Often times a company or an organization will get a website going, as a virtual shingle or online brochure, even before much of an organization is in place. This makes sense because a website is a must-have as you’re building something new. In fact, at this stage, there’s usually not much of a digital strategy in place, but I do give this one piece of advice: Get some kind of analytics tool installed on your Web site as soon as you launch. I like Google Analytics, it’s very powerful and it’s free, though there are other tools. This is the best thing that you can do for future members, customers, or users.
Getting the analytics going on your site early on, before you even need the information, is important because it allows you to start capturing data from the very beginning. By the time you need that data, you’ll have already had, probably, months of data and information collected that you can look at and review. This becomes infinitely important when you start to contemplate your digital strategy. Rather than starting from nothing, you’ve got a lot of great data on your users that you can reference. Digital strategy needs to be driven by data. There was a time when data wasn’t available and you had to cobble information together to determine where to emphasize strategy, but that time has come and gone. It’s quite easy, now, to get powerful data on your users and their habits so you can get a clear understanding of where you’re going when you begin to execute the digital strategy.
In order to provide the best possible experience for your users/customers, you need to be constantly working at collecting data, whether it’s analytic data on how your digital properties are being used, online satisfaction surveys, or just talking to users every chance that you get about what should be done differently with your site or digital properties. While this is a digital strategy perspective, it’s also a customer-centric retention strategy that should be built into every level of an organization that wants to succeed and continuously deliver satisfaction.
Having this data and referencing it is especially useful when you’re measuring across multiple channels, such as Web, social media, mobile, email, etc… Particularly, with social media where there are a variety of junk tools out there that promise a lot and deliver little, especially where measurement is more art than science. However, the most creative metrics are still Ok if they’re meeting the goals as determined in the digital strategy. Without the digital strategy and solid metrics, who can tell if it’s providing any value or satisfaction?
Ultimately, you can’t manage what you don’t measure…