Ashley McHugh is a senior analyst and trainer at RedRover Sales & Marketing
Correctly analyzed, data can be a catalyst for predictable, incremental growth and transformative change in your organization. However, we all know there's more to creating measurable outcomes through data analysis than just crunching the numbers.
For example, it's no surprise that the lawn-care industry is seasonal, kicking into high gear in the spring and summer. According to a quick analysis of Google Trends data, people most often search for the words "lawn," "yard," and "landscaping" in April and May every year.
If you own a landscaping business, this information about the timing of online searches could be very valuable information -- but only if you know how to leverage it.
For example, because these online search queries peak in April and May each year, it would probably be wise to focus on maximizing your online presence during those months. You might write more blog posts, invest more in Google pay-per-click advertising, or ramp up your engagement with social media.
Later in the summer, though, when fewer people are turning to searching online for lawn-care information, you could focus on running a local grassroots, word-of-mouth campaign instead to push your content to consumers even when it's not as top of mind.
While this marketing strategy makes sense, there's still more to learn from the data.
It's true that people search most often for the words "lawn," "yard," and "landscaping" in April and May. However, "landscaping" is used less frequently than the other two top search terms. Does that mean you should focus on using "lawn" and "yard" more heavily in your digital marketing campaigns?
Diving just a little deeper into the data shows that searches for "lawn" almost always include the word "mower," too. People searching for the word "lawn," then, are probably more interested in DIY lawn care. They might be less likely to book your services.
Queries for the word "yard" are just as misleading. People using this search term are more likely to be looking for yard sales or junkyards, not landscaping services.
It's easy to see why you should leave no stone unturned when exploring the most meaningful way to interpret your raw information. Even once you have reached solid conclusions, you still need to translate the facts uncovered through your analysis into actionable, strategic business recommendations that are piloted on a small scale prior to full-scale roll out.
If you're thinking of outsourcing your data analysis to an expert, make sure your analyst is more than just a numbers geek. A strong analyst doesn't just run reports. Instead, they focus on discovering the meaningful, compelling stories behind the trends.
Without a doubt, data can drive long-term, sustainable growth trajectories -- but only if you know how to use it.
Ashley McHugh can be reached at www.redrovercompany.com.