There’s no more powerful tool in today’s marketplace than analytics.
Companies around the globe are starting to embrace the use of data to streamline operations and improve processes.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll be breaking down how your data can be leveraged to take your small business to the next level…even if numbers aren’t your strong suit.
Let’s first start with the basics.
Table of Contents
Business Analytics Defined
Business analytics is the process of examining, assessing, and sorting the raw data your company already has at its disposal to transform it into useful information.
It extends beyond just looking at the numbers. Instead, business analytics helps shed light into why things happened and suggests appropriate next steps.
The ultimate goal is to identify which datasets are useful to your mission and how quantitative analysis and mathematical models can be leveraged to boost efficiency, increase productivity, and drive revenue.
But, regardless of your organization’s current methods, it’s helpful to understand the full scope of data’s impact in the business world:
According to a recent study commissioned by MicroStrategy, companies worldwide use data for:
- Improving processes and cost efficiency – 60%
- Driving strategy and change – 57%
- Monitoring and advancing financial performance – 52%
Key Elements of a Good Analytics Strategy
In order for business leaders to create a robust analytics strategy, there are several factors you need to keep in mind:
- What your data needs are – In order to find the right data fit, you need to first define how you want to use that data. You may need descriptive analytics for some goals and predictive analytics for others.
- Sourcing and gathering the data – Once you’ve established what you’re trying to achieve with your data, it’s time to start thinking about how to source and collect the best type of data to meet those needs. There are several ways you can go about this, including retrieving or purchasing external data.
- Technology infrastructure requirements – Having decided how you want to use data, what kind of data is best for you, and how you might want to analyse that data, the next step in creating a robust data strategy is considering the technology and infrastructure implications of those decisions. Specifically, this means deciding on the software or hardware that will take your data and turn it into insights.
- Data capabilities within your organization – To get the most out of your data, it’s important to cultivate certain technical skills. There are two main ways to build up data-related competencies within your organization. One involves supporting your in-house talent, and the other involves outsourcing the data analysis.
Top Analytics Resources for Small Businesses
While not all small businesses have the same resources as enterprise-level corporations, there are numerous ways your small business can assemble, analyze, and make sense of existing data, as well as gain additional insights to help even the playing field. Here are the top three resources we recommend you take advantage of today:
When it comes to analytics, Google is king. This free tool can be employed by any online business, whether it’s social media-based or website-based. It closely monitors your website’s performance, delivering real-time, tangible data that provides you with essential customer behavior insights, valuable feedback regarding links and site pages, and assists in helping manage their marketing budgets and ROI.
For example, you can easily track user behavior by seeing where traffic is coming from, how audiences are engaging with your content, and how long visitors are staying on your website. The best part is the free version may be powerful enough to do the trick for your small business. If you end up needing more in-depth analytics in the future, you have the option to upgrade.
Google My Business Insights
Google My Business is a great place to start, especially when it comes to optimizing your business for local SEO. With this platform, you have also access to a wealth of analytics that provide plenty of useful insights on your search presence. According to Google, “Many customers find businesses through Google Search and Maps. Google My Business Insights focuses on how customers find your listing on Search and Maps, and what they do after they find it.”
You can think of Google My Business Insights as your portal to local search. It holds all the information related to your local search performance, including how many views your listing received, how search users are finding you, and the ways in which they’re interacting with your listing such as clicking through to your website or calling your location to request directions.
Launched in 2013, Facebook Insights is a powerful tool that supplies you with all the valuable information about who comprises your customer base, such as who is following you, where they are, their demographics, and everything in between.
Facebook Insights also gives you a leg up when monitoring your competition. You have the ability to track their posts and engagement, and as a result, refine your ideas for your own small business or simply get a glimpse at what you’re up against.
In addition, Facebook Insights can let you know the best time of day or week to post, the number of active users on your page, and the type of content that is performing the best in any given timeframe. It’s also worth noting that the tool updates regularly to reflect your page’s latest developments.
Advanced Analytics Tools
Pathmatics is a marketing intelligence platform that converts marketing data into actionable insights. It tracks video, display, mobile, tablet, and native ads across the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. With Pathmatics, you’ll receive industry benchmarks, as well as newsfeeds that report on the ad activity of your specific customers or competitors.
SEMrush is one of the top-rated marketing analytics software for online marketers. It not only boosts the online visibility of businesses, but allows marketers to build, manage, and measure campaigns across every online marketing channel. Plus, SEMrush offers 30 tools for content, social media, search, data, and market research in more than 140 countries.
SpyFu is a search analytics tool that shows you which keywords other websites are buying on Google Ads. This means you can identify all the keywords that your competitors have purchased and every ad test they have run. From there, you can trace back and pinpoint the content and backlinks that are offering them this ranking.
Similar to SpyFu, this competitive analysis tool makes it easy for you to monitor your competitors’ analytics and online strategies. SimilarWeb can also help you identify up-and-coming trends and explain your consumer’s intent. It achieves this by collecting raw data, organizing it, processing it via learned algorithms, and finalizing the statistics you need for your business.
IBM Watson Analytics
IBM Watson Marketing delivers an extensive portfolio of marketing solutions that allows marketing professionals to create unique digital marketing campaigns. Users can easily design and execute these campaigns via email, web, and social media. The best part is that this cloud-based system is compatible with Mac and PC operating systems, as well as most mobile devices.
While Tableau has a steeper learning curve than some of the others on this list, it does offer users with plenty of intuitive business intelligence tools to help them make sense of their data. This solution helps businesses gather data from multiple sources such as SQL databases and cloud apps like Google Analytics and Salesforce, to build a collective dataset. With this information, users can create interactive maps that can be shared with their audience.
If you’re trying to determine whether or not your ads are making an impact on your target audience, then be sure to check out Moat. This digital ad analytics tool helps streamline marketing operations via email alerts, ad and video intelligence, and much more. Moat’s product line includes Moat Ad Search, Moat Pro, and Moat Analytics.
The Bottom Line
Remember—a campaign is only as good as the strategy you put behind it.
Thanks to these relatively inexpensive software tools, turning data into dollars has never been easier!
Whether you’re using Google Analytics, Google My Business Insights, or Facebook Insights, you’ll be exposed to the actionable information needed to identify, understand, and solve your unique business problems with ease.
It’s time to give your small business the competitive edge it deserves.