Data is more than numbers, it’s insight and opportunity. The most valuable asset for Facebook or Google isn’t their vision, people or platform, it’s their data. We all understand its value to tech giants, but every business – even your local business – can benefit by gathering, analysing and using it. It isn’t easy to know what and how you should collect it, but don’t be perturbed – here’s how to make data a key piece of your business.
How can data make my business more effective?
The more you know about your customers, their habits and preferences, the easier it becomes to serve them. Data is the information that helps you improve customer service, boost revenue, and incentivise loyalty. And if you collect enough data on enough people, you’ll start to notice trends that open entirely new opportunities for your business.
How should businesses store and maintain data?
Rather than in spreadsheets or different programs, it’s helpful to store, organise and analyse it in one location. A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is an ideal solution. Many businesses use CRM, but nearly two in three say their data is too unorganised. Interpreting disorganised data will cause a lot of unnecessary headaches, but it doesn’t need to be complicated. Here are five data points all local businesses can – and should – harness.
Name, age, location, phone number and email address are the key starting points. Without them, no other piece of data is worth tracking. For example, you might know that a customer shops with you every single month, but if you don’t know who they are or how to contact them, there’s little you can do. So identify and centralise your core contact information before focusing on other data points.
Knowing how people discover your business will help you make informed decisions about how to invest your marketing budget. If you know which channels or campaigns are driving the most leads, it becomes far easier to optimise your marketing accordingly. If you’re not strategic or guess, you’ll never know whether it’s making any difference to your business.
Knowing what a customer purchased, why and how often can have a tremendous impact on how you communicate with them. How recently did a specific customer make a purchase? How frequently do they purchase compared to other customers? Are there any consistencies in how customers engage with you before a purchase? A centralised contact database will enable you to answer these questions. Then, by understanding how and why customers make purchases, you can provide more value, offer stronger incentives and create stronger relationships.
Tracking your customer reviews is another way to improve your marketing strategy and overall business operations. Knowing who has left you a five-star review provides insight into who is likely to be a repeat customer or willing referral. Meanwhile, knowing who has left a negative review allows you to take swift action to turn a disgruntled customer into a happy customer.
Net promoter scores (NPS) and customer satisfaction scores (CSAT) provide a rating and description of a customer’s experience with your business. They help you identify customers who are supporters of your business so you can market to them more effectively and strengthen the trust they already have for your brand.
Today, organised data is one of the most valuable assets you have as a local business. If your data is stored in spreadsheets or across different tools, it extremely difficult to implement its findings in future business decisions. But taking the time to understand what to track, and how, can open new opportunities and drive your business forward.