You already know that SEO plays a large role in driving traffic to your site, and attracting potential customers. However, you might not know that the data you collect from those visitors can also be a huge benefit to your business.
That data, be it average page views, or the ages of your site visitors, can be a gold mine of information that you can use hook your visitors after you have drawn them into your site, increase the loyalty of your existing clients, and reduce the chances of your clients going somewhere else.
Making Sense of Your Data
Before you can even begin to use your data, you need to have some way of collecting, cataloging and managing the data. Some website building applications have built-in data mining capability, but you often need a third party tool like SharePoint knowledge management to actually manage the metadata. There are also companies that specialize in collecting and analyzing data, however they are often much more expensive than doing it yourself.
Regardless of which method you use, once you are able to collect and catalogue your data, you can then use one or more of the following methods to analyze your data and boost your bottom line.
1. Basket Analysis
If you have a sales site, with a shopping cart, ‘basket analysis’ looks at the items that your visitors have purchased – or placed in their shopping “baskets” – to determine which other items might be of interest to them in the future
Basket analysis doesn’t just track what people buy, it can also track which payment methods they use, how often they return items and why, and how often they cancel orders, all of which establish the buying and spending patterns for your customers. Once you can recognize these patterns, you can start offering specials and deals tailored to specific customers.
Amazon.com is a good example of basket analysis at work. You need an Amazon account to order products, and Amazon keeps track of everything you put in your shopping cart. Whenever you log in to Amazon, your personal page shows items that you have purchased in the past, and it also shows similar items based on what you have put in your basket. It will even show you items that you have put in your basket, and then decided not to order, with suggestions that you complete the purchase.
2. Sales Forecasting
Sales forecasting is kind of like basket analysis in that it looks at what people have purchased, but it takes it a step further and also looks at other factors to determine how soon the customer will buy the same item again.
For example, if you sell office supplies and you have a customer that orders boxes of paper, sales forecasting might look at the customer’s previous buying habits, the number of pages in the box of paper, and the dates of previous purchases to determine when he will place the next order. It also looks at other customers for the same or similar items to determine how many people buy paper at a specific time, and when they might be buying again.
3. Database Marketing
Database marketing looks at customer demographics and psychographics and requires you to actively collect data from your customers, such as through surveys – as opposed to passively by observing customer behavior at your site, or collecting information on purchase patterns.
Database marketing can give you a lot of information on your customers, from where they live to their favorite flavor of ice cream when they were five years old. It all depends on what kinds of questions you ask and how you collect your data.
Database marketing can help your business because it will actually allow you to tailor products and services specifically to your customers, based on the demographic and psychological profiles.
4. Merchandise Planning
Merchandise planning looks at merchandise trends within your store – what people are looking at, what people are buying, and what people are ignoring. It can tell you when you need to rotate stock, offer items for sale, introduce new items or discontinue items. Collecting and analyzing this data works whether you have a physical store, or an online shop.
For a physical store it can help you determine the placement of merchandise, time sales, and even determine if you can open another location. For an online shop it can help you make decisions about ordering and warehousing merchandise.
5. Market Segmentation
Market segmentation is essentially dividing your customer base into segments by demographic information like age, race, occupation, and gender. It helps you see which groups are buying, what they’re buying, and how. It can also help you market better to those segments that you wish to attract.
Collecting data from your customers allows you to deliver more value to them, which in turn influences them to buy more from you.
The key is in having a good data management system in place that can take that data, make sense of it, and run the analysis that you need. Whether you use a piece of software, or hire a company, tapping into the wealth of data that you collect on a daily basis can push your company ahead of the competition.