The Better Business Bureau (BBB), serving Greater Maryland, is working to improve not only the quality of our data, but how we use that data to improve operations and results. Wielding data strategically can empower a business, but data is everywhere; so, without a filter, analysis and action, mining for data can be counterproductive.

Customers are online more than ever before. Maximizing your business in all the ways that please Google, the Godfather of data — is crucial. That includes mobile optimization. Next, make sure your business listings are accurate and consistent, as Google loves consistency. It constantly tweaks its algorithm, so stay on top of trends and changes.

Have you run successful online campaigns in the past? If so, see how they can be replicated. Do the same with your advertisements. Newer businesses can look at competitors. What’s working for them? How are they reaching their customers? Mirror what’s worked.

One of the best ways to understand your customers is to be a customer. Have you bought from your competition and do you know what best-in-class companies do that keeps their customers coming back? Subscribe, buy and learn to do better.

If you sell online, you may have access to “cart” information. When customers “back out” of a transaction or abandon a shopping cart, what are you doing to reclaim the sale? Sending emails and remarketing ads can help get the customer back in the door and complete the transaction.

And don’t forget to review your posted privacy policies and make updates as your business evolves. Be certain your website lets your customers know what data is being collected and how it is being used. Always include a statement about if, and how, their information is being shared.

With all the automation and attention to data, it’s never a bad idea to show your human side. Send a personal thank-you to a customer, and your business will stand out in today’s marketplace.

Angie Barnett is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland. She can be reached at 410-347-3990 and abarnett@greatermd.bbb.org.