How to Build Marketing Dashboards Your Clients Have Dreamed Of

June 20, 2019

Successful marketing agencies know how to leverage marketing dashboards for their success, and the success of their clients.

It’s no secret that data visualization is incredibly powerful. It gives data a feeling and makes progress tangible.

Marketing dashboards allow you to show the story of data to your marketing agency clients in live detail, giving everybody the same information in an easily digestible way, instead of leaving your clients or investors to interpret a spreadsheet by themselves (or subjecting them to a long-winded explanation).

Effectively visualizing data with marketing dashboards

One of the greatest benefits of connecting your client’s data in a visual format is the ability to establish a single source of truth that is applicable throughout their entire organization.

If key players aren’t using the same data, both your team and your client’s team have a good chance of suffering from misalignment, miscommunication, or other problems, both internally and with each other. A universal dashboard remedies these common issues.

So, how do you establish a dashboard that embodies this idea while remaining inclusive and easily communicable to all parties, all while being customizable for each client’s individual needs?

A lot of the answer is dependent on one key component: practical organization.

How you organize your information can be a huge factor in determining whether or not your dashboard is effective.

Before you get started, gather your marketing KPIs

Of course, before you can organize your client's data into beautiful visualizations, you have to know what data to use. If you’re unsure about how to get started, there are a few steps you can take to make the decision easier:

  1. Work with your client to create a tangible list of their marketing goals
  2. From that list, decide what information you need to know in order to accomplish those goals
  3. Match each goal to one or more metric that will give you the information you need to succeed

If your client is not sure which performance metrics they want to track, you can begin by guiding them through some of the most universally important marketing KPIs:

· Cost Per Lead

· ROI

· Lead-To-Customer Ratio

· Traffic Stats (i.e. bounce rate, traffic sources, etc.)

· Leads by Source

· Leads by Country

· Landing Page A/B Test Results

· Social Media Engagement Rate

· Sales Growth

· Lifetime Value of a customer

How can a marketing dashboard help your clients?

Almost every type of marketing firm client is likely to find that dashboard remarkably improves their business-building efforts. Let’s take a look at three common client types and how dashboards can help them better visualize your firm’s efforts:

  • E-commerce company: Since ecommerce businesses are focused on selling their products solely via the internet, dashboards are essential. After all, if you aren’t watching your shelves physically empty, it can be hard to visualize sales progress. That’s where your data comes in. Dashboards can be even more helpful than a full storefront to help you gauge the effectiveness of your marketing efforts at a glance.
  • Brick & mortar retail store: That’s not to say that traditional brick and mortar stores can’t benefit from data visualization, however. Dashboards can help you keep track of stock, track trends in spending that can be correlated to marketing campaigns and keep tabs on how customers are responding to new products.
  • Social media-focused client: Today more than ever, business owners are turning to social media to grow their following, increase their brand awareness and gain sales. Whether you’re a full-service marketing agency that aims to give your clients a wide spectrum of internet-savvy solutions, or a boutique agency that specializes in social media growth, dashboards can help your clients easily spot increases in engagement, followers and reach.

Organizing your marketing dashboard

Generally speaking, there are two kinds of dashboards: high level and low level.

High-level dashboards are aimed at helping the client view the bigger picture. They feature wide data that allows at-a-glance visualizations and the ability to easily pinpoint improvements, as well as areas that need help.

Low-level dashboards, on the other hand, are more about taking a deep dive to see more detailed views.

Of course, a dashboard includes elements of both types of data, but they will typically be more heavily skewed to one or the other.

If you’re not sure which type fits your client’s needs, here are a few tips to help you get started organizing:

  • Figure out what’s most important--focus on the needs of your client’s audience
  • Start with a summary/biggest KPI
  • Add supporting data
  • Recognize what’s unnecessary and leave it out to avoid clutter

Once you have a solid, organized list of data, it’s easy to see whether or not a high or low level dashboard is the most logical solution. So, with that in mind, how would the previously mentioned client types best organize a dashboard to meet their needs?

Here are a few suggestions…

E-commerce company: An E-commerce company is probably going to want to put together a high-level company performance dashboard that organizes data in terms of what they care about most to what they care about least (perhaps they care about website conversions most [top of dashboard] and social media engagement the least [bottom of dashboard]. Check out this E-commerce sales dashboard that we love.  

Brick & mortar retail store: A brick and mortar store is likely gain more insights from a dashboard that provides relevant information that isn’t as overtly visual to them. For instance, they may want to focus on a low-level dashboard that contains data about the success of marketing specific products at the top of the dashboard, with more generalized data at the bottom (since that is likely easier to gauge without using numbers).  

Social media-focused client: It probably goes without saying, but if your client is enlisting your help primarily for help expanding their social influence, you’re definitely going to want to highlight social media KPIs on their dashboard. Those will probably include engagement rates [top of dashboard] with less social-specific metrics toward the bottom.

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