There really is a lot you can, and eventually should be tracking in your business.
But the 80/20 rule is definitely in affect here, and the majority of your results will come from tracking and optimizing just a few key things.
When you get to the point where your online business is consistently generating serious profits, month in and month out, you may want to get really crazy with your tracking and testing as you try to incrementally grow your business bit by bit ...
But until then, here's all you really need to worry about:
To optimize your marketing, and your entire online business, you'll want to track all the money coming in and all the money going out - down to the penny.
And aside from any hard product costs and fixed expenses, most of the money you'll spend in your business will probably go towards advertising and buying traffic, so that's really what we're talking about here.
It's simple, and there are really only three parts to it. Here's all you need to do:
1. Track all the money you spend buying traffic.
2. Track all of the resulting sales and revenue.
3. Optimize, rinse and repeat.
So let's talk about how to do this in your business ...
One of the most important metrics you'll need to pay attention to, starting right now and for the rest of your marketing career, is Return On Investment or ROI.
This is a great metric - especially as a "newbie" to tracking - because it takes just about everything into account and gives you just one thing to look at.
One of the biggest challenges people face with this tracking stuff, especially if they "aren't good with numbers", is overwhelm.
A common problem for many Internet marketers in general ...
But in this case I'm talking specifically about "stats" overwhelm.
I mean, if you don't really like looking at numbers to begin with and you start out trying to monitor ten or twenty different metrics, KPIs and stats you're probably not going to get off to a great start, right?
But if you just focus on ROI and a few other key things we'll talk about you won't have this problem, so that's exactly what I recommend you do starting out.
ROI is just what it sounds like. It's the amount of money you make compared to the amount of money you spent to make it, expressed as a percentage.
So if your ROI, either overall in your business or for any specific ad or marketing campaign, is positive that means you're making money, and if it's negative that means you're losing money.
Since the goal is a positive ROI, and one that's ideally as high as possible, let's work backwards and try to figure out the best way to achieve that ...
To increase your ROI you need to either increase your revenues or reduce expenses.
And tracking is the key to both of these things.
Like John Wanamaker, after personally talking to and working with over 1,000 online marketers over the past twenty years, I can say there's a pretty good chance that you're wasting about half the money you spend buying traffic.
And proper tracking is the only way to identify and eliminate this waste.
But that's just the start, because proper tracking also allows you to easily test and optimize your marketing and increase your revenues as well.
Sometimes very quickly.
Let's just keep working backwards. How can you increase your revenues?
The easiest way is to increase your Sales Conversion Rate, which is simply the number of buyers divided by the number of visitors you get.
So if you average five new customers out of every 100 visitors, that'd be 0.05 or 5%.
Let's keep working backwards ...
What else happens before someone becomes a customer?
The exact specifics depend on your individual business, but they may have opted-in to your email list, signed up for a webinar or downloaded a whitepaper, submitted a request for a quote, or any number of other things.
For the sake of discussion, let's just call these desirable "Actions."
And then of course before that they probably clicked on an ad somewhere or responded to some other type of call to action, which is where it all begins.
So these are all the basic but super critical things you need to be paying attention to.
Let's go ahead and make a list of the things you need to track ...
1. All of your ads, promotions, or other sources of traffic.
2. Your "Action" and Sales Conversion Rates.
3. Your ROI for each individual source of traffic.
That's all you really need to worry about for now.
If you track and pay attention to just these three things, you'll be well on your way to seriously optimizing your online business.
And, believe it or not, if you're not tracking anything now you could literally and very realistically double your online revenues in the next three to six months doing it.
Now obviously not all of these things are going to apply to every business ...
Maybe you're YouTube famous and don't have to pay for any of your traffic. Congrats!
Maybe you've found that for your business, running ads straight to your sales page works the best and you don't have any other types of "actions" you need to track.
That's great. If something doesn't apply in your business, just focus on what does.
Now that you have your list, let's start at the beginning and talk about each one ...
It all begins with the click, and you should strive to know where each and every click comes from, and how much each and every click costs you.
Whether it's an ad on Google or Facebook or some other network, an ad you're running on a blog in your niche, a "guest post" or other piece of content you've published somewhere, "solo ads" you're buying or anything else, you need to track it.
You can do this a few different ways depending on the tracking system you're using, but generally speaking you'll want to use a unique tracking link for all of your different ads and traffic sources.
This way you can easily track them all separately, which is the crucial first step.
With ClickMagick for example you can do this very easily.
It takes just a second to create a new tracking link for each new ad or promotion, or you can use one or more links with "Sub-IDs" which we'll talk about in a bit.
For now you can just think of Sub-IDs as unique identifiers that you can add to the end of your tracking links in order to track multiple things using one link ...
For example you might create one tracking link for your Google ads, another tracking link for your Facebook ads, and another one for your YouTube ads, and then use Sub-IDs with each link to track the specific keywords or ads generating clicks and sales.
In this way you could track all your Google, Facebook and YouTube ads with just three links that you can set up in a few minutes, rather than having to create a separate tracking link for each ad or keyword.
So regardless of what you're doing online or where your traffic is coming from, the first step is to start tracking all of your incoming clicks as best as you can.
The more accurately and precisely the better ...
Remember, you can't optimize what you don't track.
The next thing you'll want to track, if it applies to your business, are any desirable "actions" that users take as they progress through your marketing funnel.
This could include - but obviously isn't limited to - opting in to your email list, registering for a webinar, filling out a form to request more info or schedule a call, simply clicking on other "key" links on your site, or whatever else it may be.
Just think of the most important things that you want people to do as they move through your funnel, and make sure they're on your list of things to track.
For a lot of people this is simply going to be tracking their opt-ins, and that's fine.
And lastly there's your sales. You'll definitely need to track those.
But that's it.
That's all you need to start tracking and optimizing to literally double your online business faster than you'd think possible.
Before we move on though, there's one more thing I want to say ...
Look at that list you just made, will you?
In case I haven't made it perfectly clear yet, you need to understand that if you can't track every item on the list you just made, you need to fix that problem right now.
If your tracking system doesn't allow you to easily track the things you need to track to grow your business, get a new tracking system.
If your ecommerce platform or shopping cart makes it difficult or impossible to accurately track your sales, it's time to get a new one.
If you're promoting affiliate programs and they're so behind the times that they don't allow you to easily track your sales, you need to find something else to promote.
Seriously. If you take nothing else from this guide, please just know this ...
That little list you just made holds the keys to the easiest money you'll ever make.
But on the flipside, if you don't accurately track all the things on that list going forward, the odds of your reaching your goals - for both your business and yourself personally - are pretty close to zero.
So please ...
After going through the next one or two chapters, if you determine that you're not able to easily and accurately track everything on your list, go take care of that first.
Don't make the same mistake all the amateurs do by trying to "wing it" with excel spreadsheets and other nonsense, or worse yet, no real tracking at all.
The success of your online business depends on this stuff. Literally.
OK, with that out of the way let's talk about how to actually do it ...