Building and scaling your digital presence is essential for any modern business, but the journey doesn’t end there. For any digital presence to be adaptable and to succeed in achieving your set goals, you need to track and monitor a number of metrics. These metrics reflect different aspects of how your practice is performing digitally, and may vary depending on your goals.
Every practice’s digital presence is different, and as such the criteria for success will differ as well. What you may consider a success might be a roadblock for another practice.
This means that when looking to measure the performance of your digital presence, website, social media, outreach campaigns, marketing and so on, it’s vital that you first pinpoint and define what success looks like to you.
When setting business goals, accountability is one of the most important things that can drive success
Is your goal to increase website traffic, conversions from clicks to bookings or clicks to sales, email opens, or social engagement? All of these are valid and important… and will determine the metrics you need to measure success. The metrics used to measure increased traffic to your website for example, will differ from those needed if you’re looking at the success of outreach programs.
Another important aspect of goal setting is to set a timeframe during which you’re expecting to see dividends. Of course, you shouldn’t expect immediate results from any form of outreach or marketing, so setting a realistic timeframe is vital. Depending on what you’re analysing, this could be a fortnight, month or quarter, but once it has been decided, you should stick to that timeframe for follow-up analysis. If your efforts are not working within your timeframe, it’s important to remain agile and make changes.
Having a defined timeframe not only gives concrete parameters for comparison going forward, such as month-to-month or year-to- year, a dedicated schedule also enforces accountability. When setting business goals, accountability is one of the most important things that can drive success.
SMART ANALYSIS FOR SUCCESS
Adopting a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-based) approach to goal setting can help you easily define and set parameters by which you can measure the success of any given endeavour.
Specific – a well-defined description of what you wish to achieve,
Measurable – a metric that defines success to you (such as number of new clients, email opens or click throughs) that you are looking to achieve,
Achievable – any target you are aiming for should be challenging, but reachable,
Relevant – your immediate goals should be in line with your long term or overarching goals, and
Time-based – set yourself a timeframe within which your goals need to be met. As with the target, this timeframe should be achievable.
CHOOSING ANALYSIS TOOLS
Digital success for your business may mean you want to see results in a number of areas, such as social outreach, or booking conversions and online sales. However, rather than trying to see an overview of overall performance, focus instead on one area at a time.
Deciding on the focus of your analysis allows you to hone in on where your efforts are working and where they are not, giving you the ability to be agile and make changes without having to parse through huge amounts of data. Deciding this focus also helps you hone in on the types of tools you may wish to use to measure your results.
Both Google and Facebook feature built-in reporting tools for advertisements and pushed posts, which detail how many times they were viewed, the click-through rate, cost per click and associated metrics. These tools allow you to quickly see if marketing campaigns are working.
Similarly, search engine optimisation (SEO) tools such as Ahrefs, SEMrush or Moz allow you to chart the efforts of the SEO and content marketing success by tracking how well your targeted keywords are appearing in searches and how many backlinks you have. You can also use these tool to identify keywords to target and for backlinking opportunities you may not have considered.
Seeing if your website is effective is a little harder.
TRACKING WEBSITE ANALYTICS
Your website is the hub of your business. As such it will be the focus of most of your efforts to grow and scale your digital presence. Marketing campaigns, social media outreach and advertisements should all point to your website in some way. Additionally, your own efforts at SEO and content marketing (your blog) will affect how many people visit your site and which pages they visit.
Google Analytics is a free tool offered by Google that allows you to monitor a number of important website metrics, including overall website traffic, traffic by source, average time on site, page views, most visited pages, bounce rate, users by country, sessions by device, and more. The number of metrics that can be measured by Google Analytics can appear overwhelming – this is why having a clear goal and set of metrics you wish to measure is so important.
Overall Website Traffic
Your overall website traffic gives an overview of how well your efforts are working. Most of your digital efforts, whether it’s SEO, a marketing campaign, a paid ad or an effort put into content marketing, should see an increase in your overall traffic.
Traffic by Source
Traffic by source indicates how a visitor found your website, and these can be organic, direct, referrals or social encounters.
Organic searches are those who visited your site by clicking a link in a search engine’s organic results. If you’re focussing on SEO, then organic search is an important metric to track.
Direct visitors reach the site by bookmarking the site or typing the URL directly into the search bar. If you’re focussing on brand awareness, this is a valuable metric to track.
Referrals reach your site by clicking a link to your site found on another website. This is another important metric to keep an eye on if you’re concentrating on content marketing or SEO as it indicates that backlinks to your site are working.
As the vast majority of your traffic should be local, you only need to pay attention if you are shown to be attracting a huge amount of traffic from another country
Social visitors arrive at your site by clicking on a link in your social media posts or profile. If you are seeking to increase your social presence, then this is an important metric to track.
SESSIONS BY DEVICE
This shows what platforms deliver the most traffic to your site – mobile, desktop or tablet. Given that over half of all web browsing is now done on a smartphone, if your mobile traffic is low, you may wish to improve the mobile optimisation of your site.
MOST VISITED PAGES
This metric allows you to see the pages on your site that achieve the most views. This may be useful to gauge the performance of a landing page for a marketing or social media campaign, but it can also be used to pinpoint the best performing pages on your site.
Heat map software platforms, such as Hotjar, Crazy Egg or Clicktale, allow you to see the elements of a page that users are clicking on, reading, scrolling past or ignoring completely. By finding out the most successful elements on your most visited pages, you can replicate those desirable qualities in other pages.
Bounce rate is the number of people who immediately leave a page. Bounce typically indicates a handful of issues, namely slow page load times, the page not loading at all, the page not containing information relevant to the click, or content that was not engaging. If you’re tracking a marketing campaign, a high bounce rate may indicate that the landing page the campaign links to is not working.
AVERAGE TIME ON SITE
The usefulness of average time on site can vary, depending on what it is you’re looking to track. If you’re seeking to invest in content, a longer time on site may indicate that your content is engaging readers, prompting them to spend time on the site. If you’re looking to increase online bookings or sales, the time on site may be less indicative of access or failure, as someone familiar with your booking procedure or sales portal may be able to complete the process in a minute, while others may take ten times that long.
USERS BY COUNTRY
As the vast majority of your traffic should be local, you only need to pay attention if you are shown to be attracting a huge amount of traffic from another country. If this is the case, it may indicate that your social media or Google ads are targeted only to a demographic rather than a location. If you’re focussing on content creation, a large pool of users from another country may indicate that your content isn’t resonating with your local audience, necessitating a rethink of content direction.
THE MEASURE OF SUCCESS
Digital analysis may appear overwhelming, but by setting yourself achievable goals, and timeframes, and by honing in on exactly what you want, you will be able to see if your efforts are paying off.
Daniel Wilks is a writer for MyHealth1st. Part of 1st Group, MyHealth1st is dedicated to providing practices and practitioners with tools and technology to help grow and deliver healthcare to those in need across Australia. In addition to online booking, MyHealth1st has developed products, including managed digital marketing, to increase reviews on Google, and drive new patients through the doors. Visit www.myhealth1st.com.au or contact: (AUS) 1300 266 517.