Customers want to feel welcomed and remembered. That's one of the reasons using a person's name in an email newsletter is so effective; even though the customer is just one of potentially thousands of people on the list, that personalized touch can have a significant effect. It improves the overall customer experience, and studies have shown that personalized marketing drives the growth of customer loyalty. But to effectively market to your customers (and serve them well), you need to know more about them. Here’s how to use data to boost your business.
The best kinds of customer data
Of course, not all information is created equal. You should prioritize these types of customer demographics above others:
- Contact details, especially email address and phone number
The name is self-explanatory; with a customer’s name, you can send them personalized correspondence. Their zip code, age, gender, and income make it easier to compile demographic data if you’re looking to understand things about who’s working with you or the kinds of customers that are helping your business grow. It can also allow you to personalize offers based on their age, gender, and income levels.
Finally, knowing a customer's birthday — along with their contact details — allows you to send them a birthday card or email a unique discount code, increasing the chances they’ll do business with you more often.
How to collect data that works for you
A variety of data collection tools allow you to gather information about your customers. You can ask for email addresses and phone numbers at the point of purchase or collect information at online checkout.
Another easy option is to use your guest WiFi connection. Comcast Business WiFi Pro allows you to set up a guest network that shoppers or diners can access while they’re visiting your business. Set up a splash page that they see before they log in. To enable access, request their email address. You can also ask for their name and birthday for a chance to win a discount code, and then store this information for later use. Adding WiFi access provides added value to the customer at little cost to you. And the more customers who enter and use the network, the more information you gain.
You can also gather other kinds of usage data from your network connection. For example, the areas where the signal is being used the most can tell you where customers spend the most time, and the average connection length can tell you how much time customers tend to spend in your business.
The splash page itself is a great marketing tool. Put your Twitter and Facebook links front and center so customers can easily find and interact with you on social media.
The benefits of surveys
Another great way to gather customer information is through a survey. Ask how customers enjoyed their time in the store and how they rate their overall experience. When customers fill out the survey, make sure they know it’s for information-gathering purposes and offer a reward, like a discount code or coupon, upon completion.
The survey can be either on paper or online, although online surveys are usually more likely to be completed and are much easier to compile and analyze. Make the survey mobile-friendly and only ask the most important questions so customers can quickly fill it out on their phones. Consider including birthdate and income range, to continue building your customer profiles.
Using the cloud to gather customer browsing data
If you run an online store, use your website's analytics to conduct an online customer behavior analysis. Your web analytics tools collect information about where on the site your customers spend the most time and knowing which sections of the site interest customers most allows you to offer more of that product type. Remember, the Pareto principle applies to inventory, too: 20 percent of your products will yield 80 percent of your profits.
Additionally, you can gather the IP addresses of your customers and use it to determine where most of your web traffic originates. This information is readily available, and most web analytics programs automatically compile and organize it in an easy-to-read format.
Also, review the paths customers take through your site – and consider if you could make some changes to help customers find what they’re looking for more quickly.
Consumer data can help you offer a new level of personalized service to your customers and grow your business quickly. All you need to do is use the tools already available to you to collect it.