Using Data to Inform Marketing
Execution goes hand in hand with strategy. Data collection and analysis can change the way you approach your process, but savvy marketers also use their data to adjust and evolve their campaigns on the fly. As you intake user data, be on the lookout for adjustments to your content execution.
A/B Testing and Multivariate Testing
Testing multiple variables is one of the most accessible and most useful tools in a marketer’s toolbox. Every form of content that you publish can benefit from testing:
- Your website and landing pages: iterate different copy, headlines, and imagery, then analyze user data and heat mapping to see which formats and content drive users down the funnel toward a purchase.
- Emails: test subject lines to determine which versions generate more opens, clicks, and conversions. Don’t underestimate the value of such a small change. The Obama campaign was famously obsessed with A/B testing — in one instance, a simple change in the subject line brought in 530 percent more donations.
- Social media posts: test images, copy, and CTAs to see which versions draw the most engagement and clicks. Social media success can snowball — the more attention a post gets, the more likely it will appear in front of more viewers.
- Paid ads: test copy, headlines, CTAs, and search placement to find the most effective combinations.
As you iterate and test your content, you’ll start to recognize patterns about what kind of language, tone, images, and formats appeal most to your customers. These patterns can even inform sea changes in your branding — the brand image that you thought was most appealing to your ideal customers might need to adapt to reflect the reality of how your customers see you.
One of the advantages of modern website technology is serving a different version of your website to individual users based on what you know about them. The simplest version of website personalization might show a different page to users based on their location, while more complicated executions can customize every aspect of your user’s experience.
Think about what you see when you access Amazon.com. For users signed into their accounts, Amazon changes almost the entirety of the homepage to reflect your browsing and shopping history. A quick check at the time of writing this article showed more than ten sections inspired by the specific history of the logged-in user:
- Get yourself a little something
- Related to items you’ve viewed
- Review your purchase
- Buy again
- Recently viewed
- Video: Recommended for you
- Epic daily deal
- Inspired by your shopping trends
- Inspired by your purchases
- Based on your search history
- Gift ideas inspired by your shopping history
Amazon is at the end of the personalization spectrum, but the principle still applies. The idea is to provide the website viewer with more relevant and helpful content to keep them engaged. Examples include:
- Timely offers: a clothing retailer might scrape weather data from the visitor’s IP address to serve them specific recommendations.
- Better CTAs: a CTA that offers customers a free trial of your premium service tier might convert well, but it’s of no use to customers who have already upgraded. For logged-in customers, customize your CTAs and offers to reflect the offers they’ve already used.
- Behavioral cues: many websites won’t show a pop-up until a user has spent more than a few seconds on a given page. The pop-up engages users who are more invested in the content but doesn’t irritate those who are merely browsing.
Personalization opportunities will be different for every customer and user base. The important thing is that you pay close attention to the behavior and intentions of your users. When patterns start to emerge, you’ll be able to take advantage of them.
Online Surveys and Feedback
One of the most effective ways to determine whether your content is serving your customers well is to ask them. For decades, one of the most popular survey systems has been the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which asks your customers to answer a question on a scale of one to ten. Generally, the question asked is some variation of “How likely are you to recommend our product to a friend or colleague?” If most of your answers are a seven or above, you can consider your content to be relatively successful.
Marketers can learn a lot by adapting the classic NPS question to fit their specific inquiries. Rather than asking about the company as a whole, ask specific questions about more granular aspects of your company. For example:
- How easy was it for you to find what you were looking for?
- How easy was it to navigate our website?
- How informative did you find the information on our site?
- Do you think the pricing for this product is fair?
- How satisfied have you been with the service you’ve received from this product?
These questions will give you deeper insights into what is and isn’t working on your website or other marketing content. When you find a piece of your site that receives a consistently negative score, start testing and iterating new versions to incorporate feedback.
You can also ask for feedback through social media or email surveys. A simple question on Facebook or LinkedIn like “How can we improve” will boost engagement, bring in a deluge of opinions, and make your customers feel heard and appreciated.
Renewal and Churn Analysis
If your business operates on a subscription basis, maximizing renewal and minimizing churn is your top priority.
Analytics can help. Examine the customers that have churned before renewing a single time to see what they have in common. Look for features they never used, onboarding tutorials they never took advantage of, or usage statistics around how often they logged in or visited their dashboards.
Do the same for your most loyal customers. Find the features and usage characteristics they have in common. Once you find patterns, focus on directing your existing customers toward the features and resources that result in renewals.
Content Calendar Timing
Every social media post, blog post, and email you publish will generate a wealth of data on viewership and engagement. Look for trends in engagement that correlate with the time of week and day when the content was published and look for trends. Some customers prefer to check their email first thing in the morning. Some users browse social media while they’re at work — the exact manner in which your customers interact with your content will depend on the people as much as the content itself. Look for content management tools that can generate this analysis for you — a few tools will automatically schedule posts based on when previous posts have seen the most engagement.
Maximizing the Power of Data-Driven Execution
Data-driven execution is the linchpin of modern marketing strategies. By continuously collecting and analyzing data, marketers can refine their campaigns, optimizing them for success. A/B testing and multivariate testing offer valuable insights into what resonates with the audience, informing adjustments to various elements of marketing initiatives.
Website personalization takes user experiences to the next level, ensuring that content is relevant and engaging. By tailoring content to individual preferences, companies can enhance customer satisfaction and boost conversions. Additionally, soliciting online surveys and feedback provides a direct line to understanding customer needs and preferences, guiding content improvements.
Renewal and churn analysis is crucial for subscription-based businesses, enabling them to pinpoint patterns that lead to customer retention or attrition. Finally, timing matters, and data analysis helps identify when to publish content for optimal engagement. In the data-driven landscape of modern marketing, informed execution is the key to sustained success and customer satisfaction.