Spreadsheets – An Internet Marketers Best Friend

One the characteristics of internet marketing is that it is (or should be) DATA DRIVEN. That means you keep records, test, adjust and make your decisions based on the data you collect. This is all about testing, tracking and analyzing.

Although there are many tools that help you with this – ultimately, you are going to need to create and manage the data in a way that’s specific to your own business – and that means keeping your own records in spreadsheets.

I’m hoping that 90% or more of my readers are now nodding and saying “Yes – that’s obvious. What’s your point?”

But, sadly, I know from experience that rather more than 10% are saying something like “Oh, no! I’ve never used a spreadsheet before! Surely I can get round that somehow?”.

It was many years before I discovered how many of my subscribers struggled with spreadsheet. I wrongly assumed that anyone wanting to be an entrepreneur – and most especially an internet marketer – would obviously be familiar with spreadsheets.

Based on this assumption, I happily used spreadsheets as an integral part of various products and services that I provide. For example:

  • Empty spreadsheets are scattered throughout the “Operations” sections of the PRO Edition of the IMI Organizer. These are to be used for keeping various types of records, such as purchases, affiliate programs and so on.
  • I use them as structured record-keeping templates within the Internet Professionals Master Agenda Program. Some of these overlap with those used in the IMI Organizer, except that they include the recommended columns to be used.
  • The whole of my WSO Success Planner product is based on a spreadsheet!
  • I’ve used them in various bonuses I’ve created.

But I’m not about to change my approach to using spreadsheets in my products. Instead, I’m going to assert that, as an internet marketer you MUST become competent with spreadsheets. And after that long introduction – that’s what this article is about.

You don’t need to go to the extremes of using macros or Visual Basic, and you don’t need to get into the many complex and advanced functions and features, such as Pivot Tables.

Spreadsheets For Internet Marketers

Spreadsheets for Internet MarketersOff the top of my head, this is the list of spreadsheet features and functions you’ll need to get to grips with as an internet marketer for 95% of your needs:

  • Basic data entry, cell references, using tabs/sheets and referencing across tabs
  • Cell formatting
  • Hyperlinks
  • Functions: sum() and if() as a minimum. With if() you’ll need to get familiar with the core conditional operators, such as and(), or(), >, <, =, <>
  • Strings and the string concatenation operator – &
  • Named Ranges
  • Cell validation
  • Setting and using filters
  • Copy, paste, delete, move, insert for cells, rows and columns
  • Fixing rows and columns (so they don’t scroll)

There may be a few things I’ve missed out, but not much.

Your choice of technology to use comes down to three option:

  • Microsoft ExcelMicrosoft Excel (from here or access on online version here if you already have a Microsoft Account. I’ve just found I DO have an account that I’d completely forgotten about! But I’m not sure how long I’d be able to use online spreadsheets without paying).
  • OpenOffice Calc (free from here)Google Sheets
  • Google Sheets (free via Google Docs from here – which will show any Sheets you already have)

Ignoring the fact that I just re-discovered my Microsoft account, and that admittedly, Excel is superior to Google Sheets (even the updated Google Sheets) – these days I use Google Sheets almost exclusively for my core spreadsheets. The only exceptions are my historical accounting records and a HUGE spreadsheets (800,000 lines!) where I was doing some analysis of the purchases of a major corporation. (I was certainly impressed that that Excel could handled that amount of data.)

Finally, here’s a good resource for learning Excel for free.

See http://GCFLearnFree.org

 

Alex Goodall


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