The good news is that there are plenty of ways to dive into analytics as a small business owner. The hardest part is to decide where to start and how much time to spend on extrapolating data. My advice would be to start small and work your way into platforms with more advanced metrics (MailChimp). There are enough free sites out there (Facebook for one) that can help you understand your customer just a bit better. As far as time commitment goes, after you learn how to use the analytic tab in Facebook, you can check it once a week to see what trends are developing and what messages are working the best. Ah, but let’s get down to why you need to spend time, and possibly money, on all of this collected data.
1. Big box companies are kicking your butt.
Hell, baseball teams are using analytics to get better. Just ask Brad Pitt…er…Billy Beane from the Oakland A’s (Moneyball, a great movie). My point is that smart people with a ton of resources are killing it in the real world and you are quickly being left behind. You’re probably thinking to yourself that you are totally screwed. If you are lazy and hate technology, you are totally screwed. BUT – if you are an entrepreneur, and you need to get your marketing nerd on, then check out these 10 places to analyze web data. If you want to analyze a whole marketing campaign then try Save Local Now (cough, ahem, shameless plug).
2. Big data will grow by 44% over the next decade.
This report suggests that data will soar 44 times over the next decade. Cloud adoption is exploding and more and more data is available to be analyzed.
This represents both an opportunity and a challenge.
The Intuit 2020 report and many other sources support that “those who become proficient in collecting, managing and analyzing this information will gain competitive advantage.” INTUIT 2020
Of course by definition, those that don’t will be left behind. Someone once said “knowledge is power.” It’s at our fingertips, people. Go get it!
3. You can can save yourself a ton of time (eventually).
You must give a little to get a little. It takes money to make money. Okay, you get where I am coming from. In order to harness the power of analytics, you must take time to learn how to use platforms that track data (Facebook, Google, Constant contact, Save Local Now, Hoot suite, etc.) Then you must learn how to use that data to your advantage.
Think of your data as a report on your virtual storefront. You can now see which device people viewed your product or service on. Email analytics will let you know what time of day it was opened, from which device it was opened, and in some cases, it can tell you where they opened it (which town they opened in or the location of the IP address …but lets not get into that). With just a few pieces of data you can begin to paint a picture of your audience and the type of interaction they are having with your digital store front.
In short, analytics allow you to
- gain invaluable insights into your customer’s behavior;
- examine facts rather than assumptions or guesses;
- make educated decisions on how to improve to your website, App, Email marketing campaigns social media post, daily deals, events calendar, etc.
In the long term, this means more of the right traffic, sales and profit. And more time to enjoy your entrepreneurial success.