mBox Blog

How Data Analysis Can Benefit Your SME

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Data analysis is not only for the big guns in business. Small to medium-sized enterprises can also benefit greatly from analysing the data collected from their websites, social media pages, point-of-sale services and other places. In fact, not bothering to analyse data can be detrimental to a business!

Types of data and analyses

Not all data is the same, and the types of data analyses also vary depending on what it is you want to achieve.

Structured data refers to data held in traditional databases and accounting programs such as sales and product transactions, while unstructured data refers more to user behaviours, such as the ways in which people interact with machines. Website visits and social media posts, likes and shares are classic examples of unstructured data. These days it is unstructured data that dominates in terms of volume.

Types of analysis include data mining for identifying patterns and relationships, data visualisation such as graphs and charts, and predictive analysis for forecasting probabilities. Various tools are available for different levels of data analysis, depending on how deep you want to go.

Benefits of analysing your data

In the day-to-day running of a business, a lot of data can be collected, both deliberately and organically. This data should not be simply stored and forgotten about, as it provides a valuable resource for examining how well your marketing and sales activities are faring.

Analysing the data you collect can enable you to analyse user behaviour, measure the impact of marketing campaigns, make improvements for future campaigns, attract the right people to your website and business, better engage with your customers and improve sales results. In other words, data analysis can be used to make informed decisions to increase your business income.

For example, analysing user behaviour on your website can inform you as to where people are coming onto your site, how long they are staying and where they are leaving from. This information can enable you to develop strategies to improve the usability of your site and better engage with your audience.

Data analysis tools

There are many tools for analysing data available. Some are free of charge, while others involve a monthly fee – although many of the paid tools have free trials or options.

Examples include:

  • Google Analytics: Free tool for analysing user behaviour, measuring marketing campaign response and conversion rates. Covers page views, session durations, bounce rates and demographics.
  • Google Experiments: This comes with Google Analytics and enables you to test out different versions of a website and measure responses.
  • IBM Watson Analytics: Can be used to uncover data patterns and relationships that may not be obvious, and also provides predictive analysis.
  • Zoho CRM tool: You can use this one for visitor tracking, measuring the results of marketing activities, improving ROI, reducing costs, and increasing sales efficiency and effectiveness. With Zoho, you can also view past conversations with customers so that you can provide a more personalised service to meet their needs.

This is just a small sample of the analytical tools that are available for SMEs to use. When using these types of tools, you also need to begin with determining what it is you want to know and achieve, which in turn leads to asking the right questions and analysing the right kinds of data for your purposes.

Along with using online file storage, virtual fax (if you’re looking for a solution for how to email large files, this is a great way to do it), and various other cloud programs, data analytics tools can help your business to be more efficient, productive and successful. 

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