Focus.

Debbie said “Hi. I don’t know if you remember me but I met you at a MarketingProfs conference. I came up to you after your session and shoved my stats in your face and then when you said you had to go to the ladies room, I followed you in like a stalker so you could not blow me off!  You looked at our Omniture data for 10 minutes and then told me to ‘bag 90% of what we were doing and focus on a few very specific items.’ We did and we went from the verge of bankruptcy to a place where we now have a little money in the bank for a rainy day.  We were also able to hire back the six employees we had laid off and thirteen new ones too. Thank you.  I mean that from the bottom of my heart.   My question is, and I don’t know if you’ll remember me but if you do, what did you see in our stats that made you say to us what you did? I ask because I need to do it again and I don’t see anywhere I can stalk you!)

Thanks Debbie.

After all today’s drama (hello people who misconstrued my post about blog comments), it’s nice to get a  note like this.

I do remember you although you are not the first person who has chased me into the bathroom.  Hell, I’ve even had people shove me paperwork under the stall begging me to take “just one look.”

Here’s the thing…  In business, focus is what makes you successful.

People don’t talk about it much because it’s simple and not very sexy.

But it’s reality.

I get hundreds of emails every week (sadly, that is not an exaggeration) from folks wanting to know about the latest and greatest trends (today it’s Empire Avenue, yesterday it was BO.LT)  Some of them are worth testing.  Others?  Not. So. Much.  (Translation: many of them are not worth the time you spend reading about them.)

When I looked at your stats, it was clear that you were getting enough traffic but you weren’t converting it.  When I looked a little deeper, I saw that you had a huge amount of direct/no referrer traffic.  I also saw that there were huge abandons on your quick order form so I recommended that you change “Catalog Quick Order” to “Ordering from a Catalog?” and then really work that page till you got it close to perfect. It’s been awhile but I believe I also recommended doing specific things with your non-brand PPC keywords as well as developing a trigger email program in lieu of all the time and effort you were spending on social media, which at the time, wasn’t bringing you any return.

The thing about your analytics is that they’ll tell you everything about your business you need to know… and then some.  The challenge is that most folks can’t look at their data objectively – in other words, they make excuses for how things are or even worse, they don’t look at the stuff that matters.  (They get caught up in stuff they can’t change or they look at things that they won’t be able to impact.)  We also tend to ask the wrong people for advice.  If you have a medical problem that can be fixed with surgery, medication or a lifestyle change, a surgeon is going to tell you to opt for the surgery because surgeons like to cut.  That’s what they do. 

Not every company needs a Twitter or Facebook account or a blog.  Nor does every company need affiliates or a mobile app.   You need to do what’s best for your business.  Test new things (this really is a must unless you’re struggling and then sometimes it’s a good idea and others it isn’t.)  However, pay special attention to your biggest winners.  Those are the things you need to do more of and programs you need to keep improving.

In the big scheme of things, business is simple.  Most of the times, our egos are what complicate it.

Oh, and if you want a place to stalk me — come to MCMLive.  If you use my priority code (AMY), you’ll save $100 off the registration fee and you’ll get a FREE hour of consulting. Sign up today

Have a question about your stats or the direction you’re moving in from an online perspective?  Jot it in the comments below or email me at info@amyafrica.com

Comments

  1. Mike McCormick says

    Hi Amy,
    This line, properly understood and acted on, could save us all a lot of time and money. “Business is simple. Most of the time, our egos are what complicate it.” Mike
    P.S. Your headline says Focus but your visual say framing. Two different things.

    • says

      VERY valid point. The visual I chose sucked. Thanks for calling me out on it. I need to work harder at finding good visuals (read: find someone else who will do it for me) because by the time I get to that part, I’m over it already!

  2. says

    Amy,

    Great post. Thank you for sharing real examples that we can apply to our business. It is one of the reasons I’m so glad that you are posting more often.

    You said “In business, focus is what makes you successful”. I agree with this, but would like to emphasize that it is important to focus on the right things. It is so easy to be distracted by the new shiny toys and forget the proven tactics.

    For example, recently I was asked to help a company with their social media strategy. They had a fairly active presence on Facebook and Twitter, but very few customers participating. After a bit of discussion, I discovered two problems. First, their customer service was atrocious. They needed to be grateful that customers weren’t participating. If they were, it would have been ugly. Second, their focus was on acquiring new customers instead of taking care of the ones they already had. They were sacrificing long term growth for short-term gains. If more companies focused on the things that brought them to the dance, they would have less issues.

    Just my 2 cents.

    • says

      Thanks Debra! Between the two of us, you are the ONLY one who is glad I am posting more!

      As you know, I think social media should fall into the Customer Service bucket and the last part of your comment is one of the many reasons why.

      • says

        I agree with you that social media belongs in the customer service bucket. (But, you know that already!)

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