The Best Resources for SMEs Grappling with Big Data

Written by Zac Johnson
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Big data represents one of the most valuable assets any business can hope to gain. It offers a map to your market’s behaviour, and the insights you need to be able to predict the direction in which your target market – and, by extension, your business – is heading. 

One of the toughest problems for SMEs, however, lies in properly gathering and utilizing these massive stores of data. Everything you do online, from making sales to interacting with internet users via digital marketing campaigns, will yield significant insights into the heart of your industry, but finding the time to gather, sort, analyze and utilize that data keeps many from realizing its full potential. 

Read more about some excellent resources for dealing with big data, below. 

Email Marketing Software

Email marketing boasts an enviable list of benefits. While not the most labour-intensive or costly tool for digital marketing, it targets one of the most valuable userbases to which you have readymade access: your existing customers and subscribers. By maintaining an open line of communication with this userbase, and opening up new dialogues during seminal moments in the growth and development of your business, will prove invaluable – provided you can grapple with the data your campaigns gather overtime. 

The same goes for affiliate marketing, which enables the same line of communication while also bringing a financial benefit to you. Utilising software in this ongoing process will ensure that each step is streamlined and targeted towards the right users. You can easily check out how it could help your business to stay on top of this platform, and to curate – and, more importantly, utilise – the data your efforts will yield. 

Google Analytics

Your site is your storefront, but, in the real world, it is much easier to monitor and interpret customer behaviour than it is when you are simply staring at your home screen and witnessing the rise and fall of digital sales throughout the day.

Google Analytics is a free tool that can offer significant insights into the behaviours of your site’s visitors – for instance, where they came from, what devices they are using (mobile or PC) and what your bounce rate is. This offers the opportunity for significant progress, both in terms of increasing site traffic and honing your external marketing campaigns.

Surveys

While surveys are not able to rival the sheer quantity of information housed under the term ‘Big Data’, there exists a growing body of research expounding the value surveys hold when utilised in tandem with it

In this view, big data can be seen as what is gathered organically – for instance, the ratio of subscribers who open your emails, vs those who ignore them or unsubscribe as a result of receiving them. Survey data is manually gathered – it does not hold the same raw organicity – but it can be used as a tool for contextualising big data and broadening your understanding further. It can also be guided by big data, which means that your ability to communicate directly with your users is enhanced, and words are not wasted on questions to which you already know the answers.

Big data is invaluable to all businesses, but knowing how to understand it – and, more importantly still, to put it to use – is an art form in and of itself. Like any specialty, it demands a whole host of resources that will ensure that nothing is wasted, and that every element of your online activity is put to use in order to further your efforts, and gain access to the very heart of your digital audience.

CrazyEgg 

Google Analytics is a wonderful web analytics tool for any business with an online presence. However, it can’t solve every possible online analytics need. You may need to use more specialized web analytics tools for things like UX optimization. 

CrazyEgg  is a very impressive web analytics tool that was developed by Neil Patel. This tool is great for  monitoring user behavior, which can be incredibly important for improving conversion rates. 

There are a lot of ways that you can benefit from using CrazyEgg.  One option is to look at different elements on your website landing pages, such as images and CTA buttons. With CrazyEgg,  you can see how your visitors respond to them. You can change elements and remove any that seem to be too distracting. 

Here is an example of an insight that some companies have found with CrazyEgg.  They would put an image on their landing pages to make it look more engaging. With this web analytics tool, they would find that visitors were unexpectedly trying to click on the image more than the button. They would add a hyperlink to the image, so that it would accomplish the same function as the button itself. Other companies would simply remove the image altogether or reduce its size to make the CTA stand out more. 

ActiveData

ActiveData is a very important ad-on for Microsoft Excel.  This tool can be very useful for tracking conversions, but the same purposes can be applicable for other issues as well. 

One benefit of using ActiveData is that you can help fight fraud more easily. In particular, this add-on is useful for tracking internal theft. This is a benefit that you can’t afford to ignore, because employee pilfering accounts for  almost 30% of all business failures. 

Sage Accounting 

Accounting is one of the least favorite parts of running a business for most entrepreneurs. Few people want to spend a considerable amount of time crunching numbers and tracking the amount of transactions that affect their cash flow. 

Unfortunately, you can’t afford to ignore the importance of sound bookkeeping. You either will need to do it yourself or pay a large amount of money to hire a professional bookkeeper. The latter may not be an option if you are running a new business with limited resources, so you need to find a way to manage your own bookkeeping without taking up too much of your time. 

New advances in data analytics have made it a lot easier. A number of new accounting tools have reached the market, which can simplify your bookkeeping and save you a tremendous amount of time. 

Sage Accounting is one of the best big data accounting tools for small businesses. It is an excellent option for entrepreneurs that don’t have any employees. This tool does everything from income documentation to reconciliation of bank documents. You can get all of the great features for just $10 a month.  You will have access to even more valuable features if you plan to upgrade to the $25 a month plan, which is still a lot cheaper than hiring a professional. These other features include forecasting cash flow and generating financial statements. 

Sage Accounting is a major breakthrough in accounting analytics for small businesses. It is a great option that you probably should not overlook.

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