Data is both everywhere and accessible.
In fact, data is more accessible now than it ever has been before. Unfortunately, many small business owners are overwhelmed at the thought of trying to use data to enhance their business. While huge companies like Google can afford to hire several of the best data scientists from all around the world, small business owners often feel like they just can’t compete.
However, they couldn’t be more wrong.
Just because you don’t have a $100,000 data scientist on call doesn’t mean that you can’t harvest data that will raise your bottom line. Let’s take a look at 5 ways that your small business can use big data to improve performance.
Use Route Optimization Software
As a home service business, it’s likely that your employees are out in vans and trucks for a lot of the day. For many owners, they give the crew the address of the house or business and send them on their way. From their, who knows which way they go. Maybe the put the address into the GPS, maybe they take a route from memory, or maybe they take the scenic route. While your crew might not give the route that they take a second thought, the route that they choose affects your business more than you might think.
With route optimization software, you can determine the most cost-efficient route for your crew to take to every destination. It’s more than just finding the fastest way between two points.
With route optimization software, you can account for things like:
- The amount of turns or intersections on the route
- Left turns (you have to cross traffic)
- The best or closest driver to send out
- Traffic and congestion by time of day
- The route that provides the best approach or access
Taking the most efficient route saves you both time and money.
Use Facebook Data
Facebook and data are synonymous. Over the years, Facebook has focused more and more on collecting data from its users, which is great for businesses. Let’s take a look at a couple of ways that you can use data from Facebook to better target both your customers and your potential customers:
- Once you get some people liking your page, you can then use their data to help find other people who would like your page. Since Facebook knows things like their interests and activity, you can then create a lookalike audience that targets people who are similar to those who have already liked your page.
- Facebook has a great analytics program built into their platform called Audience Insights. You can access this free tool through the Facebook Ad Manager. With this analytics program, you can break down your page visitors by things like age, gender, lifestyle, relationship, and just about anything else that you can think of. All of this helps you narrow down who your most frequent visitors are.
- With cross-channel marketing, you can use outside platforms to help you improve your Facebook marketing. Some people have success with advertising on Google or Bing but can’t nail down their Facebook campaigns. Cross-channel marketing helps you use keyword-driven traffic from Google but on Facebook.
There are countless ways to use big data in your Facebook marketing campaigns, and it’s up to you to figure out what works the best.
Use Call Tracking to Turn Print Ads Into Pay Per Lead
Generally, I’m not a huge fan of print advertising. It’s just never worked out that great for me, and I don’t think that the returns justify the cost most of the time. However, there’s a way that you can turn the traditional print advertising model on its head so that it works for you (and for the print publication).
It starts with using call tracking software. For those who have never heard of it, call tracking software is a great way to track how many phone calls you’re getting from each of your advertisements.
I personally use CallRail.
With CallRail, depending on the level that you purchase, you get a certain amount of different phone numbers (10, for example). Each one of the phone numbers then redirects to your actual business phone numbers. However, the software tracks where each of those phone calls. For example, all calls from one phone number would tell you that you’re getting a lot of phone calls from your billboard ad. Besides phone calls, it can also track website contact form submissions (great if you take estimate requests from your website), and text messages, making it an ‘all in one’ lead tracking software for any small business.
Now, how to use that with paid advertising.
Instead of paying the advertiser just for space in their publication, you should tell them that you’re willing to run an ad in their publication if you can pay them for every lead that it generates.
For example, you’ll pay $20 for every phone call that you receive from the ad. If the advertiser originally charged $1,000 for a month of advertising and you get 600 phone calls, that means they’ll make $200 more than they would have otherwise.
It works out for both parties.
Pay Per Conversion – Not Per Click
Pay per click often gets a bad wrap having a high cost per click. With proper tracking set up, you can easily turn that into a pay per conversion campaign.
Google Adwords offers a target ‘CPA’ goal where you can bid the price you’re willing to pay for an inbound phone call or contact form submission via your website. Google’s algorithms will go to work optimizing to get you the most conversions based on what they are worth to you.
Don’t Be Intimidated
As a small business owner, looking at or thinking about big data can be a little bit overwhelming if you don’t have much experience with it. However, advances in software have made big data super easy to chew and break down even for those with little or no experience.
You can track just about every customer activity these days, and using that information can really help set you apart from your competition.
What do you think?
If you have any questions or thoughts about using big data for your small business, let me know in the comments section below!