschetti. “Providing better care for the suffering could effect numerous others’ happiness as well.”
We all expect to have our opinions influenced by peers on social media, and it seems that their moods may sway us as well. If your newsfeed is full of grousers, perhaps it’s time to find new (Facebook) friends.
See full story on qz.com
What’s the biggest social network in the world? Careful, it’s a trick question.
I started asking it about three years ago when I learned the answer from Tynt, a start-up that had stumbled upon a method for tracking what content is so important to us that we share it with others or keep it for ourselves. By tracking what we physically copy and paste from one digital medium to another — text, images, video, links, various forms of code — Tynt discovered that Facebook is not the social network. In fact, Facebook, Google+, Twitter and every other social networking site or app combined don’t even come close to the No. 1 way we share stuff: email is, by a margin of more than two-to-one.
“The universe is a big place. Perhaps the biggest” -Kilgore Trout
This is the best piece I’ve ever seen on the motivation behind my 2008 book about Twitter. I saw what would be an opportunity for real time data from our customers.
In our research, we started my radio show. One episode on data had a discussion where I heard the line “all of social media together is a fraction of 1 percent of SMS messaging”
As we discussed whether text data was being crunched by telcos, email content data, chat and more.. I had an epiphany:
MOST of human conversation will never be indexed.
What I say to other in the room while watching Superbowl ads, whether there are people in the room, the turning up and down volume and dozing off when there now hope for Denver are data points that are not being collected or even talked about.
You can put out the best content, ads that test through the roof and record setting ratings and it’s all thrown away if my brother stops by and says “I tried that product, it sucks”
Most of the universe is dark matter, but it’s all data. I think Zuckerberg gets this. His interviews in “The Facebook Effect” and Kirkpatrick commentary at the end of the book and in interviews that came with the audiobook spelled this out.
Zukerberber is not out to build the biggest web site. He’s building a social graph and that will dwarf what we see as Facebook.com today.
Read the article at MediaPost.com.