“Measure what is measurable and make measurable what is not so.” Galileo
Have you ever done that thing where you set a bunch of goals, write a ton of 'to do' lists, get allll excited about your inevitable success... and then fall flat on your face and can't work out why?
It feels pretty deflating doesn't it?
What's worse, is that you have no concrete way of telling what went wrong! You can speculate - but let's face it, that's no way to run a business.
Wouldn't it feel good to have the data you need to not only tell you where you went wrong, but actually give you a heads up that things are going off course before you're completely de-railed? That way, you can DO something about it before the whole falling flat on your face business...
Sound good? Let me introduce you to the magical world of KPI's... (*goes into full nerd mode*)
What are KPI's?
Let's start from the very beginning, by answering a rather important question: What are KPI's?
KPI is an acronym which stands for Key Performance Indicator. Simply put, your KPI's are your business metrics - the things you measure to let you know if you're on track to achieve your business goals.
But actually, your KPI's can (and should!) do so much more than that...
Why use KPI's?
Once upon a time there was a savvy startup online business owner (try saying that 3 times fast!).
She wanted to make more money (I told you she was savvy!) and so she set some goals and made a plan. One of her goals was to grow her email list by 250 people in a month. She planned to do this by writing a blog post and offering her audience a free content upgrade to help them with a problem they were all facing. Readers could click from the blog post to a landing page where they could then sign up for the freebie - and bingo! She'd have a new subscriber.
She set the following KPI's:
Blog Post Visits: 2000
Landing Page Visits: 800
New Subscribers: 250
She set it all up and waited for the subscribers to start rolling in...
After a week, she decided to check her progress and so she looked to see how many new subscribers she'd received.
Only 10! Oh no...
Mrs Savvy wasn't glum. Instead she use her business metrics to see what the problem could be...
Her metrics showed her that:
2000 people had viewed her blog post
20 people had clicked through to the landing page
10 people had signed up
This told her that her landing page was actually doing its job well. 50% of the 20 people visiting it were signing up.
She was also doing a great job of sending people her blog post. She had hit her KPI of 2000 people.
However, with only 20 people clicking through to the landing page from the blog post, this is where her problem was. She wasn't doing a good enough job of selling her content upgrade on her blog post.
With a few tweaks to the post, she suddenly saw her landing page visits shoot up and was well on her way again to hitting her goal.
Aaaah! I just love a happy ending, don't you?
So...Why use KPI's?
The moral of the story is that your KPI's will allow you to do 2 very important things:
Track your progress towards hitting a goal
Manage your performance
It's also worth mentioning that your KPI's and business metrics will help you to identify trends in performance, which in turn will help you to forecast your results and set goals. But that's for another post...
How do I know what I should measure in my own business?
Now that we've established what your KPI's are there to do, this part should be easy! It's just a case of identifying your goals, creating a plan to achieve those goals and then setting KPI's which are going to help you to track your progress and manage your performance.
Here, let me give you an example...
Our Savvy business owner set another goal. This time, it was a goal to grow her audience to 5000 website views per month.
Example KPI to track progress:
Monthly Site Views
Easy-peasy so far, right?
Now let's look at some KPI's she might use to manage her performance...
Example KPI's to manage performance:
Monthly blog views by referral channel
Average Session Duration
You see, these metrics allow Mrs Savvy to spot problems - and fix them. Perhaps she's using a combination of social media and SEO to drive traffic to her site. Tracking referrals by channel will show her if perhaps social media is working well, but SEO - not so much...
Her goal to grow her audience is aligned with her goal to increase her email list. The more views on her site, the more people who see her content upgrade. A high bounce rate or low session duration indicates that she's not doing a good enough job of engaging people once they've landed on her site.
What to consider when choosing your KPI's
Do you see the power of KPI's now? They're like the glue that sticks your goals and your planning together!
Now, before you run off to KPI to your heart's content (not sure that's a valid verb, but let's go with it...), here are a few final thoughts for you...
Choose KPI's you can measure
I know it sounds obvious, but it's still worth saying. When you're selecting your KPI's, consider how you will measure them. Do you already have the data to hand or will you need to find a tool to help?
If you haven't already connected your website to Google Analytics then this this is a great place to start for a lot of the metrics you'll use.
Ask yourself why you want to measure it
That's my diplomatic way of saying AVOID VANITY METRICS.
It's sooo easy to get obsessed with things like Facebook likes and Instagram follows. These may be very valid KPI's for your business IF more Facebook likes and Instagram follows are strategically connected to your business goals...
So, when you're choosing your KPI's, ask yourself WHY. Is this going to help you track your progress? Is it going to help you manage your performance?
If the answer is no - then you don't need it as a KPI.
How often do you need to measure it?
Tracking your KPI's should be a regular part of your schedule. No good going to the trouble of setting them if you're never actually going to check them, right?
So decide how often you want to monitor your metrics and then schedule it in so you stick to it.
What will you do with the results?
Finally, it would be remiss of me not to remind you that tracking your KPI's isn't enough. You need to take action too.
If your numbers are telling you something (and they always do!), then chances are, you need to do something about it.
They might tell you something isn't working... fix it!
They might tell you something is working... do more of it!
Want my guide to hitting 5k months with an audience under 500?
Inside this guide, I share my Freedom Framework where I show you:
- The best kind of offer to sell your small audience
- The simple way to grow your audience and generate consistent lead flow and clients.
- The one thing to focus on to convert more of your ideal clients into actual clients