By Deborah Flomberg

The race is on to collect data. Every time you log in to your business page on Facebook or Twitter you see it, the looming “analytics” page offering you insight into your visitors, their habits and so much more. It’s a trend that started growing years ago, as Facebook’s algorithm began to collect more and more personal data about each and everyone of your customers (or potential customers.) Now, as the data itself grows, organization of all sizes are finding out that they’re spinning their wheels in the midst of a sea of bad data. What exactly is bad data, and how can you, as a business owner, get around it? Read on to find out.

Bad Data

So what exactly is it? Bad data is what happens when you’ve collected a lot of data about someone, which was true when you collected it, but it is now no longer accurate. It happens more than you’d think too. People often change their email addresses, mailing addresses, phone numbers and other similar identifiable information. In fact, job titles, relationship information, and all sorts of other personal information changes on a regular basis, so if you’re marketing to a specific niche (which you should be – good for you) then you might have a lot of bad data to get around.

Why Bother?

So your weekly email blasts come back with a few “undeliverable emails.” Or your regular Facebook ads may be incorrectly targeted, does it really make that much of a difference? A recent study by Discoverorg found that small businesses are losing as much as $32,000 and 550 hours due to sales representatives using bad data. That means bad leads, bad email addresses and other information that does nothing more than halt the flow of progress within your sales or marketing departments. When you break it down into identifiable numbers like $32,000 or 550 working hours, then you can easily see how bad data can really do a lot to bring down a struggling organization.

Start Cleaning

It’s time to start cleaning up all that bad data. First, of course, you’ll want to set aside some time to scrub your CRM clean, get rid of all those addresses that don’t work, duplicate emails and other listings that just take up your time and effort. But then start looking into what else the analytics can do for you. You might be honing in on some tracking metrics that aren’t really doing you any good, when there are so many other ways to track your efforts that may be much more effective. Take a look at the data you’ve already collected and figure out new ways to use it. Can you link that to social media accounts or mobile device information? Can you learn how to merge information between departments to really find ways to grow your tracking abilities from lead to sales to closing?

Set New Goals

As you start learning all the new ways analytics have changed, you can start setting new, more measurable, goals. Use Facebook’s analytics to get a better idea of who your customers are. Use Google Analytics to learn more about how they’re finding you and what terms they’re using to track down your website. Use all the analytics built into all the different social media platforms to hone in on this constantly changing, but always important, customer demographic information. Then, as you learn how to pull all of this information from each website, you can figure out how to use that data to help grow your own business, connect with new customers and really make a difference in your bottom line.


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