Data is valuable for your small business

Is anyone analysing data accurately for you?

Many businesses will check Google Analytics on their website. Many will keep reports of what is happening. But is anyone doing more than saying: ‘Ooh look we’ve had a spike in traffic.’ ‘Gosh, it’s from Hong Kong or Delhi! That’s nice!’ Is anyone actually asking any questions?Or is anyone thinking through the reasons for this?

Many micro businesses and SMEs think big data only applies to big business

You know, like Amazon, that have traffic of ‘M62 Friday night’ proportions. Obviously too little data is not going to help you much. But with  intelligent interpretations, tests and experiments you’ll soon start collecting. Then you’ll start analysing, integrating and assimilating data into your business and marketing strategies.

Is all data important to my business?

That depends; but you knew I’d say that.

First of all decide on what data you would like to collect and track

Discover whether there are any gaps in your provision

Ask yourself: what data would I like to have?

These are basic questions you’ll need to pose. It’s worth bringing in a consultant for an hour to help you with these.

Then you’ll know what you are collecting. Consider what  you might want to collect in the future.

Types of data you can go for, depending on your niche and purpose, are:

  • Personal
  • Business
  • Transactional
  • Marketing messages
  • User Journey

These are often found in those pesky forms. You know, the ones you have to complete to access a pdf. The first two categories are obvious and basic. Transactional is about what customers have bought. The marketing messages tell you more about their preferred channels. The user journey will give data on how long the visitor stayed and how often they check back.

This can all be boiled down to three important considerations:

Context – This is the when, where, what device type of data

Behaviour – This is what they did, what they clicked or bought kind of data

Users – This data that gives a hint of their psychographic type and geographic location data.

If you are still saying: so what? Think about what this data can do for your marketing. Wouldn’t it be good to know:

  • What channels are driving buyers?
  • Who is converting and sussing out why?
  • What conversions are actually driving revenues?
  • Who is coming back and buying again?
  • What is the lifetime customer value?
  • How can you deepen the relation ships with all types of customer?

These are cool bits of data that will help you shape goals. The data you can largely ignore is:

  • The number of page visits
  • Page views
  • Newsletter subscribers
  • Twitter and other social media followers
  • Bounce rate
  • Time spent on the site

All these bits of data are interesting in themselves but if time is of the essence in your business you want to look at the data that will help you maximise marketing messages. You can drill done and hone your SMM later.

Keeping a firm eye on your data will help you improve:

  • Your site performance
  • Consumer behaviours
  • The effectiveness of advertising and marketing campaigns
  • Identifying your top performing products, features, services etc.

With this information to hand you can start to learn more about who is visiting your site, where they come from, what happens when they get there and what is the outcome of all this Think about what impact this kind of data will have on the whole of your business.

If you are really targeting your clients carefully you can start looking at your customers and visitors holistically. You can anticipate their needs, offer them what they don’t yet realise they need, develop their loyalty and keep them returning.

Without data everything is guesswork. Do you have the time, energy or money to take that risk?


It may well be time to call in the data cavalry.

Vivienne Neale senior lecturer SoMe Academy

Vivienne Neale is a data analyst with an ability to connect the dots! She enjoys exploring relationships between data that sheds light on or helps solve a problem. She is a graduate of the Squared Digital Marketing Program

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