As a small business owner, your number one goal is to make a profit. You might feel like your business could make even more money if you expanded to another location, a larger storefront or took on more clients. While that may be true, nurturing business growth while also enjoying a high return on investment (ROI) requires a strategy. There's no better place to start strategizing than with raw data.
You can use your own data or research trends online to uncover important insight. Start by learning some data insight examples that you can analyze and use to grow your business.
What Data Insights Can Google Give?
Google Search Console will show you the search engine queries for which your website currently shows up in the results pages. The "Impressions" column will show you how many people had the opportunity to click on your website after entering that search query, while the "Clicks" column will show how many people actually chose to do so. Meanwhile, the "Position" column shows where your website was displayed on the results pages (a lower number is better).
You can do many things with this information. You can optimize your website to rank higher in the results for a more diverse range of keywords. The higher you rank, the more likely people are to visit your website. If you run an e-commerce store, this can mean a direct increase in sales.
You can also use the search queries from Google Search Console to show you the kind of products or services people are searching for. Are people looking for a service that you don't offer but could? Add it to your repertoire! Google Trends is another data insight tool you can use to analyze popular searches and topics.
What Are People Buying?
Perhaps you're interested in expanding your inventory in order to include more popular items and thus generate increased sales revenue. It's a great plan, but first you need to know what people are already buying.
Start by analyzing your own inventory. What sells best? Are there similar items that you could add to your stock or perhaps cross-sell or up-sell?
Next, take a look at the best-selling items on popular e-commerce stores like Amazon, Walmart or eBay. What kinds of brands or products are selling like hotcakes? Look for opportunities to grow your own store by offering similar items.
What Are People Showing Interest In?
This type of data insight is closely related to what people are searching for on Google, but in this case, you'll put social media under the microscope. Explore trending hashtags for brand names. Find brands with large followings and a lot of engagement. What seems to be their main draw?
You can also keep an eye out for user-generated content (UGC), which shows people using products in everyday life, and for brands with high ratings on social sites like Facebook or Google My Business.
Approach social media research with some caution, however, because it can be all too easy for companies to falsely create an image of "hype" by paying for likes and followers or partnering with influencers for product placement.
Who Is Your Main Audience?
Run a customer analysis using data you've collected from sales, surveys or social media to understand the demographic currently contributing to the success of your business. Recognize and nurture this population with additional items or services that they'll find useful.
But you can also think about branching out and targeting an entirely different group of people with a new line of products or services. You'll need a branding strategy to help connect with a new target audience, but clearly understanding who you're reaching and who you want to reach represents the perfect opportunity for business growth.
Cathy Habas specializes in marketing, customer experiences, and behind-the-scenes management. Cathy has contributed to sites like Business and Finance, Business 2 Community, and Inside Small Business. She served as the managing editor for a small content marketing agency before continuing with her writing career.