September 25, 2016

Analytics Software for Small Business: 20 Insights


analytics

Choosing the right analytics software for small business is no small task. The right tool can help you gain helpful and actionable insights that can really grow your business. For some tips on choosing the right provider and catering it to your needs, take a look at the list below.

There’s More than Just Google

When you think about analytics solutions for your small business, Google Analytics is likely the first name that comes to mind. While it has a pretty solid hold over much of the analytics market, especially for small businesses, it’s far from the only provider out there. Look into some alternatives to Google Analytics before you actually make a decision.

Think About the Data You Want to Use

One of the biggest factors you’ll need to consider when it comes to choosing an analytics provider is the type of data you need to maintain and grow your business. For instance, if you focus mainly on search traffic, then your search should focus on search terms and similar features. But if you’re more concerned with keeping people on your site, then you should be more concerned with features like bounce rate.

Pierre DeBois, founder of Zimana, said in a phone interview with Small Business Trends, “The key is to think about what you want to track and what provider has the most closely related offerings in terms of tracking capability.”

Consider How You Normally Convert Leads

If you’re not sure about the most important types of data that you should focus on, it may help to think about the ways that you normally convert leads. If you normally convert leads when people first visit your site, then some basic data might do the trick. But if it often takes multiple visits, then it could be beneficial for you to be able to track those visits more closely.

Take Your Marketing Mix Into Account

For that reason, you also need to think about how you normally bring people to your site in the first place. If you’re able to track the effectiveness of ad campaigns or search engine visitors, then you can see which methods are most likely to bring in and actually convert customers.

Choose One That Will Work with Your Ad Campaigns

If you regularly use an advertising platform to bring visitors to your site, it can be beneficial to have an analytics provider that is set up to monitor traffic from those campaigns. For instance, Google Analytics can monitor campaigns from AdSense. So if you use that platform often, it may be worth your while to choose an analytics provider that tracks it.

Consider Where You Want Your Data Stored

Another important consideration when picking your provider is where the data is going to be stored. Many cloud based solutions like Google Analytics just store the data on their own servers and give you access to it. But there are some other providers like Piwik that allow you to actually store the data on your own servers.

Pick a Format that Works for Your Needs

Alternatively, you could go with a provider that offers a SaaS type product, rather than a cloud based solution. You just need to think about who needs to access the data and where. Then choose the type of solution that will be most convenient for you and your team.

Research Implementation

Different types of solutions also tend to have different methods of implementation. There are cloud based solutions that just require adding some code to your site. And then there are software programs that are a bit more complicated. So make sure that whatever you choose is something that you are able to handle.

Think About Real-time Reporting

Real-time reporting is a popular feature with many analytics services. If it’s important that you have access to data as soon as it’s updated, then this is likely a feature that you’ll want to make sure you have.

Look Into Support and Training

It can also be beneficial to look into the type of support and training offered by your provider. Adapting to a new solution can be complicated. So it can be helpful to have access to info about all of the features and how to use them, along with support for when you run into issues.

Choose a Program that Fits the Size of Your Business

With all of the different options out there, you can choose anything from a free solution with a few basic features perfect for a new website to an enterprise level offering meant for large corporations.

And One that Fits Your Budget

Those different levels also often come with different price tags and pricing models. While price shouldn’t be your main consideration, it is important to pick one that fits with your budget.

Think About How You’ll Interpret the Data

Aside from just thinking about the different types of data you want to see, you also need to think about how you want that data presented. Some providers offer actual actionable insights, while others allow you to interpret the roungh data in your own way.

Customize the Program to Your Needs

Many providers also offer different customization options. So it may be beneficial for you to choose a provider that offers you the option of really making it your own. That way you can focus most on the features and data that are most relevant to your business.

Integrate with Your CRM

Some providers even offer the ability to integrate your analytics with a CRM program like Salesforce. This can allow you to keep better track of returning customer habits over time so that you can really nurture and grow those relationships.

Set Up Alerts

With some providers, you can also set up alerts to let you know about different trends or milestones as they happen. Some even give you alerts if there’s activity that seems abnormal so that you can make sure there isn’t anything wrong.

DeBois explains, “A lot of the providers have done a better job in the last few years coming up with diagnostic tools so that you can see in your account or get support to let you know if there are a couple of things that seem out of sync that might require your attention.”

Consider Who Should Receive What Data

You should also consider what you want to actually do with your data. If you don’t have team members who are focused specifically on looking over and analyzing your data, then you’ll need to make sure it gets into the hands of the most relevant people. Whether you give them access to the actual account or just send them reports or insights is up to you.

Train Your Team

Whoever is in charge of looking over your data, or different parts of it, will need to know the best ways to use it. Make sure they have access to any relevant training and make sure that you’re on the same page when it comes to making any changes based on the data.

Be Proactive With Your Marketing Efforts

Analytics can be an important part of your marketing plan and the overall success of your business. But you need to actually use those insights. So once you’ve chosen a provider, make sure that you have a plan in place for tracking relevant information and using it to update and grow your marketing plan.

DeBois says, “You have to be proactive when it comes to your marketing. It’s a big mistake when companies just throw analytics code onto their website and are satisfied just having it there and not really thinking about it. It may be okay to let it sit there and gather some data if you’ve just launched. But if not, you have to think about it as a real function of your marketing plan.”

Monitor Reports Regularly

Different businesses will have different schedules when it comes to monitoring their analytics data. But it is important to regularly look over the data and figure out what it might mean for your business. Once you make any changes based on the data, make sure that you monitor those changes closely as well.

Analytics Image via Shutterstock

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Annie Pilon - Staff Writer


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird, and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

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3 Reactions

  1. Aira Bongco

    I am looking for an analytics tool for competitor backlinks. Although Google is free, I think that I should look into other tools to find what I need.

    • Hi Aira, have you tired Ahrefs? In my opinion it is a little pricing but it is a good tool for you to see who is linking to your competitons. You can receive a free 14 day trial.

      Let me know if this help 🙂

      Naomi

  2. Thanks, Annie! Comprehensive. Analytics and data gathering is so relevant nowadays. We live in a data age. The questions is how to use it wisely. I work at UserEngage.io (https://userengage.io) and I would just add that from our experience it is all about user personalisation. It’s the key to use best of analytics tools. Afterwards, you have to use it wisely and keep it up to date. There is nothing worse than keeping users and customers updated and stop it one day, then. It’s about to send the direct message, e-mail or triggered message to exact user, let’s say living in Paris, about exact product or service we want to offer. Using analytics and keep user tracking is like a must do, definitely.

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