Improve your business with data analytics
Data analytics is a powerful tool for your business. It helps you evaluate your overall business performance, identify trends, and answer pressing questions – for example, 'What next?' We explore why data analytics should be a priority for your business.
Even successful businesses should be scrutinized for enhancements. Data analytics makes sense of your data — unlocking new opportunities for efficiency across your entire business from money and marketing to operations and people.
What is data analytics?
Data analytics is the process of collecting and evaluating data to produce considered conclusions. In the age of information, data analytics cuts through the noise to reveal trends and metrics — or key performance indicators (KPIs) — otherwise lost in translation.
Applying data analytics provides a greater understanding of how a business is performing. It unlocks the power to grow your business by helping you make informed decisions that optimize operations and improve strategies.
While data analytics sounds daunting, all it requires is a little understanding. Even if you're unfamiliar with data analytics, the various apps and systems that run your business every day are already collecting volumes of data.
Understanding data analytics
Data analytics can be applied to all business areas. For example, retailers can use data analytics to identify best-performing products to improve sales strategies, or spot buying trends to inform inventory management and sales strategies. Similarly, if applied to marketing, data analytics can assess campaign performance, or evaluate what content resonates with a target audience.
There are several data analytics techniques you can use, that are made even easier with the use of specialized systems and software.
Descriptive analytics describes what has happened over a given period. For example, monitoring revenue or sales over time or tracking your Mailchimp campaign's performance.
Diagnostic analytics looks at the specifics of why something happened. Use diagnostic analytics to understand if your latest marketing campaign impacted sales, for example. The data used is more diverse (than in descriptive analysis) and requires some informed assumptions.
Predictive analytics seeks to uncover what's likely to happen in the near future. Predictive analytics requires diverse data points to create a whole picture and informed assumptions.
Prescriptive analytics focuses on finding the best course of action. Various data points are analyzed to propose optimized business practices that support predicted outcomes.
How to harness data analytics
COVID-19 has changed how we do live and do business. While we’re still in the dark about the pandemic's long-term impact, businesses must focus on rebuilding and planning an effective recovery strategy.
To succeed, business owners should be empowered to make quick, sharp decisions, and understand how to harness their own data. Here are some of the ways data analytics can help small businesses survive — and more importantly — thrive.
Informed decision making
Informed decisions are better decisions. Data analysis provides the business insights you need to make smart decisions on the fly — helping you achieve better outcomes.
When planning a marketing campaign, developing your product, crafting a sales pitch, or setting the budget, data analytics eliminates much of the guesswork. Connecting and evaluating all your data sources will give you a 360° view of your business. Gaining that insight can help you understand the correlations between actions and outcomes, so you can make more strategic and effective decisions.
Identifying your audience
To define your market and target your strategies — across business operations, sales, and marketing — you need to know your audience. By collecting and analyzing data on your audience, you get a better image of who you’re engaging with.
The first step is to create a customer profile. Established businesses will need to evaluate their existing customer data and conduct market research. Audience analysis requires research into demographics, location, language, preferences, interests, amongst other factors. It's also useful to examine how your brand is perceived and rated externally.
Your customer profile is then analyzed to provide actionable insights. This data can be sourced online, via analytics platforms such as Google Analytics, through social media analysis, or from surveys.
Driving your sales efforts
Which products are your best sellers or the most profitable? Which of your salespeople generate the most revenue? How effective is your sales funnel? At which touchpoints on your sales funnel do you lose prospects? Data analytics can help you find the answer to these questions and more, enabling you to make the changes you need to propel your business forward.
For accuracy, consider a customer relationship management (CRM) solution. Managing your sales funnel through a CRM gives increased insight into your sales conversions, and an effortless way to produce reports and clean data!
Boosting marketing campaigns
Digital marketing has always been about numbers. Everything is measurable and traceable, and you can learn so much about your audience and what their interests are. For example, through a digital marketing campaign, you could identify which content resonates with your audience (i.e., a campaign might be more successful with 33 to 37-year-old men in Australia).
Analysis of that data can also help you strategically segment your audience according to behavior, demographics, interests, and engagement levels. With this insight, you can identify which channels or content effectively attracts an audience segment — and target them accordingly for the best results.
Smarter, streamlined operations can help you to improve processes, save money, and boost revenue.
Knowing where your business is at, who your audience is and what they want helps you implement savvy strategies suited to your business' evolving needs.
Data analysis isn't new. Technology has revolutionized it. As businesses continue to grow, there’s an increased need for more advanced analytics technology to distill raw data into deeper insights, quickly. Harness the power of data analytics to make smarter, more informed decisions that drive your business forward.