What Gets Measured Gets Done

I used to work with a manager who told me “What gets measured gets done“. I think he was right.

Good salespeople measure the right things. In a lot of direct sales environments, they know how many phone calls they need to make to get a certain amount of appointments. This provides them with a certain amount of prospects and, eventually, sales.

So the equation may be: 30 phone calls gives me 10 appointments which gives me 6 interested people which result in 3 sales at $1,000 each. So, if your revenue target is $3,000 per week, you need to be making around 30 phone calls. If you want to double your revenue, you need to double your activity (or do it more effectively, which is another blog post in itself).

The point of this example is that you need to identify the crucial things that are in your control, that lead to the results you’re after.

As a blogger or internet marketer, there are certain things that you can do that need to be measured and tracked. And there are some things that, whilst they’re good to track, are things that you have less influence over.

It’s not just about Google Analytics

I’ve had  conversations with other bloggers where I’ll ask them what they track. The first thing most of them say is that they track visitors to their websites via Google Analytics. Some will go on to talk about how they also track sign-up rates to newsletters, or look at how long people stay on their website.

All this is good to track, but it’s important to think about this next point.

Track activity that you can influence

You can’t directly influence the number of visitors to your site, unless you go into people’s houses and force them to type in your URL! So whilst it’s good to track the number of visitors to your site, it’s important to realise that this figure is just an outcome of other things that you can influence.

In many industries they talk about tracking activity instead of just tracking results. I think they’re both helpful to track (i.e. to make sure your activity leads to the expected results), but it’s important to track the things you can influence (your activity).

Thinks of an Olympic swimmer.  Whilst I’m sure they track their lap times, this is just an outcome of many other things they do.  I’m sure more important things they would track would be the number and length of training sessions, what they eat, what other exercise they do etc. These are all things they can influence, and by keeping records of their activity, they stay focused on their goal (to swim a good time). Certainly the goal gets measured and tracked, but the more important things to track are the activities that need to be done to achieve the goal.

So,what are some things you can track or measure? Here are some ideas:

  • The number of blog posts you produce – do you have a weekly target?
  • How many backlinks / bookmarks you create to your blog via social media like Twitter, Digg etc.
  • The number of comments you leave on other blogs.
  • Number of guest posts you write and submit.
  • Number of guest posts that are published. This is different to the previous dot-point.
  • Number of Ezine articles or YouTube videos you publish.
  • The number of articles your publish that target a particular keyword.

My suggestion is to focus on a small amount of key activities that give you the best result.  Which ones you focus on may depend on what your goals are.

You need to track activity-based items (like blog posts, comments you leave etc) and also outcomes (visits to your website, newsletter signups etc).  Over time you’ll be able to identify the things you do that lead to the best outcomes.

If your goal is to attract more visitors, then the recommended activities to track may include the number of blog posts you write, guest posts and bookmarking. Of course it’s important to track the outcomes as well – you need to be able to pinpoint what activities lead to your desired outcomes.

So if you have a brand new blog with no visitors, maybe spending most of your time writing a new post every day isn’t the best thing.  What if you wrote a new article every second day, and spent each alternate day commenting on other blogs and forums, and bookmarking your site using Digg and other sites? Maybe this mix of activity will provide better results. As your site grows in popularity, perhaps you’ll do less bookmarking (because others will promote it for you) and spend more time writing articles and other great content.

How do you track your activity?

Many of us know that there’s certain activities that we need to do to be successful. Yet many of us struggle to do these things regularly.

I’ve started using a weekly activity tracking sheet, both in my financial planning business and also in my internet marketing business.  There are certain activities I must do each week that will help me get closer to my goals. These weekly sheets help me stay focused on the tasks that need to be done. When those tasks are completed, I’m free to do other things that aren’t so productive, instead of doing non-productive things that stop me from doing the tasks that are important.

The activities I track will change from time-to-time depending on what I’m wanting to achieve.  At the moment my priorities are to make sure I post on average once per week, promote that post via social media, and comment on a number of blogs.

On a monthly basis I also track things like visitors to my site, number of backlinks, newsletter signups etc. These are outcomes or results that I want to achieve, but the activities I do every day influence my success with these outcomes.

So what activities do you think are essential for your internet marketing success? What things do you track? What don’t you track that you think you may need to start tracking?

Please leave a comment below and let’s all share some ideas.

Updated 16/11/2010 – fixed typo

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Allan lives in Adelaide, South Australia with his wife and two boys. He is the founder of Blogger Business Plan and loves helping bloggers learn how to transform their blogs from hobbies into sustainable businesses.
When he's not blogging or working in his financial planning business, you'll find Allan playing guitar, reading or coaching his son's soccer team.

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2 Responses to What Gets Measured Gets Done
  1. Louise Mason
    January 24, 2011 | 3:54 am

    When i first started commenting on blogs i never thought it would generate traffic to my blog, but I’ve recently started see some traffic coming from blogs where i’ve left a comment so now i make a note of which blogs i comment on everyday and then cross reference this with my analytics to see which ones are most fruitful.

  2. Kristin Austin
    April 24, 2011 | 5:10 pm

    Allan – a great post. If only more people measured the activity they’ve done against the outcomes they produce. That’s something I always counsel my clients to introduce/measure more consistently.

    The other thing to measure is which key words net you the most activity that turns suspects into prospects and ultimately customers.

    One of best ways to start measuring that is to ask your existing customers how they found you originally if you don’t already know (and whilst you’re there ask them what they’re planning on purchasing in the near future even if it’s something you don’t offer currently). So few people do it, yet so many customers are willing to help you help them.

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