The business world is entirely built on data, whether they monitor your employees, your customers, your business processes, or even your interaction with your target audience. Data is at the heart of everything and, therefore, has become an indispensable ally in today’s strategy. As a result, countless small businesses that wouldn’t otherwise have access to sophisticated metrics can plug into online data collecting and monitoring tools at a low cost or even for free. One of the most significant advantages of data is its hyper-accessibility. Not only is it everywhere, but it is easy for businesses of all sizes to find the right metrics or access a tool that does all the hard work for them.
However, the effort to continually improve data within the business has also made it more complicated for SMEs, startups, and solo entrepreneurs. Business entities that can’t afford to hire a data specialist can rapidly feel overwhelmed by the abundance, diversity, and use of data. While data is essential to business growth, it can be tricky to understand, let alone manage adequately. If you are unsure of how to best approach your data, here is a brief overview of what 2020 is expected to bring and which metrics need your attention first.
Let Others Sort Out Accessibility and Security
As a business, you can’t afford to ignore data safety procedures. However, it’s fair to say that the days when a password could protect your data are long gone. Small companies need to rely on an expert data management service to ensure their data is both safe and accessible. Indeed, we now work in an environment that requires data input on a constant basis. Indeed, data is at the heart of every business decision you need to take. Consequently, making sure you and your team can research and see the relevant information is detrimental to the growth of your company. But, additionally, your data remains sensitive, whether it is financial, customer-related, or product metrics. Making data accessible and secure at the same time is precisely what data management is about. In an era where EU countries are also introducing data privacy requirements, your data management expert can also help you to erase the data of your EU customers — if they so wish.
Identify Your Online Metrics
Marketing metrics are, more often than not, accessible via free online tools. Whether you are looking for your web metrics or your social media data, most data gathering tools available are free of charge, from Google Analytics to your Facebook analytics dashboard. Unfortunately, accessible doesn’t mean easy to use. It’s best to take an online course – from the Google Academy, for example – to get to understand what each metric means and how to set up your free tools. When it comes to marketing data, it’s not uncommon to track information such as click rates and mentions with little understanding of how it impacts your business or how to improve them. When it comes to social media metrics, you need to focus on your click rates – aka how often your posts receive clicks –, the interactions around your posts – shares, comments, replies, mentions –, and the overall user engagement timeline. For your website, you need to consider the number of visitors, the bounce rate, the sources that drove your visitors to the site, the most read pages, and your conversion rates.
Look for Employees’ Metrics That Are Meaningful
Your employees are your most valuable assets. Because they know the market and the business like nobody else, you want to make sure you can keep them with you for as long as possible. In other words, your employee engagement data acts as a thermometer that gauges how happy or unhappy your team is. Monitoring personal growth opportunities and people’s relationships with peers and managers can provide you with reliable information about your company’s health. Keeping track of the information regularly throughout the year — via an anonymous questionnaire, for example – can give you the chance to fix issues before they have time to escalate.
Know Where to Start When Data Is Everywhere
Business Intelligence has become the latest buzzword. However, while you might feel confident talking about BI in theory, in practice, small businesses are left with no other option than tackling the data word headfirst. Ultimately, most organizations that have implemented BI have reported significant improvements. The only problem is that only 10% of companies plan to have a profitable data intelligence service that can collect, process, and turn metrics into meaningful information. Ideally, every business should contract a professional BI consultant to help recommend, set up, and use BI tools. Indeed, it can be tricky to know where the relevant data is and how to collect and convert it best.
You Can’t Have My Data If You Can’t Protect It
Your customers share confidential data with you regarding their financial information, their home address, their email address, and even their purchase preferences. Unfortunately, with over 4 billion personal records compromised in the first half of 2019 only, customers are becoming more and more cautious with their data. Many go out of their way to avoid sharing more than strictly necessary, which means that it’s becoming a priority for businesses to reassure their customers. Sharing your data protection and data breach strategies can make a significant difference.
Ask Your Audience How They Feel about Your Brand
Last but not least, your audience is a valuable source of knowledge and information. The market is always changing, evolving, and pushing in new directions. As a business, you can’t afford to ignore how your target audience is growing. New environmental, political, or economic policies can affect their decisions. New trends can transform their needs. New technology can help you target a different audience group. Ultimately, you need to schedule at least a yearly market research project via customer surveys and market data analysis to make sure your company is still in sync with the current demand. Additionally, it’s the perfect opportunity to measure your brand reputation and appeal among new customers.
In conclusion, data serves multiple purposes, from helping you to retain your employees to encouraging you to reach out to a broad audience. In 2020, the data trend is bigger than ever, placing data products and skills as an investment priority for companies of all sizes. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to build a data-centric business!