5 Metrics Every Small Business Should Track and 5 They Should Not, November 18, 2015
By: Germar E. Reed
There is a wealth of data that small businesses can and should be tracking in order to ensure that they are properly armed to make better business decisions.
But which metrics should you track?
All of them?
If data isn’t actionable or useful, don’t waste your time. A KPI is a key performance indicator– the metrics by which you measure your success. It’s a good idea to decide on the metrics that you care most about and put them together in a dashboard to make tracking easier/quicker.
DON’T: OVERALL TRAFFIC
Overall traffic levels are easy to track, but for a local business they are not helpful. More important is local traffic. Sure, national traffic might also matter, but tracking your traffic levels across the board is a waste of time.
Instead, monitor traffic segmented by location, so that you can see local traffic, national traffic and maybe even international traffic separately.
DO: TRAFFIC SOURCES
Where are your users/how are they finding you? If you’re getting traffic from India, it’s probably not converting. Filter out irrelevant traffic, figure out who are your most relevant visitors (probably the ones in your local area)…
And then consider where that traffic is coming from. Search engines? Local listings? Referral from other websites? Once you know where your best visitors are coming from, you can hone your marketing efforts accordingly.
DO: PHONE CALLS
Tracking phone calls is tricky, but possible, and for many businesses it’s the most relevant conversion metric. This is especially true for businesses that take bookings over the phone.
There are loads of services which allow you to track phone calls through your website analytics.
Should you listen to customer feedback? Absolutely.
But tracking complaints isn’t a useful KPI. Complaints are not representative of your entire customer base because they only come from the customers who are not happy.
Use customer feedback to improve your service, and absolutely respond to complaints and fix problems. But using complaints as a KPI will just get you down!
DO: CUSTOMER LIFETIME VALUE
Track your ROI on marketing campaigns makes sense. But unless you are tracking your customer’s lifetime value you can’t be sure that your ROI is accurate.
Tracking metrics related to repeat custom in order to estimate how much a new customer is truly worth to you. It’s not easy to track, but if you can do it, you can make better-informed marketing decisions.
Local businesses have more mobile traffic, right?
Probably, but does that mean that tracking device usage is helpful?
If your website is not mobile friendly you may not get as much mobile traffic as you should. So you don’t get many mobile viewers, it might mean that your customers don’t use mobile devices, or it might mean that your site isn’t attracting mobile users – it’s hard to be sure.
Instead, track metrics that show you whether mobile users are being well served by your website.
DO: MOBILE/LOCAL RANKINGS
Tracking your SERP rankings is a popular strategy and it probably makes sense to do so. But are you tracking rankings for mobile/local users?
Google results are personalized based on location and the device you are using. And for a local business that is important. There are various ways you can track your rankings within a local area, and those are likely to be your most important ones.
DON’T: FACEBOOK LIKES
Getting Facebook likes (Retweets etc…) is nice and something to shoot for. But it would be far more helpful to track click through rates and how much traffic those platforms are sending you.
Looking at which posts historically get the most likes can be a useful way to hone your strategy, but tracking Facebook likes as a KPI might not be as helpful.
DO: TOP PAGES
Which pages on your site are most popular? This gives you a clue as to what your customers are looking for.
For example: If customers go straight to the contact page, it may mean they just want a phone number. You can use these clues to improve your navigation and make your most important information easier to find.
I’m not trying to tell you what to track, but to think about each metric that you do track. Which KPIs matter to your business might not matter to another. There’s no one size fits all answer.
Think carefully about which metrics truly impact your bottom line/are actionable. Put all of those metrics in the same place so that you can monitor them quickly and easily.
Germar Reed is a Partner at Growth Strats, LLC, managing the Advanced Analytics Group.