The internet is a seemingly infinite space of data if you know where to look. With billions of users interacting with and creating content, the term “gold mine” certainly comes to mind. As businesses, it’s important that we know how to tap into this raw data and how it can be used to inform our marketing practices.
That’s why today I’m going to show you 8 ways you can start using the data right in front of you to better your marketing efforts.
8 Ways Data Can Improve Your Marketing Today
Data comes in a lot of forms, some of which aren’t obvious. Whether your company has a self-hosted site or you’re using one of today’s free blog sites, you can gather tons of data from that channel alone.
Here are eight ways you can use data to improve your marketing efforts:
#1 – More Efficient Marketing Budget Management
Our first method hits close to home. Your marketing budget is going to be the most crucial aspect of your efforts. You need to structure it so you can show a positive ROI, but you also don’t want to sell yourself short and come up lacking in resource.
Here are four ways you can use your marketing data to create better budgets:
- Use Last Year’s Data – When you’re given a goal to reach by the upper echelons of your business, take a look at your data from last year’s performance. How many leads did you generate and what were they worth in terms of conversions? This will help you come up with a proper budget to generate the leads you need in the coming year.
- Look at Your Industry – A great way to set expectations is to look at the general trends in your industry. What are the conversion rates on average? These averages will give you a basis for how you can expect to perform in the coming year.
- Look at the Big Picture (Not Just ROI) – While the ROI is important, marketing does more than simply close sales. It also fosters brand awareness and creates a series of touch-points leading to your sales. Try measuring and showcasing this influence to inform your budget.
- Learn From Your Mistakes – Once you’ve secured a budget, you’ll need to funnel it to different marketing resources. In this case, you should look at some of the missteps in the previous year’s marketing and see how you can better optimize your spending.
#2 – Collect Data on Your Competition
Your competitors are an open book. There are some things they are doing better and some things they are doing worse than you. Either way, you can look at them for data that you can use to better understand your audience.
For example, let’s say you need to find out what type of content is performing with your customers. A great place to start is by looking at two aspects of your competition: Their social media and their backlinks.
For social media, you should check their profiles and catalog which posts are getting the most engagement (likes, shares, retweets, etc.). This is a good indicator of what’s resonating with your audience, but you can take it a step further.
Try using a tool like Majestic to see exactly what websites are linking to your competition and what pages they are linking to. The topics and keywords these pages target represent opportunities for you to create something similar, but more in-depth and robust.
Using this data will allow your content marketing team to pursue the most popular topics and ultimately serve content that resonates with your audience.
# 3 – Utilize Data to Improve The User Experience
Analytics offer us a lot of insight into user behavior, but they don’t give us a true look into the user experience. Ultimately, the feel of a website can’t be conveyed through simple numbers. Thankfully, there are heatmaps that can be used to capture user behavior on a page and showcase how they are interacting with it.
Heatmaps use color-coordinated results to show where users are clicking the most and therefore gives us an insight into how they interact with the design of a page. For example, if users are clicking away from the page instead of the call-to-action you’ve placed on it, we can infer that there’s a disconnect in the page’s design.
In essence, these heatmaps answer the “why” behind user motivation and ultimately allows you to understand the experience they’re having and how to improve it.
#4 – Create Personalized Lead Nurturing
Customer data can be utilized to create personalized lead nurturing campaigns. Let’s take a look at an example of how this can be done through a series of emails:
- Start by offering a free download. Perhaps a guide or an e-book on your niche.
- Ask for customer’s emails when they download the free gift.
- Now that you’ve established interest in that subject, send emails that provide value and insight.
- By the time you sent the fourth email, you can start talking about sales. You can offer them ways to get in touch with you or your team.
By offering the download, you’re establishing an interest from the lead in what you’re selling. By providing them with personalized information on that subject, your nurturing that interest, ultimately turning them into a customer.
#5 – Create Buyer Personas
Forging a relationship with your audience is easier said than done, especially when you have so many of them. A practice known as buyer personas is a great way to use accessible data to better understand your audience.
Start by gathering information about your audience through these methods:
- Look at your contacts database to gather information about leads and customers.
- Utilize analytics to see which content pieces are performing better than others.
- Create capture fields that gather relevant data.
- Consider the interactions you’ve had with your leads thus far, what have you learned from these?
- Interview customers or ask for feedback.
Taking all of this data into account, you can start to form generalized personas that represent the greater portions of your audience. By using these personas as a litmus test for your content, you can decide if certain marketing tactics will resonate or not.
#6 – Provide Data-Backed Content
There’s nothing that drives your point home better than a great piece of data that supports your claims. Since the dawn of writing, creators have always had to have sources to back up their claims. Otherwise, the content falls flat and you lack authority on your subject.
How do you find the data you need for your content? Here are three simple steps:
- Find relevant articles on your topic
- Analyze them to see how they fit into your content’s message
- Link to them in your post at relevant points with detailed anchor text.
This simple process will allow you to appear more credible to your audience. It will also give your marketing more impact.
#7 – Expose New Opportunities
Your data outlines the wins and losses in your marketing. By looking at these results, you can better decide how to approach your future campaigns. Beyond this, you can also find opportunities to pursue profitable results.
Let’s say you had a particular post that went viral on social media. You can use this data to see what made the post so appealing to your audience. You can pull some of the traits from that post and create something that launches off of that success.
You may also come across initiatives that performed better than expected. These also highlight areas of growth that you can devote more time and energy to. Ultimately any and all data you capture will hold new opportunities for you to pursue.
#8 – Gather Geographic Data on Your Audience
Personalization is a great way to boost your marketing’s effectiveness, and what’s more personal that information about your hometown? Studies have shown that incorporating location-based content in marketing leads to a 27% increase in conversions.
The only way to gather customer location data is by obtaining their permission first. Once you’ve done this, you can use push notifications to send them relevant marketing information based on where they are. If you’re located in Miami and you have a sale in one of your physical locations, you can send a notification specifically to people in that area.
If you’re having trouble obtaining location data, consider telling your audience what they stand to gain by allowing you to see their location.
Data is all around us, and it provides incredible insight into our audience and our marketing efforts. By taking advantage of the lessons it can teach us, we can more effectively plan and implement our marketing campaigns. How do you use data in your marketing? Let us know in the comments!