How to Focus on the Marketing Metrics That Matter

3 min read
January 14, 2016

Your financial planning firm is up and running. You’ve got clients; you’re generating revenue. You know what technology you enjoy using, and you’re developing systems and processes to better run your business and serve your clients.

In short, you’re past just starting up, and the foundation of your financial planning practice is established. Now, you’re turning to higher-level tasks beyond simply starting and running your business.

This year, you want to focus on growing your firm and attracting new clients. It’s time to market yourself and what you do.

Tracking numbers, data, and metrics is a huge part of marketing. You need to know what efforts are working, and which aren’t a good use of time. Paying attention to marketing metrics can help you better understand what avenues actually generate clients.

But what metrics do you measure? And how do you weed through all the data to find the metrics that matter?

What Are Metrics You Can Measure?

First, let’s understand what we’re referring to when we talk about marketing metrics. These can be numbers like:

  • Your social media followers
  • How many likes your Facebook pages and posts get
  • The number of people on your email list
  • How many people share your content with others
  • The type of responses you receive on tweets, social media updates, emails, and blog posts

These numbers can help tell you whether or not you’re on track with where you should be, and they can also inform you on what direction might be best to take your marketing efforts.

While this can be useful information to know, it’s very easy to get caught up in the numbers -- and even more so to get caught up in the wrong numbers. Marketing metrics are important, but they are not the end-all, be-all.

And there is a difference between valuable data and stuff that just distracts you from what really matters.

The Problem with Marketing Metrics

Here’s the problem with marketing metrics: looking only at numbers makes it way too easy for you to compare yourself with other people! This is detrimental to your confidence as a financial advisor (whose number one job is not marketing, but serving clients). And it’s pointless.

As with anything you can compare yourself on, you have no idea what's going on behind the scenes of anyone else's business or brand. And numbers can tell many different stories, depending on how you look at the data.

The real problems with marketing metrics start when you get caught up with vanity metrics. These are metrics that don't tell you anything about the health and growth of your business. This kind of data can include things like Twitter followers, website traffic, and email list subscribers.

Vanity metrics don't show you the full picture, are easily manipulated, and aren't related to engagement. Any number that has nothing to do with engagement and conversion is one that, at the end of the day, probably doesn’t matter too much.

What Matters with Metrics?

How many replies do you get when you email your list? How much do you actually talk with your social followers? How much of your web traffic gets converted into your sales funnel?

Raw numbers don't usually matter. Engagement and conversion do. Metrics that measure these factors deserve your focus and attention.

You can have 10,000 Twitter followers and that looks great -- but if only a handful of those 10,000 share what you say, or click through to the links you share, or engage with you, that big number isn’t worth all that much.

The same can be said for numbers like website traffic. If you get 1,000 visitors per day but only 1 or 2 signs up for your email list, that traffic isn’t doing you or your business much good.

If, on the other hand, you receive just 100 visitors to your site each day, but 10 of those people are opting in to your email list, you have a more engaged audience and your metrics show you’re doing something right -- even though you’re getting far less traffic than thousands of views per day.

You want to look for the data that informs you about how people behave and engage with you online. On social media, that might mean things like retweets, @mentions, shares, and other signs of actual human activity and conversation.

On your website, look at your referral traffic, bounce rate, clicks, and the behavior of your audience. With your email, consider both your open rate and your click rate.

Metrics do matter when you know what to look for, and that's data that shows actual engagement and conversion. So don’t get caught up in vanity metrics, or numbers that just look good but don’t actually tell you anything about how people behave or interact with you.

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