Ever since data was first recorded there have been attempts to analyse it for greater meaning, but up until recently, large scale data analysis required specialised equipment, a team of data scientists and a sizeable budget. Thankfully, the evolution of cloud computing has levelled the playing field considerably by making data mining faster, cheaper and finally accessible to even the smallest businesses. This is a brief guide to what data mining is and some of the many ways it can benefit your business, regardless of how large or small it may be.
What is data mining?
Data mining is the process of analysing large volumes of data, identifying relationships within it and turning it into useful information. Your small business data could include anything from the time, date and amount of each of your sales to the age and gender of your customers or even what people are saying about your brand online. Collecting and analysing this data or ‘mining it’ once required a significant investment of time, effort and resources, but nowadays powerful data analysis tools are fast, user-friendly and sometimes even free!
Benefits of data mining
The benefit of high volume data analysis tools cannot be overstated; in fact, it is virtually impossible for your business to reach its full potential without them. Here are three of the many ways that data mining can and will benefit your business.
Get to know your customers
Having up-to-date information regarding your history with each customer will make building a relationship with them considerably easier. Knowing who they are, where they live, the devices they use or even where you are most likely to find them online will take the guesswork out of tailoring your products and services as well as make it obvious exactly how, when and where to connect.
Those tell-tale signs of opportunity are often hidden deep within your own data, but by identifying patterns and trends, data mining helps to predict what your target audience will do next so you can position your business to greatest effect. The most obvious data to utilise in this regard is any feedback you receive directly from your customers, as it will often highlight those very features, qualities or experiences that they want and need most.
Understanding how, why and when your business gets busy will make it easy to ensure that you always have the right amount of staff and product on hand. Data mining can also reveal how factors such as the day, time or even the weather impact your business, giving you the information you need to not just be proactive but make the right call. Your data analysis can even predict when a client or an employee is about to leave you, providing an invaluable opportunity to pre-empt the loss and mend the relationship.
Getting started with data mining
Data mining is fast, safe and easy; however, with so many data analysis tools now available it can be hard to know where to jump in. If your business is ready to take the plunge into data mining the following are two easy ways to get started.
Your website analytics will reveal a huge amount about the visitors to your site, such as where they are coming from, how long they stay and which parts of your site they like best, making it easy to know what to change and what to leave alone. While most websites come with their own basic data analysis that will track how many visitors and page views you’ve had, dedicated tools such as Clicky and Kissmetrics can provide a far broader and deeper perspective.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
CRM software is designed to centralise, organise and track data relating to each of your customers, so you can anticipate orders, market more effectively and provide higher quality service. CRMs also improve collaboration within your business by ensuring that your entire team has access to the latest information and that every member is being held accountable for their work.
Your online content can play a crucial role in your data mining efforts by engaging your target audience, sparking feedback and providing an invaluable source of data with which to guide those crucial business decisions. If you are struggling to keep up the flow of content for your business, I can help. Contact me today for a free consultation and quote.