As a marketer, you understand the importance of building solid customer relationships. Relationships can make the difference between a potential sale being lost and a loyal, long-time customer that returns and refers others time and time again. Where do those relationships start? How do you target the right individuals with the right content? What’s your foundation? The answer is simple: it’s all about data.
Why Data Should Matter to You
Data is at the center of customer relationship management, or CRM; it’s the core that it is built upon. It makes sense—when the proper tools aren’t in place and interactions aren’t tracked, future endeavors will be built upon guesses. For a business to run properly, there’s no room for error based upon bad guesswork.
Just like in real life, online relationships are built on shared interactions and a deep understanding of what motivates customers to take action. This requires data.
With a smooth CRM system in place, a data management system that is targeted can be implemented to further build upon existing relationships; looking for patterns that exist in order to form new consumer relationships. Marketers can use data to look at insights and consumer personas to create content and marketing strategies that target those personas. This data can allow businesses to build relationships; it’s something that’s becoming almost essential for success.
How do you make this happen? How do you take raw data and use it to form relationships? Follow the three steps outlined below for best results.
1. Dig Deeper Than the Standard IP Address
For some time now, companies have relied on IP address tracking to get to know their website visitors. It’s logical: from an IP address, you can learn about search histories, browsing preferences and a number of other important details. However, those details aren’t enough to build lasting relationships.
Customers aren’t driven by a single factor and they’re not defined by the sites they’ve visited in the past. In fact, because of the idea that multiple users could be surfing from the same device, IP address tracking can add variables that wouldn’t exist if the data mining went below the surface.
In order to build customer relationships, a company must take the time to learn more than what’s obvious at first. Digging deeper could come in a variety of forms, some of them could include:
- Using social media to start discussions and to ask questions.
- Creating follow-up surveys to be sent at the completion of an online transaction.
- Asking why a customer didn’t complete an online transaction, finding the missing links.
- Creating email marketing surveys on a regular basis that ask open ended questions, then reading and compiling the responses.
Business isn’t simple, neither are the factors that drive your consumers. However, understanding those factors requires going beyond IP address tracking.
2. Look for Ways to Use Contextual, Integrated Data to Your Advantage
You control the data you access on your customers. Whenever you have the opportunity to interact, you have the ability to create a data stream that you can use to better your processes. Keep this in mind at all times. From there, look for contextual, integrated ways to use the data you collect to better your consumers’ experiences.
Contextual data refers to data that is relevant to your customers’ needs, wants and behaviors at specific points in time. For it to be used successfully, contextual data depends on the time difference between learning about a customer’s need and fulfilling it. For example, if an online shopper is looking for a cheap flight ticket online with specific dates and locations, they are probably serious about making a purchase. If an online travel company wants to use this data to offer a special coupon code or discount, time is of the essence. If a day passes, the customer could make a purchase elsewhere.
Integrated data pulls information from multiple data sources to create unique customer personas; it’s the whole picture. This means that information can be pulled from multiple sources—social media interactions, online searches and browsing histories—to create an experience that is personal, contextual and relevant.
3. Keep it Current
For relationships to be built from data, content and other marketing strategies must be relevant and timely; this means that data must be updated and remain current.
By mining for data on a regular and ongoing basis, your brand can leverage data to its maximum potential. Take the time to look at the data you’re able to collect, continually ask questions, interact with customers as frequently as possible; create valuable online experiences that boost potential for long-term consumer relationships.