Analytics has become quite the buzz word, but what the heck is all the buzz about? Collecting a bunch of data, whoopey! Sure that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but what the data tells you and your ability to use it to improve your marketing’s performance and further your success — now that is big.

Here’s the catch, though. In order to utilize analytics to its full potential, you need to know what data to pull, what in the world you’re looking at, and what you should do with it all. Want to master measuring data? Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way:

Step 1: Set SMART goals 

(Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely)

If you don’t know what exactly you want to accomplish, it’s kind of hard to know what data to collect and measure. Makes sense, right? Start by figuring out what it is that you want to achieve. For instance, increase leads by 10% in the next year by using inbound marketing.

Step 2: Identify what data is relevant to your goals.

Analytics tools can provide enough data to make your head spin! Rather than drown in a bunch of information that doesn’t have any impact on what you’re looking to do, narrow it down to what’s relevant. If you want new leads, measure contact forms filled, content offers downloaded, stuff like that.

Step 3: Setup and measure milestones.

If you’ve set your goal to be accomplished in a year, determine what you need to reach each month to stay on track. That way you can use info you’ve gathered to make adjustments in your marketing efforts as needed, as you go. Maybe it’s revealed that a stronger call-to-action is necessary, or perhaps a different type of offer, a shorter contact form — it’s important to play around a bit to see what works (and what doesn’t) on your way to that ultimate goal of yours. A little A/B testing (comparing modifications and their performances) goes a long way!

Step 4: Rinse and repeat.

The beauty of analytics is the multitude of things it can do — don’t just stop at one goal! We’re going to guess you want more out of your marketing than simply increasing leads alone. Repeat these steps to accomplish as many goals as you can think up that benefit your business and help you grow. Then, take what you’ve learned, change things up if need be, and do it all again.

Of course, while you’re at it, you can use analytics to unearth all sorts of other helpful information, too. Discover which campaigns drive the most traffic, what content is doing well and what’s not, where your visitors are coming from, what they’re searching for, what they’re clicking on, and why they leave. Then, let the optimization begin! Look at the analytic results, notice trends — if you like ‘em, keep on keeping on, if you want them to be different, change your marketing plan accordingly.

These are just examples of the data most commonly analyzed, but remember, what you use analytics for is entirely dependent upon what you want to achieve, and the decisions you need to make.

Stay tuned for a closer look at analytics terminology, how to decipher what it all means, why you should use it, and how to navigate through the sea of information to find the data that matters to you and your business.

In the meantime, why not download this awesome ebook with tips to generate more leads? You know, if that’s one of your goals.

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