Here on Regpack’s blog and everywhere it seems, “Data” is king. Everyone talks about all the great stuff you can do with it, why having the right system to give you the data you need is soooo important, and on and on. But really what is all the hype? What can all this data hype help YOU and your business? How can it save you time and money? How can data reporting tools help your marketing and branding efforts?
Yesterday, when talking to a prospective client they told me “So what, I can access my data on my iPad or cell phone, what am I going to do with all of this data? What does it mean for my business? And please, don’t give me an answer full of all that Silicon Valley fluff!” Then it hit me, they are right! A lot of people do not know why data is important, how it can help their business and what it can truly do for them. So here is the post that really puts the finger on why data is good for YOU.
There is nothing like real world cases to help understand the importance of your data. I hope the following examples about how you can put your data to work and benefit from a system that allows you to gather this information and re-purpose it effectively, is helpful to you and your business. If you have any questions, be in touch with us or comment on the post!
Data is a time saver!
One huge advantage to having data available anytime, anywhere is the time you save in an emergency getting the info you need. With a paper system, you would in theory have medical information, food allergy info and emergency contact info for event participants, campers, etc all in one place: in a file cabinet in an office somewhere. While this is convenient for your office staff and helps to keep all information contained in one spot, what happens if there’s an emergency “out in the field”.
Example: Medical Emergency
Whether you’re a camp on a field trip or a teen trip out of the country or a conference at your event hall 2 blocks away from your office, when there’s an emergency you need to call back to the office, have someone look up the information you need and relay it back to the person on the ground.
What if no one is in the office? What if you’ve prepared a binder with this information (to avoid the nobody is in the office scenario, which took a lot of time and effort to print btw!) but the binder is forgotten somewhere or misplaced?
With medical info and emergency contact info available 24/7/365 on the counselor or coordinators phone/iPad/computer where it can be accessed wirelessly, downloaded at the start of each session and organized however makes the most sense to each coordinator. With data easily accessible from anywhere, coordinators can download the information they need without the stress of filtering through binders or calling back to an office. They can receive as much or as little information as they want or that is necessary, basing their needs off the situation at hand in real time.
Data provides useful statistics for marketing!
When talking about marketing, attracting more business or analyzing statistics, it can all be kind of overwhelming. How great, you might think, I have a cool online registration software with “statistics”. But what are these statistics and how can you use them to improve your target marketing campaigns and gain more business?
Example: Summer Camp Marketing
With a great online camp registration software comes a great back end database with all of your user data ready and waiting to be utilized. So with all this great data in your database, you decide you want to find out where your paying clients are coming from to help refocus your marketing campaigns towards places, events, communities, etc that are garnering you the most ROI.
Let’s say you’re a summer camp looking to grow your business. You might spend your marketing budget equally between ads in school publications in the schools in your greater city area, email blasts, ads in the local paper, Google and Facebook ads and flyers in the mail to past campers. Besides the email, all of these tactics cost money. But how do you know which of these methods is worth the cost and which is equal to throwing your money down the drain?
With the ability to generate statistics from your data, within seconds you can see in easy to read charts and graphs just where your advertising money is going. If 75% of your new business is coming from the ads you ran in the local schools and via your email blasts (which receivers were encouraged to share via email, Facebook, Twitter, etc) and NO traffic seems to be coming from organic search or Google ads or the expensive mailers you’re sending out, then why waste time and money on the marketing efforts netting you 0 results?
If you are able to understand the demographics of the majority of your client base, targeting that demographic with effective marketing is that much easier. The amount of money you will save by not spending it on inefficient marketing that doesn’t return your investment that is also a waste of time, money and manpower for your business will free up that cash for something more useful to grow your business! Understanding where your clients come from ensures you spend your money wisely. And without a database capable of manipulating your data and generating these kind of statistics, the odds of you being able to extrapolate and notice the same trends from your data on your own are slim to none.
Data makes you more productive!
Automating your registration software can lead to a wealth of data sitting around in your database ready and willing to make your workflow more productive.
Example: Accounting Department
With the ability to filter and find any combination of data you could ever dream of, your accountant will LOVE you. What probably used to take your accountant, or worse, one of your employees with better things to do, hours to compile spreadsheets of information can now be generated in seconds. You can create income reports with data on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly basis. You also have the capability of viewing the payment history of an individual client or for a specific session.
The options are endless and the time you save, infinite. Instead of having an account manager or secretary waste their time referencing several spreadsheets and files to put together a specific report for the accountant, or the accountant needing more staff to wade through all the financial documents to come up with the numbers they need, let your data work for you and save your employees time so they can invest it in growing your business!
Example: Camper Info for Counselors
Pretend you are (or maybe you really are!) a counselor in a camp or trip setting. You spend tons of time putting together reports you’ll need in the field – medical information, emergency contacts, likes and dislikes of each participant, etc. This is a HUGE time suck because it takes forever to grab all of the information you might need from multiple sources just to compile it into one big document that becomes difficult to read and understand. You should be spending this time engaging with your upcoming participants to get them pumped and excited for the session, or working on games or activities that will enrich the experience of your paying customers.
With a powerful report and statistics engine that lets you filter and find the data you want and compile it into an easy to read report so you can spend less time doing admin work and more time doing what you love to do. The ability to access data and use it effectively makes your staff more productive, which ultimately makes your product that much better, which *deep breath* will hopefully net you more business!
Data saves you money!
We explored this idea briefly in the example above, but wanted to give it more space since it’s important. This idea is simple and twofold: by saving time on admin, you can take that extra time and devote it to building and growing your company. Staff that would otherwise be sifting through and making sense of your data the old fashioned way can save their time and increase their productivity. And you hired them for their skills and the value they add to your business, not to do paperwork (well maybe you hired them to do some paperwork, but still…you get our point, right?!).
Example: Wasting money on outreach with no ROI.
You can also use data to generate statistics that can point out where you might be losing or wasting money. For example, if you’re attending a yearly conference to recruit potential clients but your stats show you that you’re actually recruiting little to no clients from this event, you can free up that money, time and employee resources you devoted there and re-purpose it somewhere else. Maybe you’ll find another conference that nets you more business but that you couldn’t afford in the past or use the money for ads in places that you know will generate business.
The point should be made again, that without a way to really analyze your data these trends wouldn’t necessarily be obvious to you. Data can make your business more efficient and your profits higher by simply taking the information you already have, AND having a way to actually UNDERSTAND it as well.