If you are not measuring your website against your business objectives, you’re doing yourself and your website a disservice. Tracking key performance indicators aligned with your business objectives is fundamental to understanding and recognising your website’s true value and potential. By knowing what it is your website is trying to achieve you can set yourself targets and reward yourself for hitting them. But first, we need to know what measurements of success look like, and how we can relate them to our business.
What should you be tracking?
The million dollar question - these will be unique to your business. We all have something we’re working towards, an end goal, but we might not all have it clearly defined yet. If you need a little help working out what it is you’re working towards, here is a simple process to discover what you should be focussing on.
1) Define your business objective
Are you a charity trying to find new donors? are you a shop looking to expand? are you a lone blogger looking to change the world? We all need something to aim for, and having a clear understanding of what we are trying to achieve will guide us in the direction we should be headed.
First answer this question… What does our company do? not what you sell or what you produce, what is your goal? your mission statement, the purpose of your business?
eg. “We want to produce the best cupcake recipes the world has ever tasted, and share them with millions of people worldwide”
“All the evidence shows that people who know what they want are more likely to get what they want.” - Someone, Sometime
2) Define the role your website plays in this long term objective.
Such as “Our website connects us with our audience, we want people to regularly read our recipes, build recognition and trust with our brand then guide our new friends to visit our physical stores and buy our recipe books”.
3) Define the metrics (or KPI’s) that clearly measure your definitions from step 2.
In our cupcake example “frequency of returning visitors” could be a useful metric when building an audience, the more your customers come back the better. Likewise we could use “visits from brand related search terms”. We could measure how many people print and redeem a voucher to visit our physical stores. We would also want to measure the number of online transactions and conversion rate of our book sales.
4) Now you have defined your KPI’s, set yourself a target.
It’s easy to say, we’ll “improve” this metric or get depressed and think that a customers behaviour is beyond our control, but to really push yourself, have a target to work towards. “We would like a 10% increase in conversion rate achieved through the use of A/B testing tools” or “We would like to increase the average number of return visits by 50% through investing in quality content”. By setting our digital marketing team a goal, we are more driven and focussed in the development of our site.
If you need some guidance on what to track, here are a few examples of KPI’s we regularly use with our clients…
- Cost per Acquisition - how much marketing spend it takes to get ONE enquiry / customer / sale. You can split this out by each type of marketing you do (PPC, Facebook, Twitter, SEO) and work out which mediums bring in sales at a price you can afford.
- Average order value - which channels bring in the highest value orders? Is there a fundamental difference between the audiences you’re reaching and their behaviour?
- Return visitors (loyalty) - what content gets people to keep coming back to your site? These continuous touch points build your brand and the conversation you have with your customers over time, hopefully building trust.
- Conversion rate - what percentage of your traffic turns in to an enquiry / sale. Increase this metric and it will boost all of your other campaigns.
- Branded traffic - how many of your visitors are coming through branded search terms? This could indicate how well offline or brand specific marketing is performing.
Now we know what to track, what do we do?
Experiment! Take a look at your current marketing campaigns, be they Paid ads, Social media, Email, Offline or whatever. Split your website visitors out by these “segments”, and see which group is achieving the best results for the money you spend doing them. Then do more of that. Simple. Once you have identified the good areas of your marketing campaigns, work out how to further improve them, maybe through the use of A/B testing tools or investing in better content, but always with a laser targeted focus on improving your KPI’s.
When you make a change to your site, consciously ask yourself “is this helping / hindering / indifferent to the performance of our KPI’s?” if the activity is helpful, keep doing it! If they are a hindrance or indifferent, maybe spend your time doing something more beneficial.
After you’ve gone through the hard work of improving you site, you will eventually hit your targets; Yay! You can pat yourself on the back, eat a cupcake or two and know you’ve achieved something positive in 2013. Well done!
Are you struggling to set objectives for your website? Then get in touch in the comments below and we’ll do our best to guide you in the right direction.