Are You Capitalizing on Analytics?

According to SAS statistics, more than 60% of businesses rely only on a spreadsheet for gathering and analyzing data. Most small business owners say they don't have time to do in-depth compilations of data, yet they recognize that without analytics they may be missing opportunities to cut costs or increase sales.

The typical small business has data in a number of places: a CRM tool (e.g., Zoho,, website, Email Service Provider (e.g., Constant Contact, MailChimp), blog, web forms (to capture website leads), and an e-commerce tool for selling merchandise and accepting online payments. Today, more and more companies are developing web tracking and measurement tools to enable small businesses to access and analyze data from these places. For example, these tools will reveal if your prospects and clients pay more attention to promotional marketing ideas distributed by email or as special report downloads on your website, or if they prefer to visit your Facebook page for creative, useful posts.

If you want to ease into this process, start with a tool to manage one type of data. Social media users can use Social Mention, Twilert and Google Alerts to set up alerts and notifications whenever a subject of interest is mentioned online (e.g., your company, promotional products, or other relevant keywords). Be forewarned, however, that you will likely receive a lot of irrelevant data, too. For example, if you enter “Maple Ridge Farms” or “Maple Ridge” in Social Mention, you’ll get pages of Facebook and Twitter posts from people who live in Maple Ridge, British Columbia. (And that’s just for starters.) Block out time regularly to comb through all the data to find worthwhile mentions, and use multiple services for a broader compilation of data.

To capture relevant data from your website, try Google Analytics, Alexa or Quantcast. You will learn which search queries customers use the most as well as which images and pages they click on first (and where they go after that). Also consider Brandify. Their service, which offers a free, 14-day trial, equips small businesses to monitor their activities as well as competitors’ online assets and activities.

For a more integrated tool, consider SumAll. This company’s technology helps companies sort through and analyze data from various sites, ranging from BaseCamp (project management) and Facebook to WordPress and SEOmoz. They have a free service in addition to paid options. The data you’ll gather is designed to equip you to tailor your responses to clients, resulting in creating more talk, generating more interest in your company and improving customer satisfaction.

If you’re looking to forge better relationships with customers (isn’t everyone?) and ultimately build a more profitable business, data experts say now is the time to capitalize on web technologies that puts data in your hands. You can then make decisions about how to communicate/market/sell to your target audience going forward.

If you've used any of these tools, or others that enable you to capture useful data, let us know.