Beat the Marketing Competition With Data Analysis

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Many experts think that massive collection and analysis of data is the way to retain customers, but in reality, data’s not enough. And while the field of analytics is continuously growing, only 31 percent of CEOs, according to one study, said they felt confident that their organizations were in the top tier of data analytics users.

What’s all this data for? Most companies use it to evaluate performance and optimize programs, but many struggle to determine which data subset is most valuable for understanding consumers and pushing them through the conversion funnel.

Some companies simply decide that large data sets are the most valuable ones. But a mass of unexamined data can harm an organization more than it benefits. What’s most important is collecting the right data and analyzing it effectively.

Surveying the lay of the land

Unless you first understand what data you should focus on, you’re going to find it difficult to identify a problem or its solution. If an organization isn’t sure which interactions influence it customers most, it could face endless troubleshooting while looking for the changes that will optimize conversions and retention.

Not knowing which data points to focus on may also prompt many to rely on “vanity” metrics, such as likes and page views. These metrics provide numbers but offer little valuable information. An increase in visits means only that more eyes ran across a page; it says nothing about engagement. That’s why startups focusing on vanity metrics risk increasing marketing spend and possibly decreasing ROI.

Companies may also experience analysis paralysis when they collect data and assume that actionable insights will magically follow. This can be a big time and money waster for startups on strict budgets with few resources.

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5 Business-Blogging Mistakes — and How to Fix Them

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The year was 2008, and I had just launched an independent financial-planning firm. As a new business owner, I had determined that my number one goal was to stand out. But, how?

Eventually, I stumbled on the concept of blogging. I didn’t know how to blog or how to get started, yet I quickly recognized the inherent value of reaching out to potential clients on their home turf — the internet.

After figuring out how to launch my website, Good Financial Cents, I dove into the various strategies that might help me succeed. I learned everything I could about search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing and creation of content that would be appealing to everyday readers to reach my goal of creating the best financial-lanning blog on the web.

Flash-forward to today: The number of financial-planning blogs has exploded, a testament to what I knew back then: Blogging is a smart way to connect with existing clients and cultivate relationships with new ones.

Further, I’ve learned a lot about blogging, exploring how other industries use the web to reach their potential clients. On the flip side, I’ve seen business blogs that are an absolute disaster — ineffective, generic or simply unable to reach their potential. Here are those lessons and the common mistakes that hold businesses back.

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Craig Simpson’s Top 10 Must Read Books for Marketing Professionals

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Entrepreneur Reads is a series designed to bring to our readers the best books we’ve found to help motivate your entrepreneurial drive. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to be notified of new features.

We’ve asked direct marketer and Entrepreneur Press author Craig Simpson for his favorite books that he believes our readers will enjoy.

Successful Direct Marketing Methods by Bob Stone and Ron Jacobs

This seventh edition of one of the foundational books in the field of direct marketing has been updated to fully integrate web opportunities and methodology. Here you’ll discover all the basics of devising effective campaigns for finding new customers and nurturing existing ones for optimal lifetime value. Each chapter provides a Case Study and ideas for new applications of techniques, making this a full course in designing and executing a direct marketing program that can build a business fast.

Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got by Jay Abraham

If you want to take a great idea and grow it into a profitable business, here’s the manual to help you do it. We are surrounded by unseen opportunities. This book will help you learn to see what’s right in front of you (like the entrepreneur who looked at a ballpoint pen and got the idea for roll-on deodorant!. But having a great idea is just the beginning. Abraham then shows how to take that idea and capitalize on it.

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