This is a guest post by Nate Vickery. Nate is a business technology expert and a futurist mostly engaged in finding and implementation of the latest technology trends into SMB and startups management and marketing processes. Nate is also the editor-in-chief at a business oriented blog Bizzmarkblog.
Businesses have been using customer data to boost their marketing efforts for decades. However, the way we gather this data has changed. With the rise of the World Wide Web, digital information is no longer difficult to collect. It’s everywhere around us.
Is greater availability of data good? Of course it is.
Still, many online brands cannot keep up with all that information. Just because you can collect your data everywhere doesn’t guarantee you success. You need to know what data is relevant to your business and put it in action.
At the same time, the demands of online customers exploded. Today, to buy from you, your target customers expect a truly relevant and customized user experience at every stage of their buyer journeys.
And, stats back me up on that. The SalesForce research says that 62% of customers expect businesses to send personalized offers, based on their purchasing history. Moreover, 57% of consumers are eager to share their personal data to get relevant offers, while 48% of them are even willing to wait longer to get such services.
The era of personalization is already here. And, if you fail to integrate it with your marketing strategy, you’re likely to lose the race to survive in the ever-growing online retail ecosystem.
Here is how to build a strong data-driven e-commerce marketing strategy that really works.
Adopt a Holistic Data Analysis Strategy
Analyzing your customer interactions individually is fine. It lets you know how each channel you use interacts with your audience and focus on those tactics that work.
However, observing your data by individual sources only gives you fragmented insights into your customers’ purchase journeys. According to the Customer Experience is Written in Data research study done by Econsultancy in association with Google, 55% of businesses claim that the lack of data integration hurts their organization.
Precisely because of that, you should avoid creating silos. Instead, focus on keeping your major data sources, from your email lists and purchase records to your CRM, centralized. NB – If you are using a CRM for all your sales channels, integrating your CRM with Magento is a must. With such a holistic approach to your marketing data analysis, you will have a clear insight into an online buyer’s path, from the research phase to conversion, and be able to optimize it effectively.
Even if you do not own that data, you can always use third-party data sources. This is exactly what Google recommends in their recent Better together: Why integrating data strategy, teams, and technology leads to marketing success. They emphasize that you can “connect the dots via data access through APIs, purchased lists, or partnerships.”
Compare you Revenue vs. Costs
Observe your ROI as a value of your customer (especially important in SaaS marketing). Always keep in mind that, whether you’re investing in paid ads or not, attracting a new customer doesn’t come free. Just think about the time, effort, tools, and marketing teams you need to invest in to bring in more buyers. And, if your revenue isn’t higher than your initial investments, that means you’re doing something wrong.
Calculating the cost of a customer and comparing it with your revenue lets you try out different tactics, understand how effective your marketing efforts are, and make better-informed decisions. This is exactly what Marketing Rules for e-Commerce Businesses by Elevate Digital suggests: “You need to experiment with different products and prices before picking a niche. Work on your plan. Figure out what you can up-sell or cross-sell.”
Create Buyer Personas to Humanize your Data
The data you collect shouldn’t be observed in an isolation. This abstract information will prevent you from understanding your real-life customers and tailor your marketing tactics to their expectations.
To avoid this problem, you need to focus on humanizing your data. And, the first step you need to take is, unsurprisingly, building buyer personas. In layman’s terms, buyer personas are fictional profiles portraying the traits and preferences of your average customer.
By contextualizing your customer information this way, you will understand your data better and be able to use it to improve your marketing efforts. Statistics say that 56% of businesses using buyer personas generate more qualified leads, while 36% of them have optimized and shortened a sales cycle.
When building a persona, focus on their demographic, such as their age, occupation, location, and family status. Make a list of their preferences, worries, frustrations, values, personality traits, and behaviors. Know what channels they use to find brands similar to yours and who influences them most. The more accurate your customer data is, the better your personas will be.
Build your Own Data-Driven Strategy
There is no one-size-fits-all marketing strategy for your e-Commerce business. To set yourself apart from your competitors, you need to build the one that resonates with your target audience.
- Start with your email marketing. Instead of sending out one email to all people on your list, you should segment them based on your buyer personas. This is how you will ensure that the emails you send are targeted to your customers.
- Know what influencers impact their opinions. Follow them on social media, listen to their comments, and see who they’re following. You can even monitor your competitors and see where they get their referrals and links from. By building relationships with the right bloggers and social media celebrities, you will boost people’s awareness of your e-Commerce store and build trust with them.
- Integrate your data-driven approach to create a better-targeted content marketing strategy. Analyze your blog and social media channels to see what content types resonate with your audience most. Your goal is to create highly customized, relevant, and informative content that educates your audiences, provides actionable tips, and inspires them to click on the “Buy Now” button.
- Think about the mere buyer journey. Just like big brands like Amazon, you need to personalize user experiences. Use the historical customer data to provide them with customized offers and deals, as well as simplify their checkout process.
Evaluate your Performance and Optimize on the Go
The set-and-forget principle doesn’t work in the world of e-Commerce marketing. As your customers’ preferences and e-Commerce trends change, your marketing efforts need to adapt. And, research proves me right, emphasizing that the customer data decay rate is over 30% each year. In some sectors, it even reaches the astonishing 70%.
So, your goal is to analyze your data regularly to keep up with these changes. And, the first step in this process is setting the right metrics.
Now, with the plentitude of tools and KPIs out there, it’s difficult to focus on the right ones. A common mistake marketers make is focusing on the metrics that are easy to measure rather than the ones that provide more accurate insights. For example, measuring conversion rate is important, but you should support it with some more precise KPIs such as brand awareness or customer lifetime value.
Be it quality metrics (brand awareness, perceptions of your brand) or effectiveness metrics (customer engagement, conversion rates, bounce rates, etc.), you need to choose those digital marketing metrics that directly show you the performance of your e-Commerce brand.
Over to You
It may now seem to you that adopting the data-driven approach to marketing is a daunting task. You’re right. To work as expected, it requires you to invest your blood, sweat, and tears. Above all, it demands continuous learning and improvement.
However, this is the only way to make your e-Commerce business relevant to your audience and stay dominant in the ever-changing online marketing landscape.
And, I hope these tips will be your solid starting point.