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Data mining and what it means for your business

It’s incredible (and a little scary) to contemplate how much information is actually available about human beings via our interaction with the digital universe. With every tap on an internet link, every click of a mouse, every time you tap ‘like’, ‘learn more’, ‘send’ or ‘buy now’ with your name and contact details, you’re leaving behind a trail of clues and a pattern of behaviour that big data mining software can collect, unpack and apply to…well, to what?

Each of us leaves countless clues behind about ourselves through how we navigate the net. Your pet’s name, your favourite restaurant, the car you drive, the location of your last holiday? These facts, or similar, are all captured and stored in there somewhere, along with your bank account details.

The collective amount of information available about each of us is a huge mine that has, in basic terms, come to be referred to as ‘big data.’ Our search histories, social media posts and browsing habits leave trails for marketers.

Over the last decade or so, extremely smart data analysts and software developers have worked together to create packages that trawl through these landscapes of endless user statistics, searching out nuggets of information that help us gain extremely valuable insight about how consumers interact with our business: the brand, the products, the services, the staff and so on.

These software packages and analytical tools come in different forms and can help your business in numerous ways.

Customer Relationship Management

In the field of marketing and sale, customer relationship management tools (CRM) where your sales force gets to record and input data directly that can help you stay in touch with your clients based on their buying histories are pretty ancient, but still effective for a smaller concern. Most CRM systems today are automated, collecting and collating data on your behalf. They draw information from your website, via emailer and other digital subscriptions, call centres, live chats, social media and so on.

A good CRM system can prompt a company to connect with an individual customer based on previous interactions with that person, or with another business. Like any software that’s been around for a while, CRM systems have continued to gain traction and been modified and improved upon over time, to function more effectively. They have also become more affordable.

A CRM system can help you generate messaging to keep existing relationships and grow new ones. Automated messages can be sent that offer discounts, announce sales and promotions, and so forth.

It all depends upon the scope of your business.

Having a customer database and managing it well is essential for almost any enterprise, whether you bake cupcakes from home and sell them in the neighbourhood, or run a multi-national that sells toothpaste, tooth picks and life insurance, amongst myriad other products and services.

Google Analytics and Facebook Ad Manager

Another side of data mining is those tools that help us analyse how clients or potential clients interact with our digital presence. Take good old Google and its statistical reports - always an excellent and affordable starting point for any business, as subscriptions are nominal, depending on the depth of information you require.

Track, monitor and measure users’ behaviour and interactions with your website. Which pages are most visited? How long do viewers stay on a page, before scrolling on, or clicking away? Facebook Ad Manager is another. Which Facebook posts performed best? Is paid advertising on Facebook working for your business or not?

But mastering even these basic platforms takes time and effort. You need a dedicated staffer who does it properly to make it count and actually deliver a return on investment. But be warned – data and user analytics can be compared to becoming your own dentist – paying the experts is recommended.

If it’s done right, it can transform your business and stimulate growth and relationships. If you outsource to an agency to generate and analyse the reports and make recommendations to improve your approach, you pay for it. But then you’re paying for experience and expertise that can add real value.

User interface and user experience

There are incredible data mining software tools available these days that actually show the experts who know how to use them, for example, how particular users have interacted with a website. Like Google, these tools tell us exactly where people are from, what time of day they visited our site, how many times they visited, which pages they visited, etc. But they go a step further. They actually record the user journey and allow us to replay it.


So that we can check whether any improvements to the user experience can be made. We can determine, by analysing these user journeys, whether certain information is easily accessible, whether calls to action are strong enough and correctly placed and also gauge which of our products and services are most attractive to visitors.

These tools allow us to tweak and tinker with emailers, web page, etc. and ensure that users are having the best experience possible. The more attractive, accessible and usable or digital marketing content is, the more likely we are to grow our customer base.

Search Intent

Internet users have a motive when logging on. They want information, they want to buy something, they want to do comparisons. If you can figure out how to tap into all these motives simultaneously, you can curate the content of your digital presence to catch them all and guide them to your site.

Data Mining isn’t rocket science, but it requires a methodical approach and constant study and refining of content. It’s about observation and maintenance. It requires time and dedication and experience to figure out the kind of information you want and how to apply what you learn to improve your brand.

If you don’t have the time or the inclination, there’s always someone around who can assist, including us.

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