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Promoting your business

Using customer data for marketing purposes

In the digital age, every business has access to private customer information.Effective modern marketing and remarketing campaigns run on customer data.

Effective modern marketing and remarketing campaigns run on customer data. Businesses want to provide personalised customer experiences that create individual brand connections. To do that, you must know as much as possible about each and every prospective customer – and that requires data. Read on to learn more.

First comes customer segmentation

Data-driven marketing begins with customer segmentation. This is the process of sorting existing customers and new leads into groups based on shared characteristics.

Segments may separate your customers by age, gender, location, income or occupation, marital status, interests, past purchases – or any combination of those factors.

You should aim to communicate differently with each customer segment to ensure your content is relevant to them.

For example, marketing content targeting a 23-year-old single female fashion designer who lives in a major city would probably fail to hold the interest of a 48-year-old married male mechanic who lives in rural Australia, and vice versa.

Customer segmentation should also play a role when choosing your communication channels. As such, you may find targeting 20-somethings on Instagram much more effective than on other platform. Yet, an older segment may be more likely to respond to Facebook advertising and may respond better to email contact.

The key role of CRM

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is the brains trust that drives your marketing campaigns. It’s where all your customer data lives, and the platform you use to sort leads into predefined customer segments.

A CRM system also enables marketers to see which stage each lead and customer is at in the sales pipeline. This helps you determine what marketing content is rolled out to which customer and when.

For example, a new lead at the top of your sales pipeline may respond well to marketing material that educates them about your product or service, offers a free trial or an introductory discount. However, a repeat customer who is further along in the customer journey might respond better to a loyalty rewards program, a complimentary product or service, or a one-off exclusive offer.

Using data for remarketing

Customer data is also valuable for remarketing. Remarketing targets consumers who have shown interest in your product or service but failed to proceed to purchase. They may have visited your website, made an enquiry or otherwise interacted with your brand and then lost interest.

Tools like website analytics and cookies play an elementary role here. They tag each user and record their interactions. This allows you to retarget them with further content, e.g. with display or social media ads, at a later stage using products or services they’re already interested in.

To further personalise your campaigns you can then call on other data points, such as your customer segmentation data. Many CRM systems can help automate this process with the aim of bringing the lost lead back into – and continuing to push them through – your sales pipeline.

Collecting customer data

We know that customer data lives in your CRM and drives personalised marketing and remarketing campaigns. But how do you actually collect the data?

Offering a free download or subscription to a newsletter on your website is one way to get prospects to surrender their contact details. This will get you the lead’s name and email address to populate a new customer record in your CRM. You could also consider asking for their phone number, location, date of birth and occupation at this stage too.

Customer surveys, competitions and rewards programs are other excellent ways to collect more detailed customer information. However, you don’t want to come across as too intrusive, so make sure there's a reasonable exchange of value.

Some key legal considerations

Collecting and storing customer data comes with some important legal obligations. You must comply with a range of data privacy regulations, and you should implement data security measures to protect your customer data from potential data breaches.

There are also some legal restrictions around how businesses can use customer data for marketing purposes. The Spam Act 2003 applies to any email, SMS, MMS and instant messages you intend on sending to leads or customers. It sets out three key rules:

1. Consent: You must have the person’s permission to send them commercial messages, e.g. many businesses include an opt-in tick box at the bottom of online order, enquiry and download forms.

2. Sender identification: All commercial messages you send must clearly display the contact details of the person or business sending the message; this includes SMS and MMS message.

3. Opt-out: You must provide a method for customers to opt out of receiving future marketing messages from you; this is usually provided via an ‘unsubscribe’ link included at the end of digital communications.

Data-driven campaigns can really lift your marketing game. Use customer segmentation to personalise your marketing messages, remarketing to target lost leads and a good CRM platform to bring it all together. Just be sure to understand your legal obligations and you’re on your way to marketing success.

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