Big data is data sets that are too large or complicated for traditional data processing software to deal with. Amongst other things, big data can be used to improve customer service, tighten up management operations, and help formulate targeted marketing campaigns. Many people assume that big data is just for global scale or larger businesses, but that is not the case at all. If you can use data to improve your systems, then it is worthwhile regardless of the size of your company. Here are 6 examples of how big data can help small businesses.

1. Track existing leads

Establishing where your existing customer base came from is essential to allow you to examine the strategies and marketing tools that have worked better than others. Once you know where your customers came from, you can analyze the data and focus on doing more of the stuff you know works. Marketing can be costly, particularly for a small business, so it’s important to spend money in the right places. Make sure your customer advisors and sales teams are asking the right questions – the more data you have, the easier it is to analyze.

Making sure your leads are organized is just as important. Have some kind of key in place to categorize them. You may, for example, have hot leads for clients you know are ready to purchase straight away or those you know are interested but aren’t ready yet. You may find, after proper analysis, that many of your existing leads are ‘dead’ ones. Perhaps they contacted you months ago and, despite regular attempts to interact, they have not been in touch. It is often better to close these leads so that you can better focus on those you think will convert.

2. Web analytics

Web analytics is the method of tracking and reporting on traffic to your website. Information such as session duration, bounce rates, and the source of your website traffic can be analyzed. This will provide a clearer picture of what your web visitors are looking for as well as what drew them to your website in the first place. Conversion rates can be focussed on, marketing campaigns adapted, and website landing pages reconfigured based on the analysis of extractable data. Whilst the likes of google analytics can help, there are specialist companies that offer various big data services such as web analytics, which can be tailored and monitored to suit your exacting requirements. Your website holds a mine of information at your fingertips. Make sure you use the data as a tool so you can work to your optimum level.

3. Product development

The feedback you obtain about your products is crucial for future development. You can analyze your sales data to find out which products are your highest in terms of repeat business. Timelines between purchases will give a rough indication of how long each customer is using the product. It will also give you good insights into products that do not seem to be as popular or not selling as frequently as others. If you can get existing customers to give detailed feedback on their experience, as well as their views on the products they purchased, this data can also be used for product expansion. For example, you may have a product line that is proving so popular that consideration needs to be given about expanding that line and discontinuing another.

4. Customer Relationship Management

CRM’s can prove exceptionally valuable to any business, regardless of size. It’s an ongoing database of information relating to every client or prospect that has made contact with your business. Information is stored, updated, and analyzed and can be used in various ways. Sales teams can use more focussed strategies based on the information held about each customer. It can also assist with after-sales issues to ensure that any ongoing issues are analyzed and rectified. You can extract reports noting any outstanding issues and categorize them geographically or departmentally so that you can better establish from where the issues may be arising. CRM systems also allow reports to be produced that can help with quality control problems that may have arisen. Perhaps you keep having issues with one supplier or one product. This data will make issues such as these apparent quicker, which can save you time and money. The possibilities are endless. If the data is present, then it can be extracted in various forms.

5. Accessible information

Cloud storage is now extremely affordable to the masses, which makes it possible for even the smallest of businesses to use it. It’s extremely useful when you have multiple employees working remotely as the information needed can be accessed by more than one person at a time. This can also make it far easier to work on team projects.

Centralized filing systems holding company data also help business become more flexible with working arrangements for staff.  It makes it far easier to allow members of your team to work from home from time to time and can create a better working environment all round.

6. Social media analytics

Social media analytics allow you to measure the performance of your current social media strategies. There is a wealth of important information that can be obtained. You can analyze typical response times and obtain reports across all of your social media platforms. If you want to carry out live engagements with followers you can. They offer a host of other great features to – some free, some not. It might be worth trying out a few of the free options first so you can establish what information is useful and what might not be as important to you. Big data is a very powerful tool for any business regardless of size. If you use the data to plan your future growth and remedy any historic issues, it can help your small business to grow. Use it wisely and it will become an asset you can’t do without.