How to make analytics well within reach for Small, Micro and Medium scale Business- Our Idea

A popular belief is –analytics and data research is actually for large businesses. Truth is , large  businesses would  have never got that far had they not started analytics as small businesses.”

Scottish writer and poet , in 1910 Andrew Lang said , he uses statistics as a drunken man uses lampposts—for support rather than illumination. Decades later, businesses still use data primarily as a support to decision making. That is  perhaps  the most important and high return functional of  data.

In the words of Max Shron , the analysis of  data really unfolds like a story-similar to a story, a project will always include description on the situation, a rigorous analysis of the need , a motivated drive to conquer the need, hopefully, a happily-ever-after ending (the outcome).

Analytics and business research is a part and parcel of  every business. Standing at crossroads of  decisions and  determined  to make  no  mistake  an entrepreneur always will look into some  insights, tips, research online and consult experts before the  next  step.

A popular belief is –analytics and data research is actually for large businesses. Truth is , large  businesses would  have never got that far had they not started analytics as small businesses.We and our team of data analyst are here to help your small business grow.

Our Idea – Going back to the story-analogy- a data analytics project,  as we  propose at Hedgehog Insights is taking our clients through understanding data , defining what it means to business and executing a process  to see outcomes .

Our Idea

Data Definition  is essentially understanding..

The Need: What specific needs could be addressed by intelligently using data? What will this project accomplish that was impossible before?

Data Sources- Where is this data located. What data should be considered for different business requirements.

Envisioning results- What will meeting the need with data look like? Is it possible to mock up the final result? What is the logic behind the solution?

Linking to Outcome: How and by whom will the result be used and integrated into the company? How will the success of the project be measured?

Analytics Project Execution-

Our  analysts work in association with the client business, co-ordinates with team members and business owners to execute an analytics project and successfully achieve the desired results. The steps in this are:

Designing the Basic framework- Drafting the data conversion concept, overall ideas  about business data  outcomes

Preparing Data for analysis – Data analysis is really about digging deep to brainstorm and reveal insights. But before that it is essential we have the tools ready. Some of the most popular tools we use are

  • Filtering- we know how to cut the noise, to focus  on the most interesting topic.

  • Sorting- Arranging data in order- for some nature, or  class etc.

  • Grouping & Segmentation- summarizing data and  segmenting different  group

  • Visualizing- Bringing data  to life, having data mindfully aesthetic. We are naturally attracted to beauty, so why not make a chart as pretty as possible? Aesthetics can also help make the charts easier to comprehend—pinpointing the resulting action.

 

Analytics- This really involves making sense of  the data. Using techniques and  processes to glean out actionable insights

“Numerical quantities focus on expected values, graphical summaries on unexpected values,”

said mathematician John Tukey. To look beyond  the obvious , we employ innovative thinking into data  with a  focus on

  • Trends and Patterns more  than data points

  • Comparison across segments, time periods matrices

  • Discovering strong relationships using, causal analysis.correlations, statistical test, multivariate analysis etc.

  • Working with multiple perspectives- Data  from different sources bring in different information , add an extra dimension. Having all data from diversified sources analysed on a unified platform to solve a specific business issue, makes analysis extremely robust, reliable and  focused . That’s is adding value to client businesses.

We  hope  these  services  together , make analytics and data  support well within the  reach of  small, micro and  medium scale  businesses and offers  the surest and quickest path to growth. This is our overall idea. We have categories levels of services based on business scale of operation. For details on our services specific to each scale please visit

Contact us for more information.

5 signs to show you are not using the data readily available for your website.

Image

From the moment a visitor clicks on your website to the point the visitor leaves and sometimes even beyond that, every moment is being tracked. Understandably, that means generation and collection of a massive amount of data for businesses  made possible  by cutting edge tools and technology. However what to do with that data has always been a daunting question. Do you really have access to the information and insights it stores. Did your vendors or web analytics team actually unearthered hidden opportunities. Or better, do you have one  in the first place. Our interaction with businesses, corporates and decision makers revealed most are not using this information fully. Listed below are five common traits if you too are among them you would find yourself agreeing.

Trait #1

Your web hosting vendor provides stacks of data- that makes hardly any sense. Either they seem dumb or too overwhelming to put to use. Many questions have always remained unanswered.  Yes that means losing your way in the wilderness of data and you need help.

Trait #2

You  have  split your expenditure on web data  analytic in essentially two halves  or so- that  means 50% of  your  budget buys tools and  the rest are  paid  to hired  analyst. Before a get into how much a good analyst should be paid- let’s ruffle the criticality of having one.  Your tools can collect data fully, summaries it to large extent, but interpret it minimally. While that’s  really the most important , it requires a  human to apply knowledge , experience analytics  methodologies  to really glean out the insights for  your company to act on.

Trait #3

You are into adopting and owning every new tools or technical innovation hitting the market- but often have you thought – why?

Social media is the way to go, Google AdWords is the most powerful.  A paid web analytics is better than a free one. The news every day provides tons of such updates. You were  convinced and moved  to implement tools and methods spent to  create a video , launch a  campaign on Facebook or Google , constructed a  new  high end  website , but little have you know the  outcome. How well is your marketing expenditure converting to increase sales or generate more lead or more traffic.

Trait #4

So what? The question that rise most often when you look at click stream data.

The paradox of data says- no data means no insights but a lot of dumb data also means no insights. Clicks, visitors, visits and seconds spent on your website- So what? What does that mean, who does it benefit and how is a business benefiting, if at all.

Trait #5

Whom are you competing with on the web- the next question on your minds? Are they the same guys you have competed with so far, or are there new competitors?  What are the rules of the game on web and how to make the most of it?

How to Have a great Mix of Keywords in your Keyword Research?

As we know keywords are the building blocks for search engine optimization campaigns. A keyword is by far that essential cornerstone in any SEO puzzle – it lies exactly where an internet user, a business or a search engine meet. Starting with web users who first use a string of words for search, it becomes keywords and gets matched against available content on internet by SEO crawlers. This results to a personalized list of website for an individual that contain those keywords. A list of millions of websites are ranked as per relevancy and importance however only the top 10 on page 1 are visited . The rest are almost as good as not present because hardly 10 % go beyond page 1. All business and website owners interested in high traffic vie for ranks 1-10. And there lies the importance of research for right keywords

So what about keyword mix- what is it to do in keyword research.  Keyword research is listing down top 5-10 (these days an extended list of many more is used) words and phrases that are relevant to a business or its objective. An objective could be to launch a new product, rebrand or remarket or in general popularize products or services. Whatever it is a research is good when keywords or search terms are ones that are frequently used by actual, interested audience. The mix pertains to diversification and inclusion of words from all related quarters.

A good mix contains a combination of high and low competition keyword, all types of search volume (searches per month), locational and language specific, broadly matching an industry and specific to the niche service etc. So how to have a great mix of keywords?

Start with a broad search-

1.       Get broad ideas by typing generic keywords in the Keyword Planner Tool. The result will give search volumes, completion bid etc. Not only for the ones you typed but also related ones.

2.       Ask friends and colleagues-Know how will people knowing about you search for your service

3.       Ask customers and clients- know how people who initially did not know you reached you. Disruption alert- this exercise could help you see what you service mean to others and how customers see it

4.       Check Google Trends for latest and trending topics being searched.

5.       Conduct a rough competitor analysis by typing the competitor URL on Keyword Planner tool and check all keywords that they have been optimized for.

Narrow down the list (some of these could be reputation of steps already used)

1.       Type down broad keywords on Google and Bing and check keywords related list at the bottom of the page. This is search for cat food on Bing:

2.       Use the keyword planner tool again and filer by location and competition (high low medium). Sort by search volume

3.       Type down 2-3 keywords on the planner tool and check out how they compare.

4.       Do the same exercise for Bing and Yahoo and other keyword research tool .

Evaluate keywords

1.       Are these keyword listing your competitors- what are the top 3 websites or pages ranked using these keyword. Visit the pages and check the content

2.       Check out where your page or w website is ranked for those keywords

3.       Do you have  intent of keywords matching any one or more of these- learn, understand, fix, know, visit, buy etc.

4.       Do these keywords have  secondary  keywords that can be derived from them.

5.       What flavor of intent do they relate to- Navigational, Informational or Transactional?

After this exercise, you will hopefully have a list of great keywords which best suits your product or service. Its time now to implement them and check results using analytics or Google analytics SED reports

Analytics and SEO services re  provided by the our brand Hedgehog Insights. Please visit the links.

7 things you should know before starting Keyword Research

Key word Research, 7 important points before you get strted

7 things you should know before starting keyword research.

Keywords are the basic building blocks of SEO. Keywords are what people use to search on search engines, what search engines match with the content on a business site and what businesses should keenly observe and customize their content so as to rank high on search results.

The importance of keywords in SEO can never be overstated and even more is the importance of impeccable research. 7 points to keep in mind before you set forth on this journey.

  1. Business Objective-

Keyword research can get very tricky depending on the business type and the idea being marketed on search engines.

So if an ecommerce of apparels, is  rebranding or e positioning its product to premium quality, or introducing  a new  line of products, the choice of keywords will matter a significantly

  1. Aim to have a better mix of keywords than a long list. By mix I mean diversification. The top 5-10 keywords that your are aiming to optimize your site for should be as assorted as possible.
  • It should include keywords with different levels of competition, varying monthly search volume by web users etc.
  • It should also include keywords broadly related to industry and  specific to the niche value proposition of the individual business.
  • Keywords should also cater to intent of search which could be – navigational(go or land on a  page), transactional (do something) and informational(know something. )

So the purpose of the search behind the words will not just create

  • Location specific to capture local searchers. For example a Therapeutic massage salon will always have customers that are looking for location services
  1. Use Synonyms for an extended set of keyword – The top list of 10 keywords are actually definite ideas or category of keyword you want . The research is not complete without variations  using synonyms .

Google Search engines , uses synonyms to identify, associate and relate the meaning of keywords. So prepare a list of at least 30 keywords , derived from the top 5-10. Make sure to use this in your content for best results.

  1. Keyword research could be disruptive . It could lead you to conceptually redefine your product or service line. This is because when  you are researching keywords, you are not only finding words that people search but  also their intent.

So for eg: the intent of user  searching  for photography  is educational while the  users searching for photographers in a location is perhaps wanting to buy a service. So every time you put yourselves in place of a potential customer- you will discover new ways , terms and uses for your service. So be open to accept or at least critically analyze these ideas during your research.

  1. Keyword research is not one time thing- it siscyclical, progressive and ever evolving ( with time). Certain keywords could be seasonal while others could be too early to optimize your website with.

 So pumpkin flavors is  not that great keyword for cake shops during winter or summer and Google analytics was not a great keyword for web analytics service providers 10 years back when its was just launch and hardly known.

  1. A keyword research should precede content development. Not that content cannot be changed later, but this research is worth nothing without a befitting content.

So its always advisable to complete this exercise before you design your website . As we all know keyword is used not only in the main body of a page, but should also be found  – in H1- headings, page titles, page  descriptions, URI, alt texts and tags of images etc. This gives a unified approach to increasing relevance – which is one of the two ideas behind SEO campaigns.

The other is importance.

  1. The best person to do keyword research for your business is you as no body knows your business better. Even if you entrust another agency, make sure you review keywords carefully . Make sure they are tied to the business objectives .

More coming on DIY guide to SEO  and keyword research, SEO check list and requirement or your expectations from SEO  vendor.

Free Session: Google Analytics Made Easy, Glastonbury, CT

Google Analytics is an oGoogle Analytics Free Sessions by Hedgehog Insightsnline tool for measuring web traffic.

The free service measures a variety of statistics, such as traffic engagement, navigation within websites and actual sales. However, using it effectively is not easy, especially for entrepreneurs who are new to the tool or new to web business.

This interactive session will take you through the different pieces within Google Analytics, help you get comfortable with the tool and, most importantly, present a unique, simplified approach to help you make sense of Google Analytics reports.

Instructor Pamela Chandra, founder of Hedgehog Insights, has performed data analytics with Accenture and Time Warner retail. You can find more information about her work at http://www.hedgehoginsights.com.

Click here to register: http://www.eventkeeper.com/code/ekform.cfm?curOrg=WTML&curHelp=&curID=187653&tEvt=4189634

What is the single biggest mistake businesses make in analytics?

Answer: Losing sight of the single biggest issue on their way to growth.

Here’s what my years of experience in consulting and auditing web business comes down to- challenging the biggest mistake many businesses make while analysing data. My point in writing this piece is also  the same and I believe resolving this  one can resolve many others you face daily trying to get the ‘whole data thing’.

I categorize  it as  the directional issue – wrong direction or lack of it. Better explained as the  inability to understand:

  • Data to track / collect
  • Insights to look for
  • Location of right data
Data , Data Everywhere Not a drop of Insight

A business focus is the foremost requirement in any data analytic exercise.

Let’s understand what I mean with an example.

Q: What do you do when you see spiraling marketing / advertising cost? Do you cut down activities that’s costing you the most?

If you said yes then  welcome to the big club.  You should realize cost is not more  important for business than profit. Cost does not matter much if profit is many times over. Increasing profit is a forward looking attitude , while cutting cost is often looking backwards. If you still believe cost then you should find another job. Otherwise – know that thoughtless cost cutting could be dangerous. It could be that the costliest activity is also getting  highest traffic to your website or your store.  Let us look into web analytics and our marketing activities online.

A  study of Acquisition reports within Google Analytics (with all business goals properly set up) could clearly show  all sources of traffic (Direct, Social, Referral,  Ad or Organic) and corresponding rate of goal conversion.  Also don’t miss relating total goal volume achieved as that will give a  better performance assessment . Add to this an analysis of different campaigns you are running- emails, AdWords, Facebook ads with properly set up campaign tagging. Together these will uncover all those activities that has least return, least conversions or even user session on your website . All of these contribute  to acquisition cost but has least impact of overall sales. These should be your target. These are potential areas to cut cost on. So take a deeper dive- verify your finding and take an action.

Getting back to where we started – the central idea of this analysis is to reduce cost but without impacting business growth. Similarly for every analytics question , I feel its is worthwhile understanding the biggest issues that’s stopping growth.

Author: Hedgehog Insights  visit http://www.hedgehoginsights.com contact: info@hedgehoginsights.com

Can Google Analytics Help – improve traffic to the most important page on your website?

Can Google Analytics Help –  improve traffic to the most important page on your website?

Learn more on WebTraffic

Traffic to the most important pages on your website using Google Analytics

The Answer is yes, Google analytics can help you with all information you need to improve traffic. And not just that. It can also help you see how improvements to that page has performed. Or whether traffic actually increased.

The first and  the most important  thing you need to do –  is tell Google Analytics which one of the many pages on your website is most important to you (after of course setting up Google Analytics). This really goes through a little additional setup called Goal Setting .

While Google Analytics has several types of goal that you can track , the one that will help study traffic our important page  is Destinations Goals. Destination goals tells GA that if there is a  visitor to this page from no matter where- please consider that as a conversion.

Now apparently this may not seem that informative. But if I tell you with this you can also know the number of visits that came in from a specific location like Middletown, CT or the most popular devices visitors used – mobile/ tablet or the channel they took- social media, Google Ads or simple search will that be informative?  Will you know exactly which channel or geographic location to focus on ? Will you try to boost some traffic from these sources or locations.  Will you try to find if your website is optimized for mobile phones  etc. And while doing all this are you increasing your chances of highest traffic to that page? Answer is Yes!

If this looks interesting and you would  like to know more please contact us!. Or visit us at Hedgehog Insights.

The role of Google Analytics in website usability research

food_swiss_army_knife_13_1233178-229pxWebsite usability historically has been about actual voice of users. With feedbacks, user polls, surveys researchers try to understand what users want to see on website and how they use an online interface.  A website built on these lines is often assumed to be   highly usable , highly converting and generating great user experience  , however that’s  only partly true. And I know this because I analyze website before and after a usability test and subsequent implementations.

Unlike usability tests  that gather preference data from a  handful few representing target audience,  web analytics is about tracking  anonymous all web traffic – practically all those who visit the website. So even after  leaving out all unnecessary or faulty information , it can give a good overall idea about demography and  how they generally behave  when on the website.  The tool gives a slew  of reports showing various perspectives of user behavior like – time on site, page depth,  user flow, navigation, content analysis etc. It is  this feature  within the tool that makes it so important for UX researchers.

Think of these reports alone with no  other complex setting the tool is dreaded for and it is practically a galore of  useful information helping you point out the issue– the bulls eye to target your full length usability tests. If we  notice areas of major dip in traffic, high exit or high bounce,  questions like ‘why’ can lead researchers to specific tasks for usability test.

Where as coupled with settings like goals  these same  reports can throw light  on the post phase – basically analyzing  how well were the usability tests insights been implemented , how did the majority of the traffic react to it, did something go wrong with data interpretation and what all this means to conversions. Traditionally , conversions and user experience are  considered two disparate things however I work with the principle they are just two different  perspectives of the same. More on this later.

To understand more on Google Analytics and Usability, I invite you to attend my online session happening Monday May 11th 10:30 am EST.

Google Analytics and User Experience

54ca4222a7048Google Analytics as a tool is known for many good things – it has  many cool features, tracks websites, mobile app , can also describe audience, traffic source etc etc, but one  area  where  it really fails its  users is its usability. It really creates a daunting task, to go past  the 90 odd reports and  numerous metrics to identify one  that should be improved or looked into for issues. That’s where data within Google Analytics and the 95 different  reports can potentially paralyze any analytical mind, not to speak of  first  timers.

For  me too, there is  not been a single day when I sit analyzing  with data and wish has  navigation been any easier. However what drives to go past all this and try to decipher  some sort of insight from a number is really the varied ways Google Analytics measures website performance.  If properly set up it can talk a lot  about audience, demography, , sources of traffic  , onsite  behavior, navigation, landing and  exit page effectiveness and  finally what this all means  to business.

google-analytics-metrics1    And all this together give can give a pretty solid idea about experience visitors take away from websites and  mobile apps. Not to forget, a great user experience is often step on to having a  satisfied visitors who also convert .

As a  heavy user of Google Analytics I have  often found several starting point for  further analysis. At several point data poses this question why ? and leads to further analysis. An example would  make thing clearer

Speaking quantitatively one website I had a chance to work with,  proudly displayed a media coverage video in the area above the fold on home page. Often marked as an important landing page the  home page had  numerous visitors. However only 10 percent of traffic actually scrolled below the video or viewed any of the important business information that waited there. Approx. 90% dropped off the website after watching the video. Illustrations above the fold is a great idea but not if it actually ends up driving traffic away. With this clue we  initiated  two modifications. 1. Replaced the video with a  sliding  image and added calls to actions , business info , one liners on the images . Result was not surprising – we helped visiting traffic navigate easily .But more interestingly these raised enquiry, conversions and utilize the most populous area of the website without fiddling much with the  aesthetics.

Google Analytics – 2 Part Fundamentals Course in Middletown CT- Register Free – Fast Filling Seats So hurry

Google ANalytics Free Session- Middletown CT

Google Analytics – Introduction to Fundamentals Register here: 

http://www.libraryinsight.com/eventdetails.asp?jx=ddp&lmx=622486&v=3

The new role of Data Analytics in Consultancy

What was there?

Consultancy and business data analysis have always been a closely knit. Whether it  was building a  Marketing strategy, supply chain and operations  , Financial analysis , price optimization, it goes without saying 10-80% of the projects had  to crunch numbers.

What is new?

SMALL IMAGE (PNG)Public Domain

Innovations in technology and cheaper editions of data storage, enabled such ease in availability and heights of data quality and security that, data analytics grew to be an indispensable part of consultancy. Yes – we are talking about the two critical C in technology today- Clouds and Censors.

Clouds & Censors

 Today a TV talks to a phone, a phone talks to car dash, A tablet  talks to that home theater there and the music system  talks to the TV – these little loops of connectivity established  between systems on wireless network  has put  our lives  right in the center of internet of things .

SMALL IMAGE (PNG)Public DomainAnd every such interaction anywhere within the internet of things generates a ‘bitly’ data that has a new home – called the cloud. The sheer size of the capacity and increasingly drop in infrastructure cost has made a data rich information and potential in driving actions and decisions making just click away.

What is the impact?

Quiet a heaven for data analysts this new era has brought in the never before scope to make the  most of information. More in business consultancy than in any other field, can data be used to bring out interesting insights, nobody had ever thought of before.Did you know Wes has published

 Google-AnalyticsUsing social media analytics one  could guess the sentiment  generated in audience by  branding efforts, eCommerce product page performance  reports spell out what’s hot in the market and what’s  not, customer segment bring out the differentiated value propositions, while predictive modeling make hidden opportunities seem obvious.

The Take Away…

Thus data analytics of online /offline business has a heavyweight contribution in consultancy and it is difficult to overlook. While every form of management consultant is gradually incorporating and increasing the use of fact based insights, it is about time, consultant, strengthen their in-house analytics strength or collaborate with professional analytics firms.