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Oh yes, we have data. We’ve got data about our data. Every tool, app, and reporting mechanism is churning out mountains of data with each customer click. But then what do we do with it? How do we leverage it? Which data is important and which is nothing more than a blip in the black hole of data a.k.a “The Databyss”?

Analyzing data is all about comparisons and assumptions. By comparing current data to past data, we’re able to make assumptions based on logic and reason. From there, we create stories to explain it. For instance, you’ll never REALLY know why people tend to read your emails between 5-7pm on weekdays, but we could assume that it’s because your target audience takes the bus or a train home from work and may use those hours to catch up on email. Without attempting to define tendencies we might as well not even have the data in the first place.

Your Business’s Data Is Unique to Your Business

CRMs and Google Analytics can give you lots of data. The trouble is, everyone seems to act like all data is created equal, but it’s not. There is good data, which is leveragable, and then there is bad data that you can’t explain and should be left in The Databyss to rot. (Contact us for a marketing analysis and we’ll dive into your data and extrapolate consumer tendencies and next-steps.)

SPOILER ALERT: Most of the data you get from digital marketing is literally useless — it bears no real worth because it does not enable any strategic decision-making for your business. The opportunity, then, is to identify which data, in the mountains you have, makes logical sense and can be leveraged.

Leveragable Data

This is the exciting data that inspires action items and shifts in strategies. It’s comparative data. It exhibits patterns. For instance, if one of your blogs gets more views than all the rest but very few click-throughs, you should change the CTA and repost it. If one email resulted in a high open rate but also a high amount of “Unsubscribes” then your subject line is probably good but misleading.

This identification, narrative-building and decision-making process is the 3-step way to optimization.

How to Identify Leveragable Data

This data will pleasantly surprise you. It’s the stuff that you weren’t expecting and can force you to adapt your strategy. Try to identify outliers that you can’t quite explain, and then imagine the most logical reason for their existence.

Worth noting – If you’re a small startup and you’re only seeing a few dozen web visitors every month, don’t pay too close attention to your data. It will lie to you. It is not statistically significant. Your own employees are probably skewing your traffic anyway (Don’t forget to suppress your IP addresses!).

Optimization Is a 3-Step Process:

  1. Identify Leveragable Data
  2. Use Logic and Deduction to Build a Narrative
  3. Implement Data-Driven Decisions

Examples of Data-Driven Decision-Making

You can’t change your data, but you can react to it. If social is driving lots of traffic, figure out which social platform they’re coming from and focus on that one. If you really love Twitter but all of your traffic is driven from Facebook, admit Twitter defeat and double-down on the big blue book.

If you’ve been blogging for 2-years at a strong cadence and organic traffic still shows no signs of SEO movement, or readership, you have a few options, but sustaining the norm is not one of them:

  1. Change your subject matter
  2. Target different keywords and rethink your SEO strategy
  3. Reconsider your content value
  4. Hire a writer because you need a different tone

You can’t change your customers’ tendencies, but you can adapt your future strategy. It’s important to know when to shift gears. Not every marketing channel will work for your brand or industry and it’s difficult to know when to cut your losses, but interpreting bad news from the data is just as important as understanding the good stuff.

Be Honest About Your Email Marketing Data

Have you been sending out emails for a year and slowly watching as more and more contacts unsubscribe? Is your open rate dwindling? Is your click-through-rate abysmal? Yes, inbound marketing is a numbers game, but at some point you have to realize the war’s not over but the battle is lost. Change your approach. Try including a completely different value in your emails. How about an inline video? Maybe funny industry tweets? Try many things, because the time you spend on emailing contacts should be time well spent. It should be efficient. It should bear fruit. It should give your customers value. If it isn’t, then something is wrong and change is needed. After all, repeating the same act and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Don’t be insane. React to your data.

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