Why Data Collection Matters: Web Entrepreneur Kevin Murray Weighs In
When Kevin Murray, a California-based entrepreneur, first began his digital career, it was in the late ‘90s at a time when the Internet and all of its potential was widely unrealized. Now, having worked in web development and design for nearly two decades, he has not only seen the evolution of the Internet, he has staked his claim in the digital space. “I was working for Entrepreneur.com (Entrepreneur Magazine) in web development and technical design,” Murray shares, “and working at a place like that, you can’t help but get inspired to start your own business.”
So that’s just what Murray did.
He went full-time freelance, translating the technical knowledge he gained at the agency level into a successful career, and in 2015, he launched KamGraphica, as a boutique web studio based in Long Beach, California. “We build websites that appeal to both people and search engines,” Murray explains of his work. “And we aim to turn our clients’ prospects into customers.”
Educated and Informed Decisions Require Data
He quickly built an impressive client base comprised mostly of referrals, and his company continues to thrive. And he credits data as one of the most crucial components of his success. “The biggest thing is getting the data so you can make educated and informed responses to what’s happening with your investment,” Murray shares. Whether he’s creating a site for a client or developing his own projects, he understands that data collection matters to help guide every decision from how and where to spend your marketing dollars to where to place your social buttons on your homepage. “If you have a campaign on Facebook or analytics for Google, seeing metrics helps you understand your audience and shows you where the efforts need to be applied.”
But simply looking at your Facebook insights or Google analytics, while helpful, doesn’t offer the big picture of how all of your efforts and entities are working together. “To do it one-off makes it hard to understand the overall scope — you have to go to each platform, compile it manually, and it can be time-consuming and time-intensive,” Murray explains. “A dashboard allows you to simplify your data collection in one spot and get the basics in one place.”
If you don’t have a starting point, it’s hard to understand where you need to focus your efforts. That’s why I recommend all small business owners set up their data tracking efforts before they launch their business to set a benchmark.
Most importantly, Murray underscores the fact that time is of the essence. “If you don’t have a starting point, it’s hard to understand where you need to focus your efforts,” he says. “That’s why I recommend all small business owners set up their tracking efforts before they launch their business to set a benchmark.”
Start small. You don’t have to collect ALL the data at once!
One important suggestion Murray offers is to start small. Diving into data and signing up with the big tech tools to pull a bunch of intricate and possibly irrelevant data is not only unnecessary, but it’s also expensive. “I’ve seen people start big, and it’s too much,” he shares. “There are a lot of tools out there, and some are too technical for people just starting out. But if you start small and start to understand the data, then you can move your way up with a more clear understanding of why you need more technical tools.”
Before even that, though, is the need to understand how to begin the data collection process so you can determine which data matters most to your company’s success, which is where Virtual Collective comes in. “There’s a saying in the conference space that content is king. Everyone is looking for the next big piece of content. But I want to say ‘data is king.’ The data side, the SEO, is a very mystifying thing, so people are reserved to spend money on it because it’s not a tangible thing,” Murray explains. “Trying to justify $1,000 a month to services for a ranking that could change next week is hard if you don’t understand the data, so understanding what the data means to the business will help you understand the investment and feel good about the direction your company is heading and the decisions you’re making to get it there.”