Using Data to Drive Decisions


Published: April 23, 2018 Author: Jason Holicky - Hometown Design Studio Inc.
Using Data to Drive Decisions

Today’s marketers have the tools and the technology to collect incredible amounts of data from website visitors, social media followers, app users, and more. Lifting useful, actionable information from that data can be another story. However, it’s worth the effort as 75 percent of leaders in data-driven marketing are seeing increased engagement and more than 65 percent are seeing an uptick in new customers.

Why Data-Driven Decisions Work
In the past, advertisers and marketers relied on a combination of past experiences and old-fashioned hunches to make decisions. When a campaign was completed, the data would be gathered and results calculated. 

Today, we can check in on our campaigns and get virtually instant feedback that allows for agile, informed decision-making. Courses can be corrected mid-journey to redirect faltering tactics and double down on winning strategies. 

The result is stronger campaigns, higher ROIs, and fewer resources dedicated to strategies that aren’t going to pan out.

Where is Data Coming From?
Most companies are tracking simple metrics like website visits, web page traffic, form completions, and email opens. If you’re running a PPC campaign, you’re surely tracking clicks and conversions. However, there’s so much more you can collect and analyze to get better results. 

If you’re using email campaigns, look beyond opens and clicks and start matching up who is clicking on what. You may find that people of a similar profile tend to respond to one sort of messaging more than others, or are more likely to click on links than others. 

Use Google Analytics to go beyond page views and see if you can discover a path that people are taking or uncover any dead zones. Or, dig deeper into your AdWords campaigns to learn about keywords and their variations, and to discover which keywords signal intent to buy and which seem to draw a bunch of tire-kickers.

You can also collect plenty of intel on your own by using forms on your website with content and downloads as an enticement. If a visitor would like to download a whitepaper about your products or get a free trial, ask for more than just their name and email address.

Putting Data to Work 
While there are sophisticated data-driven strategies for big corporations that are deep in the marketing trenches, there are lots of simple, straightforward ways for the rest of us to be smart with data to get results. Here are a few ideas:

  • Personalized Email Campaigns. Go a little farther than sticking “Hi [firstname],” into your emails. Segment your contact databases using data you already have to create custom messaging for each segment.
    For example, people respond better to photos of people who look like themselves. So, try segmenting by age and use photos of people in similar age groups, or segment by industry and match photos accordingly. Even using a customized call-to-action based on the recipient can drive results.

  • Retargeting Campaigns. Just a handful of years ago, marketers had to contend with customers who would sometimes browse websites from home and sometimes from work. Today, people are interacting with digital assets on smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers and are engaging with dozens of outlets from social media to apps to email.

    Data will help you stick with your customers across devices and platforms to provide consistent messaging across all of them, and retargeting is a great way to harness this potential. Retargeted ads can be shown on almost any platform, and can be tailored to capture anything from abandoned shopping carts to cross-selling after a purchase. 

  • Optimizing Your Buyer’s Journey. Most of your customers who are in the same segment or attached to the same buyer persona tend to follow a similar journey when researching solutions to a problem and reaching a purchase decision. From Google searches to information downloads to email campaigns, every step of the journey has the potential to be optimized.

    Rather than looking at specific details of your marketing efforts--say one landing page--look at the entire journey and look for areas where activity tends to spike or fall off. Analyze what’s working to help you figure out how to plug those leaks and get more people to complete the journey and make a purchase. 

Go Beyond Hunches
Hunches and experience still have their place in digital marketing, but now we use them to find new places to look for data and creative ways to apply what we know to create engaging, personalized experiences for customers. When it’s time for marketing decisions, data gets the win.

About the Author

Creative Director Jason co-founded Hometown Design Studio of New Lenox, IL in 2013. He spends his days guiding and consulting industrial clients and small businesses owners on their marketing strategy and projects. Jason enables everyone to be successful and grow their business by sharing his knowledge and experience.
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