As the owner of a small business, you know how important data is. The way you store, organize and use your data can make the difference between the success and the failure of some of your business operations.
The way your collect this data is also important, and it can always be improved if you are not satisfied with your current data collection techniques. The techniques you can use to collect data depend on the type of business you are operating, but also on the type of data you want to collect.
Below are seven types of data collection techniques for businesses:
1. Collect data through paper forms
Many businesses use paper forms to collect data. They ask their employees, their business partners or their customers to fill out paper forms. The data collected by these forms will then have to be entered into a database system, before being stored in a file cabinet.
Paper forms are easy to create, as anyone with a computer, a printer, and a few design skills can make the forms they need in no time.
2. Collect data through mobile forms
If you want something more convenient than paper forms, be sure to replace them with mobile forms. When you switch to mobile forms, your employees or costumers will be able to type the necessary data directly into the forms, so you won’t have to struggle to read anyone’s handwriting.
Your team won’t have to lose some precious time typing the collected data into a computer, as it will be transferred directly into your database.
These forms are not that difficult to create once you have found the right mobile form solution, they can be used for several purposes, and they can be customized and updated whenever you need them to be. Updating printed paper forms is a bit more complicated.
3. Collect data on your website
It’s possible to collect data such as potential customers’ names, email addresses, and home addresses directly from your website or social media page. The people visiting you online will be able to enter their data into a simple online form, and this data will be stored into your system.
To incite your visitors to give you their data, you should offer them something in return. A discount on your products or services, a free ebook, or another freebie will convince them to share their personal information with you.
4. Collect data through surveys
It’s possible to collect data about your customers and potential customers through online surveys. Using the right tools, you will be able to create a survey that will allow you to learn more about your website visitors’ preferences, opinions, suggestions, and perception of your brand, products or services.
This precious data will help you improve your offerings or your marketing efforts. Once again, maybe you should offer something in return, as people will be more likely to fill out your survey if they can get a discount or a free gift.
5. Collect data with cookies
It’s also possible to collect data online with the help of cookies. Cookies can track the activities of the people who visit your website, and collect data about their browsing history, their online searches, and the amount of time they spend on each page they are visiting on your website.
The data collected through this technique can help you improve your website, your search engine optimization campaigns, and the banners you use to advertise your brand.
6. Collect data with technology
No matter which data collection techniques you choose to use, be sure that you establish a simple and consistent process that will be easy to implement. For example, if you want your team to replace their paper forms with mobile data collection forms, make sure everyone learns how it works so they don’t feel intimidated by the process.
Your data collection process should also be scalable, so that even if your business grows more quickly than you expected, you will be able to keep using the same techniques to collect the data you need.
7. Collect data and store it properly
If you are using paper forms to collect your data, keep them stored and well organized in a file cabinet. If you collect data online or through mobile forms, you will probably keep it stored in the cloud.
Your data should be secure, but it should also be easy to access. If you have a file cabinet, make sure it will only take you a moment to find the document you are looking for. If your database is in the cloud, it should be organized in a way that lets you find one piece of information with just a quick keyword search.
Your data is precious, and you need to collect it, store it and organize it properly if you want to make the most of it.