When you think of growing your business, what kind of methods come to your head? Is it about improving your marketing to reach a wider audience? Perhaps you’d prefer to innovate with your products and services to create something that your audience can’t resist. Or maybe you might go down the path of forming strategic alliances with other companies and content creators to spread the word.
No matter what strategy you use, there are always going to be ups and downs to them. Some things can offer amazing returns, but they might cost a fair amount to invest in at first. But one of the most tried and true methods of growing your business that doesn’t require a huge commitment is utilizing data.
Data is perhaps one of the most important things to use when it comes to growing a business, yet there are so many complex strategies and concepts to understand that it can sometimes be overwhelming. So if the idea of using data and research to grow your business sounds foreign or difficult, here are a few things to help you better understand it.
How research helps your business
Proper research provides a number of different benefits to your company, but here are a few to look forward to:
- Building your brand. Businesses can’t survive without building some kind of brand that helps their audience remember them. Strengthening your identity and place in the industry can drastically improve your reputation.
- Competitive advantage. If you and another business are on equal terms, then a competitive advantage can be a huge game changer–and this can usually be done through simple research.
- Accepting customer feedback. You also have to remember that customers can be a great source of information to help your business grow. For instance, you might run a survey of some kind which reveals a lot of what your customers are thinking.
These are just a few examples of how research can really help your business grow. It helps you generate a lot of data that can be used to compile reports and form new insights, but it can also be a great way to just grow your business outright.
Understanding the different types of research
Research comes in many different forms. Some companies like to get in touch with their customers and do fun things like surveys and interviews. But other companies are a bit more hands-off. They prefer to look at data that’s already being generated, such as information from their website or online store.
There are many different ways for someone to generate data, so it’s important to understand the two types of research that companies engage in: qualitative and quantitative.
What is qualitative research?
The term qualitative research refers to insights and data aimed at understanding the underlying motivations and perspectives of your customers. For example, a survey with full answers from your customers can be considered as qualitative research. You might also look at the comment section of your videos, or even messages on social media.
You can tell that it’s qualitative research because there often aren’t any numbers to speak of. It’s a lot about subjective things like opinions on your business. In short, if it’s descriptive in nature, then you can consider it as qualitative research.
What is quantitative research?
The other type of research is quantitative. As the name may give away, it’s all about focusing on numerical data and objectivity. It’s like looking at the facts and numbers to figure out how you can achieve something. Quantitative research is often collected from surveys, but not the type to give you space for your own answer. Instead, it’s more used for multiple-choice surveys because there are a limited number of answers.
However, one of the differences with quantitative research is that the numbers have to be analyzed before they can become something meaningful. If the numbers don’t really mean anything or have no context attached to them, then it’s easy to overlook potentially good quantitative research.
In short, the key to a resilient business is to understand both qualitative and quantitative research. When used correctly, it can lead to a huge number of benefits.
Practical ways to use data and research to grow your business
So to end this piece, let’s take a look at some practical examples of how to use data and research to grow your business.
- Customer surveys. Learning from your customers is perhaps one of the best ways to grow your business. You can create simple customer surveys and include them in emails, on your main website, or even share them over social media. When creating a business survey, you should include questions that are more likely to lead to informative insights on your business.
- Sales data and reports. If you want immediate facts about your business, why not consider looking at sales data and reports? It can show you what kind of products are popular, where most of your money is coming from, and you can also look at both current and future trends.
- Social media. Social media is a great place to perform research since you can search up your brand or products and see what people are really saying. However, it’s worth taking what you see on social media with a grain of salt.
- A/B testing – This refers to testing two different changes on your customers, usually with something that they can access immediately such as software or a website design. For example, you could test one group of random customers by showing them a different kind of website or an updated customer dashboard, while the other group gets similar changes. You can essentially test two different potential upgrades to a product or service, and then choose which one is better based on feedback.
Using research and data is extremely important for growing your business, so don’t underestimate just how useful they can be. Remember to track data and research when possible, and record everything so that you can reference it again in the future.