A lot of us small business owners rely on our guts to make major business decisions. Many of us feel we can’t afford Big Data solutions to provide complicated analytics and metrics for decision making. It’s actually not as complicated or expensive as it might seem, and data has a valuable place in the decision-making process.
Why You Need Data
Don’t let the term “data” scare you. It’s just another word for information, and we can all benefit from information, right? With the right data, you can use past sales, web traffic, or marketing campaign details to color future decisions about those areas.
Let’s say you are trying to decide where to put more money and attention for your next marketing effort to sell your product. In the past, you’ve tried LinkedIn ads, but they didn’t generate many sales. You did better with the free download you offered customers (there was an offer in that download for your product). You can look at your sales data from each of these efforts to decide that you want to create a new download, since you had success in the past. Or maybe you want to try another channel like social media or banner ads that you haven’t tried before.
We’ve all made decisions based on our guts before, and it’s not always a bad thing. But when it comes to something as important as your business (or your money) you want to ensure that you make the most informed decision based on the information that’s available to you.
Decide What Data Matters
There is a ton of data available to us right now, but let me let you in on a secret: you can ignore 99% of it. Just because you can measure everything from the sentiment of your social media followers to what country people visiting your site came from doesn’t mean this information is essential to your decision making.
Here are a few of the data metrics that might be important to you:
- Web Traffic
- which sources send the most traffic to your site
- which pages people spend the most time on
- how fast do people leave your website
- which products are selling the best/worst
- what price point people respond best to
- which marketing channels net the most leads and sales
- which marketing channels have the best ROI
If you’re trying to make a decision about what to do to increase sales, for example, look at all the factors to identify the data that is most relevant to your decision. Past sales data, product information, and your marketing channels will all play a part in what you decide.
Use the Data Wisely
Data is only useful if you put it to work. Knowing that, as an example, 45% of your web traffic comes from your guest blogging efforts is useless if you don’t use that information to bring even more people to your site. Knowing that a large percentage of your customers are abandoning their shopping carts before completing a purchase won’t change unless you get to the bottom of why they’re leaving.
Data is a powerful tool, and can aid in you making informed decisions for your business. Don’t completely ignore your intuition, but balance between the two.