Collecting information about online visitors is nothing new - businesses have been doing this for many years as a way to learn more about what their customers want, and how best to serve them. What is evolving with new tech, however, are the ways in which that data can be interpreted and channeled in a useful manner. With the big data technologies that are emerging in 2018, small businesses have more power than ever to adopt an online marketing strategy that not only brings in the right customers, but gives those customers an unparalleled personal experience. If you're new to the idea of big data, find it intimidating, or simply don't see how it can help your strategy, here are a couple of key points that will point you in the right direction.
Gaining actionable insights through pattern recognition.
The data you've been collecting all along has given you a certain amount of information about what you customers do and don't want. For example, your sales figures tell you which products or services are the most popular, and your traffic stats tell you when your visitors like to shop and where they were right before they came to your virtual front door. What advanced analytic tools can do now, however, far surpasses the human ability to spot certain patterns of customer behavior.
This means that if you have a specific issue you're trying to solve when it comes to holes in your online marketing strategy, you can use big data tools to gain new understanding about exactly what your customers want, and what will trigger them to come to you to fill that need. As the analytics tools compare data points and build models to test millions of simulations, the insights that emerge will help you make more informed decisions about how to solve any problems you're facing when trying to make meaningful connections with your target audience.
Using predictive analytics to stay ahead of the curve.
Gaining insight into your current situation is only half the magic of big data. The other half comes with using analytics tools to help predict what your customers will want in the future, and exactly what kind of customers they are likely to be. Through artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques such as natural language processing, big data software tools can spot changes in customer behaviour patterns, extrapolate trends from those changes, and give you incredibly accurate information about what your marketing trajectory should be.
There's often a fear with small businesses that adopting emerging tech will involve a huge financial investment that may not end up panning out. Rest assured, big data is not a fad - it's simply the natural evolution of the information analysis that businesses have been doing for centuries. Holding back only means that your competitors have the option to get there first, leaving you to absorb the cost of being left behind. If you jump in and commit, you're likely to be pleasantly surprised, as the value of knowing what your customers want before they even do is priceless.