January 12, 2015

How to track customer data for your business


Are you using Big Data effectively to grow your business & sales in 2015?

Post by Susan Payton

Ever heard of Big Data? Probably. Are you using it? Maybe not. Big Data represents disruptive new technologies that capture and track customer information. The data is a goldmine for your business if you know how to use it correctly.

With eMarketer anticipating more than 1.75 billion smartphones to be purchased globally by the end of the year and 25% of the world on a social network, there is more data available than ever before.

To show how new all of this data really is, IBM found that 90 percent of the world’s data was created in the past four years.

Companies use data to look ahead and track what customers need before the customer knows herself what she needs. With so much information available, are you using it as effectively as you can to grow your business and sales?

The most pertinent types of customer data to track

There is a downside to Big Data. The overwhelming amount of information available makes it difficult to know what to track and how to use the data to make smarter business decisions.

The types of data available make matters more confusing. “Structured data,” such as the kind that comes in rows and columns, is easy to manipulate and analyze. “Unstructured data” such as pictures, tweets, locations, videos, and more, is less easy to understand. Both are crucial to your marketing.

As you begin to gear up for 2015, here are a few tools you can implement to ease the data overload and set yourself up for success in the coming year.

MailChimp for email-marketing

Here’s a real-life scenario for you to ponder. You send out an email campaign to your list of leads. Half the people click to learn more and half send your email to the trash. What do you send to your list next? With an email-marketing program like MailChimp you don’t have to wonder.

Target your audience by segmenting them into lists based on certain characteristics (existing customers, haven’t yet purchased, those who have bought specific products) and increase your clickthroughs and purchases.

SproutSocial for social media monitoring

If you’ve ever wondered about the ROI of a tweet or Facebook post, Sprout Social is for you. This application goes way beyond just being a social media post scheduler. It also shows you who has interacted, the demographics of your audience, and more.

Using the information from the Sprout Social dashboard, you get a better understanding of what resonates with your audience and who your audience really is. You also get insight into what topics are trending with your demographic so you can join in the conversation at just the right time.

TrackMaven for competitive analysis

To understand your customers, you also need to understand your competition. TrackMaven gives you real-time benchmarking so you can see what’s happening outside your company walls.

TrackMaven is ideal for the businesses that know data is important but aren’t sure what type of data to track. Get visual information about your content marketing, email, text ads, traffic, earned media, social media, and more.

Insightly CRM

Perhaps the best way to track your customer data is to use an online customer relationship management (CRM) tool. Insightly CRM is a full feature solution that tracks your customer’s behavior starting the moment they first connect with your company.

From social media integration and web to contact tools to opportunity reports, you get a bird’s eye view of what’s happening with all of your customers. It’s easy to react faster to major milestones, monitor progress on projects, recover lost customers, and engage with your customers on a deeper level. By using a CRM like Insightly, you nurture and strengthen relationships, turning your customers into loyal fans.

Understanding all of the data available is overwhelming. Often, businesses get caught up with so much data they experience “analysis paralysis.” Don’t let this happen to you. Focus your 2015 customer tracking on a few core components and you will delight your customers while watching your sales figures increase.

Susan Payton is president of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in marketing communications, copywriting and blog posts. She’s also the founder of How to Create a Press Release, a free resource for business owners. She’s written three books: DIY Press Releases: Your Guide to Becoming Your Own PR Consultant, 101 Entrepreneur Tips and Internet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, and contributes to several sites, includingChamberofCommerce.com, The Marketing Eggspert Blog, CorpNet, Small Business Trends, and BizLaunch. Follow her on Twitter at @eggmarketing.
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