Tag Archives: Analytics

Envisioning the long-term growth of your company in addition to the short-term

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I always get stuck on this. I study analytics, I figure out my next move, I take action and measure the results. I’m good at this and I like it. I do well with my business because I am analytical and enjoy analytics. I do well because I work hard and have vision, plan and take action. But, in my quest for growth, I tend to lose track of the long-term picture. The long-term baffles me. As a child, I had grandiose long-term strategies about how I would become a multi-billionaire like Warren Buffet, dominate industry, and be world famous. It didn’t quite work out like that although I am famous in my tiny industry. I am loved by some and despised by others because I implement policies for advertising that affect other people’s lives! But, I un an advertising site, so that is my prerogative!

As a realistic adult, it is harder to look at the long run. As a child, we think that life will go the way we plan it to go. We reject the idea that things beyond our control will happen. We don’t understand that relationships can ruin our lives, or that illness can cripple us. We are oblivious to the fact that an uncontrollable turn in the market can reduce our income to pennies overnight. As an adult, my problem is that I know to much, and have been through too much. I have lost my ability to be unrealistically optimistic. But, I need to look to the long term future. I need to envision some realistic ways that my business could grow and blossom into something bigger. Growth is the goal of any business (or Twitter account) and I want mine to grow.

Since I run directories, the only way to grow is to start new directories which is relentlessly time consuming and expensive. Dealing with programmers is nearly impossible these days as they are all overloaded and completely irresponsible. To get ahead these days you need good social media, and I am already spending half of my time on blogs and social media. If I try to hire others to help me with these tasks, their performance is usually so dismal that they get fired right away. Going into the unknown to grow is the problem.

I decided upon a solution for long-term growth of my outsourcing directory. I decided to go from writing 15 blog articles a month to 80. I meditated on this business problem while at the beach, and of all of the various solutions to the growth problem that I pondered, this was the one that would have the greatest results in the next year. I have never written so many blog articles before. This is going out on a limb into a new work strategy. Will the new help I hire do a good job? Should I use my existing people? Will I even have time to do half this amount of writing? I guess this little experiment will unfold. I’ll become almost a full-time blog writer. Wish me well.

Do you have a long-term strategy for your business’ growth over the next ten years. I think that both of us should meditate on this reality!

How good are your analytics for your BPO company?

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Many companies specialize in analytics while others don’t know what that means. But, how good are your analytics for running your own business?

Call centers have many metrics and analytics to keep track of how long people wait on hold, how long calls take, if disputes can be resolved in one call, and more.

Large companies have analytics for inventory, systems integration, testing, and more. The result is more streamlined manufacturing at lower costs which translates into increased productivity.

But, what can your company do to use analytics? There are many things to keep track of at a BPO. Here are some that I thought of.

1. How long did you know a client before they became a client?
2. How many times did you interact with someone before they became a client?
3. How many people you interact with by email, phone or otherwise become clients?
4. How many clients who stopped using your service did so because service was slow or mistakes were made?
5. What are the fluctuations in labor use at your company week by week over a period of time?
That will help you determine how much extra labor you need.

6. What is your typical employee turnover rate.
7. How much training do you need to give an employee to get them to a particular level of competency?
8. What “special” requests do clients have? (or do you ignore this like most other BPO’s?)
9. Which of your employees have repeat clients and which lose you clients repeatedly?
10. What do the employees who stay say about your company vs. the ones who quit?

That’s all for now. Perhaps you can think of some other analytics.

Geting more clickers on your site, a humorous look at analytics

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If you run a website, you want more clicks, or clickers. If lots of people visit your site every day, this is a positive state of affairs. It is good when you get new people visiting your site regularly, and keep the old ones coming back. Not all clicks are alike as some people spend a long time reading your content while others just come for a few seconds and then bounce along to their next destination. Ideally, a certain amount of clicks translates loosely into a conversion, so try to keep track of how many clicks results in a conversion and click on what pages, or from what social media channels. Putting conversions aside, if someone visits your site, spends a few minutes, and visits a handful of pages, that could translate into being considered a very high quality click, while clicks that only last a few seconds browsing might make your stats appealing to you, but are generally useless by Google’s standards and are almost completely useless in real life.

Of course, down South, black people call us whites crackers as whites in the 1800’s used to crack the whip to get slaves to work faster. So, if you get clicks from down South, your clickers will be crackers. But, I apologize for my humor and am sorry to have made a crack about clicks.

But, I have a joke.

Did you hear about the boxing match between a South African Xhosa, and a Southern Redneck?

The match was entitled: The Cracker vs. the Clicker.

Social Media Optimization: Checking the effectiveness of each of your campaigns

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Social Media Optimization: Checking the effectiveness of each of your campaigns

It is a bit baffling these days with so many social media campaigns. Which ones should you use, and which ones do you understand? New ones come out every month too which adds to the complexity. Some are better for targeting younger folks, while Facebook is great for the 40-60 year old age segment. There are several analytics you need to understand when comparing social media venues.

(1) What is the cost of growing a particular campaign?
Do you spend three times the effort growing your Twitter campaign as your Facebook profile? Is your Stumbleupon or your Google+ a little faster to grow? Pay attention to how much effort goes into growing each type of campaign. On the other hand, if you really like a particular campaign, you will enjoy growing it which is another factor to consider.

(2) What types of results do you get after spending “x” amount of hours?
If you spend 100 hours on Twitter (did you count the hours?), how much gain did you get in your SEO? Can you measure that?

(3) What types of results did you get with $100 of pay-per-click on various mediums?
You can see how many clicks you got, and if there were any conversions that lead to traffic to your sales area in your site or actual purchases.

(4) How do you judge the quality of a click?
Not all clicks are created equal. Some lead to new followers, while others lead to sales. There are endless metrics you can use to compare click quality. If you are just starting out with a new network you can looks at: (a) How long each visitor spent on your site in seconds, (b) How many pages the average new visitor spent on your site. I learned that Facebook was better for one of my blogs while Twitter was better for another. So, there is no right answer. There are only answers that are right for specific situations. Also, consider which particular blog article you are promoting. Each different article will get different analytics, so get at least 40 clicks before you compare. Most new visitors will only skim your articles. Only a few will really read. The point here is to find out what percentage of your new followers will do some serious reading and clicking around.

(5) Sometimes the posts that did well on one network will do well on others
I noticed that some of the posts I had which did well on Google did well on Stumbleupon. We’ll see how that pans out in the long run. It is a little early to tell.

Good luck!

You might also like:

Active vs. dormant followers on Twitter

The Google algorithm has some serious issues

Social Media: The analytics are deceiving

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Many of us use twitter regularly, communicate with friends on facebook, and read blogs. I learn a lot from these networks when I find good providers which account for less than 1% of the total. But, since the world wide web encompasses all states, regions, and continents of the world, that less than 1% accounts for many amazing providers — and that is all I need.

Your followers are not human
But, what people don’t realize is that most of your followers are DORMANT, useless, or not targetted to your industry. Some of your followers might not even be humans. They could be robots. Maybe you should tweet about what type of oil to use, and you will get more robot followers.

Assessing the value of your accounts
How do you assess the value of your social media accounts for your business? Do you talk to your followers? Do your new clients say, “I found you on facebook”? Do your analyics suggest that your twitter account is driving your SEO positioning up on google even though few people actually click on your links to articles embedded in your tweets? I hear all of these things regularly. So, social media is helping me in all types of ways, but the analytics are deceiving, and the good analytics are not obvious.

Yes, Twitter makes a big difference
The good news is that yes, twitter is helping my ranking on google. Yes, Facebook gets me tons of new clients. Yes, we have great discussions on Facebook. But, oh my god, only 12% of my followers are in my specific industry? Is that high or low? Is that normal? Oh my god, I average only two clicks for each blog article I promote on my twitter with 2500 followers? Are my blogs boring? I think they are really interesting. Hmmm.

Clicks are more than they seem
What I learned is that those two clicks per average article are actually like gold. I learned that those are comparable to a multi-million dollar client purchasing his initial $20 purchase from your company. There will be a long succession of $20 purchases every week for years to come. Yes, the $20 looks small, but 52 of those per year os $1040, and in five years it is $5200. Hmm. It all sounds better now. I learned this from STOPPING promoting a particular twitter account. My blog traffic tapered off a lot. I don’t have the exact analytics of how many exact referals I got from Twitter in a particular month. But, if I lost 40 referrals, my traffic went down by 200. The numbers simply didn’t add up. So, I learned not to look at how many referrals I got. I learned to look at what I was doing on Twitter during a particular month, and how my top line blog statistics were for the next 90 days. Delayed reaction is a huge consideration in web analytics.

Everything went limp
STOPPING TWITTER outreach for a few months was the best thing I did for my business. Not because Twitter was not working. It was for the exact opposite reason. I realized that my blogs lost traffic, my site lost traffic, retweets went down, and many analytics for my business became stagnant the minute we stopped outreach. I didn’t realize how powerful it was, especially when you assessed the value of monetizing the results.

A Novice would have been fooled
PEOPLE LOVE our Facebook much more than our Twitter. A novice web-preneur would be fooled and invest more in their Facebook account. Mistake. Google is the one in charge here, and they are much more impressed by success on Twitter. Why is this? Twitter is hard. No matter what you do, the response is minimal unless you are a seasoned pro. Getting interaction is like sucking a bottle of water out of a rock in the desert. If you can get interaction and growth on Twitter — you have skill and value in Google’s mind, and Google is really smart. We can all learn from Google. They don’t necessarily publish what they value, but ask the experts and study your statistics and you will learn what they like.

Test & Fail; Learn & Scale; Digital CMO’s understand this mantra

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Are you involved in digital marketing? You can’t just read blogs and learn what the experts recommend. Their advice is often very general, and might not apply to you. You need to test different marketing strategies out. See what works on what medium, and why.

Let’s say you find out that Twitter makes it easy to get followers for a particular account, but Facebook doesn’t. In such a case, it might make more sense to scale your efforts, and put more efforts into your Facebook account where you get a better return on your investment.

Another interesting angle, is that certain types of posts do well on certain mediums. If you are digital marketing, the medium most central to your endeavors should be your blog. But, your blog might have many types of articles. So, making a blanket statement of how Facebook is the best medium to promote your blog might not be a very good answer. Posts with lots of amazing pictures might do better on Instagram or Stumbleupon. Posts that have practical marketing pointers might do better on Linked In. Twitter tends to be good for SEO popularity due to the links you tweeted. Facebook tends to have the widest audience and is the social medium I would try first — for any industry just because it has the largest active following.

Generalized analytics results might not be the most helpful for your business. It is good to dig a little better. See what does well on each medium, and why!

After a recent analysis, I realized that the amount of labor and monetary investment that I had put into Twitter, the results were far less than those for our Facebook which we had invested relatively little into. I’ve decided to experiment by putting four times the effort into our Facebook for a month, and toning down my Twitter. Additionally, I learned that my fledgling Linked In accounts are delivering great results, and that I should build those to the point where they have critical mass, so that I can see if they deliver a value that merits the investment that we are putting into them.

It is hard to compare different social media accounts when some are just bigger than the others. If your Facebook has 10,000 members, and your new Linked In account has only 200, it is hard to compare where an hour of your time will go the furthest. Your Facebook will probably get you the most clicks. But, on the other hand, with Linked In, you can post on other people’s communities which might have a larger reach than your Facebook account. You are comparing apples and octopuses here!

If you are comparing the benefit of an hour of work with a large network and small network consider this. The hour you spend on a large network might get you some fruit (perhaps apples & oranges for example) while the effort you put into a smaller network might get you growth which also has a value that you can calculate based on future anticipated fruits once the network has grown to however you define its maturity. If you know how many quality clicks you get from your smaller network, then you can guess how many clicks you’ll get when it has grown to be of a substantial size. You can estimate its value by knowing that click rate.

The bottom line is that you need to try different social media mediums, try different approaches, see what works, why, and how long it takes for something to work. Try to estimate after 18 months of effort, what type of return you’ll get on your work.

Can they do it on their own?

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I hire people to do all types of tasks for me. The ones who last can do what they are supposed to do without any intervention from me. I hired someone to do sales. I don’t need to badger her to ask if she did what she was supposed to. She just does what she is supposed to and I just pay her. It is simple.

But, I sometimes unknowingly hire other people who just don’t do what they are supposed to. None of the programmers who I have hired get anything done without me constantly cracking the whip. They complain bitterly about how they don’t like me bothering them all the time, but they don’t function on their own, so I wasn’t given a choice.

Then, there are writers. I find people who can write. But, the writing process involves more than just writing. Topic selection is very important. There needs to be some analytics knowledge to be able to pick the type of subjects that will be popular with your audience. But, to pick catchy and unique titles is not that easy. So far only two of the writers I have worked with can come out with lots of ideas. The only problem is that one of them comes up with the same ideas every time I ask him to brainstorm. Once again, if I am not part of the process, things go sour. The other writer just sends me articles. They are pretty good. I don’t have to tell him anything. The articles just come, and enough of them are popular so that I can keep him. Minimal intervention is okay, but constantly having to oversee someone’s work is too much for me to do. If I do that, I don’t have time to do my work!

The best worker not only gets work done on their own, but offers helpful ideas without being asked. Obviously they shouldn’t shove the ideas down your throat, but the idea that they offer on their initiative is amazing, particularly if their ideas are useful.

When you are doing your work, ask yourself if you do what you are supposed to without intervention. Do you get back to people when the job is finished, or do you make them track you down to find out what happened? People who get ahead have their own initiative and crack their own whip. I am saying this after staying up until 4:30am to finish writing 20 blog articles in a single day. I hope they are entertaining!

Twitter’s algorithm for “people” under keyword search doesn’t add up!

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Dormant accounts galore!

Suggestions for Twitter’s algorithm

Twitter’s algorithm for who shows up under “People” in a given keyword query has some serious drawbacks. Results include many dormant profiles that haven’t posted in months. I’m not sure what the other components of the algorithm are. It might include how many posts they made with the tag / keyword in question along with how many relevant followers they have. It is complicated indeed.

I think that what makes more sense is to see who has been the most active in the last month. For those who have been active, then another layer of how well they have been doing in the last six months, and how many relevant followers they have might compliment the algorithm.

I think they should hire Janet Jackson to put her 2 cents worth in when creating a new algorithm. Her suggestion might be — what have you done for me lately?

How to hire an outsourced social media company!

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What do you look for when you hire a social media company?
Or should you be Buddhist about it and look within? Don’t ask me, the answer will come from within — from within this blog article! An interesting fact that I just learned is that more people are using social media for their business than ever before, yet the man-count at social media companies has shrunk a bit. More people are doing social media for their own companies which makes sense because you need to understand your industry in order to create quality content for your social networks.

Know thyself
It is impossible in business to know how to do everything yourself, nor should you even try. However, it is very difficult to hire others to do tasks for you if you don’t know anything about the task at hand. If you are uninformed, you will get substandard results from outsourced companies, and even get ripped off regularly. The good news is that you won’t feel a thing, because you won’t even know you are being ripped off. If you hire social media companies, you need to know something about content creation and analytics to survive the ordeal.

Quality content
Unfortunately, even seasoned professionals often cannot create the best quality content without some guidance. They tend to go off on tangents and explore crazy ideas that won’t sell well with your loyal clientele. As someone who hires bloggers, Twitterers, and Facebookers, you need to know how to identify quality content. Most social media companies can’t create content on their own. They make you do the hard stuff, and they just do the minimum wage type tasks and post your content.

If someone is handling your Twitter account, you need to be very aware of the technical process of how to operate a Twitter account. You might be managing someone who hasn’t a clue, and whose boss is not watching them. You need to know how to follow, follow back, interact, and write good tweets. You need to know if your outsourced social media company is getting you results for your money. Here are some metrics which might translate into results.

(1) New followers. If you get new followers, but they are not relevant, or don’t retweet anything, their value is limited.

(2) Clicks. If your followers don’t retweet, but they are clicking on your links and reading your blog, then you will get points with Google, and in my opinion, that is the bottom line.

(3) Retweets, favorites, mentions, etc. If you have an active crowd, you will get these, otherwise there will be silence which is bad. A good social media company will know how to bring life to your Twitter account and get people to interact.

(4) Shares and commentary. On Facebook, it is a little bit similar to Twitter. There are shares, and commentary. My experience is that Facebook followers are a lot more likely to post comments to your posts than on Twitter. If you want more of a forum type experience, then Linked in or Facebook might be your starting point.

Basically, when you hire a company to take care of your Twitter, Facebook, or other account, you need to measure their success on a monthly basis. You need to see if they are doing all of the interactions they promised to do (keep requirements in writing in emails for best results.) You need to track your total number of followers, and number of interactions as well. Basically, keep track of as much critical information as you can.

Slacking Off
Be careful. Social media companies typically hire millennials, This group tends to be very idealistic in their own way. But, if they lose interest in a project, they will not give their full 100%. Their attention span is not the greatest to begin with in any case. One guy went from 200% to 10% in a few months because he lost interest. When managing millennials, make sure they don’t lose interest, or have a change of attitude. Make sure they are not slacking off. If you notice that they are not doing what your agreement said they are to be doing, it is time to find someone new. Don’t trust whatever company you hire! Keep a close eye on them, and keep them on a short leash. I’m not saying to treat them like they are not trustworthy, just treat them like a father treats his six year old. The minute you stop watching them, all hell very easily breaks loose!

How do you interview these companies?
Most people who work at social media companies are horrible at communication and are not that knowledgeable about social media either. They know how to do certain types of repetitive tasks and certain marketing functions. Their knowledge is very rarely wide in scope. There will be a lot that they don’t know even in the most seasoned of experts. I have observed an expert who charges $250 per hour who doesn’t know how to craft a classy tweet — his tweets are very short and clunky. He is good at analytics, but not at composition. I met another expert who knows Twitter inside out, but who doesn’t know much about Google+. Here are some questions you can ask to get a sense of how these companies handle their work.

(1) Before you ask any questions, see if they even answer their phone or email. How fast before they call you back or return an email. I just emailed an American guy who runs a company in Thailand. He got back to me in 12 hours. I am very impressed!

(2) Ask them what techniques they use to grow a Twitter account. See how thorough their answer is.

(3) Tell them a little about your industry. Ask them what types of tweets they would write to attract readers. If the answer is evasive, or if they tell you that it is complicated, don’t put too much faith in them. People who have thinking skills will think of something useful to say when you ask them a question — that is the most valuable rule of interviewing companies.

(4) Tell them that you had a problem with Google+ and don’t know what the best way to solve it is. One guy told me just not to use Google+. That was not a very intelligent answer, although I agree that Google+ should not be the primary thrust of my marketing efforts.

(5) Ask to see some of their top five Twitter accounts that they manage. Send them a personal message to several of those accounts and see how they respond. If they don’t respond to you, then they won’t respond if they are handling your account. Also, by seeing the accounts of their clients, you can see if they are managing any successful accounts. You can see how good the tweets are, and see how fast their client’s accounts grow which is critical to your success.

Even if you don’t understand social media…
Even if you don’t know anything about social media, if you have common sense and take good notes, you can easily distinguish between responsible, knowledgeable teams and idiots — and there are a lot of idiots out there. Sometimes you get a smart manager who hires workers who can’t think which is another issue. Just because the manager is good, doesn’t guarantee that the workers will be. If you ask teams the questions I indicated above, you can compare answers. See which teams give you actual information, and which teams just tell you that it depends, or that it is difficult to say, or that they would need to look into it after they made you wait two weeks just to have a meeting with someone. Wrong answer!

It is generally good to try companies out for a few months on low. Don’t give them too much work. Give them enough to see how it is in real life working with them. After you make contact with a few dozen companies, pick two to try out, and if one doesn’t work out, try others. You will not find the perfect company on the first attempt, so expect that the shopping around process could last for years, and become complacent to that reality.

Be wary of contracts
When you are trying someone out, you don’t know if you will like them and you don’t know how good their work will be. Even if their work is good, they could lose their star employee and then it will all go downhill. Try to avoid large contracts. If your company insists on a contract, keep it as short and as small as possible. It is easy to get taken for a ride with a contract. The contract guarantees how much money you give them, but does it guarantee how much results you will get? I strongly suggest putting very detailed and well thought out results in the contract if they insist on a contract. You might not be able to get them to sign it, but at least the contract will be beneficial in some way to you instead of purely for them. In the long run you will be forced to sign contracts. Just shop around very carefully before you sign anything, and keep it as small as possible in the beginning, even if that means going overseas!

Twitter Analytics; For every 1000 I follow, I get 3 clicks to my site

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Ladies and Gentlemen — this might not sound like much, but if I follow 1000 relevant people on Twitter, I get 3 clicks to my site. Since I do a lot of following and do it very quickly, I get many clicks to my site every month from my addiction to following and unfollowing people. What you need to remember is that a click to your site from Twitter can become a regular follower. You might get a lot more blog visits, and you might get retweets on a regular basis. It is difficult to assess the value of a single click, but a click that turns into a repeat visitor is very valuable to me. I have noticed that clicks from Twitter tend to result in a lot of reading and thus could be deemed “quality clicks.” A blog click can be judged by how many minutes they stayed on your blog and how many pages they viewed. But, a click to your site from Twitter is a little different. Since I don’t know how to assess such a click, I often just meditate on it and the answer comes to me.

But, putting aside the value of these clicks, that is another side effect of following people on Twitter that adds value to the time you put into it. Not only do you get more followers and a base for retweets, but you also get visits to your site which will make you popular on Google!