Years ago, the only way to get to know your customers was to ask them questions face to face. Today, the internet provides a wealth of information right at your fingertips.
In this lesson we’ll explore how online data can be utilised to develop your business as well as how to combine online and offline data to maximise results.
Collecting and analysing data should be a key part of your business strategy, and should regularly factor into your overall approach. The better you understand your customers and business, the more targeted and efficient your marketing efforts can be.
Because we are surrounded by so much information, it’s important to have a targeted strategy to get the answers you’re looking for. A good way to do this is to break down your digital data into the two groups: quantitative and qualitative.
Quantitative data is anything that can be numerically measured, like the number of people visiting a website or the amount of sales a site makes in a month.
Qualitative data is essentially any descriptive information that you can't put a number to. This could be people’s opinions about a new product, or the sentiment and language people use on social media when talking about a brand.
The right approach will vary depending on what information is most relevant to your business scenario. If you want to know how people feel about your products or service, take a qualitative approach and ask them directly. If you want to know something quantitative, such as the amount of time someone spends on one of your blog posts, use an analytics tool to review that specific metric. Often, combining quantitative and qualitative data will provide you with a richer overall picture.
So where can you find all this data? Quantitative data can often be pulled from tools such as Google Analytics or from the analytics features offered by most social media platforms. This can be great for finding out information about demographics, search habits, and the journey a customer has taken across your digital assets.
Alternatively, qualitative data is often gathered through connecting directly with people, such as having a review section on your website or asking customers to fill out an online survey.
Combining different forms of data is a great way to identify what is working and what isn’t, and can give you valuable insights about who interacts with your business.
Online data can also be used to complement your offline business approach. For example, offline data like in-store customer surveys, can be combined with social media poll results to give you a more detailed picture of customer needs and opinions. This allows you to make informed business decisions - from deciding the time of day to post on social media, to understanding how to improve products or services.
In your own business scenario, try using a mix of quantitative and qualitative approaches to help build a clear summary of your activity. Have a think about the benefits of digital data and make sure you are collecting the relevant data you need to help inform those big decisions.
- the differences between quantatative and qualitative data
- how online data can be used to complement your offline business approach
- common ways to collect data.