A marketing dashboard let’s you have all your numbers at your fingertips and not only saves time, it also allows you to see correlations and trends more easily. Much like in a car, all the guages on your dashboard are there so you can keep track of what’s happening and to help you troubleshoot when something goes wrong.
A dashboard was certainly not my priority as an early entrepreneur but as my business began to grow I started to lose touch with my weekly check-ins because something had to drop. It became more difficult to be consistent with working ON my business as I was too busy with clients (working IN my business). Implementing more efficient workflows helped a lot and so did building a business dashboard. It meant that I didn’t have to open a bunch of tabs every time I needed to look at my numbers. I could go to one place and see everything at the same time (social media, website traffic, sales, leads, etc.)
Now I do a Friday afternoon CEO task where I enter and look at all my numbers and gauge my progress on my goals. This includes sales, leads, traffic, etc. This is something I do myself and doesn’t involve my team. I know some entrepreneurs that have team members enter the numbers so they free up even more time. I’m not there yet.
What’s in a Dashboard?
There are many types of dashboards available to you for your business. And your choice would likely depend on your role. As the leader of a service-based organisation, I like to combine business, sales and marketing but I have no need for inventory.
I typically include email, SEO, Social media (all channels), Google Analytics, PPC/Ads, CRM (pipeline) all in one. Yours may look different than mine and that’s okay. The key is to find ways to combine the platforms you use so you can see any impacts (good or bad) quickly. Because the faster you can respond to things, the faster the impact occurs. This could improve sales, conversions, engagement, etc. Sometimes it can be difficult to see the trends if you’re looking at different numbers at different times.
There are several options out there for dashboards but essentially, you can build it yourself or pay for a software that connects and displays.
Options for your marketing dashboard
There are many (so many) paid software options to help you out. A few I tested and considered were the following:
I liked this one a lot for several reasons but they don’t currently (at the time of writing this) integrate with Active Campaign.
Great for small businesses that are starting on dashboards and only use a few pieces of software.
This one is totally free! So I did a trial of this one too (LOL). It looked pretty amazing.
Look at the above dashboards to give you a sense of what’s possible and what you’d like to see side-by-side. It can be difficult to know what’s possible if it’s so far out of your wheelhouse. If you’re doing a custom dashboard you can also add pre-calculated things like conversion rates, Lifetime Value, month over month sales trends, etc.
Things to keep in mind while you’re sifting through paid options are things like:
- Limits to integrations (can it work with all your programs?)
- Limits to updates/automations
- Team access
- Privacy per dashboard
- Limits to number of dashboards
- User limits
- Cost (obviously) but look at growth costs like ‘Add ons’ too
- Reporting functions?
- Branding options?
Google Sheets (Excel)
If you are going to do this as a custom-built Excel spreadsheet, you could outsource the build. There are so many talented solopreneurs out there with this skill. One place I’ve found good talent is [XYZ].
I spoke with an acquaintance who set up her dashboard using Air Table. Now she just uploads and inputs the numbers. So, like Excel I think.
How to use a dashboard
If you have goals then make it part of your dashboard. Keeping your goals present will help you work towards them. For example, maybe it has less to do with Likes or Comments on Instagram and more to do with how many people visit your profile or bookmark your post? Put those numbers up front so you stay motivated to improve them. Also, keep an eye on trends across platforms. For example, you have a couple stellar Instagram posts that attract a lot of likes and several profile visits – simultaneously, you notice a spike in website visits and a form opt-in.
Make it work for you
If you don’t have marketing or sales goals in place yet, start by looking at what step a customer takes right before they purchase from you. Is it booking a discovery call? Is it receiving your email? Is it filling in a form? Then set a target number you want to achieve of that action. Make sure your dashboard shows that number front and centre. And make sure any of your marketing actions are done to support that goal.
For example, if you want to book more calls then make sure the link is easy to find. Make sure your call-to-action is always to book a call (or your version of that statement). Do some research and find out what is the action your customers take BEFORE the book a call. Is it reading your blog post? Is it
Fit it into your schedule
Block weekly time to take a look at your dashboard. Ask yourself a few questions:
- Are there any anomalies? Spikes? Dips? Can they be explained?
- What went as expected? Trends that you’re seeing over time?
- How are these numbers supporting my larger goals?
At first it may not seem like you’re doing much of anything. That’s because you need to start relying on the dashboard for your data and then you need time to watch and think. Really dig into the positive to help find explanations and then try to duplicate.