Carrying out research to gain insights on your products, services, target audience and marketing is best practice for business or marketing strategy. There are two overarching types of research - quantitive and qualitative - that you can conduct in order to listen to what really matters for your business.
Big companies spend big bucks every year doing just that. But don't sweat it, as a small business, research can be simply done. And most importantly it can be done at no cost, aside from time. Read on for more information on the different research types, and my tips on how to conduct these for free.
QUALITATIVE RESEARCH involves opinions... speaking to a small group of people and asking for their thoughts on whatever you are researching. It will give you a deeper understanding of that audience you are talking to.
My tips on how to collect this data as a small business:
QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH involves numbers... what statistically stacks up based on the options given to a wide sample of people. This type of research will give you a clear topline understanding of what an audience likes/dislikes.
My tips on how to collect this data as a small business:
Overall, my top tip for small businesses when it comes to research is that you should run a survey to your target audience / customers with both quantitative and qualitative questions on at least at annual basis, just to check you're still serving your customers as well as you can.
If you have any questions then please comment or get in touch with me. You can find more digital marketing top tips over on my instagram.
Cookies are a cornerstone of using the internet and, ultimately, provide enhanced user experiences, both directly on sites and via effective data usage by the companies using the cookies.
But how do these magical little nuggets of information actually work? Here is a quick overview:
1. A website/host sends a text file to the user's device to be stored. This contains at least a unique identifier for that device and a reference to the website.
2. The website/host checks for the presence of this information when a user visits. It basically acts as memory for the website, as web servers have none.
3. Information relating to the behaviour or personal information of that unique identifier are then captured.
This can help with everything from remembering preferences, identifying an audience in Facebook, serving retargeted ads, creating your Google Analytics data to providing pop-ups at a relevant time with a relevant message.
They are clever little things, these cookies!
As you build the amount of traffic you are driving to your website then it is important to be able to compare campaigns to figure out what is working.
The way to do this is to start using tracking parameters in the links you use to your site. These are codes that you add to the end of each link to tell Google Analytics where the visit has come from. The most basic of these are:
Once you start to use these parameters you'll be able to tailor your reporting to look at specific channels / campaigns, and compare them against each other. The most basic form of this can be found under Acquisition > All Traffic > Source / Medium. You can also add the parameters as 'advanced' filters on many reports or use them to build a segment.
Complete consistency in the parameter information format you use is the most important thing to remember. In fact, it is best to think these out before you start so that you'll be able to report using the same parameters over time.
Ask yourself these questions and then base the tracking you use on it:
You should only have a few sources, a handful of mediums and many more campaigns. Here are some examples:
If you are new to using Google Analytics tracking parameters then their URL builder is a really helpful tool to ensure you’re adding the parameters correctly. You can find this here: https://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/campaign-url-builder/
And with that I'll sign off with a fun (?!) fact; UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module, a legacy from the platform Google Analytics is built from; Urchin WebAnalytics Software.
*Please comment or message me with any questions or feedback. Thanks!*
You may or may not have heard the term 'GDPR' banded about recently. This effects your business if you hold any personal data what-so-ever. I can't think of many, if any, businesses that don't!
GDPR stands for 'General Data Protection Regulation' and it is a new set of data protection rules that are being implemented across Europe from 25th May 2018. That's just over 8 weeks from when I am writing this (in other words, very soon!).
From a consumer's point of view it is a great initiative as data protection is so vitally important. Currently in the UK we are far behind many other countries as we haven't updated our data protection laws in 20 years. The new 'Data Protection Bill' is the UK's iteration of GDPR and looks set to stand strong after Brexit.
From a business point of view this could prove a real headache, but there is no way around it. Here are the basic headlines:
There will be fines for anyone who doesn't comply so it's definitely time to make sure you are up-to-date and ready for the changes,
Here are some resources that go into more detail:
The ICO 12 step guide to compliance.
The ICO's full guide to GDPR.
Wired's brilliant summary of the changes.
The CIM's webinar on the changes and how this effects marketers.
If you come across any great articles, have any tips or any questions please do comment and let me / other readers know. Thanks!
Here are some tips and tricks for effectively using Social Media, Email, Advertising Search Engine Optimisation and all of the other digital marketing channels.