How to Use Data to Drive Business Growth

Do you understand the data that is driving your business? Here are three steps, courtesy of the experts at Google, you can follow to grow your business using a data-driven campaign.

Data can help your business grow, but only if you’re able to understand what the numbers are trying to tell you. In a session titled, “Using Data to Drive Growth” at the recent Grow with Google event in downtown Cleveland, Google experts laid out how to use analytics to unlock new opportunities for your small business.

Share
  • Email
  • Compass Payroll
    Pre-Check

    The first step to winning the data war is to clearly define what you are trying to achieve and then set good goals around that. And what makes a good goal? Think SMART:

    • specific;
    • measurable;
    • attainable;
    • relevant; and
    • time-sensitive

    Step 2: Ask questions

    Once you have your goals in place, ask yourself a few questions. Specifically, ask yourself questions surrounding the reach, engagement, conversion and sustainability of your analytics campaign.

    Listed below are some sample questions you should be able to answer about your data-driven strategy:

    Reach

    • What are people searching for?
    • Who is your audience?
    • How do they find you online?

    Engagement

    • What do people do once they find you?
    • Where do customers engage you online?
    • How do people interact with you online?

    Conversion

    • Which channels drive conversions?
    • What calls-to-action drive conversions?
    • Which channels have a higher ROI?

    Sustainability

    • Do people continue to engage with you? And if so, where?
    • Do you respond to this engagement? How quickly?
    • Are you giving people a reason to return?

    Step 3: Take action

    Once your business starts generating data, it’s time to start combing through the numbers to find out what you can learn about your customers’ behavior. Use analytics software, such as Google Analytics, to help you interpret the data. Below are some examples of these lessons your data can teach you and what your potential action might be.

    Data lesson: Where are your customers coming from (referrals? Organic search? Paid search?)

    Potential action: Focus your attention on your most profitable channel to maximize it. For example, if organic search is performing well, optimize your site by improving page titles and descriptions to further increase search engine visibility.

    Data lesson: Learn about the demographics or traits your customers share.

    Potential action: Tailor your marketing creative to your customers’ demographics. If you notice a lot of your customers are coming to your site via smartphone devices, create mobile-focused ads and optimize your site for mobile friendliness and speed.

    Data lesson: See which days and times your business gets the most calls.

    Potential action: Boost phone staffing for peak times or offer incentives for your customers to contact you on other days of the week to avoid a staffing crunch.

    Grasshopper
    Next up: How well do you know your customer?

    How well do you know your customer?

    Do you know your customer? Before you answer, take a step back and really think about that question. The way you respond to that question will go a long way toward determining the ultimate success or failure of your small business. After all, you are in a unique position whereby as the owner of a small business, you are in close contact with your customers every single day.

    Do you know your customer?

    Share
  • Email
  • Compass Payroll

    Before you answer, take a step back and really think about that question. The way you respond to that question will go a long way toward determining the ultimate success or failure of your small business. After all, you are in a unique position whereby as the owner of a small business, you are in close contact with your customers every single day.

    So in theory, you should have a good idea as to what your customer wants from you. But have you ever really taken the time to sit down and think through your unique customer’s wants and needs?

    Pre-Check

    I was reminded of the importance of this question after reading this piece in Inc. on making the most of customer feedback. In the article, the writer points out the importance of not only gathering data to help guide the decision-making process, but also of acting on that data once you have it in hand.

    This article jumped out at me because we here at the Council of Smaller Enterprises want to reach out and get to know you. We are in the process of gathering responses to a member survey that we would love to get your feedback on. Your responses will help guide our thinking around topics such as products, events, your experience on our website, and more. In short, we want to make sure we provide you with as much value as we can.

    Please take a few minutes and review the questions on this survey. Your feedback is invaluable, and will help us ensure that if someone on the COSE staff were asked the question I led this blog with, the answer would be a resounding “Yes!”

    Grasshopper
    Next up: How your business should prepare for marijuana legalization in Ohio

    How your business should prepare for marijuana legalization in Ohio

    The legislature and Governor pre-empted a campaign to place the legalization of medicinal marijuana on the ballot by approving legislation a couple months ago that will technically make Ohio the 25th state to legalize medical marijuana in September. The legalization effort that was working to put their separate initiative—which was broader in scope—before voters this November discontinued operations. The entirety of the legalization plan that will go into effect is required to complete the regulatory process within 2 years.

    The legislature and Governor pre-empted a campaign to place the legalization of medicinal marijuana on the ballot by approving legislation a couple months ago that will technically make Ohio the 25th state to legalize medical marijuana in September. The legalization effort that was working to put their separate initiative—which was broader in scope—before voters this November discontinued operations. The entirety of the legalization plan that will go into effect is required to complete the regulatory process within 2 years. 

    Share
  • Email
  • Compass Payroll

    The good news for employers is specific protections GCP/COSE advocated for were included in the legislation that passed and were not addressed in the now defunct referendum proposal:  
    •    Employers won’t need to permit or accommodate an employee’s use, possession, or distribution of medical marijuana.
    •    An employer will be able to discharge, refuse to hire, discipline or take adverse employment actions against an individual due to the use, possession, or distribution of medical marijuana.
    •    Employers can still establish and enforce drug testing, drug-free workplace, and zero-tolerance drug policies.
    •    Unemployment benefits will not be made available to medical marijuana users.
    •    Employers can still challenge workers' comp claims if an individual’s medical marijuana use results in injury.

    This does not, however, mean business owners can become complacent.

    In the weeks and months ahead, a Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee will be named (with employer representation) that will submit recommendations to the Ohio Department of Commerce, Board of Pharmacy, and Medical Board.  The business community and general public will have an opportunity to provide comments and feedback throughout the rule making process; check Ohio’s Official Resource regularly for updates on the Medical Marijuana Control Program. 

    Pre-Check

    But, the most critical action an employer can take today is to review your business’ human resources handbooks and policies related to a drug-free workplace. 

    The Ohio State Bar Association recommends:
    •    The policy should clearly state that marijuana is an illegal drug under federal law, and that the employer prohibits its employees from using any form of marijuana for any purpose, including for medical use, even if allowed under state law.
    •    The policy should also prohibit illegal drug use, regardless of where or when the use occurs, instead of prohibiting illegal drugs “only at work,” “during work hours” or “on the premises.”
    •    Finally, the policy should define illegal drugs to include all drugs that are illegal under “federal, state or local law.”

    Best practices also recommend providing training for employees, so they fully understand and comply properly with your company’s policies.

    Grasshopper
    Next up: Instagram Marketing: 3 Tips to Get Started

    Instagram Marketing: 3 Tips to Get Started

    Are you using Instagram to promote your business? Generally speaking, if your target audience members are younger than 50, female and living in urban or suburban areas – Instagram’s primary user group – you should be. With the introduction of some new tools for businesses, Instagram has significantly increased its value as a marketing channel.

    Are you using Instagram to promote your business? Generally speaking, if your target audience members are younger than 50, female and living in urban or suburban areas – Instagram’s primary user group – you should be.
     
    With the introduction of some new tools for businesses, Instagram has significantly increased its value as a marketing channel. Business accounts on Instagram can now track when their audience is most active on the platform, see the demographic breakdown of their followers, and measure the reach, impressions and engagement around each post. Instagram also now allows mobile ad creation, allowing business accounts to easily promote well-performing posts as ads. Instagram created an easy-to-follow video detailing the perks of having a business account.

    Share
  • Email
  • Compass Payroll

    If you think Instagram is a good fit, you should start thinking about how to incorporate it into your marketing mix. Here’s three ways to go about doing just that.

    1. Set up a business Instagram account. If you already have an account for your business, but haven’t designated it as a business account, it’s easy to switch. 

    Pre-Check

    Having a business Instagram account allows you to see insights from your audience, such as when your followers are the most active and how many users view your Instagram profile.

    2. Before you post, have a strategy in place. Instagram is a visual social network, so users expect—and want—to see posts that are aesthetically pleasing. In other words, the prettier, the better. Also, remember use hashtags to help Instagram users find you. When writing your hashtags, think about terms your target audience might search for. If you’re targeting people in the Greater Cleveland area, using #cleveland, #clevelandgram and #thisiscle is always a good idea, for example.

    3. Use Instagram stories. Instagram recently introduced stories  (similar to those found on Snapchat), which allow you to string together a series of photos and videos rather than limit yourself to a single post at a time. Check out this post from SocialMediaToday for examples of how brands are using stories to further engage their audience.

    And for a more detailed how-to approach to creating Instagram stories, check out CNET’s guide

    Want more social media marketing advice? Visit our hub for all things social to read more social best practices articles like this one.




    Grasshopper
    Next up: Intellectual Property for Tech Firms Part 1

    Intellectual Property for Tech Firms Part 1

    Dan McMullen, partner with Calfee, Halter, joins us for a three-part podcast session offering guidance for tech fimrs looking to understand intellectual property  implement such a program and to enhance the value of their company.

    Dan McMullen, partner with Calfee, Halter, joins us for a three-part podcast session offering guidance for tech fimrs looking to understand intellectual property  implement such a program and to enhance the value of their company.

    Share
  • Email
  • Compass Payroll

    This is part 1 of the series.

    Listen here.

    Pre-Check
    Next up: Intellectual Property for Tech Firms Part 3

    Intellectual Property for Tech Firms Part 3

    This is Part 3 of our IP series with Calfee Halter partner Dan McMullen.  Dan shares expertise and guidance reviewing the intricacies of intellectual property for technology firms and outlines strategies and best practices for a firm to manage their IP.

    This is Part 3 of our IP series with Calfee Halter partner Dan McMullen.  Dan shares expertise and guidance reviewing the intricacies of intellectual property for technology firms and outlines strategies and best practices for a firm to manage their IP.

    Listen here.

    Share
  • Email
  • Compass Payroll