Pierre DeBois is the founder of Zimana, a small business digital analytics consultancy. Since 2009, Pierre has conducted analysis for various small and medium sized businesses. He has also been involved in lead specialty projects such as being a technical editor for Pearson/Que Publications and developing an analytic metrics whitepaper for Pitney Bowes. Previously, he has provided his business and engineering acumen at various corporations such as Ford Motor Company. As a guest blogger for CODE_n he shares his insights related to web analytics and its impact for small businesses.
In a recent Forbes article, Harvard Business School Associate Professor William Kerr noted that global entrepreneurs “have to think much earlier and much faster.” With big data on the lips of every entrepreneur and business manager, such speed and fierce competition can make such a big picture seem so far away. But that big picture vision is directing businesses to profitable segments and operations faster.
To get the picture, start-ups should examine its initial steps with analytics. A rigorous application of web analytics can let your start-up form useful initial assumptions when pursuing big data enterprises later.
If you think web analytics is just for websites, you are half right. Web analytics stems from website development, originally meant as a diagnostic tool for webpage and server concerns. But the importance of analytics has increased exponentially over the last few years. Mobile device usage combined with new programming advances has transformed websites into a conduit for understand how people are reviewing your business and what actions customers are taking as a result. Thus analytics has value in organizing basic segments that are a building block for more advanced analytics associated with big data.
For your startup a few ways to begin leveraging using analytics exists. Initial steps really require some organizational effort against your start up objectives, but over time the reporting should inform your start up on how well it is adhering to strategy and where it should pivot its operations.
- Identify how your web presence will be laid out. Web designers use wireframes to lay our each page navigation, but if you are technically challenge you can do so on a piece of paper. This will also help assess cost not only in launching but in maintaining associated features such as a microsite for an app or a shopping cart for e-commerce.
- Choose material that can be downloaded and shared easily in social media – these are typically tagged, but they have value as sharable information in social media, a contributing source of big data. Understanding where the material is engaged can help a start up learn what discussion online are potentially useful to join.
- Identify website goals that can reveal how well visitors are navigating on the site. The initial segments that are revealed can be a baseline for advance segmentation ideas.
- Plan your marketing beyond a search engine optimization. Search traffic is helpful, but you may need to select digital marketing campaigns that are tailored for audience segments. For example, Google and Bing offer enhanced paid search campaign, a selection feature that tailors paid search ads appearance by time of day and by device.
- Consider dashboards that will let you combine data sources. In the early stages of a start up, combining data may be a secondary concern. But as segment trends develop later, a start up may need to add additional data source to create a full picture and inspire new offerings. Dashboard resources run the gamut from plugins for Excel to data visualization and modeling applications like Tableau.