But, this begs the question: How can you gather that data? Here are some best tactics to gathering data, both from your own sources and third parties.
Your Own Site’s Analytics
The easiest to access, and often the most relevant data, is from your own site’s analytics. The difficulty in this step comes from understanding what that data means. Especially with tools like Google or Adobe Analytics, there is so much data available; comprehending is part of the problem.
With so much data, identifying key analytics and knowing what they signify is essential. Some information, like the number of unique visitors and page traffic are easy to grasp — they show how many people have come to your site. Focusing solely on these data sets, though, is a mistake, as it only paints a little part of the full picture that is your website.
Other key analytics to pay attention to are:
As you look over your own data, try to find trends on your pages and how people interact with your site. This can include things like: more traffic during specific days of the week, types of blog posts that perform better, and tactics that drive people away. By identifying these trends, you can then find what elements create those trends and capitalize on it.
Google Trends For Initial Keyword Analysis
If you want to see general trends of what people are searching online, Google Trends is a great data source. While it doesn’t give exact search numbers, you can identify popular topics and keywords by comparing different trends.
This data is useful for initial research on what people are searching for. It gives current trends of the biggest topics at that moment, but also provides a backlog of search strings in the past. With this data, you can track the general performance of a targeted keyword and see any trends it might have. These trends can include a steady growing interest over time, a declining interest, or if it is popular at certain times of the year.
Surveys and Interviews
To learn more about your potential future customers, a major source for information is your current customers. By conducting surveys and interviews of your current customer base, you can gain serious insights to the state of your marketing and find areas to grow.
The best approach to accomplishing this is by first spending time interviewing customers. Cover things like how they found your business, why they chose your product over competitors, and identify key moments in their buyer’s journey. Also, find specific failings your marketing has by asking what your competitors did better than you, if applicable.
After you have done a few interviews and have a good base, send out surveys delving further into the subject matter. The interviews give you a place to start and the surveys give data to back up or discredit what you have found from the interviews. The benefit to this kind of data is that it is extremely applicable to your business and is a direct result of your previous work.
Collecting From Secondary Sources
There are tons of secondary data resources online that you can pull from. One downside to secondary sources is that it can be harder to apply to your exact target market, as the studies usually encompass larger demographics. Secondary sources are useful for the initial planning of a campaign and the beginning stages of building a buyer persona.
Many organizations specialize in gathering data for marketing uses for free or cheap. This can include government organizations (like the U.S. Census), local nonprofits (like a chamber of commerce), and online market research businesses. The key is finding the right data for your market and not letting the wrong kind of data skew your information.
Storing and Applying Your Data
Data is of no use to your business unless you utilize it. How you store, present, and utilize the data you find is essential to being successful. First off, where you store your data needs to be both secure and accessible to those that need it. Cloud storage solutions are useful to providing that access but are harder to secure. Data like this is very valuable, especially if it includes sensitive and personal customer data. It’s also valuable to you, so if you lose it for some reason, recovering the data should become a top priority.
As you gather more and more data, you’ll find more ways to apply it to your marketing campaigns. One of the biggest uses for it is in the planning stages, but it can be useful at other stages too. Your data can be used as a way to make sure a current campaign is on track and performing as it should and, should be compared to at the end of a campaign to gauge how successful it was.
Collecting more data should become a priority if you want your marketing to continue to improve. That means constantly analyzing your site’s analytics, watching out for relevant secondary data, and surveying customers as they come in.
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