How to Get Started with a Data-Driven Marketing Strategy

“Google Analytics is a real gold-mine for marketing professionals!”

If only you would get a dollar for every time you read that sentence. You’d maybe even quit your marketing job and go live on some tropical island.

While it may be a real cliché, there is also truth in the statement. The days in which marketing was a profession done on instinct and some positive user feedback are long gone. Each business now needs data to improve its marketing efforts.

Unfortunately, finding and using that data isn’t a simple task for all of us. You are a marketing professional after all, not a data scientist. There are countless data sources with different kinds of information, and many challenges you have that you can tackle with that data. So where do you get started?

Let’s lead with the bad news: you may not be a data expert yet, but it is time that you get started. If you don’t begin to use data to support your marketing strategy, your competition has a big chance of outpacing you. Before you panic, here is a clear overview of the types of data that can benefit your marketing and how you can use them:

1. Your Company Website

It is where those interested in your business go to get their information, but it can also tell you a lot about them. You’ve read it a million times because it’s true: Google Analytics is an excellent tool for marketing professionals. Once you connect it to your company website, it can give you essential information on the website’s visitors that helps you improve your marketing.

If you are unaware of the data that Google Analytics offers, there are a few factors to look at first. The platform gives you information on your visitor’s demographics: is your page only looked at by men in their thirties or is the crowd all over 65? You can use this data to target your website to the visiting audience. If you have written all your text with a technology-savvy millennial in mind, but it turns out that it is mostly people without a smartphone who visit your website, it might be time for a change. You should focus your site on your users! That being said, it is crucial to keep in mind who is buying your product. If you see that your website speaks to an older audience, but only teenagers buy your product, you need to reevaluate how those people are getting to your page.

That is where the next important measurement comes in: acquisition. It shows you how people get to your website. Are they clicking on the Twitter link that you post each day? Or do they use a search engine? The acquisition information tells you which of the channels you use, works best. If you spend hours a week on creating the perfect LinkedIn post and it only draws two people to your website, you better spend your time trying something else. Or maybe you notice that many people search for a term and then visit your online page? Try to create more content for that term to increase your appearance in organic search results.

A final point that is important when you are just getting started, is the time people spend on your page. You may get thousands of visitors a week, but if they all leave after ten seconds, they probably haven’t read about your product. Their time on the page shows you whether people just click your website and close it straight away, or if they stick around to get more information. If the time on the page is too short for people to get to know your product, you should consider changing your copy or putting the text in a different format to make it easier for people to read.

2. The Social Platforms

Whether you use LinkedIn, Facebook or Pinterest — social media is a great way to reach your audience. You can broadcast your message to the perfect crowd and interact with your followers.

In addition to their social aspect, these platforms are also a valuable source of information. They allow you to see how people respond to your latest blog or product idea. Are people clicking on the links that you share to read more? Or do they share them with their following? This back-and-forth with your audience can tell you what they find meaningful. You can try out different types of content and see what your readers prefer, and use that information to create a better content strategy. Stop wasting time on content no one wants to see.

Image by Erik Lucatero on Unsplash

3. Customer Centered Data

Once a customer signs up for your business, you start collecting data on them. You can ask them for their name, their preferences and their contact information. It is even an option to send them an additional survey if you want to go the extra mile.

All this information helps you improve your future marketing to them. It lets you personalize any outreach by adding their name when you contact them, or only offer them those products that you know they can use.

People receive plenty of e-mails, messages, and marketing material each day. If you want to stand out from the rest, you need to take a different approach. Studies have shown that people are more susceptible to marketing that you personalize and to tailored offers. This makes customer centered data an easy tool to get better results.

4. Publicly Available Information

You can collect all data yourself — but there is already plenty of information out there for you to use. There are surveys done by other companies, studies released by universities and even the national census with demographic data.

This approach may require some time if you want to find the right information, will be worth it in the end. If you are a B2C business hoping to sell your product to seniors, for example, you can use a country’s demographic information to target those regions where people fit your customer profile. Or if you want to sell your latest product on social media automation to marketers, why not write content based on a relevant study that was recently published by a reliable source?

The rise of the Internet has given way to great amounts of free and relevant information, so don’t be afraid to use it to benefit your business.

5. Your Data Provider

There is already publicly available information and your data, but what if you want to know more to take your marketing strategy up a notch? That is where a data provider can help.

There are specialized data providers for all industries that get you that extra bit of information you need to make your marketing stand out. Your competition might not be too keen to tell you how they approach their customers, but a data provider can find out. Or maybe you want additional information on your customers, but can’t get them to fill out your questionnaire? The right data provider can help you get those insights you need.

Go Out and Try

There you have it. If you want to stay competitive in the current market, you need to develop a basic understanding of the different data sources and how you can use them. This data helps you improve your knowledge of your customers, the market you operate in and even your own business.

Whether you look forward to this challenge or dread the whole idea, one thing’s for sure: you need to take things one step at a time and keep the data connected to the right goal. Try to focus on what you find most important first and gradually grow the amount of data you use to support your marketing. It will benefit you and your business in the long run.

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