How To Identify The Metrics That Matter To Your Business

Business Growth
Business owner looking at business metrics that matter

Standing out from your competition is crucial, but the true game-changer for businesses of any size is knowing who you are selling to. 

The most successful businesses — those that never seem to struggle with attracting attention, generating leads, and making sales — know their audiences and ideal buyers better than anyone else. By understanding their problems, desires, needs, behaviors, responses, and language, they gain the insights needed to position their businesses and services or products as the go-to choice.

The challenge is that acquiring that knowledge and gaining that competitive advantage is no small feat, especially for small businesses. It demands not just time and effort but inside knowledge of:

  • What they are searching for.
  • Why they are searching for it.
  • What they do when they find it.
  • How they gather information.
  • How they compare options.
  • How they engage and interact.
  • What drives their buying decisions.
  • What they need to say yes.

Gaining this level of understanding about your prospective buyers, current customers, and how they interact with your brand can drastically change how you run your business. 

Imagine how much more confident you could be when making decisions if you already knew your clients’ level of engagement, the resonance of your content, funnel friction points, and whether to expand or scale back your offers.

This is where analytics data becomes your ally, offering clear insights into your audience, their engagement, and your business operations. When you understand the metrics that matter to your business, you no longer waste time on assumptions or indecision. Instead, you leverage data for smart, sustainable growth.

Demystifying Analytics

The notion that analytics is overwhelming and frustrating is a common misconception. 

The frustration with business analytics, website analytics, and marketing analytics often stem from incorrect application, not from its inherent complexity. If you find yourself puzzled by metrics like page visits and traffic sources, it’s likely because you’re focusing on generic data instead of metrics tailored to your business’s specific needs and goals.

Yes, navigating analytics can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be stressful.

The solution lies in shifting your focus from broad data sets to specific questions about your business, such as:

  • What do I need to know about my business?
  • Why is this information important?
  • What actions will I take based on these insights?

Answering these questions allows you to pinpoint the data that truly matters, enabling a focused approach to analytics. This strategy ensures you’re not getting lost in irrelevant details but concentrating on what’s directly applicable to your current business situation.

Accessibility of Data Analytics

Technology advancements have leveled the playing field regarding data access. Your business can access and use the same analytics tools that large corporations use, often for free or at a minimal cost. Do more expensive solutions exist? Sure. But they aren’t needed until your analytics strategy reaches a specific level of sophistication.

This means you can use the same tools the businesses you look up to, maybe even envy, are using. 

The only difference is that you’re not yet taking full advantage of the resources at your disposal. Think of it as choosing between traditional hand tools and modern power tools for building a house. The question isn’t about access but about which tools you decide to leverage for efficiency and effectiveness.

Making Analytics Data Actionable

Every stage of your business can benefit from data-driven decisions. 

From understanding lead behavior and customer-service fit to analyzing sales trends, campaign effectiveness, and website performance — analytics provide invaluable insights. The objective is to focus on metrics that matter to your business model and answer your most pressing questions.

This allows you to:

  • Make informed decisions.
  • Reduce inefficiencies.
  • Improve your overall business strategy.

However, the vast potential of analytics remains untapped by many small businesses due to common pitfalls, such as lack of setup, incorrect configuration, or simply not knowing how to interpret the data.

To better navigate the metrics that matter to your business and understand what data is important, avoid getting caught up in like and share counts, and instead organize your business, website, and marketing data into three categories:

  1. Vanity data: Data that makes you feel good but doesn’t really help you.
    This data encompasses the likes, shares, and spiking website traffic from a muddled pool of friends, relatives, people who will buy, who will never buy, and bots. When the numbers go up, you feel like a million bucks but the insights don’t move your business forward.
  2. Interesting: Data that piques your curiosity but needs further investigation to be relevant.
    This data isn’t immediately actionable but highlights something to pay attention to. For example, let’s say you dive into your data and discover a segment of website traffic consistently comes from Ireland. That’s interesting and you wonder why, given that your clients are mostly local. Figuring out what’s going on isn’t an immediate issue but something to suss out later.
  3. Useful: Data that answers questions and helps you to make decisions or take action.
    This data is immediately relevant and actionable to your business goals. For example, let’s say you notice website traffic from the local area your clients come from has been dropping steadily, while traffic from locations on the other side of the country (and Ireland) has increased. That’s useful data because figuring out why local traffic is dropping can help you make changes that stop or prevent a loss of leads.

Only by focusing on useful, actionable data can you truly enhance your business decision-making process.

Navigating the Complexity Of Analytics

For many small business owners, the intricacies of analytics and SEO can be daunting. It’s tempting to DIY your website analytics or marketing analytics but if you’re like most business owners, do-it-yourself ends up being don’t-do-it-at-all. It’s confusing and complicated, and that leads to procrastination.

Fortunately, you don’t have to do it yourself or do it alone.

Our small business analytics consulting approach simplifies the data gathering, evaluation, and implementation processes into three stages: Analyze, Architect, and Advance.

  1. Analyze: We begin with a thorough assessment of your current situation and goals, identifying what’s working and what needs improvement.
  2. Architect: Next, we develop a strategic plan tailored to your business, focusing on leveraging opportunities and addressing gaps.
  3. Advance: Finally, we implement the plan, continuously measuring and refining our approach to achieve the desired outcomes.

This structured approach ensures that the relevant metrics that matter to your business, offers, audience, and goals are not only identified but also actively working to inform and guide your strategies.

Use Analytics To Improve Business Results

Focusing on the right metrics brings clarity and insight into your business, allowing for more efficient resource allocation, streamlined processes, and strategic advancements toward your goals.

The more clear you are about your business, the easier running and growing your business becomes because you:

  • Spend less time and money on things you don’t need.
  • Expend less effort on tactics that don’t work or produce mediocre results.
  • Make bigger advances forward toward your goals with fewer distractions.
  • Feel more confident and worry less about business decisions.
  • Increase focus, move faster, and chase fewer shiny objects.

In contrast, when you lack clarity, ignore your analytics data, and make decisions with crossed fingers and best guesses, you assume more risk. Ignoring your analytics data, looking at irrelevant data, or looking only at the feel-good data can mean leaving profits on the table and spending time:

  • Putting out fires that could have been squashed as a spark.
  • Wondering why your best-laid plans fizzled out.
  • Feeling frustrated because you’re attracting the wrong clients.
  • Trying to figure out why conversions aren’t where you want them to be.
  • Second-guessing yourself and worrying about your decisions.

The good news is that every business, including your business, has access to the tools needed for making informed, data-driven decisions. And the even better news is that you don’t need to become an analytics expert — that’s where we step in to support you. 

By fostering a partnership based on curiosity, data-backed decision-making, and openness to insights, we empower you to focus on what you do best. Our role is to help you identify the metrics that matter to your business, interpret your data, and guide you and your business business toward greater clarity, confidence, action, and success.

If you’re ready to get started with analytics, or you’re already using analytics and want to do more with your data, we should talk! Reach out and book a no-pressure call to talk about your business goals and how we can help you achieve them faster.

Written by Lorraine Watson

When Lorraine isn't talking about cats or potatoes, you'll likely find her standing on a soapbox proclaiming that smart businesses make data driven decisions. And she's not wrong. Too many businesses make decisions based on best guesses and crossed fingers. That's not right. By making data more accessible and understandable, Lorraine helps businesses make smart decisions that move their businesses forward with confidence.