How to improve customer experiences using data analytics Customer by KEVIN PAYNE June 16, 2020 As marketers, we’re told time and time again the importance of using data to create better, more relevant marketing campaigns. But using data analytics in marketing is only the beginning, data analytics should play an important role in your overall business strategy, including customer experience. Great customer experiences lead to higher retention rates, increased brand loyalty, and bigger customer lifetime value (CLV). Improving customer experiences can seem like a straightforward task, but unless you base new tactics and strategies on data you gather from your customers, you might be putting in effort and resources in the wrong places. So how do you use data analytics to improve customer experiences with your brand? Here are eight ways to get started. 1. Segment existing and incoming customers based on touchpoint behaviors As both existing and new customers interact with your brand across a number of different channels, they provide valuable insights about themselves and their preferences and needs. You can segment users based on these various touchpoint behaviors—on autopilot. Here’s one simple application of this if you have an e-commerce store. Many of the best e-commerce platforms on the market integrate deeply with your customer relationship management (CRM) and email marketing providers, allowing you to segment buyers based on transaction history, number of previous purchases, and product searches. You can create rules and tags in your CRM system to document their interactions with your branded campaigns, i.e. “answered survey,” “clicked X link on campaign Y,” “purchased ABC subscription,” etc. You can then add these customers to specific interest groups or segments. 2. Nurture leads with relevant non-promotional content Once you have data about your leads’ interests, pain points, and preferences, share with them non-promotional content that’s meant to nurture them through the know-like-trust cycle. The more relevant your content is for your customers, the less likely they are to consider your content spam and the more likely they are to remain on your outreach list and to convert into customers. Let’s look at an example of a marketing agency that provides search engine optimization (SEO) services. Some of their users are interested in website optimization tips to improve their sites’ overall SEO and others are interested specifically in getting more backlinks to their sites. The agency can segment the users based on these priorities and share the most relevant content with each group. The first group would get blog posts or video walkthroughs about various SEO-boosting website tactics they can use. The second group would receive tips on prospecting sites for pitching guest blogs and how to get your guest post accepted by editors. Relevant content improves your customer experience and helps you to build trust with your target audiences. 3. Send personalized product recommendations Aside from sending non-promotional content to nurture users, you have to promote your products and/or services and sell at some point. The best way to keep promotional campaigns relevant to your customers is to send them personalized recommendations based on what you know about their needs and wants. Let’s go back to the marketing agency and their customers who want to increase the number of high quality backlinks to their websites. These customers are not interested in paying for onsite SEO tactics recommendations and implementation. They have already implemented SEO best practices and are looking for the next step, i.e. getting backlinks from high-quality sites. Trying to sell them a suite of all other services at that point may alienate them and send them looking for another agency. The more you tailor your offer to each specific customer, the more you improve their experiences with your business. They start to see that you really understand what they’re looking for and are focused on solving their specific needs. If you promote products that are irrelevant to your target customers, your customers will pick up on the fact that you don’t know who they are and what their needs are, and will assume you’re only trying to sell. 4. Use AI to personalize search results With AI learning, businesses are able to provide personalized search results to leads and customers faster and easier. Because everything is done in the background and your AI results get smarter with more exposure, you eliminate the need for manual data mining and analysis, saving a lot of time and effort. Let’s take a look at how Airbnb uses AI learning to personalize search results and recommendations. The company delivers instant search results for returning users, based on wishlisted homes and experiences, previously booked experiences, and even recent search history and preferences to keep these results highly relevant. The personalized search results have already been influenced by the price points, specific amenities, and desired locations these users searched for in the past—so users never get recommendations that are too far out of their budget, needs, and preferences. 5. Retarget with follow-up emails and ads Retargeting can happen in several ways. You can use it to follow up with users who abandoned carts on an e-commerce store or clicked on social media posts or website banner ads. It’s a great way to remind customers about things they had been checking out or considering, as well as to nudge them to complete a purchase or take other specific action. For example, e-commerce stores sometimes offer perks or discounts when a user checks out their abandoned cart. You can also use retargeting campaigns to send highly relevant content to users without pitching a sale at first. For example, a marketing agency may run retargeted ads showcasing the value of omni-channel campaigns instead of showing product ads to prospects and customers. 6. Identify top customers who can be potential referrers or influencers If you have extremely loyal customers, consider creating a referral program or influencer marketing campaigns. After all, influencers on social media aren’t the only people who can make successful sales referrals—your existing customers are potential influencers for your business. Use your CRM data to identify the most engaged customers and provide them with incentives or rewards for referrals. This is also an opportunity to deepen relationships with your engaged and loyal customers. 7. Engage sales processes in real time If you can streamline your sales processes and meet customers where they are, you may be able to speed up your sales cycles. For example, after an online shopper adds products from your store to their wishlist, you can send a notification or reminder a day or two later, with a promo offer that they can’t refuse. Online businesses can do the same after learning that a user has opted in to a valuable lead magnet. For example, if a user registers for a webinar, you might offer to send them notifications on Facebook Messenger to remind them about the event. Afterwards, you can follow up with them on Messenger, or send them more relevant content to boost their chances of converting to a sale. 8. Optimize your website for great user experience Data analytics can show you if your website visitors are spending too little time on your site or are bouncing from pages too soon. Tools like heat maps can even tell you the more popular areas of your page versus the least popular ones, such as frequently-clicked menu items or call-to-action (CTA) buttons. Valuable insights like this can show you how to optimize your website and individual pages for overall user experience. Use this information to improve copy, change CTA placements, and/or update web layouts. As you improve overall web design and streamline the flow, you help users to find key information quickly and take action. Key takeaway Data-driven strategies and campaigns can help you to improve every customer touchpoint and make the best ROI. How well do you know your customers? How do you plan to use data to create better customer experiences? Read more like this: How to implement local SEO Tips on introducing artificial intelligence in your business What are different types of customer data? 12 tips to generate qualified leads from a sales webinar Why use marketing automation? Customer Experience | Customer Journey | Customer Relationships KEVIN PAYNE Kevin Payne is a content marketing consultant and helps companies build marketing funnels and implement content marketing campaigns to increase inbound leads.