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9 key metrics all creatives need to be tracking

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Do you ever feel like you’re not getting anywhere in your business, or you’re not sure what to do next? It’s probably because you don’t know where you are at right now and what you need to do to get to where you want to go. Today we’re going to talk about the essential metrics that creatives need to be tracking to keep things on track!

Let’s get started.

If you want to start tracking your metrics, try Notion. Notion is a free, all-in-one workspace that you can use to track all these numbers, brainstorm ideas, keep all your business information together, and so much more. Check it out for free here!

Why creatives need to track metrics in their business

Making business decisions

When it comes to running a business, there are so many decisions that you have to make.

But how can you make those decisions without having the right information to inform those choices? Or know that you’re making the right ones for where your business is at or where you want to go?

Having the data to back you up reduces decision fatigue, and helps you move forward with confidence knowing that you’re making informed decisions that are going to help you achieve your goals.

Avoiding vanity metrics

Also, it’s so easy to get sucked into vanity metrics. Likes, follows, and other numbers might feel important in the moment when we’re refreshing the page after posting, waiting for the notifications to come rolling in, but they don’t really matter when it comes to business.

Vanity metrics give you a quick hit of dopamine and are easy to compare to others, but when it comes down to it, they don’t translate to sales or customers, so you really don’t need to worry about them! (As hard as that can be sometimes.)

When you know the numbers that do make a difference in your business, it’s much easier to let go of the other metrics that have been weighing you down or impacting your mental health, especially on social media.

9 Essential metrics creatives do need to track

These are the key numbers that every creative needs to be taking note of on at least a monthly basis, to keep on top of where things are at and be able to make informed decisions based on the data.

Social media impressions & engagement

Social media impressions is a great way to measure your brand visibility. If your current goal is to get your business in front of new people, impressions is the metric you’ll need to measure to see if you’re hitting that goal.

If your goal is to create a better experience for the audience you already have, then engagement is the metric for you. This includes any way that someone actively engages with you on different social media platforms, like voting in polls, sharing your posts, commenting, saving a thread, or messaging you, for example.

Unlike likes or follows, active engagement from your community means they really care, are engaged in your content, and you’re cultivating a community. That’s powerful, and that is what will get them to buy from you.

Where to find social media impressions & engagement rate: in each social media platform’s analytics or insights.

Impressions on X, Instagram, and Pinterest

Email opens & click through

When it comes to email marketing, you want to be tracking your email open and click through rates. This should be something your email marketing software will tell you for every email that you send and for your whole email account as well.

The average email open rate is 43% and the average click-through rate is 4.7% but don't stress about what other people's averages are. What you want to focus on is what your averages are and track how they're trending over time.

See how you can improve each month over month and make sure that your engagement is getting better every month. Because especially when it comes to email marketing for creators, 1% more people opening your emails or clicking those links could have a huge impact on your sales and growth. So making sure you're tracking and keeping an eye on your email open and click through rates is really important.

Where to find email opens & click through rate: in your email service provider.

Email open rate & click-through rate in ConvertKit

Website traffic

As a creative, one of the key things to know is how many people are visiting your website or store every month. Either your website tool itself, or analytics software like Google or Fathom Analytics will be able to tell you how many visitors you’ve had within any given time period.

This will help you understand your brand’s online impact and see whether you need to get more people to your site. Or if there are enough there, how can you improve the experience to convert more people to subscribers, clients, or customers?

Where to find website traffic: in your website builder or analytics software.

Bounce rate

If you do have a lot of people visiting your website but not seeing a lot of results from that, chances are you might have a high bounce rate. This tracks how quickly people leave your website once they land on it. You want your bounce rate to be as low as possible because the goal is for people to get to your website and love it so much that they spend a bunch of time browsing and exploring.

If you find that people are coming to your website and quickly leaving, that might mean that either it's loading too slowly, it's not enticing enough, it's broken in some way or something like that.

So you really need to take a look at your website and figure out what is going on. How can you make some changes to get your visitors to stay longer, explore a little more and maybe be enticed to buy some more things?

Where to find the bounce rate: in your website builder or analytics software.

Website traffic and bounce rate in Google Analytics

Conversion rate

When you’ve sussed your bounce rate and people are spending time on your website, hopefully they then “convert” into clients or customers! Your conversion rate tracks how often this happens.

Say 100 people visit your website and ten of those people actually buy something, you have a 10% conversion rate (AKA 10/100 people are converting on your site,) which is great!

This is a super useful metric to keep track of in anything you’re doing, whether you’re running a workshop, or have a sign-up page for your email newsletter, or are applying for markets, for example. But it’s particularly important for your website, because that’s where your sales and bookings happen!

Where to find the conversion rate: in your website builder or analytics software, or calculated manually.

AOV - average order value

Whether you sell products or services, it’s super useful to know how much people are spending with you on average each time they buy. This is something you can track over time so you can make changes to achieve your goals.

For example, right now your average order value might be $20, but if you could increase it to $40, it would mean fulfilling half of the orders for the same amount of money, making things more efficient and effective for you. That might change your life!

You need to be able to know those numbers to be able to make those decisions, set those goals and be able to figure out how to make that happen. So knowing your average order value is really helpful.

Where to find your AOV: in your e-commerce software or calculated manually.

Profit per item

For every item that you make and sell you need to know how much profit you make on that product so that you can make sure that you are making a profit.

You need to take into account the materials that it takes to make that product, but also the packaging that's required to package up that product and send it, as well as the time that it took for you to make and create it and bring it into the world.

You need to figure out how much profit you make per item to make sure that you are making a profit and that you can price your items appropriately.

Where to find your AOV: in your e-commerce software or calculated manually.

Customer lifetime value

Ideally, someone doesn’t just buy from you once, right?

We want them to come back again and again. In fact, it’s easier and cheaper for you as a business owner to get customers to come back than it is to attract, engage, and convert a whole new customer who has never heard of you before. So our goal is to for people to become customers for life.

The customer lifetime value calculates the average amount that someone spends with your business throughout their lifetime. Ideally, this will increase over time and you can begin to make decisions or implement changes to make that happen.

Where to find your CLV: in your e-commerce software or calculated manually.

Monthly revenue, expenses & profit

Last but not least, the most important metrics for any creative business owner to be tracking are your monthly revenue, expenses, and profit.

As the CEO of your business, it’s your responsibility to make, manage, and look after your money, and to do that, you need to know how much money you make, how much money you spend, and what’s left. That’s all that revenue, expenses, and profit is.

Monthly revenue is how much money came into your bank account that month, your monthly expenses is how much money came out, and your profit is the difference between those two numbers, so how much money is left.

(Sometimes that’s a minus, and that’s okay. It’s not ideal but it happens. You’ve gotta spend money to make money, but you need to know that it’s happening, so that you can plan for it and adjust what you need to make sure you’re not digging yourself into a hole!)

Tracking these numbers will give you a big-picture understanding of where your business is at financially so that you can see what’s going on and what might need to change.

You might need to bring in some more money and cut down on spending, or maybe you can celebrate and spend a little because you’ve done super well. Whatever situation you’re in, it’s great because you know where you’re at. That’s the important part.

Where to find your revenue, expenses, and profit: in your bank accounts, accounting software and/or calculated manually

How to track your metrics

First things first, set aside some time every month to track these metrics. I’ve protected an hour on the first Monday of every month by blocking it off in my calendar and it’s my time to check in on my business.

You can do the same. Find a time that works for you and block it off every month right now. That way nothing will override it. And if you need some accountability, ask a friend if they want to do it with you! It’s a great thing to do together, and we should all talk about our numbers more anyway!

Then, set up a simple sheet where you’ll track these numbers. I use Notion, but you could use Airtable, Google Sheets, Google Docs, Excel, or whatever works best for you.

You can set it up however you like, but I recommend at least having a space for this month’s number and your goal for next month.

Where to find your metrics

Under each different metric above I listed where you can find them, but in general, if you’re looking for metrics, you’ll find them:

Automating vs manually tracking your metrics

You can automate some of these processes if you have some project management tools that have inbuilt automations or you could use tools like Zapier or Make.

But some of it you might just have to do manually. I actually like doing a lot of this manually because it means I am making sure I'm going through it all manually.

I put in all of my expenses one by one manually each month because I like to go through all of my expenses manually so that I know what I'm spending and I can audit everything I'm spending and make sure that I need to be spending all of those different things.

What gets measured gets managed. So if you want to take your business to the next level, you need to understand these numbers and stay on top of them. Get a little nerdy and start paying attention to your metrics – you’ll be amazed at what happens!

If you want to start tracking your metrics, try Notion. Notion is a free, all-in-one workspace that you can use to track all these numbers, brainstorm ideas, keep all your business information together, and so much more. Check it out for free here!

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August 9, 2023



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