Startups often feel like they are at the center of a massive crossroad. Each path has at least one person waving them on with the promise of a growth hack that will turn their crawling, infant business into one that walks and talks.
Who do you listen to and which metrics do you use to measure your startup? It’s a difficult pair of questions to answer and the constant chirping of everyone sharing their opinion on what’s important for your business doesn’t help.
The truth is that you can’t listen to the majority of these outside voices, no matter how much marketing experience they have. Your startup has its own set of challenges and obstacles that only you can understand and appreciate because you’ve been there from the very beginning. For the startup you need to understand what is SEM and how it works. So, let’s back to the point.
Ultimately, you need to make a decision on the metrics to listen to. To help you make that choice easier, here are 9 metrics that will impact your startup.
At the end of the day, it’s all about dollars and cents, right? If your company is generating positive revenue, then things are looking good. However, startups often pay more than they bring in because the costs to acquire customers and establish brand awareness are higher.
Whenever you make a big decision for your startup or consider investing in a new tool, channel, etc., you should think about whether it will hurt or help your revenue. That said, it’s important to understand that revenue isn’t always the best metric to obsess over, especially in the early stages.
Your startup needs to grow its customer base. For many startups, new users are the lifeblood of your company. You need to measure how many new users or customers your startup is acquiring. A high conversion rate is a great way to know if your product has feet to stand on. On the other hand, if conversions are low, people may not be interested in what you have to offer.
The problem with conversions is that new customers cost money. It’s actually not difficult to generate new users for your product. The challenge is acquiring customers at a profitable cost. If your customer acquisition cost (CAC) is too high, then your profits are slim. You may even be losing money! This is why some marketers consider CAC to be a common killer for startups.
To really calculate the viability of your CAC, you need to also consider the lifetime value of your customers. How much do you expect they will spend with your business? You can roughly estimate your customer lifetime value by looking at how long a customer stays with your business and how much they spend per month. Then, multiply the figures together.
Ideally, your lifetime value should be much, much higher than your CAC. This will help guarantee profitability.
Once you’ve spent the money to acquire customers, you need to make sure you keep them! It’s common for startups to become so obsessed with new customers that they forget about the ones they’ve already got.
Not only does it cost more to acquire new customers than keep existing ones, but it is far easier to re-engage or upsell a current user than it is to close the deal with a new customer.
It’s hard to discuss retention without also looking at your churn rate. Churn describes how many customers you are losing and how quickly. You’ll always lose some customers; that’s normal. But, losing customers rapidly or at the same point in time can be the result of a bigger problem that needs to be addressed.
It may be a problem with your product that you haven’t identified yet! If you can anticipate churn, then you can devise plans to retain customers that you would have otherwise lost.
In the early stages of your startup, building buzz and interest is crucial. You’re a nobody in a crowded town and you need to build awareness for people to care about your products.
Engagement on social media is a great way to see if people are interested. It is another way to test the viability of your products. If people are buzzing about it, then you’ll have no problem acquiring customers at a low cost in the next stages.
Engagements will also shed insight into how users feel about your products. People aren’t shy about sharing their opinions! The positive and negative sentiments that they share are incredibly valuable. You can quickly determine what’s working, what isn’t and why.
Startup businesses should encourage feedback from users often and pay attention to every sentiment that these users share. Not only will it help you improve your marketing for acquiring future customers, but it will also help you understand why current customers defect!
Growth often happens slowly at first — just a few small drips from the faucet. Then, it starts pouring out all at once. Explosive growth can be harmful if you aren’t prepared for it. Thus, you need to keep an eye on your growth rate.
This is also known as your viral coefficient. It’s a measure of your conversions over several cycles. Are you acquiring customers faster than a month ago? If so, then it is a clear sign that you are creating a positive user experience, your product has a fit in the market and your profitability is high.
A positive viral coefficient can signal to a startup when it’s time to try and low acquisition costs.
Every metric matters to some degree. The challenge is finding the data that matters the most at the current time. Startups are in a unique position because they use unique marketing methods to move faster than larger organizations and they face a different set of challenges. This means that the most important metric for your business is going to change from time-to-time based on the stage and trajectory of your startup.
By keeping an eye on these 9 metrics, you’ll be better prepared to identify when these changes happen and where you need to place the majority of your attention.