How can I use business intelligence to improve my marketing strategy?
Author Natalie Weaving
Tues 13th March 2018
How can I use business intelligence to improve my marketing strategy?
Before we into the nitty gritty of this blog, simply put, business intelligence is a buzz word for data. Moreover, data should be the foundations of any business plan or marketing goal. Without some form of business intelligence, you are merely throwing caution to the wind while making a pinky promise to yourself.
For a startup, gaining business intelligence should be your first goal. You need to work out what works for your business and what doesn’t, and that takes time. Everyone has to go through that learning process. To speed that up, you can talk to more established businesses, get specialist in to help or hire a business coach that will use their knowledge to push you through that pain barrier.
However, for this piece, the assumption is that you have some data, and now you want to know how to use that business intelligence to improve your marketing strategy. We are going to break it down into five analytical areas, and give some examples of the business intelligence behind it. We say examples because each business is different and sweeping statements do not always apply to all.
1. Website stats
Most businesses will have a website at some point. The moment that website goes live is the moment you can start collecting data about your audience. The key areas we recommend looking at are:
NUMBER OF VISITORS
Analyse your visitor data in two ways.
- Total number of visitors
- Returning V New
Without getting too hung up on the vanity of big numbers, really dig into what you are trying to achieve. Is it to get in front of as many unique people per month? Is it to encourage customer loyalty and so returning visitors are vital?
Whatever your goal is we always compare the current day/week/month with the previous day/week/month. As well as the same period a year ago.
Why? To see if you are growing and start to plot trends in your business.
For example, we know in August and December our traffic and leads through the site tend to drop – summer holidays and Christmas. On the flip side, we see huge spikes of growth in September and January. As long as the numbers are higher than the previous year, an expected dip in traffic doesn’t always have to be a cause for concern.
We always look at web stats holistically, for example, a massive spike in traffic can be cause for celebration. However, if this newfound traffic it is accompanied by a significant rise in bounce rate (as explained below) it’s a big fat false positive.
“A bounce is a single-page session on your site. In Analytics, a bounce is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session.” Source
Bounce rate requires more in-depth analysis and understanding as those websites with a blog and high returning visitors often have a higher bounce rate. Why? People will come and read their weekly dose of info and then go about their day.
If you are an e-commerce website, you would expect longer browsing times and need to encourage people to do this with ease through design and UX. For service-based industries, encouraging engagement can be more tricky, so hyperlinks and enticing calls to action are required to obtain a ‘conversion’.
Examples of conversion could be:
- Filling in a form
- Signing up for a newsletter
- Downloading a brochure
- Purchasing a product
Again, your focus here should relate back to your business and marketing goals.
How are you being found by your website audience?
Organic search (SEO), social media, online advertising, referrals from another website? Don’t forget to ask this question when people contact you via email or the phone, as people often have seen your business via various touch points before reaching out.
All of this information is useful to build your business strategy and to plan for any investment in activities that seem to be working for you.
For Example. You may spend hundreds a month on pay per click activity which generates a significant amount of traffic to your website. But do you consider the bounce rate here? Traffic means very little if it isn’t engaging with or converting in some way on your site. Look at the traffic that social media marketing generates and what your bounce rate looks like – is it worth investing more time and energy here? Consider encouraging your teams to become employee advocates on social media and watch the results roll in.
2. Social media stats
Your social media should have set objectives. If you are not sure how to set these, we recommend reading our blog on social media objectives before diving into how to pull business intelligence from your efforts.
At the risk of repeating ourselves, we have already covered social media KPIS in detail which includes the what, where, how and why of social media measurement. Beyond the insights of these social networks, as above, we highly recommend referring back to your website statistics and looking at the bounce rate for each platform.
3. SEO stats
You can learn a lot from auditing your SEO on a regular basis. From the keywords that the site has been found under, through to the number of new links you have pointing to your site. SEO business intelligence is a minefield, so we will try to keep it brief.
Search console will detail the keywords that your website has been shown under and significantly, those that have provided traffic to your site. Ideally, the keywords you are targeting should rank highly here. However, you will also see other words and phrases that you may not have thought of that are relevant to your business but are drawing in traffic. These words could form the basis of a content strategy to help you climb the rankings.
A deeper SEO audit can show if you have missed opportunities to optimise your content and where you have missed keywords, i.e. headers, images and SEO titles.
While growing your backlink profile and trust with Google, you also need to keep an eye out for any unwanted backlinks – which you can do via search console. While quality backlinks improve your domain authority, one shoddy one can undo all the hard work.
4. Email stats
Many businesses use email campaigns to keep in touch with their customer base. With the GDPR legislation coming into force this May, if you have started to collate a list, make sure it is compliant!
Beyond that look at your stats to see how your emails are working. Open rates, click through rates and referral data is all business intelligence that you need to look at in line with your goals for the specific campaign. To get the most out of them, ensure that you are segmenting and personalising the emails where possible to get the most out of your efforts.
Again, you will see ‘Email’ as an acquisition type within your website stats. So as well as pouring over the analytics within your email platform, marry these up with your website stats to measure conversions by ’email’…. and again, don’t forget the ‘bounce’. If you are investing hundreds or thousands a month on email marketing, make sure you can see measured results… don’t simply look for the big number.
Beyond the website, SEO and social media business intelligence we have already spoken about the statistics you can also be looking at here are:
- Engagement with the relevant audience
- Increase conversations that turn into leads
- Press, media, speaking and guest blogging opportunities
As we have stated throughout this blog, business intelligence is the only way you are going to know what is working for your company from a digital marketing perspective. The stats do not (often) lie, and by reviewing them periodically, you can get an idea of what you need to be doing more or less of and what your audience is looking for.
Need a bit of help gathering up your marketing intelligence. Speak to team TFG who can carry out various audits of your digital marketing with advice and recommendations.
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