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For those who are just getting started with their online business, trying to make sense of marketing data can seem like a daunting task. In fact, even experienced digital marketers can sometimes be intimidated by the vast amount of data we now have at our fingertips.

In today’s hyper-competitive digital marketplace, every business owner needs to take a data-centric approach to marketing if they want their eCommerce store to be successful. Regardless of your business’s size or what industry you’re in, you can easily adopt a data-driven marketing strategy in six simple steps.

Step One: Identify Your Key Metrics and Goals

If you’re going to make decisions based on metrics, then you need a strategy to track and measure your data. To do this, you first need to establish your goals and identify your key performance indicators (KPIs).

Let’s start with your goals. Is your campaign’s goal to boost conversions? Increase engagement? Grow your brand’s awareness?

Once you know the goals of each of your campaigns, you can then establish your KPIs. For example, if your goal is to grow your brand’s awareness, you might use social engagement metrics and brand mentions to track your progress.

Be realistic about your goals. Consider both short-term and long-term goals so that you aren’t setting yourself up for failure.

Step Two: Break Down Barriers Between Departments

If you have multiple departments, it’s important that each one works together so that you have a comprehensive picture of your data. Many online retailers have departments with their own data sets sitting in silos, and unless it is shared with the rest of the company, this can hinder your ability to improve the customer experience and make data-driven decisions.

For example, the data from your PPC strategy can inform your SEO strategy. Your IT team can help both your SEO and PPC teams by communicating regularly. While breaking down these communication barriers may not be easy, you will be rewarded with comprehensive and integrated data that can help you increase revenue and brand awareness.

Step Three: Acquire the Proper Tools

Data-driven marketing means much more than it did a few years ago. Now, it involves leveraging advanced tools and technology to achieve faster and better insight into your marketing campaigns.

For a truly efficient data-driven marketing strategy, you need to have a robust digital marketing tool that utilizes the power of big data. There is simply no better way to harness your data and improve your marketing strategy.

Step Four: Analyze Your Online Store’s Data

You’ve got the tools. Now, you need to analyze your online store’s data.

This may seem straightforward, but it’s a daunting step for many eCommerce marketers. If you haven’t leveraged automated tools to do the heavy lifting, then it’s time for an introduction to eCommerce analytics. Moz has a great guide for beginners to analyze their Google Analytics data.

At the very minimum, you need a basic knowledge of how to analyze your online store’s data. The more in-depth you can go, the better. By knowing how to make sense of your analytics, you can make strategic business decisions that lead to better performance and revenue.

Step Five: Analyze Your Competitors

After analyzing your own online store’s data, it’s time to see how you stack up against the competition. After all, a data-driven marketing strategy wouldn’t be complete without gathering competitive intelligence.

Taking the time to gather competitive intelligence is usually time-consuming for marketers, but we’ve made it exceptionally easy for you to see how your key metrics compare to peers of your size. Check out our free eCommerce Scorecard and get a personalized report to see how you measure up!

Step Six: Make Adjustments, Test, and Repeat

The last step is to adjust your campaigns based on your analysis, test once more, and continuously improve upon your campaigns.

If that sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is. Data-driven marketing isn’t something you do once. To maximize your ROI and gain a competitive edge, you need to always be measuring and evaluating your marketing campaigns. It may not be easy, but we doubt you’ll be complaining when your online store’s profitability begins to skyrocket.