data health

Consistency is key to good data health

Last week I restarted my strength training. You know what? It sucks to start over.

You know that saying, “it’s just like riding a bicycle”? What they don’t tell you is how frustrating it can be. If you took a few years off from riding a bike, or in this case, lifting weights, you can’t pick up where you left off. You need to rebuild your strength through new habits. Your muscles will be sore. Sitting down and climbing stairs will be challenging. You may even want to give up.

Why am I telling you this? Because this is a preventable problem. I could have prevented this from happening. I didn’t need to start over if I hadn’t stopped in the first place.

Ok, so let’s get to the point and why this is relevant to you. Consistency is key. Consistency with your data collection. Consistency with your data analysis. Consistency with your data-driven decision. Consistency with your data health.

I work with a lot of clients that may look at their data once every few months. It might not be their area of expertise or it might not be a big priority for them. It might not be presented in a way that is accessible or understandable. Data is an easy thing to ignore. You can make decisions without data. You can run a business without looking at historical data. Those are not great options, but they are realities if you choose them. If I only picked up my weights once every few months I would be forever starting over from the beginning, not making any progress.

So what’s the solution? Much like taking care of your health, you need to create a routine and stick with it. Start small and build up to bigger things.

In the context of your data health, start small. Make sure it’s set up correctly and make a plan to review your data once a day. You don’t need to look at all your data, you can start with one metric. Aim for five minutes a day or less.

How do you pick a metric? Walk through a simple KPI map. A KPI mapping exercise will help you prioritize your data to understand what is important.

Let’s say for example I run an eCommerce website where I sell widgets.

My business goal is revenue. Therefore, my KPI will be sales from my site. A metric that I’ll look at to track my KPI is site visits. Without site visits, people won’t buy anything, and I won’t have any revenue.

So once I have my website analytics set up, I can look at my site traffic every day. Does it go up? Does it go down? Is there a trend or seasonality? An easy to pull these stats is to connect your web traffic to an automated dashboard. Google Analytics connects natively to Google Data Studio. You can set up a simple table that shows you the daily traffic.

Once you have a couple of weeks’ worth of data that you’re reviewing daily, start adding in other metrics. These metrics should be ones that tell you whether you’re on track to meet your goals. are you collecting data about visits to specific product pages? What about cart fills? Those are great metrics that will help you to understand if you’re on track.

Again, the key is consistency. Just like working out, start small. If you try to do everything all at once, your chances of success start to go down as you relearn along the way. Data health, in the sense of forming a new habit, is the same as your own personal health. Do a little every day and build on that success.

How do you stay on top of your data health? Let me know in our Free Slack Group Analytics for Marketers.

 


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