We’ve all heard that we have to learn from our mistakes, but I think it’s more important to learn from successes. If you learn only from your mistakes, you are inclined to learn only errors. Norman Vincent Peale
We’ve all had the experience of throwing an object and have in miraculously land exactly where you wanted it to. Maybe this happened to you while playing sports as a kid. You threw the basketball absent-mindedly towards the basket and…. SWISH! You scarcely have the time to let the moment sink in and one of your friends turns to you and says, “I’ll bet you couldn’t do that again!”.
What about your marketing? Do you truly understand the forces that are bringing your business from day to day? What did you do last year that is putting money in your bank account today? You might feel it is impossible to know for sure.
It only takes a little presence of mind and thought to make your marketing efforts more scientific. Starting a marketing diary and keeping track of what you did can start to give you a sense of the cause-and-effect over the course of your calendar year. You don’t have to do this perfectly. Any amount of measurement and logging is going to be better than none at all.
I would suggest using Google Sheets to track your diary. This will let you easily modify the structure of your diary easily as the need arises. You will also be able to share it with others in your business so they can contribute to the overall picture.
You should be consciously tracking any factor you suspect has a bearing on the outcome. Those factors might include things like an advertisement that has just been published or a classified you have just placed. Maybe you have JUST started a new AdWords campaign or posted an article to social media.
You should also try and log factors that are outside of your control. Maybe there is a news item that is drawing new attention to the problem you solve. Maybe a recent turn in the weather is driving new business to your door. Even if your diary is filled with wild speculation at first, over time you should gradually be able to see clear patterns in the tapestry of cause and effect.
One of the easiest effects to track is your website statistics. Don’t overwhelm yourself with all the factors being tracked. Just start with visitors and your bounce rate.
Bounce rate is interesting because is measures the percentage of people who visit your website and then leave right away. If you are spending money on advertising and your bounce rate is higher than 30% this may indicate a serious misunderstanding of your audience.
What to do with the data.
Don’t obsess over the data until you have enough of it to recognize patterns. It may be the absence of data is your call to action. If you have no idea where your new business is coming in from OR you are 100% reliant on referrals then it is time to stop and take stock. Unless you have a conscious understanding and control of your business, you can’t make lightning hit twice.