Six Steps To Mastering Online Stats

As a competitive youth golfer, I compulsively tracked everything from fairways hit to sand saves to putts. Every stat provided an insight that helped me improve. But as I grew older, I discovered one stat — greens in regulation — provided the most useful and actionable information. By watching that one stat, I became a more consistent golfer.


Stats can become a very useful tool, if used properly and not abused. That goes for marketing as much as it applies to golf. Here’s six ways you can begin to leverage stats to improve your marketing and communications, both offline and online.

  1. Get the numbers: To analyze stats, you need stats. Don’t over think this part: Start with Google Analytics. You can figure out later how to dive deeper into the right numbers for you and which stats to ignore.
  2. Pick one metric: Once you have a clear goal for your website, find one metric that drives revenue and focus your energy on improving that measure. (For schools, I’d recommend monitoring the amount of time visitors spend on the website — which means you need great, layered content.)
  3. Use stats for leverage: Having stats to back your gut feelings can prove extremely powerful. If you doubt the effectiveness of a specific campaign, pick a metric and track it. If the number supports your theory, you can begin asking a lot of tough questions.
  4. Analyze for improvement, not justification: At too many conferences, I have listened to questions from attendees that begin with “my boss wants proof.” Using stats for defense may save your job now, but they don’t help your marketing efforts in the long run.
  5. Makes stats a habit, not an obsession: You need to check stats regularly, be it daily (recommended) or weekly (at minimum). If you only watch a couple of metrics and only truly care about one, you won’t spend an inordinate amount of time on stats.
  6. Ignore the score: The only stat that matters for most golfers is the final score. Bosses or clients, meanwhile, will often only care about final numbers for sales, enrollment or otherwise. Your stats, however, should explain positive and negative results, not simply be the results. Even more important, an effective use of stats will often identify a potential problem before it impacts the final score.

What about others? Is there a statistic that drives your marketing efforts, especially in education? Or is analyzing stats just one more PITA that nobody actually has time to do?


Photo credit: Economists in London analyze stats, 1964. Courtesy: Wikipedia Commons

Josh Loftin

Senior Partner at Route 89 Communications

Josh Loftin oversees the marketing and communications for Wasatch Academy, a private college preparatory boarding school in central Utah. He also owns Route 89 Consulting, which assists small businesses, nonprofits and schools with long-range planning, marketing strategy and program development. Josh previously spent nearly 15 years as a political reporter in Utah.