How #BigData Can Transform Your #Sales

Big data, cloud computing, AI and machine learning are all popular buzzwords these days. Nearly everyone is talking about these technologies and how they can be leveraged to provide benefits to a variety of companies.

In a general sense, big data can absolutely transform your business operations for the better. It feeds into a concept you should know well, called business intelligence. Through the technology, an endless supply of information is generated about your business, employees, customers, products and impact on the world at large.

This data, when used appropriately, is the end-all be-all for achieving ultimate success and improving sales. Before that can happen, however, raw data coming in must be analyzed, processed and converted into a more usable format.

How Big Data Becomes Actionable

There are two types of data that a business has at its disposal, one of which is less useful. The first type is raw data, which comes unstructured and in its original form. The second type is processed or organized data that is actionable and ready for use.

A major difference between raw data and usable data is that the latter provides a great deal of insight into whatever process, party or component you are studying. A huge swath of customer performance data, before being processed, might show something more generalized and simple — people like a certain product best, for example. However, diving in closer and analyzing the trends or patterns within datasets can reveal so much more.

Suddenly, you understand who it is that likes said product, why and what they’re using it for. Also, you can break your audience down into niche segments to better understand what they’re after. It’s even possible to see how they react after receiving your products or services, and how that affects their future relations with your company.

Closer to the real world. Companies or teams that use quotas and sales targets to measure performance can benefit greatly from data analytics. Target-setting is not the same as forecasting, so it’s vital you get the numbers right. By looking at existing data, you can more accurately choose these goals, honing the process over time to find the best marketers or salespeople.

Of course, these are just a few examples. There’s a lot more you can learn from the right data. The point is just that customer data and insights can help you understand your audience better, allowing for more accurate and informed decision-making. It also leads to a greater opportunity for success.

Some of the enhancements data analytics offers include:

  • Segmented and accurate audience targeting
  • Location-based analytics that relate to a particular place or region
  • Dynamic pricing opportunities that take local events into account
  • A reduction in customer churn, boosting retention and loyalty
  • Enhanced customer relations through better understanding
  • New business and upsell opportunities
  • Guaranteed or successful marketing trends

Using Data to Unlock Opportunities

Spending on big data technologies had surpassed $57 billion by the end of 2017. By 2020, it is estimated that every person on Earth will generate 1.7 megabytes of data per second. That’s an insane amount of digital information being generated on a consistent basis.

It’s becoming more and more common for companies — across all industries — to leverage the kind of big data, cloud computing and AI platforms that offer huge returns in business intelligence. Digital information is constantly flowing, with or without your express attention. As people tap into local networks, apps, online experiences and digital platforms, these systems continue to collect a multitude of user data. It’s a byproduct of the digital age, and you can put all of it to use, provided you know how to understand it.

Since that information is already flowing, it’s equal parts easy and convenient to access and extract more insights from it — this is the ultimate goal of business intelligence.

How You Leverage the Data Is Crucial

It’s not about how much customer information and data you’re collecting, because today it will essentially be coming from everywhere. It’s especially helpful that people carry a smartphone on their person at all times, resulting in even more intel-gathering opportunities.

Instead, it’s all about how you process and leverage the data you have. You could be collecting huge swarms, but it’s not lucrative in the least if you don’t know how to put it to use. You’re just going to be wasting a lot of time and resources.

It’s not a question of whether or not data can transform industries, specifically modern business. It’s more the question of how. Learn to process and understand it efficiently and you’ll be well on your way to improved revenue and better customer experiences. Big data can — and will — transform sales in many ways, providing better opportunities for your employees and improved experiences for your customers.

Bio: Nathan Sykes is the editor of Finding an Outlet, a source for the latest in IT and business news and trends.

Rating Data and Local SEO: Turning Reviews Sites Helping You Further

Buying online products or services is always intimidating for me. And not just me, consumers mind get flipped with the following sort of questions:

  • Is the seller legitimate?
  • Is the product reputable?
  • Could I get this item at a lower price elsewhere?
  • Am I likely to be scammed or dissatisfied with my experience?

You faced it somewhere while contemplating a deal. Didn’t you?

To most of us, the next logical step is to look around what others are saying about the seller and the product. Of course, we Google that.

Statistics:

  1. 72% of buyers don’t commit purchases until they have gone through reviews –Insights from Testimonial Engine.
  2. 93%of local buyers consider online reviews to make their opinion about a company –BrightLocal 2017 report.

If you Google “flooring companies Vancouver bc”; Yelp will be the first search result.

It’s just one query; there are a lot. Every industry keyword with every location – Google loves to rank Yelp at the first page.

Embracing Yelp

Yelp comes as the first name that’s so much synchronized with local ratings and reviews. With an average of 138M site visitors every month, its 206th most popular website globally according to Alexa.

While the site has nearly 4.7M visitors daily, it results in 200K calls daily to businesses. Statistics say that 98 percent of Yelp users made a purchase from a business they found on Yelp.

Well, Sites like Yelp, YP, Hotfrog or CanPages do have an impact on businesses. And these rating websites seem a good thing for your business, right? Leaders like Stigan Media suggest retailers go for Digital Ads this holiday season. They should bring more foot traffic and page views on your website.

Do a check.

Here’s the deal with rating and review sites.

Yelp, YP, or Angielist are more of competitive battlefields,and they use to stack businesses right there among each other making it easyfor buyers to comparison suppliers. A couple of bad Yelp reviews can easilymake Yelp users move to another store. If your listing does maintain a highrating, competition is still fierce.

Data Proof: Studies have concluded that only one five star difference on Yelpcan influence the user’s decision to choose one service provider over another.

Let’s consider an example to understand the behavior of Yelp’s Sphere.Let’s say the agency, DC web design Ottawa paid for a potential buyer to click on a search ad, and the paid click can get user’s attention on another competitor on Yelp. You can feel the risk. It’s just areal barrier local service providers handle.

They pour efforts, time and their money into beating out the competitors to get their advertisements in the top-ranked pages with the sole intention of getting valuable clicks, and ideally converting them into customers.

But that’s not enough.

Savvy online buyers land on a service provider’s website. Then they’ll move to Google Places, or Yelp or Angie’s List where they can verify that whether business and services are credible. They’ll compare reviews, prices and customer services with other competitors before finally making the decision to purchase.

Wait. Is this thing a solution?

What’ll be the outcome if visitors referred from paid clicks don’t have to leave your website to see what others are saying about your services? Can a strategic stream of ratings or reviews embedded on your website make the difference? Yes, it will work. Many businesses enforce this thing in their UI design. It would surely enhance users’ experience, put your credibility easily visible and further help visitors making their decision to purchase.

Possibly, this can help you build credibility and trust with the many visitors came from social platforms or paid clicks. This would remove any chances of getting land your paid visitors to your competitor’s listings.

Encourage more and more of your existing customers to leave you feedback on Google maps, Facebook Page, Yelp, Angie List, YP and elsewhere.

Some tips to get it done in a well manner:

  • Don’t do it manually. When data is less, you can put it manually. But in the case when you’ve bulk data to upload, it becomes time taking. Embrace marketing automation applications that enable webmasters to smoothly integrate ratings into the website and update them as soon as you get new reviews.

  • Don’t try to do all reviews five out of five. Feed some average ratings between the perfect fives, so you appear more authentic and trustworthy; rather than looking like a manipulative guy with customers’ reviews.

  • Some clients do reviews their own even before you ask them. Either they are extremely happy with your work or they have complaints to show to others. Try to get the ratio of pleasant reviews/angry notes as high as possible.

An average user goes through seven reviews to buildhis mindset about a company. Google seems to give a decent weight to reviews inlocal rankings. It’s one of the major ranking factors when an agency like SVPruns a local campaign. What are your thoughts on it?

Aggregately, users go through seven online reviews before building an opinion about a provider. Google also seems to allocate an immense weight toreviews when it comes to ranking local web pages. They consider it as one oft he intrinsic factors when an agency like SVP runs a localized search campaign.


Written by Shyam Bhardwaj, blogger and SEO analyst.

Why You Need to Use Behavioral Segmentation

How do you current and potential customers find you? That is the conundrum for every company in today’s day and age. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to have a location, or to have a location that’s close to others who might add synergy to your business’s stability.

And while technology might seem like it would be an easy way to garner a wider, more solid core of customers, in fact websites and email aren’t enough either. Add to the mix social media (and the realization that one site isn’t enough either) and you’ve got a very confusing mix of how to reach people.

 But luckily, data has given us some insights into what we do need to know about our customers—not just where they live but what their lives look like and how their internal lives work, too. So how do you segment what you know and what you need to know? This graphic explains it.

Why You Need to Use Behavioral Segmentation

Which One Is Better – Digital or Old Fashion Marketing

One of the questions that concern the majority of modern marketers the most is the one regarding the ROI of traditional marketing in the digital world. Most importantly, what they want to know is whether it’s worth it to invest in the old fashion marketing in 2018, in the first place. Unfortunately, this is not a question that has a straightforward answer. Why? Well, because it all depends on your industry, the nature of your business and the specific situation/effect you need to deal with.

For instance, there is a speculation that about 50 percent of all small businesses don’t even have a website. Now, characterizing all of these business owners as non-tech-savvy or stating that all of these businesses are non-profitable and non-efficient would be outright wrong. In fact, about 41 percent of them claim that this decision doesn’t come from the fact that they can’t conduct a proper digital marketing campaign (or couldn’t at least outsource this function) but due to the fact that they don’t really need it. Nevertheless, it’s impossible to dispute the effectiveness of digital marketing in 2018.

1. Digital marketing has better analytics

The first thing you need to understand is that digital marketing has much better analytics than its traditional counterpart. John Wanamaker, one of the titans of the industry back in the day claimed that half the money he invested in marketing was wasted, yet, that he could never reliably know which half. Nowadays, this is no longer the truth. You see, through various platforms and tools, you can reliably know just how many visitors your website received, how long were they there, as well as where they came from. Aside from this, you can also study separate demographics and, in this way, figure out which methods give the best results on which demographics.

On the other hand, with the introduction of concepts such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and the increasing influence of biometrics in the digital world, this might soon change. What we mean by this is that we could soon have a similar insight into the effectiveness and properties of the old-fashion marketing tricks and methods. Needless to say, exciting as this may sound, this is still quite far down the line.

2. Traditional marketing is mostly non-intrusive

The next thing you should understand is the fact that the traditional marketing tends to be quite non-intrusive, especially when compared to a digital marketing. Think about it, every time you receive an email from an unreliable source, you feel like your privacy has been violated. After all, how did they get your email? This happens even if you did give them your email and then forgot about it soon after. With traditional marketing, such a thing doesn’t really happen. A person walks by a billboard or receives a leaflet, which is something they consider normal, even mundane. This means that their defense mechanisms are still down, which, directly influences your potential success rate.

3. Specific scenarios may mandate specific needs

Another thing you need to keep in mind is that there are some scenarios in which you can’t apply to a certain group of marketing methods. For instance, imagine hosting a stand at a show and being forced to decorate your stand. Without promotional materials like flyers, brochures, signs or a durable mesh banner, you wouldn’t be able to do much in terms of on-spot branding and customization. You don’t even have to have banners and signs specifically made for the occasion. You’re bound to have some extras in the storage room or, if the need arises, you can remove them from one location in order to display them in another. It really is that simple.

4. Reach is in favor of the digital

One thing everyone has to recognize is the fact that digital dominates when it comes to the reach. Even when it comes to retail and offline sales, it’s inevitable to mention the power of digital marketing. According to one statistic, about 78 percent of all offline sales come as a direct result of local mobile searches. Even when it comes to regular stores, you have no way of knowing how many people checked prices online before deciding which store they should visit. Therefore, even the smallest and the most localized of businesses can benefit from an online presence. Not only that but they might even find local SEO to be incredibly cost-effective.

5. Digital provides a customized user experience

Probably the most significant advantage of the digital marketing lies in the fact that it offers every user a customized experience. Just compare TV to services like Netflix (or even YouTube). The reason why the first is on the decline while the latter two are on a rapid growth is due to the fact that they give their audience full control over the content they browse.

Sure, some would argue that online ads may act in a more “traditional” sense (with a strong negative connotation), yet this is easily solved with a plugin such as AdBlock which is something that about 30 percent of all internet users resort to. When it comes to content marketing, on the other hand, the only reason why someone would click on the link is if they’re genuinely interested in the topic discussed. Once again, one could argue that this is not the case with click-bait and black-hat, in general, yet, with the current state of Google algorithm and anti-black-hat measures, this is no longer as big of a problem as it was in the past.

In conclusion

As you can see, the question of whether you should go for digital or traditional marketing is an absurd one, to begin with. The successfulness of your digital marketing campaign can be enhanced by promoting it through traditional means, while a giveaway of promotional materials can be multiplied by doing so online. In other words, each of these methods gives by far the best results when multiplied, meaning that it’s by far the best to go with both. The best thing is that there’s literally no reason for you to choose. Just make sure that your marketing budget can take it.

Traveling for Business: 5 Ways to Make it Hassle Free

If you are like Tom Stucker who has flown more than 18 million miles in his life as a business executive, then you may already know all the travel tips. Alternatively, if you are just starting out, then use these five tips to help you manage your corporate travel. Even if you are a pro, reconsidering the basics can never hurt as you may have forgotten key information over time.

Use Analytics

You need good travel analytics to make sure that the amount of traveling that you do is worth the effort. Look for business travel management companies that have elements designed to keep travelers safe and can help deliver emergency messages. Consider a company that has a variety of tools available with a special emphasis on mobile tools. The best analytics examine many possible factors before arriving at the best scenario and presenting it to the business traveler.

Choose a Travel Credit Card

Booking all your travel on one credit card often allows you to rack up points faster. These points can then be exchanged for things that you would normally pay for like free miles, hotel stays and dinners. Check your company’s travel policy to see if you can use your points to treat yourself while traveling.

Pack Light

If you can get all your stuff into a carry-on bag, then you have more options if something goes wrong. You can grab your carry-on and head to another line at the last minute if weather or plane trouble prevents you from catching your original flight. Once you board a flight, consider putting your carry-on in the overhead across the aisle from your seat. This allows you to watch so that other people do not accidentally grab it or smash its contents.

Count on Airport Lounges

If you are a frequent traveler, then choose to fly as much as possible on one or two airlines. This will give you access to their lounge. Depending on your credit card, you may also have access to some lounges. These locations usually have free food, drinks and quiet places to work. Some even have showers for the traveler who does not have enough time in their itinerary to head to a hotel.

Pick Your Hotel Room Carefully

Try to choose a hotel room that is not on the bottom floor, but is low enough that most emergency vehicles will be able to reach your location easily. That is often on the first 10 floors or so in well-developed locations while it may only be on the second or third floor in less-developed areas. Provide only your first initial and your last name when you are making reservations. Make sure that all windows and doors lock properly.

Following these simple tips will help you become a business travel pro. When all else fails, count on your own intuition as it will become stronger as you gain even more experience. Soon, you may be like Mr. Stucker and flying over 2 million miles each year.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

eCommerce Metrics You’re not Looking at but Should be

Nowadays, there are various ecommerce stores available to online consumers. What’s more, there are countless new ecommerce businesses being opened each day. With such a strong competition on the market, it’s difficult for businesses to truly stand out and ensure that their target audience will pick their store to do business with. That’s why many ecommerce stores are tracking their business performance, in order to determine if their store is managing to grow and develop further.

After all, the primary goal of every ecommerce business is an increase in sales and for that you need customers. However, when tracking business metrics, a lot of ecommerce stores tend to track metrics that don’t portray business performance the right way. That way, when profits start to decline, business owners are unable to understand the reason behind such a decline. Therefore, here are a few ecommerce metrics you’re not looking at but should be.

Conversion rate

Many ecommerce businesses neglect conversion rate as a primary metric that should be tracked. The goal of this metric is to show you just how many people are actually converting into customers. With that in mind, you should have a clear picture about whether or not your marketing campaigns and other efforts are actually efficient in driving business goals. As you already know, the purpose of marketing is to engage your audience in different ways and eventually encourage them to make a purchase at your store.

If your marketing efforts aren’t able to do that, then you’re simply wasting time and resources on an ineffective marketing campaign. That’s why conversion rate is such a valuable metric to look at. If your conversion rates aren’t as good as you need them to be, then it’s time to re-think your approach and improve your marketing efforts.

Cart abandonment

Cart abandonment rate is a metric that many ecommerce businesses forget to track. Still, this is one of the most important metrics you should be looking at. As a matter of fact, cart abandonment rate has reached 75.6% for ecommerce stores globally. That’s 75% of lost sales. The main reason you must track this metric is that it shows you if there’s an outstanding issue your customers have with your check out process, which makes them abandon the cart altogether.

In most cases, these issues can be high shipment costs, additional fees customers weren’t aware of, lack of security measures on the check out and so on. All of these issues force your customers to abandon their purchases, which can have a significant negative impact on your sales and revenue. Tracking shopping cart abandonment metric allows you to identify the main issues your customers are having and fix those problems. That way, you can remind customers of abandoned shopping carts, as well as inform them that the issues have been resolved.

Website traffic

Another important metric that’s oftentimes neglected is the website traffic. Website traffic shows you how many visitors you have on your ecommerce store. It also shows how good your efforts are at driving leads to your website from various media channels. The more website traffic you have the more chances of you making a sale. However, the number of website visitors itself is not as important as the origin of the website traffic.

For instance, if you’re using services, such as a Shopify agency, to endorse your ecommerce store, you’d want to know how your website visitors are finding your store. Moreover, you want to know which sources the visitors are originating from. This will show you which marketing channels are best suited for your business. Understanding your website traffic will allow you to focus your efforts on strategies and channels that will yield more qualified leads for your ecommerce store.

Customer acquisition and lifetime value

For ecommerce stores, the one of the most important factors in business success is sales. However, there are expenses you must be aware of to ensure that you’re actually making a profit. For example, if a single customer made a purchase totaling of $200 at your store, it means you made a sale and revenue. But, if it cost a $300 on average to acquire a customer, then you haven’t really made any profits yet.

That’s why it’s important to track customer acquisition cost (CAC) and customer lifetime value (CLV) metrics. Customer acquisition cost shows how much it costs your company to acquire a single new customer, while customer lifetime value shows you how much revenue your ecommerce store generates from that customer during their entire lifetime as a customer. If your CAC is higher than CLV metric, you won’t be making many profits. That means you must work on customer retention strategies to ensure that customers are actually bringing in more value than it costs you to convince them to make a purchase.

There are plenty of metrics that businesses can track in order to assess the overall performance of their company. However, it’s difficult to decide which metric will actually show viable results. That being said, metrics that are most commonly overlooked by ecommerce stores often turn out to be the important ones. That’s why it’s important to understand which metric will actually bring value to your ecommerce store and track it regularly, in order to ensure business success.

Guest author, Raul Harman, is a B.Sc. in Innovative entrepreneurship and has a lot to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing. While he’s not enjoying football and great food, you can find him on Technivorz.com

Into the Future: Leveraging Customer Data to Grow Your Business

When it comes to getting information, there is no lack of data available. In fact, the amount of data available on every individual in the country, not to mention the world, is growing by leaps and bounds every day.

Gathering data is one thing, but actually processing that data into a useful, coherent picture is a whole other issue. With AI, however, even that is becoming more and more possible. The final step is understanding how to take interpreted data to grow your business. Here are 5 ways in which you can leverage customer data to secure growth and success.

1. Identify holes in the market

Some of the most profitable businesses in the world leveraged a gap in the market. They found product or service that was not currently available and made it so. There are two ways to go about this, however.

The first is to listen to clients and consumers to identify their needs. The second is to come up with a product idea and try to sell the public on its merits. Needless to say, creating a product people are already looking for is a far easier sell than trying to convince them they have a genuine need for your product.

This is where big data can help. It can analyze hundreds of sources, from social media to customer surveys and questionnaires to customer feedback on competitor’s websites to determine what the common themes are. What are they commenting about, complaining about or requesting again and again?

Armed with this information, you can tailor your product line or service to meet the needs of a consumer base not yet currently getting its needs met.

2. Market testing

Perhaps one of the most frustrating aspects of marketing has been the lack of truly comprehensive feedback about what marketing materials or campaigns were working and which weren’t.

While you may have noticed an increase in sales after a particular marketing campaign or drive, getting truly detailed information about where specifically your campaign was having the most impact was next to impossible.

Today, however, with advanced analytics, you can get detailed insights into exactly which campaigns are working and which are not and in what sectors.

Analytics can tell you what efforts are resulting in likes or clicks and which are actually being converted into sales. In addition, analytics can give you detailed information about demographic responses to determine if you have actually appropriately identified your target demographic or not.

It may turn out that the teens you initially targeted your campaign towards are not the actual consumers buying your product, but rather their moms. This information can help you find better tools to get your marketing to the right groups.

Analytics allow you to tweak, tailor and fine-tune your marketing efforts on-the-fly to supercharge their effectiveness mid-campaign.

3. Targeted product offerings

Data doesn’t just tell you what products people are buying, it tells you who is buying them. Buying preferences not only tell you a lot about your consumers, but they can also help you make specific product offerings that they may be interested in.

This can also be a good way to build good relationships with partner businesses that offer products that are complimentary to yours. If someone buys a certain pair of shoes or a bag, you can offer a cleaning or storage solution for them. If someone buys an electronic device, you can recommend a case or a charger for it.

Data can also tell you how to target market products for certain consumers. For instance, if 5 out of the last 7 products they purchased were all purchased in red, then when you send them product offerings, you can make sure the product offered is always pictured in red.

AI, analytics and automation are designed to work seamlessly together. By utilizing each tool, even the smallest of businesses can tailor their marketing to an individual and specific client or consumer.

4. Keep up with minute-by-minute changes in the market

You’ve probably noticed that almost all gas stations now have digital price boards. This is because gas station owners had to manually go out and change gas station prices every day based on current market prices.

In a market where prices are constantly in flux, however, digital boards allow an automated system to change prices numerous times each day to keep pace with fluctuating market prices. Analytics offer the ability for other businesses to adapt this same model.

Every day, events around the world can have a direct impact on your business and predictive analytics helps you stay on top of moment-by-moment events that can be so significant for the future of your business.

Say a revolt in China leads to the shutdown of a factory that make a component you depend on to create your own product. AI can alert you to this immediately so you can in turn immediately find another supplier so there are no delays in production.

In some cases, having this information first can help you lock down a contract before a competitor jumps in and starts a bidding war. Having necessary components while your competitor does not may lead to them no longer being able to offer product that you now can.

While targeted product offerings and analytics are nothing new, AI is growing by leaps and bounds to allow even the smallest of businesses the ability to take advantage of some of the tools giant corporations have been using for close to a decade.

Smaller businesses also have an advantage in that they often have smaller consumer bases, which allows them to use AI and automation to personalize their marketing and product offerings in ways big businesses can’t touch. This means that today’s small business has an opportunity like never before to compete with corporate giants.

 

Jasmine Williams covers the good and the bad of today’s business and marketing. When she’s not being all serious and busy, she’s usually hunched over a book or dancing in the kitchen, trying hard to maintain rhythm, and delivering some fine cooking (her family says so). Reach out to her @jazzymin88