9 Cool Ways You Can Use Data-Driven Marketing to Gain Customers If you don't know what a "buyer persona" is, it's time you schooled yourself in the benefits data-driven strategies can offer.

By AJ Agrawal

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Thanks to technology's growing influence on our daily lives, it's easier than ever before to collect data on consumer habits, wants and needs. Web analytics and other forms of data are a treasure trove of useful information for marketers looking to increase their customer base.

Related: Data-Driven Marketing in 2016: Bigger, Faster, Better

Now that marketing is more customer-centric, and success is often measured by the ability of a brand to connect with a target audience, many marketers are turning to data-driven strategies to help understand their customer base more completely.

Here are some ways you too can use data-driven marketing to get more customers.

1. Set up buyer personas.

Big-data technology allows marketers to more easily collect information, in order to create personas of different segments of their customer base. Using marketing personas has made websites two to five times more effective at gaining conversions; that success has made this strategy a great way to attract more customers.

So, do this yourself: Use data about the habits and characteristics of different segments of your audience to target your marketing more effectively. If your audience members elieve that you're directing messaging toward them, they'll pay more attention to what you have to say.

2. Make your landing pages work for you.

Data-driven marketing is either embedded or strategic for 78 percent of marketers. Using data-driven practices can optimize things like landing pages to attract more customers.

Related: 4 Ways a 'Data-Driven' Approach Anticipates Buyer Behavior

Landing pages allow companies to reach more customers through various search terms related to your products or services. You can use big data to target your landing pages so that the page will reflect which segments of your audience are interested in certain aspects of your company. This way, the most relevant persona will be targeted for each landing page, making it more likely to attract their attention.

3. Use Facebook custom audiences.

Facebook has over 1.9 billion monthly users, making it a great platform for attracting customers. Another great thing about Facebook is that it provides companies with data-driven tools to improve their marketing and attract more customers.

For instance, you can use Facebook Custom Audiences to target users who are similar to your established customers. This way, you'll get higher-quality leads -- and, in turn, more sales.

4. Give customers a deal.

Some 85 percent of consumers look for coupons prior to visiting a retailer. You can capitalize on this fact by using data to target coupons to the right audience segments.

Use the data you have on past customer behavior to send those buyers customized coupons or other offers. You can even measure the effectiveness of your coupons by tracking redemption rates through brick-and-mortar stores and ecommerce.

5. Lasso customers back in.

Retargeting involves reaching out to people who have previously shown interest in your brand by visiting your website or entering a certain search term. You can use retargeting (also called remarketing) to stay connected with people who are at least somewhat interested in what you're selling.

Specifically, you can show customers custom ads tailored to their behavior on your site as they browse the web, to keep up their interest and guide them back to your business. Even better, you'll find that most customers don't mind this practice. Some 30 percent of consumers have a positive or very positive reaction to retargeted ads, versus the 11 percent who feel negatively about them. The greatest percentage, though (59 percent) had a neutral reaction.

6. Ramp up your email campaigns.

The previously mentioned buyer personas and customer segmentation through customer data can also help you create more effective email campaigns. By creating emails triggered by and targeted toward their online behavior, you can recapture 10 percent to 20 percent of disengaged customers.

Use data on your customers to create personalized email campaigns that fit their unique preferences. This way, they're more likely to come back for a purchase.

7. Watch the clock.

This piece of advice might seem insignificant but can have an impact on the number of customers who see -- and engage with -- your advertising. Social media tools like Hootsuite, for instance, can help you find the best time to tweet so that you get the best ROI possible via Twitter.

When you use customer behavioral data to figure out the best time to put up a social media post, you'll receive optimal coverage and boost your sales. A good rule of thumb is that Facebook engagement rates are 18 percent higher on Thursdays and Fridays. You can get even more specific by doing some data digging.

8. Try display ads.

You can also use display advertising or banner ads to your advantage, by engaging in data-driven practices. Only 2.8 percent of consumers feel that ads on websites are relevant to them, so you must target your advertising to get their attention. You can have display ads appear next to content on web pages, social media and email.

By collecting data on how well each type of ad is doing, you can continue to improve, and make them more effective, in getting customers.

9. Use paid search optimization.

Nowadays, internet users can quickly access information about practically anything. By knowing what potential customers are searching for and optimizing paid searches, marketers can understand what keywords customers are using and use those keywords for their own search engine ad placement.

Related: 4 Ways a 'Data-Driven' Approach Anticipates Buyer Behavior

Even better, paid search advertisements look native; in a recent study, up to 50 percent of users shown a search engine results page could not identify paid ads. This means that they're pretty likely to click on them and potentially purchase something.

The message here? The evolution of data in marketing has made it easier than ever before to attract customers.

What are some other ways you can use data-driven practices to improve customer engagement?

AJ Agrawal

Founder of Verma Media

AJ Agrawal is the founder of Verma Media, a marketing agency that focuses on emerging tech, like blockchain and AI, and on cannabis companies.

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