Imagine if your marketing data was so precise, so complete, and so enriched that you could put sales on autopilot. Is that even possible?
Well, not exactly. However, leveraging big data for increased profits is possible and it is why several companies view big data marketing and data enrichment through marketing database software as critical to hitting revenue targets and increasing profit.
Focusing on the Right Kind of Data
So, what is big data marketing anyway? Answering this question comes down to distinguishing between your website’s data and your digital marketing data. Most companies immediately think of their website’s performance when discussing their data. They look at how traffic is generated, how fast a given landing page loads, what the bounce rates are, what their conversion rates are, and how many leads their website generates.
While these aforementioned variables are important, they are nowhere near as important as your digital marketing team understanding how well their digital strategies perform. It is those strategies that lead to sales, lower your costs of winning business, and increase customer retention.
Digital marketing analytics enable you to identify which digital platforms work best and why. This, in turn, enables you to improve upon digital campaigns even further to increase sales and profit. Drilling down into your data helps you determine whether you are taking the right approach to content marketing and email marketing, and whether your organic and paid traffic is producing the kind of leads that turn into paying customers. Your focus must be on moving beyond your website’s analytics and concentrating on how each of your digital strategies work at growing your business. How is this done?
Your Target Audience: Your Buyer Personas
There is no way to increase profit margins on sales if you do not have a thorough understanding of how those sales are made. Understanding your target audience is vital to defining whether your digital strategies are working or whether adjustments are needed. Your data can help you create buyer personas, which are representations of the typical decision makers in your customer base. So, how do you define buyer personas?
First, itemize what makes them tick. Who are these individuals? Knowing on whom you are focusing is critical. Selling to business owners, engineers, designers, field-service repairmen and technicians, purchasing agents, or the everyday consumer requires a different strategy and approach. A business-to-business (B2B) marketplace is different from a consumer marketplace and your buyer personas must be properly defined in order to take advantage of favorable pricing strategies during peak demand periods.
Second, what concerns do your buyer personas have and how does your product or service alleviate those concerns? Focus less on product features and benefits and more on the personal payoffs of dealing with your company. Saving time, removing headaches, and simplifying work are perfect examples of how your product can provide a personal benefit.
Third, where do these buyer personas gather online? Knowing your target audience is one thing, but knowing how to reach them, engage them, and motivate them with the right digital strategy is something else entirely. Even the best marketing approach will fail if it is not implemented properly. Do not limit yourself to just the most obvious social media channel. Expand your research to include any social platform that reaches out to these buyer personas.
Creating an Opportunity Funnel
Today’s market leaders have ditched the sales and marketing funnels of the past. Neither works as a stand-alone option in today’s marketplace. Handing off leads to the sales department in the hopes that a sale is made is no longer feasible. Sales can no longer justify a lost opportunity because of the poor quality of the lead. Marketing and sales must work together.
The opportunity funnel is the ideal solution to guiding your buyer personas through your buyer’s journey. The opportunity funnel forces both marketing and sales to work together with a common goal of winning business. Marketing takes ownership of the lead all the way until the sale is made. They play a vital role alongside sales in nurturing and growing that lead. This partnership means customers are always engaged with the right message at the right time. Here are some of the things your funnel must accomplish.
- Customer Actions: Itemize the most common customer actions that lead to sales. Examples include a prospect clicking on your content’s call-to-action (CTA), a user performing a specific search on your website, a prospect clicking on an email campaign, or a potential lead providing their contact details after downloading gated content on social media. It can even include an existing customer taking an action after a purchase. In fact, the purchase itself is an action that requires a follow-up, be it an email campaign or additional content.
- Marketing Automation: Each customer action must be followed up with more information. Your content is one way of reaching out but there are other ways as well. Use social media updates, content, and email marketing as a means of keeping your leads engaged and up-to-date. A marketing automation platform is a critical component of any successful digital marketing strategy.
- Guide the Journey: Your buyer’s journey must be well-managed and seamless. Identify roadblocks and itemize problematic portions of your funnel where prospects get stuck. Does this have something to do with your content or special offers or with a given email campaign? Understand what the issue is and remove it as a going concern. The idea must be to continually review your performance and remove any roadblocks that stop prospects from moving forward.
- Reintroduce Your Customer Back into the Funnel: A one-time sale is not enough. Focused email campaigns are a great way to follow up after a first purchase. Use them to keep your customers engaged on future offers and current discounts. Strike while the iron is hot. Customer engagement is your motivation, so keep your customers engaged with your company long after they have made their initial purchase.
Isolate Your Best Performing Digital Marketing Strategies
Your goal in this exercise is to link those specific digital marketing strategies that lead to sales. Some strategies will work better than others. Understand why that is and duplicate your efforts by emulating what works and doing away with what does not.
Identifying your best digital strategies involves guiding your prospects through each portion of your opportunity funnel and outlining how sales are closed. This closed-loop mindset means you are able to define what drives that prospect to your website, what landing page converts the most visitors, and what digital strategies and email campaigns work best at moving your customer along their journey.
Your big data marketing will help you isolate your best performing strategy and you can use that insight to improve the overall performance of other digital strategies. For instance, a digital campaign may have driven traffic to your website, but if that traffic does not have a high conversion rate, then you are not generating many sales. Understanding this means you are able to identify what needs to be upgraded and what needs to be replicated.
An email campaign may have elicited all kinds of responses, but if none of those clicks lead to purchases, then it is all for naught. Here are some vital tips to using big data marketing to isolate the best performing strategies.
- Define Cost of Customer Acquisition: Do not get stuck on your costs of leads. Driving low-quality traffic will get you a low cost per lead but it will not help with sales. Your analysis must go all the way to the end by defining the costs of acquiring new customers from your best digital strategies.
- Conversion Rates: Are your landing pages optimized for incoming traffic? It is common to generate high volumes of traffic with low conversion rates, so understanding why your conversion rates are what they are is critical to improving results. This often involves comparing conversion rates across different landing pages and isolating what is working and fixing what is not.
- Call-To-Action (CTA): Your content can be well-written and perfectly structured and still fall short if your CTA is not convincing enough to move customers forward. Tracking CTA on each of your content pieces is critical to increasing conversions. Why do some CTAs work better than others? See your content as one complete piece with the CTA as that all important hook to get customers clicking.
- Click Through Rates (CTR): Each of your digital advertising campaigns represents an opportunity to generate high-quality paid traffic. Take your CTR analysis a step further. Do not just get stuck on whether you have a high or low CTR. Identify if that high CTR leads to high conversions on incoming traffic. Again, driving traffic to a landing page means nothing if the conversions and sales are not there.
- Content: Do not just go with one long page of continuous text. Use videos and high-quality images to engage your audience and keep them focused on your offer. Content has moved beyond the written word to encompass videos, podcasts, webcasts, images, and info-graphics. Use all these together and ask yourself if your content answers the types of questions you would have if you were a customer looking for your product.
- Social Media: Have you properly identified the social media channel used most often by your leads or have you instead chosen the most widely-recognized social media website simply because that is what your competitors do? Granted, it is a loaded question. However, it underscores why so many companies make mistakes with social media. Identify the channel used by your target audience and make it your own.
Identify Revenue-Driving Trends
Maximizing revenue and increasing sales is all about identifying and leveraging any trends in your marketing data. You have the sales numbers. You know how and when new business is won. You know how long it takes to win new business. You know when peak demand occurs and when that demand declines. All of this big data can be leveraged for increased profit.
Does a certain digital strategy work best during a certain time of year? Your data will help you identify if there is any correlation between your best strategies and a sudden increase in sales during a given quarter. It could be that discounts and special offers through email campaigns work best during lulls in customer demand, while product introductions work best during peak demand periods. Understanding these trends helps you maximize sales and profit.
Enriching Your Data with Database Marketing Software
You will never be able to maximize returns with manual processes like excel spreadsheets. You need marketing database software that continually enriches your data and helps you benefit from the collaborative efforts of multiple team members and users. That marketing database software has to be able to track the results of each of your digital marketing strategies. Enriching your data means being able to link the most effective digital strategies to specific segments of your target audience. You want to be able to define how you won over that high-level buyer by linking that sale to the digital strategy that helped close the deal.
Companies that are at the forefront of their market are those whose enriched data allows them to reach their leads with the right offers at the right time. Marketing database software amalgamates all your data into one location and simplifies how you analyse that data so that you are leveraging it across all your digital strategies. All the information you need to improve your knowledge of your potential customers and all the data you need to reach them with the right offer comes from having strong marketing database software.
You have all the data you need to maximize profit for existing and new customers. However, the approach must be to rely upon your existing internal data while leveraging the marketing data emerging from different digital strategies. If successful, you will be one step ahead of competitors and always able to secure that all-important position as the incumbent supplier.
ReachForce helps marketers increase revenue contribution by solving some of their toughest data management problems. We understand the challenges of results-driven marketers and provide solutions to make initiatives like marketing automation, personalization, and predictive marketing better. Whether you have an acute pain to solve today or prefer to grow your capabilities over time, ReachForce can unify, clean, and enrich prospect and customer lifecycle data in your business, and do it at your own pace.