When it comes to building an online business and making money online, I'm often asked, “What needs to be measured?”
It's very important to measure certain things, but you can make yourself crazy with split-testing, multi-variate testing and all these different things that you see the big time marketers do.
One thing that we forget is that these big time marketers have staff to do their tracking. They are not doing the testing themselves.
In other words, they hire people who love to do split-testing, people who love to analyze figures and are getting paid to do just that.
If you work on your own, if you work part-time, if you work after work (or after the kids or grandkids are put to bed) trying to build an online business, you're in a completely different set of circumstances.
Your time is much more limited than their time is.
Knowing what needs to be measured, as opposed to what could be measured, is very important.
No matter where you are in your online journey to success, here are five things you simply must measure.
Before we get into those, let me share something with you from Peter Drucker. Many years ago Peter Drucker became the number one management consultant in the world.
He said this - “What's measured improves.” In other words ...
The only way to improve anything is to measure it first.
I've found this to be true in life, and business.
Let's say you are trying to lose weight. If you keep track of the food that you eat, you'll lose weight much more easily than if you just say, “I'm going to cut back.” This has been proven time and time again.
Same thing with exercise. If you keep a track of your exercises, you'll see how you're progressing and that will both encourage you and give you a track record to build on.
If you just say, “I'm going to go to the gym a couple days this week,” then your results will be different, but if you really commit and make your own a garage gym at home and measure everything, the results will improve a lot.
So what needs to be measured if you are trying to make money online?
My list of the five "must measures" are below, as well as suggestions of resources to use to get the job done.
Many of these resources are completely free.
1 - Measure your visitors.
I use both but don't use them on the same sites. I use them on different sites.
I like and recommend Clicky. Starting with the free version works very well for most people.
Clicky gives you a great snapshot of exactly who comes to your site, how long they stay there, what page they leave on, and all those other things that you need to know.
The most important thing that you need to know is how many visitors are you getting a day. Once you know that you can begin to think about things like "bounce rate" and other key metrics.
I often hear from people who say, “I don't know what's wrong. I have a sales page that looks good, it should work, but I'm not making any sales.”
Then it turns out they had 10 visitors that day.
You can't really make money online with 10 visitors a day, in most cases.
Knowing how many visitors you have coming to your site and being realistic about that is very important.
Only by measuring the traffic to your site, from all sources, can you know how to improve your results.
2 - Measure clicks on promotional links.
The resources that I like for this are either HyperTracker, which is a paid service, or Pretty Link, which is a free plug in that you can use on your WordPress blog.
Pretty Link does have a paid version (which I use) as well as a free version.
I use Pretty Link to track clicks. When I want to track all the way through to the sale on one of my own products, I use HyperTracker.
Either will work fine for most people, and Pretty Link integrates into your blog easily.
Here's the most important thing.
Every time you put a link in advertising, or in a product, it should be a tracking link.
I'll give you one great example.
Let's say that you write a book about a particular topic. The topic does not matter. You are using this book to promote, so you are giving it away or selling it for a very low price.
And let's say you are promoting five different resources in there. These are affiliate links in the book you are promoting.
After your book is on Amazon and people are buying it, or downloading it from your site, you decide to change one of the resources that you are promoting.
How do you do that?
You can't ask everybody who's bought the book to download a new copy. They simply won't do that.
You can upload a new copy to your site, or Amazon, but what about all those people who downloaded the book already?
And what if you let others give out the book?
Here is the solution.
If you make all the links in the book tracking links, you won't have any problem at all.
All you do is go into your ad tracker and change the destination that people visit when they click on that link. Problem solved!
Now everyone who clicks a link in your book, no matter when they downloaded it, will go to the page you want them to see!
3 - Measure opt in conversions.
If you're not using a squeeze page in email follow-up marketing right now for every product you promote, stop what you're doing and build yourself a follow-up selling system.
It's very important to do that because it will increase sales in almost every case. I've seen it work in every market I've ever been in and often seen a good follow up system triple sales conversions.
Now back to measuring conversions to opt ins.
NOTE: This is different than measuring conversions to sales.
What you're looking for is this: you want to be able to say, “200 people came to my website today and of those 200 people, 50 subscribed to my follow-up system or my ezine.”
That's a pretty low percentage of conversion. You're really going for more of 100 out of 200, or higher.
But you get the point, what we are measuring here are conversions to subscribers, not conversions to sales.
Knowing the number is what matters, because once you know what that number is, you can begin to fine-tune your headline, your call-to-action, your benefit statements, your subscriber magnet and more in order to increase that conversion.
4 - Measure sales conversions.
If you're promoting someone else's product as an affiliate, it's going to be difficult to measure how many people turned into a sale unless you're offering some sort of a specific bonus.
I know measuring sales conversions for affiliates is very difficult for a lot of people who are starting out. We won't deal with that in this article but rather address that later.
One solution is to offer a specific bonus as an affiliate.
If you are offering a specific bonus, then the number of people who claim that bonus are your buyers. Bear in mind that this is not scientific, but it's better than nothing. The reason it's not scientific marketing is that not 100% of buyers will claim your bonus.
Hard to believe but it's true.
But you can compare the number who do take the bonus to how many clicks you generated for that particular product to get a sense of sales conversions.
If you own a product of your own, it's quite easy to determine conversion to sales.
Clickbank, or your, shopping cart, have this feature built in.
If you are a product owner you can also track sales conversion with a tracker (like Hyper Tracker) by putting a little tracking pixel on the thank you page people see after they make a successful purchase.
5 - Measure your time.
What is the return on the investment you are making with time?
Time is our most precious asset in many different ways. It's the great equalizer. We all have 24 hours in a day, whether you're a productive person, a young person, an older person, doesn't matter. We all have only 24 hours in a day.
How we choose to use that time matters ... a lot.
How you use that time in your business is very important. It's important to measure both how you spend your time and what the return on that time investment is.
A lot of people will spend $300 to place an ad and they just absolutely know they have to track that ad.
They get the need for tracking because it's their money, it's their $300.
The same people will spend two or three hours in front of an email program, reading offer after offer that makes them feel like they're not succeeding and never think to themselves, “Is that the best way for me to spend my time?”
They are not bad people, they just never think that their time is something worth tracking.
If you don't already, start a time log today and begin tracking how you spend your time. Then review it once a week and prepare to be surprised.
I hope you find my list of things that must be tracked helpful.
Drucker was right, if we measure it we can improve it.
And continual improvement, seeing better results this week than last week ... well that's a beautiful thing indeed!
How about you?
Are you measuring your efforts? If so, how is that going for you? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.