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7 Helpful Hints to Apply to Your Business Intelligence Efforts Data can be powerful if it's accurate.

By Jeff Cheatham

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The use of business intelligence (BI) involves leveraging the data residing within your software service platforms for strategic advantages. But as it turns out, what you put into this effort profoundly affects what you get out of it. And you don't even have to overthink it.

As we're bombarded daily with the latest AI and machine learning applications designed to maximize our marketing spending, it turns out you can conduct some routine maintenance of your own without spending an arm and a leg. Big data has the potential to help produce efficient targeting and results — but only when it's accurate.

To help get you started, here are seven helpful hints to apply to your business intelligence efforts.

1. Conduct a simple review of your data

The largest source of your historical business intelligence information is readily available with Google Analytics, a virtual warehouse of data. A key misstep on behalf of many brands is that they fail to clean up and filter their existing data sets. If you scrub and filter data before the collection stage, you'll get a much more accurate reading. This can be done by securing your site, tagging sources, updating organic search terms, excluding internal traffic, blocking bots and removing anomalies and duplicates. Failure to do so could result in up to half of your traffic coming from spam and malware leads.

Related: Your Data-Driven Marketing Is Harmful. I Should Know: I Ran Marketing at Google and Instagram

2. Build an accurate profile of your audience

To enhance your business intelligence data, you can collect the good (accurate) kind with a simple exercise. Budget a few hundred dollars a month and run retargeting ads in Google for your brand's website, which assigns a cookie for every visitor. When you get to 1,000 members on your remarketing list, you can start running Facebook ads through your account. Use the collected data to build accurate personas and then you can start forming look-a-like audiences for use in Facebook and Instagram campaigns.

3. Fine-tuning your website traffic

Once you've completed steps one and two, check your Google My Profile analytics to access zip codes and the top-performing search terms that customers use to find brand sites like yours. Compile a list and make sure it ends up in the hands of your paid advertising department for their next campaign.

4. How to look for patterns

The simplest of business intelligence data, which you can get from email open rates and Facebook engagement data can be applied to the other channels in your marketing mix. You should be able to narrow your optimum email open rates and engagement rates to a specific day and timeframe of the week.

Also, look at the contact rates of your recruitment efforts. Might it make sense to target paid ads and boost your social posts accordingly? Share data across Google ads and social media posts and overlay the results using customer zip codes. Spot the patterns and seize upon the results.

Related: Where Franchise Sales Portals Are Headed in the Franchising Space

5. Built-in AI is already here

Many platforms, such as Facebook, already use AI and even small brands can benefit from AI and Machine Learning. Facebook algorithms identify engagement potential based upon user activity and will recommend boost dollars; this is powerful AI at your fingertips.

Many email marketing platforms also use AI to identify opportunities to increase open rates. They use "predictive sending" algorithms to send emails based on habitual open times. Both of these features use AI and Machine Learning established by looking at millions of data sets. Try applying it to your own smaller data sets and it will work just the same.

6. The trouble with outsourcing

For some brands, conducting this level of effort is still a bridge too far, which makes business intelligence and targeting a prime prospect for outsourcing. But keep this in mind: While the hired guys are running the traps on your data, doing what you could be doing for yourself — they're adding to their own knowledge bank within your industry. In the end, you could be giving a free boost to your competitors.

7. Your CRM is gold

If you think about it, your CRM is the repository of all your brand's activities, right? Your campaign information, your leads, your deals, your ad spend — it's the outcome of all your decisions and all the automation. It's the results of your decisions, good or bad. Use this curated data to learn, grow, educate and recycle your efforts.

Related: How to Find the Right Franchisees, According to D1 Training's COO

Jeff Cheatham

Founder and CEO of Creative Content

Jeff Cheatham is the founder and CEO of Creative Content, a full-service copywriting and public relations firm. He's based in Dallas and works with multiple B2B clients and over a dozen franchise brands to develop proprietary content campaigns for lead generation and sales development programs.


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