Are you ready to take your business to the next level and watch some explosive growth unfold over the coming months? Great! Before you start to plan what you want to do to make that happen, it’s important to stop and look at where you’re at right now.
Business planning for future success is all about data. You can work most efficiently and spend your time and money most effectively if you know exactly where you are starting from. By recording data, you can start to see what’s working, what isn’t, and what trends are starting to play out. And it all starts with recording where you’re at right now.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you want to record. First though, you should decide how you want to record this information. You can write it down by hand in a notebook, open up a Word document to do it digitally, or use a spreadsheet. I prefer a spreadsheet because I have the option to have it calculate fun additional information like weekly and monthly averages and even map it all out in graphics to help me get a clearer picture.
How Much Traffic Are You Getting?
To grow you need to expand your reach. That means getting more traffic, but also engaging the people that come to your social media profiles and website by encouraging them to click around and read more. On your social media, you want to keep track of the reach and engagement of your posts, and the analytics of who your followers are. On your website, look at total visitors, unique visitors, bounce rate, and of course where the the traffic is coming from.
The Money Is In Your List
Your next goal is always to get these people on your list. Here you want to track total number of subscribers, conversion rates for each of your opt-in forms and pages, open rates for your emails, and also unsubscribes. As you start to collect and review this data regularly, you’ll get a much better picture of your subscribers.
Who is Buying?
Subscribers are great, customers are better. Start by keeping track of how many total customers you have and how many purchases per day, week, and month. Other good numbers to look at are total lifetime value of your average customer, repeat purchases, and refund rates.
What Do Your Financials Say?
Last but not least, look at your bottom line. This is your typical accounting data. You want to keep track of your income as well as your expenses. With those two sets of numbers, you can easily calculate your overall profit. I find it helpful to look at profit for the month, but track income on a daily basis.
Yes, you can look at most of this data in various different places like Google Analytics, your CRM, and your autoresponder service for example, but it’s important to have it all in one place. This makes it much easier to connect the dots and see the relationships between the different sets of numbers.
What Does All of This Have To Do With Marketing?
The best Marketing Plans are data driven. When you know WHO your customers are - their level of engagement with your business through your social media and website, their buying habits, and the profitability of the products or services that you sell, it is much easier to define the strategies and tactics you will use to replicate your ideal customer into new prospects and customers. You will know what content will most appeal to them, when the best time to communicate with them is, how to reach them cost effectively, and so much more.
Now that you have your initial data collection set up, make it a habit to update the numbers regularly so you can see what’s working, what isn’t, and how much you’re growing as you move through the coming months and years. Let the data drive your marketing decisions, adjust your plan accordingly, and watch your business grow!
To your success ~
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Laura Olson-Oxley is an entrepreneur, coach, speaker, marketing and business consultant, and sales professional. She has over 25 years experience working with small businesses in a variety of industries, focusing on strategic business growth through effective marketing and advertising. Also a strategist, numbers nut, project manager, and life-long learner, Laura looks at the big picture to analyze and recommend the most effective tools to take businesses to the Next Level.