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Using Data Analytics to Shape Your Business Narrative

By Tamara Scott
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You’ve probably written a business plan to convince investors or to take out a business loan, but have you written a business narrative? A business narrative tells the story of your business to help you connect with customers and promote your brand. A business narrative is like your business plan, but it’s clarified and simplified to make it more personal and accessible to customers. 

Your business narrative defines who you sell to and how you want your business to grow. Once you’ve established this baseline, you can use two powerful tools, data analytics and predictive analytics, to understand your company’s return on investment (ROI) from ads and marketing spend. A business intelligence tool with predictive analytics can give you a good understanding of your current ROI across all sections of your business, and how your ad spend, conversion rate, and revenue will change according to how you budget for each of your ad types. 

This article describes how to examine your data to better understand your customers, how to write your business narrative, and then how to use your business narrative to grow your audience.

Understanding your products through business analytics

It’s easy to lose sight of your product list, especially when you’re constantly adding new items and building out your inventory. Data analysis can help you pinpoint where your sales are high, and can help you clean up inventory by getting rid of your low sellers. Ecommerce tools like Shopify or WooCommerce or point of sale (POS) tools like Toast or TouchBistro have a simple products report that can list your sales per product according to a yearly, monthly, or quarterly time range. 

Also Read: How to Add Ecommerce to Your Website

Use online store and POS reports to understand which products have high or low sales and to understand seasonal sales trends. If your ecommerce or point of sale tool doesn’t give you data visualizations, export your sales records to a data analysis tool like Google Data Studio or Microsoft Excel that will visualize that data in ways that make sense. Consider breaking the sales of each of your top products by month to track seasonal changes. Cross-reference this information with your marketing records to understand where online ads, promotions, and social media or press coverage coincide with increased sales.

google analytics

Google Analytics Behavior Acquisition tool

Armed with this information, take a deep dive into your website or merchandising tactics. Sometimes products sell better because they’re more accessible. Are you prominently featuring your bestsellers on your website or within your store? Do your customers tend to share some product images online more than others? You can use the Behavior Acquisition feature in Google Analytics to understand how customers move through your website, or install a tool like Hotjar to track how customers navigate individual pages. 

Finding your ideal customer in your tools

While you may have a lot of customers, you may not be targeting your ideal customer. Your ideal customer is the person who finds the most value from your product, will become a repeat customer, and who will tell their friends and family about your company. By creating marketing that sells to these customers, you’re more likely to increase your ROI. 

First, look at your website data. The Google Analytics demographics reports can show you age, gender, and location data on your website visitors. Do these numbers match what you expect? How are they the same or different?

Export your customer buying information from your ecommerce tool into a customer relationship management (CRM) software like HubSpot or Zoho to track sales per customer and customer interactions. Then ask your customers how they found out about your product, how likely they are to recommend it to a friend, and gather feedback about what they like or how they might change your product or services for the better.

Aggregate data to get a 360 customer view

A useful tool to further your understanding of your positioning in the marketplace is to perform a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Knowing what you know about your product, your customer, and the market right now, write down your product or company’s strengths. Repeat for your company’s weaknesses. Then consider the opportunities and threats that your particular product, customer base, and market position pose. This quick analysis will help you exploit your strengths and opportunities while downplaying and minimizing your weaknesses and threats.

Either in your CRM’s reporting tools or through a BI software, bring together your SWOT analysis, your buyer demographics, purchase data, and website behavior to build customer profiles of your ideal customers. A business intelligence tool with predictive analytics can combine data from across all your paid marketing, owned properties (like your website, newsletter, and brick and mortar stores), and social presence.

You can use these profiles in every department:

  • Build new products that better serve the specific needs of the ideal customer
  • Target advertising and content marketing to the needs of the persona
  • Prioritize leads that meet the ideal persona, as these are more likely to purchase
  • Write more accurate financial forecasts based on your average sales to these individuals

Write your business narrative from your unique position

After you’ve built your customer personas from your sales data, you can write a business narrative that tells the story of your company to your ideal customer. This narrative helps you cut through the marketing noise and find your perfect audience.

Your business narrative can be as short as an elevator pitch, or it can take up several paragraphs on your about page. Try to follow this format at first:

Our company serves (this type of customer) by bringing them (product or products). We do this by (unique positioning in the marketplace). That has resulted in (data-backed statistic of how you help customers). 

Once you’ve got a narrative, take it out for a spin in the real world through marketing, advertising, and forecasting.

Business narrative in action: sell to a few to gain a large audience

Your narrative helps you understand who you’re selling to, but that target audience isn’t going to be the only set of buyers you reach. The best type of marketing or advertising is the kind that doesn’t cost you a thing and that your buyers do for you: word of mouth. If you create products that understand your target audience and meet their needs, these individuals will help expand your reach. But how do you get in front of that target audience? Figure out where they hang out.

Social media is a great place to raise brand awareness. Share product pictures, customer stories, and product-related videos like how tos on social media sites like Pinterest, Facebook, TikTok, Reddit, and Instagram. Research hashtags and keywords that your audience uses or searches. And use your personas to target your ideal customers. Facebook has a highly powerful ad targeting tool that can identify potential buyers based on their interests.

What is your company’s story? 

A business narrative doesn’t have to be stuffy. It should actually be the exact opposite. Tell your company’s story in a way your audience understands. Distill your business narrative down to a few lines that speak to your audience’s needs and show how you’re better equipped than any of your competitors to help them achieve their goals. 

Finally, include your business narrative in a prominent place on your website, and ensure that all employees know it, understand it, and apply it to their dealings with customers. Incorporate that story into your company culture, and your audience will find you. 


This article was originally published on December 31, 2020
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