The best way to grow your business is to build your customer base, which means ramping up your marketing.
You can improve your marketing plan by knowing as much as possible about your target audience. Understanding them better makes it easier to plan ads and schedule content they’ll enjoy and use.
But you need to be careful while collecting data. You only need to look at the Cambridge Analytica scandal to see the potential pitfalls.
We’ve got you covered. Read on to learn five simple data collection methods to boost your business.
1. Track Buyer Behavior
This falls under the heading of ‘quantitative data’ because it refers to quantities. Consider checking:
- How many people bought your specific product?
- How many reviews has it had?
- How long do visitors spend on your website?
- How many social media followers do you have?
This data lets you gauge the success of a marketing campaign. You can use it to determine when you should redesign your website.
The data is safe to use because people hand it over when they interact with you. You can track some of it, like social media followers, in simple spreadsheets.
2. Use Surveys
The best source of data about your target audience will always come from your target audience.
You’ll already have data on your customers in the form of transaction records. This shows you what they’re interested and what they want more of.
But what about knowing why they’re interested? Use surveys to collect data by simply asking them questions.
This data gives you accurate results because it comes straight from your customers. It’s also safe to use because they have to give their consent before they can answer your questions.
You might incentivize them by entering anyone who responds into a prize draw.
3. Buy Customer Data
Asking your customers direct questions is one way of collecting data. But how about finding out what non-customers think?
The only way to do this is to buy data reports from specialist brokers.
It’s straight from the customers, so it’s as accurate as yours. But it gives you insights into what people think who don’t know you or your brand.
You also know people aren’t giving biased responses because they don’t know you can see the data.
4. Read the Reviews
Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar business or solely online, always read your reviews. You can learn a lot about how customers view you through what they say online.
What did they like? What didn’t they like? Make notes. This is still data, even if it’s based on opinion.
Read the reviews of your competitors too. Find out what they’re doing well and see if you can use it yourself.
You can apply this strategy to social media listening too. Check your channels to see how people talk about your brand.
5. Track Your Marketing Campaigns
Whether you use email lists, social media, or paid ads, you’ll generate a lot of data.
You’ll know how many people opened an email and how many clicked a link—or how many people clicked on your ad but didn’t buy.
If people click on your ad but don’t buy? You know there’s something wrong with the landing page. Use this data to shape your next marketing campaign.
Choose the Right Data Collection Methods
No matter which of these data collection methods you choose, be strategic. Set a timeframe for collecting data so it’s all valid.
Decide why you want the data, which will inform how you collect it. Choose the right method and analyze it as soon as you can.
Organize what you find into a conclusion you can work with. Only then can you use the data to make decisions, which is why you needed it at all.
Make sure you check out our other small business articles for more advice.