Business dashboards for your TV. Are they worth it?

4 min read
Jonny Pathan
One of the Watb display boards showing data

Ever since starting a business, I’ve always wanted a status board. I don’t really know why, but I just have. I remember telling an old colleague why it would be ridiculously cool to see all of our business metrics at a glance. He didn’t agree, he thought it was frivolous. Did he have a point?

What is a business dashboard?

A business dashboard, or ‘KPI dashboard’ as they’re also known, is a way of showing all of your businesses key metrics in one place; you can visualise data from multiple platforms in one spot.

Why use one?

One of the problems with using many different platforms on the web is knowing what’s going on across all of them. A problem I’m sure you’ll be aware of is having a stupid amount of tabs open during the day, yet these tabs are essential to keeping an eye on all of your business activity. This is one of the main reason as to why a dashboard could be a good idea.

Another reason is targets. Having a dashboard on a TV (as I do at the moment) allows everyone in the office to see at a glance where we stand in real-time. Seeing visual proof of how we, and our clients are performing across the web can give us that additional push to try and achieve more. Having said that, a dashboard shouldn’t be used in a negative light. I would never implement one to make people feel bad about their performance; it’s there to allow analysis, reaction and be a helpful tool.

Is it frivolous?

Here’s the definition of frivolous – ‘not having any serious purpose or value.’ Let’s look at that.

Does it have value?

As mentioned above, you can probably see the value it could bring to your team. Not forgetting the time it saves you switching between multiple apps every five minutes.

Does it have a serious purpose?

It’s certainly not an essential tool to run a business or to view data on. Here’s the thing though, it could become essential to some businesses. Let’s say you’re looking after a clients digital marketing, what if you shared the dashboard with them? Allowing them to see key data on their business and improvements you’re doing every day? Would that not add value to the service you are offering? Would that then be a serious purpose? Yes, it does mean you’d have nowhere to hide, but if you’re hiding, then you don’t deserve a dashboard.

Show me an example!

I’ve had one running for a week at WATB and here’s what we have so far. You’ll notice a few graphs, some text and other metrics.

Watb Business Dashboard

At the moment, we’re tracking social media activity (including mentions), SERPS, website analytics and meetings we have coming up.

At a glance, I can see which pages on our site are performing the best, how we’re doing on Google, where our traffic is coming from, who’s talking to us, and what meetings we have lined up.

So, is it worth it?

To put simply; yes.

I’ve only had a short time to see the impact at WATB, but I believe it’s had one. We have multiple client dashboards as well as our own and it’s really helpful to see what’s happening at a glance. Also, and this is true, a potential client came into our office, saw the screen and immediately got excited about it, further questions and discussion has led to new business. It’s already paying for itself.

Final thoughts

I can’t tell you how many dashboards I’ve tried out. All of the majors and minors have graced my screen, and with utter honesty, CYFE is by far the most suitable all rounder in my opinion. There are a plethora of integrations and cost-wise, you’re looking at $19 a month for the version free of limitations. There’s also a free version to try out which is limited to 5 integrations. When you compare what you get for your buck to other dashboards, it’s a no brainer – some of the other platforms out their will literally set you back the price of a small car.

It may be slightly frivolous, but who said there’s anything wrong that?

You can follow our co-founder and creative director Jonny on Twitter for more ramblings and tips about business and design here. @jonnypathan

A business dashboard, or ‘KPI dashboard’ as they’re also known, is a way of showing all of your businesses key metrics in one place; you can visualise data from multiple platforms in one spot.

Social Media Management Software

In order to promote your business and reach consumers that spend an entire 24 hours a week online, you need to make sure that you have a viable social media strategy in place.

By posting unique and interesting content on your social media platforms, and by actively engaging with followers, you can start to turn this into a funnel for generating leads.

In order to stay on top of your social media strategy, it’s important to have some form of social media management software to do some of the heavy lifting. Software such as this is imperative for scheduling, tracking and monitoring social media content.

At its best, social media management software can help you not only plan your content months in advance, but also remain reactive by letting you tune into ongoing news stories or trending topics.

Screenshot of Hootsuite's homepage

We recommend: Hootsuite

There are a whole bunch of social media management companies out there and all of them offer roughly the same sort of package but Hootsuite is the only one that offers an actually free service (as opposed to just a free trial period).

They do try to hide it on their website though so make sure you follow this link in order to get to the right page.

The free version of this software lets you:

  • Manage up to three social media profiles from a choice of channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn
  • Schedule up to 30 posts in advance at any point in time
  • Track follower growth, likes and comments
  • Integrate two RSS feeds in order to find and share compelling content
  • Access Hootsuite’s online help center and community forum

Of course, there’s also a number of paid-for packages that you can buy from Hootsuite that give you access to a great number of services including higher ad spend budgets, automated post scheduling and custom analytics.

But if you’re a small business looking to get started, the free version of the software should be comprehensive enough to allow you to get your social media strategy in motion.

Website Tracking Software

We’ve said before that the secret to a successful lead generation strategy is to keep analysing and refining your methods. Well, website tracking software is the best way to conduct this analysis.

By digging into the analytics of your visitors’ actions, you can start to gain a better picture of why people come to your site, what they want from it, what they dislike about it and how you can improve upon their experience next time.

There are a wide variety of services that can fall into the category of website tracking software, including heatmaps, funnels, user polls, surveys, visitor recordings and more.

Basically, any kind of software that collects data about the ways in which your visitors interact with your site can be considered website tracking software.

Screenshot of Hotjar's homepage

We recommend: Hotjar

Whereas there are a multitude of smaller software companies that focus in on just one website tracking service, Hotjar offers an array of useful tools.

Hotjar tools include:

  • Click, move, scroll, download and share heatmaps that can also be split by device type
  • Visitor recordings that allow you to replay sessions of real site visitors
  • Conversion funnels that identify on which page and at which step the most visitors are leaving your site
  • Form analysis that can help you to discover which fields take too long to fill, which are left blank and why your visitors abandon your form and page
  • A customizable widget that allows you to create pop-up feedback polls
  • Responsive surveys that can be distributed through web links and emails, or featured your site just before your visitors abandon the page in order to discover what their concerns are
  • The ability to recruit test users in order to get instant feedback on your site

Hotjar’s free service is able to collect data from 2000 page views a day and will give you access to up to 300 visitor recordings and 3 heatmaps, forms, funnels, polls and surveys. Unlimited users can be added to your account and Hotjar will also store your data for a full year.

While we’d normally recommend free services when possible, it’s probably worth paying for Hotjar’s Plus plan to begin with.

For just under £25 a month you can collect data from 10,000 page views a day and have unlimited services and reports. Plus there’s even a 15-day free trial for you to test out whether you like their software or not.

Remember

Lead generation doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavour.

What’s important is that you put real effort into all of your interactions with potential leads - whether that’s through educational and informative blog posts, social media interactions or even just a chat on the phone.

If you believe in your business’ ability to help its customers then all you have to do is let that shine through.

Ultimately, these tools are just there to help you meet potential leads on their level. The rest is up to you.

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