How are you doing?

rodney“How are you doing?” Meant as a casual greeting more than a request for detailed data, we often ask this of each other. We expect the typical range of rote responses: “Good, how ’bout you?” “Hanging in there.” “Fantastic.” (Of course, I always liked Rodney’s signature response: “I’ll tell ya, I’m all right now but last week I was in rough shape, ya know?”) Life is not a constant, so we can all relate to both humorous and serious stories of its travails. And as we experience these stories, it’s easy to ride up and down the emotional elevator, so it helps to get grounded by looking at the facts behind the stories: true measurements and metrics.

Your Company Needs Key Metrics
In business, it’s also easy to get caught up in the daily “stories” that overshadow the truth of how your company is really performing. That’s why it’s smart to establish key metrics and review these real measurements on at least a quarterly basis. Your company’s metrics will give you a clear perspective and help you steer your ship through the daily ups and downs onward to your desired destination. Since the first half of 2015 is now in the books, it’s a good time to conduct a review of your company’s key metrics and create a simple action plan that should yield improvements for the second half of the year. Below, I’ve shared the key metrics for the Diamond Certified Resource so you can see how we did and how focusing on these 12 metrics has helped us chart a course of continuous improvement.

As you can see, we had a strong first half of the year. We gained in all key metrics, starting with a 3.8% growth in brand awareness. That may sound small, but we’ve learned that in a noisy marketplace, consumers’ brains can only hold so many brands, and the closer a brand gets to total market penetration, the more difficult it is to get gains. That’s why after spending more than $55 million promoting the Diamond Certified brand to-date, we’ve reached 68% awareness (instead of 100%) and will note that our influence rate has remained around 65% for years. These are actually very strong numbers, so if you qualify for Diamond Certified, it’s a good idea to use your Diamond Certified status to positively influence 2 out of 3 of your prospects and customers (which will have a beneficial influence on your company’s metrics).

resource metrics

The above table shows that in the first half of 2015, we further improved the Diamond Certified Resource by generating double digit gains in most of the metric categories, including big gains in the number of consumer members, tracked calls to Diamond Certified companies, web traffic and Diamond Certified Expert Contributors. We got these gains because during the second half of 2014, we focused on action steps that we knew would directly drive these metrics higher. Now, after reviewing our mid-year key metrics, we’ve created an action plan for the latter half of the year. For example, here are four of our action steps:

  1. Grow tracked calls through an increase in organic and paid search initiatives and a 40% increase in circulation of the print version of the Diamond Certified Directory Update.
  2. Hire an event coordinator, redo our booth and take it to the streets to reach more consumers at events on a consistent basis.
  3. Grow the number of Diamond Certified Expert Contributors by demonstrating the advantage of being seen as a local company owner who is an expert in his or her field and provides Helpful Expertise.
  4. Upgrade our web design by writing web design requirements for our most popular web pages, then design A and B test pages for each. Choose final page designs based on tested consumer usage and prepare to launch site-wide in Q1.

What are Your Company’s Key Metrics?
Your metrics will be unique to your company and industry, which means they’ll be different than ours. You may track sales, repeat customers, customer satisfaction, safety, web activity, financial performance and even usage of your Diamond Certified Award (if you qualify). Choose five to 15 key metrics and start tracking.

The 21 Most Popular Uses of Diamond CertifiedBuild Your Company by Adding One More Usage of Diamond Certified (If You Qualify)
Once you’ve tracked your metrics, what can you do to move the most important numbers? That’s where the fun begins. Do things that have the biggest impact on your most important metrics. Create your company’s action plan for the second half of 2015. My recommendation for one of your action steps is to look at the list of possible uses of Diamond Certified (go to dccert.org/21uses) and, if you qualify for Diamond Certified, add one more usage in the second half of this year.

Jim Stein, Founder and CEO

About Jim Stein, Founder and CEO

Jim Stein is the founder and CEO of American Ratings Corporation. Through his interactions with more than 6,000 local companies and analysis of over 1 million consumer survey responses, Jim has developed easy-to-understand strategies for consumers to enjoy consistently positive customer experiences and for companies to better satisfy customers, increase referral rates and reduce customer attrition.
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