Hey everyone, I am actually really excited about the topic of today’s post. Recently I was at a conference, and in talking with one of the other attendees, I was asked this question, how exactly do you measure brand awareness. While that’s not necessarily the exact topic of what we’re going to talk about here, in this post, it is pretty close.
But first, we’re going to lead in by telling you a story that I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned on here before I probably have because it was one of those highly embarrassing moments in my life. I’ve always found that highly embarrassing moments make really good story analogies for the things I teach. So I don’t know if I’ve ever told you about the time I said “epitome”. But I said “epitome” as in it rhymes with a comb and my friend across the table almost spit out all of her beer all over our table. Because yes, I was well over 21 when I mispronounced that word. But that’s the thing when you try something new, right? You aren’t going to always be right.
And as a voracious reader, by the way, this is not the first time this has happened in my life. I’ve mispronounced so many words in the intellectual company and thoroughly embarrassed myself until someone once told me, you should not be embarrassed by mispronouncing a word, you used it correctly, you obviously knew the context of the definition. And maybe you’d never heard it pronounced before, but you knew how to use the word. So I try to take some comfort in that.
But the reality is, you have to try it at some point, when you try something new, you won’t always be right.
All marketing is a test, so create a testing system
So let’s say you want to try a new marketing thing, you’re probably not going to be great at it. At first, you’re going to have to tests along the way.
And part of testing means you have to measure the results. So you can see what’s actually working and make better decisions moving forward. There is confidence that comes with measuring and tweaking, so you can make better decisions moving forward.
That confidence is one of those intangible things that is so undervalued at times, but it’s what makes us as business owners, far more able to make good decisions and things that might be really risky, a little bit less risky, and make them work for our business. All of the marketing as a test. So you need to create a testing system, you’re going to have to start somewhere. And when it comes to content, it’s kind of a trial by fire thing. Your first post probably seems like a really big deal. In your first live video, you’re probably going to have the shakes and that awful sweat that only appears on your upper lip when you really really don’t want it there, right. Yes, it was like that, even for me even though I teach content. I have been in and around content creation for more than six years.
Now, my branding clients, particularly my personal brand photoshoot clients, loved their photos, but they kept saying to me, okay, but what do I do with this? I love all the photos, I look great. I’m really excited to share them, but I don’t know what to do with them. So way back in 2016, I created a program, I think was my first program ever actually, and it was called Social Media Simple Start and it was a super bare-bones course showing how to implement an on-brand well messaged social media strategy. And I love creating content guys.
But really, I love reminding others and myself that all of marketing is a test, and if it’s a test, then we have to measure it.
And to be very honest, here it is only in the last year that I feel like I’ve finally come into my own on this. And I found the sweet spot of a really great content strategy and really easy content measuring. I had been measuring results in the past, but it was a lot of steps. And because it was a lot of steps, I often didn’t always do them. It’s kind of like the whole bookkeeping thing. Why do you hire a bookkeeper? It’s not because you’re incapable of keeping your books, it’s because it’s one of those things that’s really easy to put off. So, because of that, having a really easy content measuring system is something I have spent years working on. And this past year, I feel like I finally accomplished it. So it’s like this quote:
“Stop trying to be original, maybe it can’t be done. Instead, let’s take two successful but independent concepts, and combine them to create something that seems like new.”
That quote is from Joe Pulizzi, on his Content Inc. podcast, which, by the way, is a really good podcast, it’s five minutes, I think it’s every Monday that it comes out. But because it’s short, you get little sound bites like that I love. And he makes a really good point. Trying to be original in this day and age is going to be an uphill battle. There are a lot of things that have been done already. But if we take two successful, but independent concepts and combine them to create something that seems new, we can have a really good thing going and that is where content strategy and really easy content measuring finally meshed in my business. I have found two successful ideas and the unique intersection spot between them.
You’ll only learn by failing
Now let’s talk about failing because if we are testing along the way, you better believe we’re going to be failing as we do, but you’re only going to learn by failing. So here I’m going to quote Jay Acunzo, who also has a fantastic podcast and who I’ve been following for the last year or so. And he said:
“What if instead of being right, we try to get it right.”
And that right there is a philosophical frame I love. I love how he reframed that we have to be right all the time. But how are we going to be right if we’ve never done it before, just like Epitome, right? Epitone was my first attempt, I learned really quickly there. But if I had worried so much about being right, I might never have used that word in the first place. And that word has weight, it has meaning and it was perfect for whatever I was trying to say at the time.
So Jay says in an article that he wrote for Adobe’s blog. The article is called “Why We Cling to Conventional Wisdom (and How to Break Free)”. He talks about learned helplessness, and he tells the story of pike and minnows. Normally pike will prey on minnows. But if you lower the pike into a small tank within the minnow tank, that pike will spend a while bashing against the glass and then eventually give up. So much so that you can remove the glass later, but the pike won’t go for the minnows at this point. It is learned helplessness:
“From the moment we’re taught in school that there’s a right and a wrong answer, he says, we treat every task in our work like we have to find the right answers even the most complicated and creative things we do. Making matters worse in the era of advice overload. Everybody on the internet seems to have the right answer for us, no matter what we’re doing. What could we possibly offer or do to find our own path or make our own decisions?”
Now you may have heard a similar story about an elephant. I have heard this story long ago. If you tie a baby elephant to a post of chain, he’s going to try and break free but eventually, he will give up because he can’t break free. He stops trying. And then you go ahead and replace the chain with simple twine and the multi-ton elephant could easily snap that twine, but he never tries. It’s that same learned helplessness. And I’ve given a fish and an elephant example. But I think we can both realize extrapolating this to humans, we do the same thing.
Now, Jay goes on to say:
“Would it matter if that path had no precedent or best practice or case study to say that it is the right path? If it’s the right path for your customers? How do we combat this feeling of helplessness? We let the customer be the guide. In the face of endless advice on what we should or shouldn’t do the only thing that matters is we do what works for us. And for those, we serve with our work. What if we found better, more fundamental insights about our customers?”
So we go back to Jay, where he originally said, “What if instead of being right, we try to get it right.” And that leads me to our big takeaway today.
You have to create your own marketing benchmarks.
Yes, there may be industry standards, and there is a baseline average of so many different kinds of businesses, but you have to start paying attention to what’s normal for your business. And if you’re new, this means you’re going to see a lot of shifts at first. Even that can be measured, though, or how will you know when you’re no longer in flux.
For example, and I’ll give you something for my own business. The industry standard is that you want at least a 20%, email open rate. And I was there, I was averaging like 20 to 23 24%, some something like that. And then you know, the big iOS 15 drop, and you know, everyone was all the sky is falling, the sky is falling, your email open rates are going to tank. Imminent. Mine, actually, since October or November or so, have risen 10 to 15%. If I were to log on to my email marketing program, right now, I am pretty sure I could tell you, the last regular weekly email that I send announcing the podcast or blog posts to my list, probably had an open rate in the 38 to 47% range, because that’s basically what I have averaged for the last several months. And that is a huge shift. That is me saying my old stats are no longer my benchmarks because I have now consistently for three or four months risen, that average open rates. Incidentally, my click rate is about the same as it’s always been, it’s more or less stayed. So that tells me that via reporting how they are reporting those open rates probably changed within my email marketing system. So my old benchmarks are no longer relevant. And that right there, that’s why you have to create your own marketing benchmarks.
Here’s another example. Let’s talk about website traffic. Because website traffic is a pretty decent way to measure brand awareness. If you are getting a regular amount of website traffic and you see a spike in your analytics, and you don’t have anything specific going on in your promotion calendar, you don’t have any specific partner things going on that would make this make sense, that’s something that you want to be measuring. Now if the next month, the number stays the same, and the following month’s numbers, are still pretty much in that same range, that’s probably a new benchmark for your business. And that now becomes your baseline that now becomes your new normal. But you’re only going to know what that is if you’re measuring along the way.
Let’s talk about sales funnel conversions. Right? So B2B, business selling to a business, is going to have a different benchmark than B2C, which is business to consumer. And as Maggie Patterson always likes to say, “Let’s not forget about that other category, that B2E, business to entrepreneur.” That is a whole other selling category, I would argue it probably has a different conversion rate at all. So if you’re told that your sales page needs to convert at 10%, for you to be profitable, and you’re only converting at 3%, you might think you have a huge problem. But what if that 10% was never the benchmark intended for you in the first place? What if you are a B2C and not a B2E or B2B, and 10% was probably never going to happen, and 3% is a really good number for you. I’m not saying that is the case, but you need to know what your benchmarks are. And you need to do that by testing along the way. If you’re running huge amounts of ad traffic to that sales page, you want to figure out your benchmarks as quickly as possible. Because only once you know what your baseline is, can you start tweaking and trying to improve? All of this depends on a robust measurement system.
Now the sales page, I would say it’s not so much a content measurement system that is more a funnel measurement system. But having a way for you to easily reference these particular numbers and these particular sequences is something you absolutely must have in play if you want to get better in your business. I know that I’ve referenced the 1% better concept in this podcast several times. But just think about that sales page. If you have 100 viewers on your sales page, and only three of them are converting, then you’ve made three sales. If you go 1% better, that’s 4 sales. If your programs are only $37, that fourth one, it’s not going to make or break, you’re right, it’s just an extra sale. But if you’re talking about a $697 course that you’re selling, that extra $697 can fund your ads for a significant time, so that you can test along the way and increase that 4% to 5%, and 5% to 5.5%, and so on and so forth. Having those extra bits of information gives you the power to make better marketing decisions. And that is the confidence that I was talking about earlier.
Confidently making marketing decisions for your business will not only decrease your stress, not only raise your revenue and hopefully your profit levels as well, it’ll give you that peace of mind.
And friends, having gone through the past month that I have gone through, everything that’s happened, I have definitely taken a step back from my business.
You know, dealing with multiple deaths, funerals, having sick kids, planning for a vacation, taking time off for a conference. That’s not necessarily something I do all the time, but when I already had all the systems set up for my business, just a couple of days ago, I got my first content measurement dashboard report, I have it automatically emailed to me every month. And I can look at the screenshots of that dashboard and say, Okay, this area is something that slipped a little last month. well, no surprise, I wasn’t doing a lot of engagement on social media, I was stepping back, as I said. But this other area over here, somehow that messed up, I have people spending a longer amount of time on my website, I have people clicking at a higher rate through my emails over these two weeks. But I can go back and look at that and see what caused those increases.
The whole point of setting up a measuring system so you can test your content and test your marketing is so that you can make better decisions.
And being able to make better decisions in your business will give you that peace of mind confidence that all of those people you surround yourself with have been talking about all along.
I just spent a couple of days with some brilliant marketing minds. And I loved hearing how they talked about their business. They said, I’m going to do this and then I’m going to wait and see if this works. So I can do that. That is a form of measuring results. I’m simply saying let’s put it on a dashboard, where we can easily add a glance, see what we’re doing and see how it’s working, so we can make those confident decisions.
If that’s something that you want, the Visibility Accelerator is available for you. That is the combination of a done-for-you content strategy and content plan that lasts 120 days, and the Content Measurement Dashboard that shows your results along the way so you can make those tweaks and make those better decisions. I also am for the first time this month, offering the Content Measurement Dashboard as a standalone product. So if that’s something that you’re interested in, please do reach out you know, you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on Instagram if that’s easier for you.
Alright guys, I hope that was helpful. Building a benchmark system, a measurement system for your business is totally within your reach, you just have to start somewhere so you know what your benchmarks are. If this information was helpful to you, and you know someone else that would also find it helpful, please do me a favor and forward this podcast episode on their way. You can find it at britneygardner.com/183 if you’re just sending a quick email link. And if you found value here do me a solid, give me a five-star review, tell me which episodes are your favorites. That does help me create better content for you in the future. And yes, I am using those reviews as a form of measurement for my own business as well.
Are you ready to create a measurable content plan?