Use data correctly and you’ll make better decisions. End of story. Thanks for reading.
It’s really not that much harder than that. You have the information, use it. I run into people that have analytics on their website or keep meticulous data about their customers because ‘that’s what they’re supposed to do’ then promptly do nothing with it. Sales data, analytics from your website, fan information from social media, the data is all around us, and most of us just ignore it. “It’s overwhelming, where would I even start?” I hear you asking from the across the internet. Time to jump in the deep end with a clickbait list! Number 2 will probably not blow your mind, neither will 1 or 3. You’ve probably heard these things before, nothing here is revolutionary. My hope is that when you read through this time, that it clicks, and you go and grow your business and make better decisions.
3 easy ways to start using data today!
Preface: We’re assuming that you know the data you have, know how to collect the data you need, and have your data somewhat organized. If that’s not the case, start there. Those 3 pieces are the foundation to the success of everything else.
- Analyze what you have
- Figure out the gaps
- Build out insights
- Set action points
Analyze what you have:
Everyone has some data. Their website traffic, their social media likes, or general sales information. It’s time to start using it. Data analysis is not as complicated as your college stats class wants you to believe. If you, like me, aren’t the biggest fan of long complicated math anymore, find some software to help you. PowerBI, Tableau, Excel, and a pile of free versions out there. They all do similar things: organize and present your data.
People like pictures. These software solutions do exactly that. They take a table, full of raw numbers, and make it interesting to view. Not only that, it makes it possible to figure out the next step, finding your gaps. The software can only analyze what is has, so if you want to see how well your social media posts perform when you post at 3 am compared to 3 pm, but aren’t tracking your post timing….you need to change that…insightful…I know.
Figure out the gaps:
Probably the most obvious piece on this list. Once you start processing the data you’ve collected, start playing around with other metrics and find relationships. Do people buy more on cold days than warm days? Do people in southern states buy more t-shirts than people in northern states? What you are likely to discover is that you’re not collecting all the data you need to answer some of these questions.
If you’re not sure
Now’s the time to start changing that. Fun fact: it will take some time, that’s ok, be patient. Like all good things, there are no shortcuts here. When you’re ready…the fun really starts to take shape.
Set action points:
You have data, you know what it means, you know what impacts your business and how, but now what? Now you start putting action to the data. Start with something simple, your data revealed that stay-at-home moms are not only consuming most of your content on social media, they’re the ones buying your products, and in droves. Start running ads against that until it stops paying off. You know that the people who fit this mold are already consuming the content, the ads will enhance that, and you’ll keep selling more until you eventually hit a plateau.
Once you’re there, stay there and let it ride until….the next piece of advice. Use the data to determine when to STOP doing something. If, for whatever reason, you notice that sales are dropping off from the moms, look at your data, set a ‘stop’ point, and when your sales or performance or whatever KPI you’re using hits that, stop the ads, cut your loses and find the next target for your marketing dollars. It’s as easy as that. This doesn’t need to be complicated, especially at first. Can you make it more complicated? Absolutely. But don’t overwhelm yourself at first. You would be surprised how much a business can benefit from just knowing who their key customer demographic is and how they market to them.
Now go. Watch the fruits of your data roll in and surprise you like nothing has before.