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Ten years ago, it was enough for a business to create a website, cast it out into the wild and merely sit back while the traffic rolled in. But in today’s increasingly technical world with big data seamlessly flowing, it has become essential for small businesses to study their website analytics in order to personalize the experience for visitors, compete with industry behemoths and improve overall business.
For those of you that aren’t studying your website analytics to enhance business, the investment it took to build that website is destined to be a lost cause.
According to a recent study on small businesses’ online strategies, only 25 percent of small businesses use an analytics tool, such as the free Google Analytics service, to measure website performance. That means 75 percent of small businesses are missing opportunities to enhance website traffic, improve sales and drive business forward.
With this decade’s eruption in technology and big data, businesses that don’t know what their audience is doing online are simply flying blind.
Google Analytics is the most popular website statistics service, with a usership of more than 55 percent of the top 10,000 websites last year. This tool and similar services are seeing higher demand as more and more businesses realize the positive impact of using such data. What’s more, Google Analytics is available to businesses at no cost, meaning enterprises and small businesses can benefit just the same.
Small businesses competing with industry giants can leverage website analytics to cater towards particular audiences and direct messages appropriately.
A great example of a company that successfully studied data to increase appeal with its audience is BannerView. They sought to understand what keywords and topics listed in their bi-weekly newsletter most resonated with their subscribers. From the last 12 newsletters, BannerView discovered SEO and online marketing content racked up the most hits and comments, which allowed them to then tailor their newsletters to better fit their audience’s interests.
BannerView gained more responses and was able to develop new content marketing products based on the results of this data alone.
Undoubtedly, with the large volume of data flowing in each day, it’s growing harder to make sense of it all. However, website analytics can offer solutions to your company’s online Web woes. Whether you’re questioning the success of your blog content, wondering if specific content fits better on another page or looking to see which devices viewers use to access your site the most, website analytics are there for you.
Many think of website analytics as a tool that just tells you how many visitors your website receives each day, but that is only one small component of what Web analytics can tell you about the performance of your website.
Building a website and blindly casting it into the vast, expanding online sea is no longer enough. The key to your website’s online success now lies in your ability to unlock its rich user data so you can drive your business initiative – from branding and sales to customer service – through a deep understanding of your audience.
Analytics Photo via Shutterstock
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The U.S. federal government owes 1,281 small businesses approximately $3 million collectively in termination fees. The small businesses are ones that were approved to sell to the government on the GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule, but had their contracts terminated.
The failure to pay was uncovered after a year-long investigation by the U.S. House Committee on Small Business. House Small Business Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) announced the findings.Why the Fees Are Owed
The fees are related to guaranteed minimum sales that the government committed to make to small businesses approved under the General Services Administration’s Multiple Award schedule. The 1,281 small businesses that got on the GSA schedule but didn’t get at least $25,000 in annual sales from the government, are each due a $2,500 termination fee (minus any amounts actually sold by them).
If you’re wondering why the government committed to guaranteed minimum sales, it has to do with the government’s goal to have a portion of government contracts go to small businesses. The termination fees are designed to encourage government contracting with small businesses.
Of the 19,000 or so businesses contracted through GSA, the majority — 80 percent — are smaller firms.
The GSA schedule is like a pre-approved vendor catalog that government departments can buy through. Getting on the Schedule doesn’t guarantee the government will buy anything from your business. But there is a distinct advantage to getting on the GSA Schedule: it makes it easier and faster for government departments to purchase from your business.
However, you are dealing with a large bureaucracy. There’s cost associated with navigating the process just to get on the GSA Schedule in the first place. According to a spokesman for the House Committee, it can cost small businesses between $6,000 to $40,000 for a standard GSA proposal. That means if you don’t get sufficient GSA sales you’ve probably lost money.Discovery by the House Small Business Committee
The nonpayment was discovered when the House Committee looked into the small-business impact of GSA’s proposal to cancel a large number of contracts in the future. During that review last year, Chairman Graves noticed that GSA was not taking the termination fees into account — and in fact had not been paying them as required, since 2008.
But the good news for these small businesses is that the GSA has agreed to pay the back termination fees.
“Contracting with small businesses is good for the economy and it’s good for the taxpayer because small companies bring cost-savings to the federal government,” Graves said in a statement. “But when federal agencies don’t live up to their end of the bargain, small businesses are discouraged from competing and taxpayers lose the benefits of government efficiency. Although we’re extremely disappointed that this error has occurred, the General Services Administration has owned up to their mistake and will distribute payment this year.”
A spokesman for the House Committee says they do not have a specific timetable for the GSA’s repayment this year.Changes Going Forward
The GSA said in its response to the Committee that it will change its small-business practices going forward. For one thing, it will not require contractors to request a guaranteed minimum payment, although they must meet all other requirements.
Also, the GSA will focus on improving education and communication with small businesses in the future, by:
(1) educating small businesses so they can better determine whether it’s even worthwhile to pursue getting on the GSA schedule in the first place; and
(2) outreach to those already on the GSA schedule that are not meeting minimum sales, to educate and try to help them succeed.
The GSA’s letter to the House Committee on Small Business is below.
Small Business Trends Slideshare
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