How Can Big Data Help Small Businesses?
While small and medium business (SMB) owners might think that big data is out of their league, they actually sit on a gold mine of data. Learning how big data can help small businesses will create leads and make way for potential clients. Each in-store sale, social media engagement, and email click-through is a new source of data. However, the next step for the already-overwhelmed SMB owner is figuring out how to tackle this deluge of data effectively to make smarter decisions that will ultimately grow the business.
Included below are four tips for SMBs on how best to leverage big data:
1. Track your leads.
The first thing small and medium business owners need to know is where existing customers came from. By knowing what has been successful in the past, they can make educated guesses as to what will be successful in the future. SMBs need to track lead origins, whether those are from email campaigns, social media engagement, company blogs, online reviews, or organic search engine results. Armed with the data of which sources generate the best leads, SMBs can then allocate more budget toward those channels.
2. Adopt marketing analytics.
Second, only to personnel, marketing is the average SMB’s largest investment. However, SMB owners typically do not have the time to spend researching and evaluating marketing initiatives, and they end up overwhelmed by the number of marketing tools available and their promises of a high return on investment. What SMB owners need is a way to easily access useful information from the data they have accumulated, and to base all marketing plans on the results of data analytics.
3. Find the right analytics tools.
To take on the daunting task of sorting through marketing data and making it useful and actionable, an SMB owner needs the help of a marketing analytics dashboard that can display relevant information in a consumable manner. To drive effective marketing and support smarter decisions, a dashboard needs to deliver three things: data, information, and knowledge. Data is comprised of figures and numbers, but it doesn’t directly deliver real, actionable meaning. Information is the processed data with contextual support, which can be more useful to business users. And finally, knowledge is derived through the application of data and information. Only with all three components is the SMB owner fully equipped with actionable insights that can improve his business. With a dashboard that unifies the marketing data with context to provide knowledge, the SMB owner can easily count the number of leads, clicks, and calls generated through each online marketing product, and based on these results, develop better campaigns in the future.
4. Put the data in the right hands.
In addition to using marketing data to improve marketing campaigns, data and the tools used to analyze it need to be shared with other team members, beyond the small and medium business owner or whoever makes the marketing decisions. Knowing which metrics drive the business can help the sales team close even more deals—but only if they have that insight. It is vital that data does not remain in silos in individual departments or kept just to management.
Small and medium business owners are not too small to be having big data conversations—they just need to know how to approach the subject first. By diving in to tackle big data with the right tools, small business owners can use big data to improve their results. However, they have to keep in mind that big data is only useful when it is turned into actionable information and knowledge. Only then can an SMB owner make informed decisions that spur business growth and that’s how big data can help small businesses.
This article was originally found via All Business Experts and adapted.