In today’s world, data and business intelligence is considered as the new gold.
It has the power to shape our decisions and impact our lives. Data can be used positively or negatively.
In this episode, I have two special guests who will share how you can use it as a force for growth and good.
A dynamic couple who are business, adventure, and life partners, AJ and Meaghan have scaled their business and life by being data-driven in everything they do.
They co-founded Praxis Metrics, where they help companies eliminate waste and make better decisions from their data, resulting in exponential growth.
They have built accurate dashboards and solved data problems for companies like Organifi, ClickBank, Agora Financial, Black Rifle Coffee Company, Kettle & Fire, Digital Marketer, DannetteMay.com, and many more.
Don’t miss this insightful and timely conversation!
Listen to the podcast here:
How To Use Data To Rapidly Grow Your Business With AJ Yager And Meaghan Connell [Podcast 255]
How excited would you be if you could take data and turn it into decision-making for your small business? Would that be of value to you? If the idea of long-term value, how to increase your conversions, how to use data to help you make better is not true for you, then I’m going to encourage you to go watch an episode of Netflix or something. On the other side of thing, if you are looking to grow your business, to get more leads, to simplify, create more freedom as a result of having better data, then you’re going to want to read this. We’ve got two amazing experts. They’re the Cofounders of Praxis Metrics, Meaghan Connell and AJ Yager. They’re a dynamic couple and they’re business and adventure partners too. Their story is fascinating. There are experts in the world that you’ll meet who talk about data. What they did is they found that there are a lot of small business owners. They have a gap. They have a problem. They have a talent and they go, “Let me dive into this data because it seemed like a big problem out there.”
What if I told you that their passion since they were about eight had been data, analytics, and being around it? Do you think that would be a different context of an expert that maybe you haven’t had a chance to work with yet? These are your people. These are your tribe to be able to learn from. They scaled their business and life by being data-driven in what they do. They even make decisions on vacation out of a spreadsheet if you can believe that. They’ll talk a little bit more about that. They figured out how to run their business remotely. They’re adventurers, they work from all over the world traveling and growing their company 2x each in every year. You’re going to get a lot of wisdom. They’ve done this in multiple industries, nutrition and big collection. I’ll name a couple, Organifi, ClickBank or Agora Financial. You’ve probably heard of DigitalMarketer. If you haven’t, you’ve been sleeping under a rock, Kettle & Fire and a whole lot more. Guys, welcome to the show. It’s great to have you.
Thanks so much for having us. We’re super excited.
Yeah, we are. Thank you again.
You said you’ve been at this at eight years old. Give us a little context because it’s one-off to think that someone could be excited around the idea of data since you were kids.
I’m going to let you kick that one-off. You’re way more of a data nerd than I am. I’m a data nerd too, but she’s more for sure.
What happens when you get two data nerds in a marriage relationship, that sort of thing? I’m curious.
We’ve got dashboards around our health, our finance, our sex life, our relationship, and our love languages. We’ve got dashboards on everything and we track a lot of stuff.Data is just isolated points that aren't connected. Information is when we connect them together. – Meaghan Connell Click To Tweet
I want to speak to this quickly. I’m going to shift the context a tad and we’ll come back to your beginning at this. What would you say to the creative type that you probably run into regularly? The DNA of the entrepreneur, that creative, innovative, visionary. They like to fire first, then aim or start aiming maybe. They go, “I don’t know that I could ever stay inside the lines, but this data thing sounds great for someone else. You don’t understand my business because I’m this creative visionary and I’m intuitive and I’m instinctive.” Speak to that.
I’m going to nail this one because we had this incredible person who we look up to, who redefined our definition of intuition. A lot of people think that intuition is this feely, flowy, downloady thing that happens where you pluck things out of the ether and then it comes to fruition. There are a lot of creatives and founders who think that they’ve always been that way, but I’d like to challenge that because intuition is the unconscious tapping into and correlating between unknown points of data. For example, I am walking past somebody on the street and I get this intuitive feeling that I don’t trust them. It’s not that came out of nowhere. It’s that I saw a show many years ago and I saw that somebody who does this movement or this eye movement or this behavior that means X, Y and Z. They’re prone to this behavior.
That’s stored in our unconscious mind as a data point. Over time you’ve experienced all of these other people in life who you had bad experiences with. You’re adding all of these data points into your subconscious mind. Intuition is connecting those points together without your conscious mind understanding the correlations between that. That’s how we create information. That’s how we create insights out of data because data is isolated points that aren’t connected. Information is when we connect them together. When we’re talking to intuitive types, the creative types that are like, “I created this out of nothing.” It’s like, “No, you created this out of years and years of isolated data that you’ve put together subconsciously.” You might not know how. You might have a gut feeling that you’re like, “If I go and turn up my cost per acquisition on this channel, I’m going to yield a higher ROAS and you can’t tell me why.” All of a sudden, we’ll connect all the data points and you’re like, “I knew that all along,” but you couldn’t explain it. You couldn’t articulate it, but you’re doing it off of data. You’re subconsciously connecting the dots. Whereas we physically connect the dots.
As you’re reading right now, what would it be worth to you if you had a simpler way to connect the dots? It’s to connect these intuition but data points to be able to make better decisions, to take actions with your numbers. What if we could get the blinders off so that you could narrow down what are a couple of the most important data point? As I was preparing for the show, one of the things I saw that is counterintuitive is the idea that the wrong number to be focused on is long-term value. You sell against that a little bit. Speak to the idea that long-term value may not be the number that’s critical in your business.
It’s not that it’s not important. It’s not average lifetime value. We like to say averages are inherently evil, but it’s more of like lifetime value is very important but let’s have a conversation around that and what it means to your business. There are a lot of different definitions of LTV. There are a lot of different algorithms out there, but we like to frame it and dig a little bit deeper.
With lifetime value, a lot of people have some static number. They’re like, “My customers are worth $37 lifetime value.” We’re like, “What action are you taking out of that?” People are like, “It’s nice to know.”
What time frame is that existing in? They think it’s one static number that exists but there are many dependencies that tell you more about the story. Most people are thinking within even 30 days, they want to think longer-term but they’re thinking LTV is, “This is my number, this is what I should be spending.”
A lot of people aren’t doing true lifetime value calculations. They’re doing the total revenue within a certain period. There are a lot of things that people are doing. They’re calling it LTV, but they’re not doing it right. They’re not getting the granularity. To AJ’s point, if we have this one static number that doesn’t give us any relation and it doesn’t give us any action from it. What we challenge people to do is say, “What was my lifetime value a month ago? What was it two months ago? What was it a year ago?” One static piece of data will not revolutionize your business. It’s the relationship between that and everything else. Your business is constantly in flux, constantly changing and everything you do has a positive or negative impact and too many people do not measure that. Looking at lifetime value over time is extremely important.
It’s looking at lifetime value by source and by acquisition channel. It’s looking at lifetime value based on the customer’s first product that they purchased. Somebody who purchased a trial offer is going to have a very different lifetime value than somebody who purchases your flagship $5,000 product upfront. Too many people are taking all of these highs and lows and shoving them down into this one average LTV and then they’re not doing anything with that. We challenge people to break that apart. Look at the people who came in through their trial offers. Look at their lifetime value and see how you can improve that over time. Look at the ones who came into the flagship and compare it, but don’t look at average lifetime value and think that you’re doing it.
The other thing to add to that is if they are doing that average, shoving it into one little box and taking action on that, that’s creating a lot of waste. What Meaghan and I like to say is that the number one problem we solve in the business we’re in is the waste business. We’re here to help you reduce wasted time, energy and money. If you’re making decisions on those averages, there’s tremendous waste in there. Whether you’re creative or you’re data-driven, you don’t want to have waste. We can eliminate that percentage of that waste or automatically optimizing those results.
As you’re reading this right now, how would it impact you if you were able to reduce and eliminate the waste around making better business decisions? To get a better ROI with your ad spend, to be able to get clarity, certainty, confidence around your KPIs or what these guys call OKRs. Increase your lifetime value and then be able to do this in a more simplified way that doesn’t have your eyes glazed over many data-driven types of positions. We’re going to take a deeper dive into how you can get started setting up the right KPIs and a new fresh perspective to look at dashboards. What are dashboards not and what are they in? How to get them in place? OKRs, that and a whole lot more to help you grow your business, create more freedom and eliminate waste.
If you could have been a fly on the wall on the conversation of what we were talking about to help each other get our businesses to the next level, it would shock you. We’re not going to talk about that right now. We’re going to talk about something else, which is how data helps you grow and impact your business. If you never want to miss an episode, go to GrowthToFreedom.com/subscribe. I have to ask the idea of setting up KPIs in a simple way. Before we talk about KPIs, let’s talk about dashboards. A lot of people talk about dashboards. I worked with a lot of entrepreneurs and they didn’t know what they wanted. I don’t know how much investing you guys do at homes. If you get the wrong home, it becomes operation money suck. I see the dashboard end up this way because it becomes a long 400-page run on sentence essentially. People don’t know what they want. Part of it is the thinking of not even knowing where to start. There’s a lot of guesswork. What would you recommend about dashboards and KPIs and getting started for most small business owners?
It’s simple. The problem is most people start at that metric level. They’re like, “I want to know this KPI.” They don’t take a step back and say why and for what higher purpose. What we do is we start with this process called Metrics Mapping and it doesn’t start with the metric. Does it start with what are our business goals? What are our business questions? Those are the core things that we need answers to in order to help us scale. Everything in the dashboard should support those goals and give you insights to help move those needles. Too many people get caught up in reading an article on something and it says, “You need to be tracking this.” They’re like, “I need it. I want it. I have to have it.” They don’t do anything with it. It’s nice to know rather than something that helps the organization scale. We reverse engineer their business goals and ask secondary and tertiary questions. What do you need to know? How will that help you scale? What action will you take if you knew this number? If it doesn’t have an action tied to it. It’s what we call a vanity metric. It means nothing to your organization. It’s a pretty thing on this 400-page dashboard that nobody looks at.
We are all against vanity metrics. We don’t want to build a metric unless it’s actionable. I also think that people will read those, watch videos, watch YouTube or webinars. They don’t understand what it takes to measure and track that in the result. They want the end result, but then they understand they’re not even tracking that data to begin with. That’s another big piece of this. The way we look at it is tracking first dashboards and then insights. Those are our three pillars. That’s the way that we think about this.
I don’t know how often you run into this, but I imagine your framework. From what I gather, you prepare for this, which is the difference between a leading indicator and a trailing indicator, the trailing indicator being more important. It gives you what happened, but the leading indicator is the thing to be focused on upfront because it creates the trailing number. There are all kinds of different languaging around this but speak to that idea of focusing on the most important number in your business, which we could call leading indicator or other things versus the trailing number.
There are lots of ways to interpret that. Here’s descriptive and here’s what has happened. Here’s a list of things that have happened historically, then there’s predictive, what’s happening in the future? Prescription is then, what should we do? We see that as a scale of data maturity because people cannot jump to the prescriptive until they have the descriptive. They have to have a snapshot of their business first before they can even think that far ahead. A lot of our clients come to us and they’re like, “I want machine learning and I want artificial intelligence.” We’re like, “Slow down, sir. You don’t even have the basics.” When we’re thinking about companies and where they are now versus where they want to be, there’s a very clear roadmap to success. A lot of people have those KPIs of where we’ve been and they don’t have anything looking at where we’re going. That’s where we tie in those business questions and then we reverse engineer. I’m saying, “Here is this prescriptive things that you need to know in order to make better decisions.One static piece of data will not revolutionize your business. It's the relationship between that and everything else. – Meaghan Connell Click To Tweet
Truly less is more right now. There are a lot of things that say, “You sign up for this platform and there are these 200 metrics built-in.” You’re like, “You need five right now.” You need the five and there’s a word called North Star metric. There are different ways to categorize it but it’s like what are those metrics going to move the needle for you right now specifically. Most of our clients start leading the revenue section, which is marketing and sales. That’s going to have the highest ROI upfront, then we can tell the story of finance and inventory and all these other departments. Mostly marketing and sales are the most important upfront that we focus on.
Speaking of marketing and sales, we did a survey of a lot of our clients. One of the things that had come up in the survey was, “What can I do to be able to track all the different advertising types of things going on online?” For example, I’m running Facebook ads and then it goes to my podcast and then it goes to Google retargeting. How do I track to know how this even means anything? They brought up the idea of the attribution being the first part or the last part. They go, “I have a lot of parts in the middle from my blog to my podcast to my content. How do I even get context around this information?” What advice would you give to something like that or somebody who wants to try to simplify that?
There is no simplification when it comes to attribution. I’ll correct you right there. Attribution is a mess. It will always be a mess. What attribution reflects on is your tracking practices. In any business, the easiest attribution model will always be last-click attribution because the tracking is set up. They click on something they purchase and you have it recorded. There is a big problem with over attribution and reporting from Facebook and Google saying, “I was responsible for that sale.” “No, I was responsible for that sale.” They both say they were responsible for $100 and then you only have $100 in the bank instead of $200. There’s always going to be a difference in the reporting of the platforms versus your bank account. That’s over attribution. That’s typically based on last-click attribution.
A lot of our clients say, “We’d like to use the first click, which would be fantastic, but either one of those models is not the whole picture. It’s looking at a piece of the puzzle and they both answer certain questions, but they don’t show you the full picture. What you’re referring to are different attribution models. There’s position attribution, linear, a regression, a model comparison. None of these attribution models in and of themselves tell the full story. What you want to do is be able to have first click attribution, last click and everything in between and compare them. The ideal customer journey is wherever they have the highest first click attribution and it could be sponsored content. Here’s the big thing that goes into play is what if it doesn’t yield revenue right off the bat? How do we make sure that that’s still contributing towards this ideal customer journey?
It all comes down to tracking. If you’re able to have that in place, then the first click could be sponsored content. It could be podcasts that aren’t driving people to click. That’s where it’s getting the impressions and the reach and the bought-in future customers. You want to know, “Did this email series get good at nurturing them in between?” It’s not going to convert them but it’s indoctrinating them. Maybe the last thing that they click on before they convert is this mobile campaign. The ideal customer journey would be a combination of the top first click. The top position and the top last click and then you can go and you can cut out all the areas of waste. It all comes down to tracking. 99% of the companies we work with come to us and they’re like, “I’d love to do attribution modeling,” but somewhere along the lines, their UTMs break or they’re not using UTMs or they do not have the pixels firing. There’s this black hole and you don’t know where the customers were before that last click. You’re flying blind.
It all jumps into you direct or it’s this mess, this bucket of like, “We don’t know.” We’d like to say that the number one mistake that companies are making when tracking online is the fact that they’re not putting specific detailed tracking links called UTMs or affiliate IDs. There are different ways to do it, but mainly we’d like to use UTMs on every single piece of marketing that goes out from organic to paid, everything. If you’re reading this and you’re like, “I have an agency that does that.” You need to make sure that they’re doing it in a specific way where their naming conventions are consistent. They mean something when it goes into the dashboard. Don’t put a bunch of numbers or dates. There’s a way to tell a story with tracking so that there are these nice clean lines of where the source of leads are coming from and where the source of orders or sales are coming from. It’s super important.
This is the unsexy part of data. It’s 100%, this is the stuff that brings people to throw the baby out with the bathwater and they’re like, “I don’t want to do it. It’s not worth it,” because it is. This is the part where it’s a lot of work to get all the tracking in place to get it accurate and to make sure that everything’s connected to each other. When that’s done and this is going back to your point on there are a million different dashboards out there. A lot of them are garbage because they don’t connect everything together. They’re the single source visualizations where it’s like Graphly is for Infusionsoft or Google Data Studio is for these things. Nothing pieces everything together, which means it’s not truly valuable. The whole story is what you need and if you’re basing decisions off of pieces of this story, it’s better than no data. We’ll put it that way.
As you’re reading right now, how would it impact you and your business if you could have a simple way to tell the full story? How would you use something like UTM to track the first click, last click and anything in the middle and have the full story to match it up, to connect the dots? To then also be able to set your North Star, to have the leading indicator that ultimately determines what happens 90 days, 120 days, 6 months from now. Whether that ROI is working, the full story. As we shift and we wind down here, you work with a lot of amazing clients. You’ve worked with hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of datasets. What are 1 to 3 breakthroughs that either you’ve experienced in your business or with your clients that you’d call the needle movers that you could recommend to our clients? What are the big breakthroughs that you could recommend to our clients to put in place right now?
Touching back on AJ’s point, we cannot make pretty dashboards without data. Tracking is a fundamental piece. A lot of our clients are like, “I’m not ready for that dashboard stuff.” They don’t do anything for 2 to 3 years, then they come to us and they’re like, “We want all of this stuff.” We’re like, “You don’t have anything.” Now we have to take a step back. You either clean up the stuff you’ve got or implement some procedures to gather information.
Some of you may be saying in your head, “I already have Google Analytics set up.” You do on a basic level. You might have somebody that’s a web designer put the code on the page, but you may not be using Google Tag Manager correctly. You may not have the right code on there. There is an enhanced way to set up Google Analytics. It’s a fantastic free tool, but when it’s not used correctly, it’s another wasted money pit. If you get Google Analytics set upright and you get your UTM set upright, that is the one first thing that you need to be doing. Get somebody on your team. We’ve got great resources on our website to train people on how to do it as well. We have a team that goes and sets all the tracking up as well. That’s one piece that we had to do out of necessity because most people were like, “We want the dashboards.” We’re like, “You don’t have the data.” We have to make that happen.
That’s number one and that’s a foundational stepping stone. If people don’t have that, that’s the first thing to do. If they do have that, the next thing to do is make sure that you have solid SOPs and naming conventions, whether it’s within your product mappings, your skew mappings, whether it’s within your funnel names. Naming conventions are extremely important. Making sure that people are consistently following those SOP because that leads to dirty data or clean data. It’s simple. If you have those in place, then the next thing is automation. What’s happening too many times is we come into businesses and they’re in spreadsheet hell. They’re doing all of this stuff manually where they’re logging into twelve different platforms. They’re pulling out the one number they want to see. They’re putting it into this beast of a spreadsheet that has 27 tabs and everything is macroed out and they go and data entry in.
Data entry in and of itself is evil because it leads to human error, and then there are all of these areas for things to break. We were on with a client one day and they’re like, “This all works awesome,” if it works. We’re scrolling through their big spreadsheet and then all of a sudden, this whole block disappears. He’s like, “This is what I’m dealing with.” Automation is the next thing. If you are already doing this. You already know your KPIs, you already are data-driven, but you’re doing it manually. This is the 21st century. It can all be automated and in real-time so that you can make these faster decisions and be able to trust the data that’s accurate instead of manual error.
I want to say kudos to those of you who already have some system that is going. You’re doing it manually but you’re at a data maturity level that’s a little bit higher and congrats, but it comes down to trusting the data. Removing the wasted effort, removing the human error, getting this stuff. What we do is we have our data scientists build out the algorithms. Make sure that we validate so that you can trust the data. We find what we call this source of truth. Where does that live in each of your metrics? When we find that source of truth, then you can breathe easy and understand when you’re looking at the data on the dashboard, it’s right. You can make those decisions. Whereas sometimes people rush to put it in a pretty format and they don’t know if there’s dirty data in there or not. We are adamant about getting rid of the dirty data, but you’ve got to start thinking about how you automate and you use the tools that are available to you.
As you’re reading right now, here’s the thing to think about. Do you want to grow and scale your business with less stress? As the owner, the innovator, the disruptor, the visionary, the creative genius that chances are you are. If you don’t do this and if you don’t go through the steps of putting data, putting procedures in place and then moving from a manual to an automated, guess who’s always having to be involved? It’s you. Is that what you want? If that’s not what you want, then I encourage you to get these basic things in place. Find somebody, whether it’s these guys or another group that can help you simplify this process.
How great would it be to have a team that you could set up the data and now your team can run the business for you? Dan Sullivan calls it a self-managing company. You can spend more time working on the business instead of in it. Having this healthy intelligence in place allows to free you up. We’re just scratching the surface. I’d love to spend hours with you on this because it’s fascinating and valuable. Where can people go if they want to learn more about what you guys are up to, how you can help them, resources and all those things?
Everything and all of our resources and I highly recommend jumping on a free data strategy call with one of our data experts. You can go to PraxisMetrics.com. We have an awesome blog there and lots of great videos, lots of free resources. That’s the best place to start off and then we can help guide you based on where you are on the data maturity. Some people are on foundational stages, some are a little further along and we’ve got a solution for each one of you to help you get up that path. That’s what we’re here to do and we are super passionate about it and we want to help make data your friend, not make your eyes glaze over and you’d be like, “It’s a money pit.” We love seeing that return on investment right away and that’s what we’re here to do.Data entry in and of itself is evil because it leads to human error. Automation is the next thing. – Meaghan Connell Click To Tweet
If you’d like to have data working for you so that you’re not in the dark, you’re not in limbo and you don’t feel like, “I don’t know where my money is coming. I don’t know where the sales are coming from.” If you want to get rid of that feeling, go check out what they’re doing at PraxisMetrics.com. Visit their site, pull up some of the resources and then when the time is right, do your free strategy session. Here’s what I know, what would it be worth to have true clarity around your data, to have a roadmap, to have a blueprint, to have the ability to connect the dots? You go from being in the dark to having true clarity like, “This is where I’m making my money.” These people can help shed some light on being able to do that. They have a ton of resources at their site. What’s something I should have asked you that we didn’t get a chance to cover yet?
That’s a deep one because we track all sorts of different things.
In the time we have left, if you don’t think you can track love with data, we have done that successfully and it’s helped our relationship. Maybe some of you have read The 5 Love Languages book. It’s a fantastic book. Meaghan is quality time and acts of service. I’m physical touch and words of affirmation. People think that it’s all about them, but it’s about understanding what the other person wants. We took a data-driven approach. Meaghan did too. We would find out in times where I wasn’t getting my battery filled up from the loving touch.
How many times have we fought in our relationship and each one of those fights was the same thing where I was like, “This is a you problem. You need to work on this. This is all internal and I have nothing to do with this. You’ve got to go and take these action steps to fix this?” I’d step away and be like, “It’s all on him now.” What we realized was when we looked at the data before we got into these fights, if you think about a bank account, every time I give him words of affirmation or physical touch, I’m depositing into his account. Every time I don’t, it’s a withdrawal. What we found is when we look at the data, each time we got into these arguments or into these fights, it was because I was not depositing in. We track everything. We track what we eat. We track how many times I physically touch him and how many times I give him words of affirmation.
What we realized is that there was a huge gap before we got into these fights. It took us a while before we figured this out, before I even started to look back at the data. Once we did, I realized that it’s a feedback loop and this happens in business too. You take certain actions, you get certain results, then you analyze the new data that comes out of these new actions, then you take different actions. It’s this huge feedback loop. What we did is we were getting this negative response. We went back to what were the actions associated with that. We determined the correlating factors and then said, “In the future, I know that I’m not predispositioned to physical touch or words of affirmations naturally.”
It’s not going to go do it overnight. To build habits, it takes some time. It takes typically 66 days or so to build a new habit. What she did, which is that taking action on the data. It’s simple. She took her phone, free app, set the alarm at 3:33 PM every day and it said, “Go touch AJ,” or “Give AJ love,” or whatever. I’m working up here in our third story, my office. Meaghan is usually downstairs in hers and I would hear the alarm go off. It already started to fill me up that she took the time to take action to put the alarm on, then I would hear footsteps coming up.
Maybe it wouldn’t be right away, but I knew I’m going to get some love pretty soon. This is awesome. She would come and physically touch me, give me affirmation, whatever. It didn’t matter that I knew it was coming. It was she took action and it worked. That was a consistent way of identifying the problem and understanding the data and then taking action on it. It’s a simple thing but that increased our love, our joy, our connection and our relationship. That is something that you probably wouldn’t normally hear in a data conversation.
As you’re reading right now, there’s Pearson’s Law, that which is measured, improves. That which is measured and reported, improves exponentially. What would it be worth? Take the business side out of the way. What would it be worth to enhance your relationships by taking this simple approach? Identify the love languages of your partner, start tracking it, measuring it and having fun with it. Imagine what it would do for you. I know I’m going to take action with what they’ve shared because here’s the thing. If you’ve ever been like me, in my early years, I didn’t take action to shift. I took the same actions over and over again and I didn’t shift the loop. I repeated the loop. Have you ever been there?
For me, I dated the same person over and over again and wondered why after a certain period, I was frustrated, depleted and so on. I repeated a behavior loop. I didn’t have this. Here’s the deal. You’re processing an intelligence machine. Whether you realize it or not, we’re all driven by intelligence and processing of this stuff. Instead of repeating bad habits and behaviors and repeating the loops, what if you could make a shift by having a little bit of wisdom and maybe some curiosity around this idea? At risk of you being the creative visionary goes, “Data, that’s too much.”
What if you could use data to enhance your love life, your health, your business to make better choices, better decisions, and make the shifts in those loops that will transform and get you your next level breakthrough? It can happen and it can happen for you. They’re the living proof of it. If you question that, go check out their site at PraxisMetrics.com and check out all the amazing resources. We just scratched the surface with some of this. What are 1 to 3 action steps that you hope our readers take as a result of our time here?
The number one thing and touching on that last piece of creativity, the numbers don’t always have to be about the revenue, the ROAS, the CPA or whatever it may be. It can also be around the creative part. Go and start tracking things. We’ve got a lot of clients that are heavy on social media. They’re heavy in creatives and in the videos or the posts. They see the numbers of the engagement, the impressions, the shares, the likes, etc. They’re like, “What are the actual creative things that work? I see that these are my top twenty posts that have the most engagement. What are the correlating factors?” They’ll start to go and track, “How much of this was around comedy? How much of it had an influence on it?”
They start to track those esoteric things that you don’t think are data but it is. They are data points. You can go and track like, “Is it the color scheme of pink that tends to do well? Is it when I have food or is it professionally done? Is it when I do it from an iPhone that it feels more vulnerable and real?” You can track all of this creative stuff and then start to get this feedback and you’re like, “My audience responds well when I am super vulnerable on these Facebook Lives. I’m going to go and do more of these.” You probably have a gut feeling like I think that’s it, but when you start tracking you get that feedback. Number one is track everything like anything and everything.
Start somewhere as easy as if you have an email list, track the day you sent it, the open rate, the click-through rate, the subject line. How much did that one individually make? If you know how to do that, you’re going to use the UTM tag and associate revenue to it or whatever. As you look at that correlating data over time, you can look at some of the subject lines are always crushing it. Let’s start repeating those or tweak them a little bit and you can have better open rates in your email. There are certain things in your business that when you start tracking consistently, you’re going to start to have these patterns that you can start making decisions on.
Number one is tracking. Number two is sitting down and looking at what are the questions that we’re asking. We’re either not getting answers to because it’s too complex, it’s too frustrating, or we have an answer and we don’t think it’s right. Ask those business questions and write them down. That will help you reverse engineer each one of these questions into a measurable and actionable KPI or OKR.
You don’t need to rush out and hire a data scientist. You don’t need to spend a bunch of money and buy a big data program. Those are the things you can do once you get to a certain level of data maturity. You definitely want to find somebody on your team that can help you start to learn how to think data-driven. There are resources on our website. We can help guide you in that direction, but you don’t have to create a money pit for yourself. We want to help guide you in the way that’s going to start moving the needle but do it in little phases of wins.
Too many people go out and are like, “I’ve got to be data-driven. I’m going to buy this software. I’m going to get this BI tool. I’m going to go hire somebody on Upwork for this much money.” Unless you go and map out exactly those business questions, those goals and understand what’s important now this quarter, we don’t want you to waste that money. That’s my point is don’t start spending and thinking it’s all about the tools. Take the time to get clear on what’s important in your business and what those business questions are. That’s going to lead to the metrics that are going to help you.People think love is all about them, but it's about understanding what the other person wants. – AJ Yager Click To Tweet
If you want help, I will encourage you to go check out what they’re doing at PraxisMetrics.com. It’s been a pleasure to have you with us here. I have a couple of personal questions. What is the weirdest thing you track beyond your love life?
That’s definitely the weirdest. It’s the one thing that people are always dumbfounded like, “I’m sorry, you track what?” The other thing that I track that’s super weird is I track if I have ice cream for breakfast or if I have ice cream for dessert. I track that to see how it affects my health and my sleep because I’m addicted.
There’s dirty data in that. She’s like, “When I eat more ice cream, I sleep better.”
The data does prove that when I have ice cream for breakfast, I sleep 13% better. That’s also skewed because that’s usually also when I’m hungover. That’s the weirdest thing I track. What about you?
I track a lot. Every single day, I’ve been using this one app for years and then our sleeping app. Because we don’t drink alcohol much anymore, but also alcohol is a good one to understand performance and stress levels. I guess a weird one would be like VO2max or HRV. It’s like your heart in the morning. Are you highly stressed or are you not highly stressed? You’re parasympathetic or sympathetic. You’re like, “I’m on a workout regime. I’ve got to work out every single day.” If you do an HRV, you can understand if you’re stressed out, you need to take it easy even though you want to be consistent. Be consistent but don’t go full max. It’s not a weird one but it’s a unique one that most people don’t track.
If you want to go deeper with what these guys have shared with you, go to PraxisMetrics.com. What were you guys known for in high school?
Nobody knew me in high school. I was the one in the library checking out trigonometry books.
She wanted to be a calculus teacher. I was voted one of the most likely to succeed. It was a popular one. That was not the most popular thing but we were opposites. I was a soccer player, a sports guy and a jock. I knew I could hang out with the anime kids, then the stoners back then, and then the jock. I love people. She loves numbers and spreadsheets. It’s a match made in heaven.
What were your greatest influences?
When I was fifteen, I moved to Germany. I was an ambassador for the US in Germany in a little, tiny town in Germany. It totally shifted my mindset of the world because I went from a religious background to that. It was a huge juxtaposition in my life that opened me up.
A fun fact about her, she speaks beautiful German fluently. I have amazing parents. My mom and dad are still together. I had a great upbringing, but my grandfather was my best friend. He had challenged me at a young age to listen to Tony Robbins, Denis Waitley. He said, “If you read or study an audiotape or a video of what I give you every day for 30 to 45 minutes and then write down two paragraphs about what you learned that day,” I started this at ten years old. He challenged me he wasn’t going to get me the stereo that I wanted. That continued for a number of years and it was a self-development program that my grandfather had the insights and the ability to communicate with me in a way that most grandparents don’t connect. They give kids things and they want to be a great grandparent. My grandfather gave me the gift of knowledge, experience, wisdom, self-development and self-discipline early on outside of soccer and outside of all the school stuff I was doing. I’m thankful for that man’s influence.
I know we’ve just scratched the surface. Check out what they’re doing at PraxisMetrics.com. If you never want to miss an episode, go to GrowthToFreedom.com/subscribe. I encourage you to take action. Get some data in place, asking the right business questions and most importantly, have fun with your data. It can help you take the blinders off to create more certainty, more clarity and more confidence. You can grow and scale your business with less stress and work more on your business instead of in it and create a self-managing. If that’s what you want, apply what they’ve been sharing and go deeper. I appreciate you being with us. Seize the day, make it a great week and we’ll see you next time on GrowthToFreedom.com.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
About Meaghan Connell and A.J. Yager
Meaghan Connell and A.J. Yager are a dynamic couple who are business partners, adventures partners and life partners. They scaled their business and life by being data-driven in everything they do. They figured out how to run their business remotely, automate most of their life, keep their bodies fit and healthy, stay productive, and grow their relationship, all while traveling the world and growing their company 2x each year!
They co-founded Praxis Metrics, where they help companies eliminate waste and make better decisions from their data resulting in exponential growth. They have built accurate dashboards and solved data problems for companies like Organifi, ClickBank, Agora Financial, Black Rifle Coffee Company, Kettle & Fire, Digital Marketer, DannetteMay.com, and many more!