The amount of useful data all around us is staggering. It’s so prevalent that likely some of it is hiding right under your nose right now.
Before we continue, what is “data“?
You’re probably familiar with it as an overused buzzword thrown around as a catch all. But for the sake of this conversation we’re going to define data as “information that helps grow or inform your business”
As we explore, let’s think of this data hunt like this:
Imagine that you’re at home. It’s a normal day and you’re getting ready to walk out the door. Can you accurately think through all of the objects you walk past every day? Sometimes some of your most valuable data can be found hidden right under your nose. And it can take the shape of all kinds of things and wind up in places you didn’t expect! Is it hiding underneath that pile of laundry that’s just become part of your floor at this point? Possibly.
And this list certainly isn’t comprehensive either. If you can think of additional areas worth exploring, please go looks through them!
With that as our foundation, we’re going to cover five areas that can be a good hiding place for great data!
1. Your Point of Sale (POS) System
Point of Sales is not typically a place where we’d go first to find things like marketing material. But for some systems, especially newer ones (Like Stripe or Square), it quite literally contains your whole customer list.
What information can you pull from there?
Some systems can give you information like an email or phone number depending on what your checkout process asks for. Some are tied into accounting systems so you quite literally have a full customer profile right in front of you!
Now, you do have to be careful with some of this data, but if someone has willingly filled out a form or checked a box with a disclaimer, you do have full access to use that data.
At the very least it does give you some information to work with as it’s up to you to determine how you can and will put these lists to use.
2. Email Marketing
Do you have an email list? Do you have a way you’re currently using it?
There are a ton of ways we come by emails, whether it’s through form fills, networking, business cards, lists, and if you have this resource available, it’s up to you to determine how to best put it to use.
What would happen if you were able to reach out to an audience of at least partially engaged or interested people with a direct platform to ask them to take action?
We’ve seen this work powerfully with people pulling out that large stack of business cards and just sending out a basic “hey I’m here” email just to see what happens and get results that way.
I’d heavily encourage you to search under the couch cushions and see if you can put together an email list and begin exploring
3. Social Media
Everybody’s favorite, I’m sure. Except this time it’s something much more useful!
There is a feature specifically within Facebook and Instagram advertising called the Lookalike Audience builder. This is a feature when you’re doing any kind of advertising where you can put in basic information about a group of people (name, email, phone), develop an audience based on that, and target similar people.
A good use case would be (using data from your POS system) you figure out who makes up the top 20% of spenders that come to your business. Taking that information, you put it into the builder and begin to target people who are already similar to your highest spenders in hopes of bringing them over into a business they’re already likely to enjoy anyway.
Having that ability creates a great opportunity to potentially skip the cold lead phase in your advertising and just immediately start your next campaign into a group of warm leads right up front.
4. Google Analytics
This is the go-to tool to figure out if your website is doing what it’s supposed to be doing.
Google Analytics works by sticking a tag on your website that follows a user to determine where they’ve been on your website, what actions they’ve taken, and some demographic information as well.
Curious to know where people are visiting from? Are you supposed to be getting an audience in Pullman but it’s really in Moscow, Lewiston, Spokane?
Knowing this data allows you to figure out not only what people are doing and who they are, but it also gives you an overhead toolset to utilize this and do something about it. Do you need to target this budding Spokane audience?
As a troubleshooting tool this also allows you great oversight into individual page analytics. Is the average time spent on your landing page about 2 seconds? Are you sure it’s set up properly? If it isn’t broken, is the messaging wrong? This gives you the ability to find the issues that need fixes and problem solve much faster than a routine page-by-page maintenance day can (though that is still a good thing to do).
5. Your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System
Odds are, unless you’re a decent sized operation, you may not have one of these.
A CRM is a Customer Relationship Management system that allows you to follow essentially the entire customer journey you’ve had with any leads or clients. Or at the very minimum it’s a database of all your compiled customer information.
Whatever your system is (Hubspot, Salesforce, SharpSpring, etc.), if you have the ability to identify over the course of time which customers are most engaged, most loyal, and reach out to them directly, you could be able to create some powerful interactions.
So with this grab-bag of ideas, now it’s your turn. Maybe I didn’t hit anything that applies to you, doesn’t mean there isn’t data hidden under the sink. What areas do you need to explore? We hope you can use this as a jump-off point into your own investigation to find your own high-quality-hidden data!