When you’re marketing online, you tend to look at the various scoreboards of what you do. After all, it’s an easy way to see how you’re doing, on a daily basis.

You look at:

Number of followers
Number of shares on an article
Number of comments
Number of page views

And if this is all you’re looking at, you’re doing it wrong. WAY wrong!

The reason it’s wrong isn’t the numbers’ fault. Numbers don’t lie.

The scoreboards are wrong. They’re lying, cheating scoreboards.

OK, that’s a stretch. Actually, the truth is, the scoreboards don’t tell the whole story.

The whole story is not just the what, but the who. Who is doing these things? You need to know the whole story. 

Now sometimes you can tell who did something because they will mention your Twitter handle, or link back to your article, or share your article from your Facebook page.

Often, you don’t know who these people are.

Which makes me realize I am focusing on the wrong things – and maybe you are too.

Instead of these numbers, try focusing on:

  • Replies to articles received via e-mail, requesting clarification, or providing the very help the article they read provided.
  • Phone calls asking for you to do a proposal, to speak at an event, or to buy your product or service.
  • A direct message asking for a conversation.
  • A share by someone you’ve already done business with, that goes out to their followers (who are often their peers) recommending this as a helpful article.
  • A request to reprint your article in a trade publication, or in an e-mail newsletter, or on another website or blog you respect.

How do you keep track of the right metrics? It doesn’t have to be hard! Start by creating an Excel spreadsheet or a Google spreadsheet and put the article title, the date posted, and your key metrics across the top of the spreadsheet. Don’t forget to include WHO mentioned you. Measure every month on the same date.

Too complicated for you? Sign up for a Nimble.com account and use that for a while. It’ll cost you a few bucks, but it’ll do all of this and more for you.

Or hire someone to help you.

Whatever you do, start today by measuring the right things – and stop wasting your time chasing the wrong customers.

And what do you DO with that information once you have it?  Well, of course, you start scheduling the right meetings, with the right people, and getting the right clients. We’ll cover that in more detail as well in another post.

My customer – the right customer – is often not the person who shares my work the most. My customer is the person who needs the help my article provides, and they’re afraid to share my article with someone else, for fear of falling behind their competition, as they may execute on the idea first.

Now it’s your turn to ask yourself:

Who is your customer?

What questions are your customers asking?

How and where are they asking these questions?

Stop looking at the scoreboard, and start answering your customer’s questions.

What’s your question?