How to Use Big Data for Your Small Business

Every entrepreneur has grand ambitions for their small business. But true to its name, your small business will invariably start small and grow over time.

You will work between the present and big picture, long-term thinking. Yet, it is often challenging to switch efficiently between the two in a way that benefits your business.

Big data can help.

In the revolutionary world of the eCommerce business, big data is the vast amount of information that companies, and organizations accumulate during their operations. This information is analysed to gain valuable insights, identify patterns and relationships, and earmark trends that have the power to affect your business and its ability to thrive.

This blog post will explain the benefits of using big data for your small business.

The Importance of Data

Data will talk if you’re willing to listen.

Jim Bergeson

Your business’s technological systems and digital platforms are not just ways to reach customers with your marketing messages and products. Every time one of your consumers uses one of these platforms, they leave you with a large amount of precious information that you can use to your company’s advantage.
So, what are some examples of data bits that could be so important that massive regulation acts like GDPR come to be? Let us examine some of them:

  • Their specific desires in terms of what they want to buy from you
  • How, where, and when they prefer to purchase these items
  • How much are they willing to pay for what you have to offer
  • What marketing materials and tactics genuinely capture their attention
  • How long their attention spans are
  • What their priorities, likes, and dislikes are at any given time

You can source this information through their purchases from your product line and their engagement with your brand, both online and offline. Moreover, you have access to massive amounts of public data, which may not directly target your business but, nonetheless, is potentially exceptionally valuable.
The key to using such pieces of data effectively is to ensure that you choose data that aligns with the direction of your business.
All of this data enables you to attract better, retain and serve your consumers to keep them satisfied over time. If you know what your customers genuinely want, you are in a much better position to provide it consistently.

Tapping Into Your Own Data Streams

You already probably have a wealth of data at your disposal, especially if you operate a website for your brand. Even your day-to-day operations bring in a wealth of different information that you can use to your benefit.
Examples include:

  • Data from social media and website analytics
  • Data from specialized analytic plugins
  • Information from databases, spreadsheets, and other tools that you use regularly
  • Email and online advertisement campaign reports
  • Customer ratings, reviews, and other feedback
  • Customer service reports and figures
  • Your sales receipts

All this information holds potential value—but how can you access, sort, and analyze it? Many advertising tools, email services, and web builders, such as Constant Contact, collate regular reports and real-time dashboards to provide this data in simple, easily understandable terms.

Many of these services integrate well with Google Analytics, free to use for anyone with a Google account. It enables you to track your website’s activity down to the most minor details and metrics. There are plenty of independent, big data tools that can mine and assess data from your website’s activity. The right solution for your company will guide you on how to upload, store, and use the information you glean during your analysis process.

6 Effective Ways to Utilize Big Data for Your Small Business

Data science is continually evolving and changing as a field. But that does not necessarily mean that you need to be an expert in using big data to your advantage.
Here are six useful tips to get you started.


Use Big Data to Optimize the Consumer Experience

Your data gives you an opportunity to optimize your brand’s relationship with your customers. In turn, this can improve other forms of engagement and give your sales a boost. When appropriately used, website and sales analytics data can provide insight into your target market, your customers as individuals, and what they prefer in their experiences in dealing with brands like yours. Regularly update your customer experience according to the data you collect from your consumers.

Once you have obtained the data you need, ask yourself a few critical questions about your target group.

Who are your customers, and who are the people who visit your website?
Which point in your conversion strategy is the most effective?

Once you organize your data, you will be better able to understand the traits of your ideal customer and work towards attracting people that fit that demographic.
Big data will also assist you in tracking, understanding, and predicting your consumers’ behavior, including long-term changes to their spending, and purchasing habits. It can tell you which products your customers search for most often. How about which products are the most popular during specific periods of the year? Big data informs you about how satisfied your buyers are with their purchases by following every aspect of the product. You can use it as a means to influence the purchasing decisions of your clients.
If you want to peek inside the minds of your consumers, big data is even more helpful. You can use it to personalize your offerings according to demographic, cross-promote with other local brands, and send your target consumers relevant promotions and unique offers to engage them. Some valuable data sources include traditional in-house information like sales, social media, text analytics, browser logs, and larger public data sets like censuses.


Let Data Inform Your Web Design

The website design process is a potentially long and complicated one. Using AI to collect and process data can speed up the process. Intelligent website builders enable you to personalize your website by customizing its features based on the big-data-derived information you supply them.
These tools can automatically trace and track web traffic without your intervention. It enables you to build your site based on relevant information and statistics, like which areas of your site enjoy the most clicks or views.
Most modern web developers will also use big data when designing your site to create sites and apps that directly respond to the needs of your specific target audience.


Use Data to Analyze and Follow Trends

In some ways, small businesses can use big data to provide even more benefits than those that apply to bigger corporations. SMEs can utilize time-sensitive information in ways that larger companies may not be able to. Small businesses’ flexibility positions them more favorably when reacting to trends.
Big data obtained from Google Analytics and integrated tools will provide when, where, and how your visitors access your website. They will show you which pieces of your on-site content perform the best, how popular web browsers arrive at your site, and which times of the day your visitors are most likely to visit your online platforms.
In the business world, trends pertain to the performances of specific sources of web traffic or digital marketing channels. During times of relative abundance, you will have the flexibility to intensify your initiatives, campaigns, and efforts. When things are not going so well, you will also be able to rapidly drop initiatives that are not working, cut your losses, and try other strategies. Big data also gives you a tool to watch trending products, topics, and brands and respond to those trends.


Use Data to Optimize Your SEO Keyword Strategy

If you are pursuing the goal of making your small business discoverable online, it is time to make it easier for customers and search engines to discover you. You can use big data to discover which keywords you should be targeting on your website. Then, use search engine optimization tools to analyze exactly where and how frequently they need to be used.
SEO optimization and keyword planning are essential parts of any solid digital content marketing strategy. Suppose you operate a blog for your brand. In that case, big data enables you to research keywords on any given topic and gauge how competitive and valuable they will be as part of the index of your main pages. You can plan your articles around the data and keywords you find for even better results.
If you choose to use Google Ads, your campaigns will also hinge on the use of specific keywords. You can generate effective online ads with the many ad-generation tools that assist you in finding highly searched keywords related to your industry.


Drive Email Marketing Campaigns with Big Data

Email marketing is one of the most popular and influential marketing channels available to small businesses today. Research has shown that email campaigns generate average returns of around $42 for every $1 you spend on them. And you can use big data to improve their efficacy even further.
Benchmark email marketing is a strategy that uses big data to evaluate the efficacy and reach of your email campaigns. You can use data tracking tools to trace and record the performance of each of your campaigns. From here, you can benchmark them against your previous initiatives and standards within your industry.
There are plenty of different metrics that you can track to gauge how your customers interact with your emails.
Use these metrics to determine your most effective campaigns:

  • Open rates
  • Click-through rates
  • Bounce rates
  • Click to open rates
  • Conversion rates
  • List growth rates
  • Unsubscribe rates

As your collection of data expands, you will also be able to improve your lists and your email marketing campaigns. Your customers will only interact with emails that speak directly to their interests, needs, and pain points. Use your particular data to segment your email lists to maximize your open rates.


Use Data to Master Your Social Media Strategy

Social media has become an invaluable source of data for small businesses. Social commerce also makes tasks like identifying niche markets and assessing customer feedback more accessible and cost-effective. Twitter, in particular, is one of the easiest social media platforms to mine for data. This platform contains a wealth of public conversations between demographics and brands.
Big data can help you to master your social media strategy in many ways. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram’s powerful algorithms target demographics with adverts according to their social media presences, user histories, and other vast sums of data about them.
You can also follow your own customers and followers and analyze their social media usage to paint a picture of their needs, desires, and how best to foster engagement over the long term. Which posts are they are most likely to like, comment on, or share? By building a social media profile of your ideal target customer using your data, you can create shareable content as relevant to their interests as possible.
Your data-informed social media strategy should include formal ads and other marketing messages too. Track the efficacy of your marketing campaigns using social media metrics to improve current and future campaigns in a way that boosts engagement and lead conversion.

The Takeaway

Small businesses may not have the workforce or the resources of large corporations. However, they still generate plenty of valuable data ideal for driving growth and engaging target audiences. 

You can start harnessing the power of big data by simply using the wealth of information that you are surrounded by, paired with the data that other companies are willing to let you access. Data essentially powers the modern commercial world. It only makes huge sense to align yourself with this trend and use the global data boom to your advantage.


Andreas Maier | CEO

Andreas is a result-oriented CEO who brings nearly 30 years of experience gained in the high-tech industry. His experience ranges up to leading positions in Fortune 100 companies such as (PCLN) or Intrasoft International, a leading EU based R&D software vendor. He holds a Ph.D. in Neural Networks from the University of Cologne, Germany.
In the past Andreas has successfully founded and co-founded several startups among others XXL Cloud Inc., eShopLeasing Ltd, and WDS Consulting SA. His expertise is strongly focused on modern headless Commerce and the optimization of processes in IT ecosystems.