For many CEOs and executive leaders, the idea of having a system in place to allow you to see where you are off-track with the company’s goals or heading for a train-wreck so you can make adjustments before it is too late sounds appealing. Having a dashboard where you track KPIs is a great way to accomplish this, but in order to make the right adjustments to hit your goals, you need to follow a process to set yourself up for success—having the dashboard isn’t enough.
Simply seeing that the numbers aren’t coming in the way you had hoped won’t automatically fix the problem. Once your dashboards alert you to a problem or opportunity, you have to do the work necessary to course-correct and hit your goal. You need to be clear about your goal; you need to identify the levers that could potentially help you get there; and you need to gather the necessary data, have the right discussions, and make adjustments along the way.
Because we use our own methodology (and because it’s easiest to write about what you know), I’ll share an example with you from our own marketing team here at Rhythm Systems. In addition to contributing content to our blog, I also manage the blog as a strategic asset for our company. Our blog has a couple main objectives: 1) to provide education and insights to our customers and subscribers and 2) to allow people who may benefit from our system to find us and learn more. As a marketing team, we looked at the data and faced the brutal facts; we realized that we weren’t getting as many new contacts from our blog as we needed to hit our goals. When we started blogging back in 2011, it was still a relatively new inbound marketing strategy; now, everyone has a blog, and what we were used to doing was no longer enough. We had to make some adjustments.
Here’s the process we used to make data-driven adjustments:
- Begin with the End in Mind. What are you trying to accomplish or solve? What’s the business challenge or opportunity? You need to be clear about your goals from the beginning. This will help you set your targets or results KPIs. There are SO many things you can measure—so much data at your fingertips—so you need to be clear about what you are going to focus on and cut out the noise. For us, we use HubSpot and Google Analytics, so we have more information than we could possibly digest coming at us. Our goal was simple, though: We wanted to increase the number of contacts coming to our website. If we were going to hit our sales goals, we needed our digital marketing engine to produce a certain number of new contacts on a predictable basis—every week, every month, every quarter. Rather than getting lost in a sea of data, we picked a target number; we wanted to increase the “Number of New Contacts Weekly” from our blog. You may have a few different results KPIs to track for your business challenge or opportunity, but to keep it simple, I’ll focus on this one.
- Start Collecting Data. We put our results KPIs on a dashboard. Then, we had to identify a few potential Leading Indicator KPIs or levers that we wanted to push to be able to hit those numbers. Based on our analysis of the historical data, we had a few different levers that we were going to test for a quarter to try to improve our blog’s performance. Here are few examples of the things we tried to get more new contacts:
- Being more specific about our audience—talking straight to CEOs and C-level leaders
- Updating older posts that were getting lots of traffic but not a lot of conversions
- Testing a variety of CTA types—text, new image buttons, and slide-outs
- Testing a variety of formats—more images, video, SlideShare, infographics, etc.
Now that we’ve created our predictable engine for generating new contacts from the blog, we can move on to tackle our next marketing goal and make new data-driven adjustments. Maybe we’ll try to increase subscribers or get more inbound links to increase our domain authority. Whatever we choose to focus on next, we’ll follow our process to make the right data-driven adjustments. You can follow the process, too, and let us know the results you're able to achieve!
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