The Only Article I’ll Ever Write About Monthly Unique Visitors
Earlier this month FranchiseHelp hit a major milestone in our business. For the first time in company history, we had a half million unique visitors in a trailing 30 day period. Over 500,000 people in a single month.
Only 16 months ago (August 2014), we were sitting at 139,463. That’s an over 250% increase in traffic to FranchiseHelp in less than a year and a half!
Think about it. That means that every month, 1 out of 600 Americans visits our website! It’s insane!
But here’s the thing…who cares?
Let me take a second here to speak about a topic that we often call “vanity metrics.”
If you haven’t noticed, there are a gagillion different ways to measure things on the internet. Contrary to traditional media options, the internet is rife with copious amounts of data. But ultimately, most of it is simply smoke and mirrors.
“Startups love to point to big growth numbers, and the press loves to publish them. We are as guilty as anyone else in this regard: one million downloads, 10 million registered users, 200 million tweets per day. These growth metrics can often be signs of traction (which is why we report them), but just as often they are not. It is important to distinguish between real metrics and what Lean Startup guru Eric Ries calls vanity metrics.
Vanity metrics are things like registered users, downloads, and raw pageviews. They are easily manipulated, and do not necessarily correlate to the numbers that really matter: active users, engagement, the cost of getting new customers, and ultimately revenues and profits. The latter are more actionable metrics. As First Round Capital’s Josh Kopelman recently advised on Founder Office Hours, “The real data is retention and repeat usage.” Startups that focus on the real metrics can make their products better, attract more customers, and make them happier.”
And that last sentence is what we have plastered to the walls around here. Our customers don’t care how many people visited our website, they care how many new franchisees they find.
To help you think about this issue for your franchise’s lead generation, here is a brief table of questions you should and should not think about as you go forward:
How many people visited my website this month?
What was the change in organic visitors this month compared to last month?
How much money did we spend on advertising this quarter?
What was the average cost per lead generated from paid advertising this quarter?
What percentage of our leads picked up the phone when we called?
What percentage of leads were serious about opening a location?
What’s our best lead source?
Does our current lead strategy meet our development goals?
How many franchises did we open last year?
How many franchises do we want to open next year?