Data has always been important to brands, but it’s now more important than ever. There’s a reason why 63% of marketers from a study by Adobe report that their spend on data-driven marketing and advertising has grown over the last year. And why 53% said that “a demand to deliver more relevant communications” is among the most important factors as part of their investment in data-driven marketing.
Modern marketing is all about reaching the right person in the right place at the right time, and it’s all about ushering people along the customer journey and eventually turning them from a prospect into a paying customer.
What is a customer journey?
Before we jump in further to take a look at how web analytics solutions can create data-driven buyer journeys, we should first take a look at what a customer journey is.
Essentially, every customer that your company sells to has undergone a journey, and are usually categorized as fitting into the following four stages along that path.
Attention: At this early stage, you’ve gained the attention of potential customers, typically through content marketing or advertisements.
Interest: Here, the customer has gone from being attentive to being actively interested in your company and product.
Desire: At the desire stage, you’ve successfully used content marketing and educational information to turn that interest into a desire for your company’s product.
Action: This is that final stage where the customer acts upon that desire and takes action by making a purchase.
Your customers’ journeys may also include their retention as they become loyal customers of your brand. Find out more out keeping your audience loyal with Your Growth Hacking Guide to Customer Retention.
The most common way for modern marketers to usher prospects through the customer journey is by creating high quality content and then distributing it through blogs and social media. But to do this effectively, you’ll need to tap into the data that you have on the people you’re trying to reach.
When are customer journeys useful?
Customer journeys are useful in a variety of different situations throughout your business plan, and that’s why they’re a best practice in the first place. From our experience as a web analytics agency, here are just a few of the many ways that customer journeys can come in handy.
User acquisition (UA) is the process of taking on new leads and turning them into potential customers. In a general sense, it’s about the overall process of creating new customers, however that may look in practice.
Data is extremely valuable here, because it enables you to boost UA by identifying which are your highest-impact customer journeys. You can then learn from this by deploying other campaigns in a similar style, or even simply by adjusting your advertising budget so that you’re sending traffic to where it’s going to matter the most.
While you’re at it, you can also look into the data on the customer journeys which are under-performing and see if you can find ways of improving them. For example, if people are repeatedly dropping off on the same page on your website, perhaps it’s a sign that there’s a problem with that page as opposed to with the journey as a whole.
But remember that data only provides half of the story. To create a truly data-driven buyer journey, you need to store data, analyze it, learn from it and then use it to take action. Having analytics alone won’t improve your customer journey – you need to take that data and use it to inform your strategy moving forwards.
Upsells are areas in which you can make a little extra cash by identifying additional products/services that you can upgrade or sell alongside your main offering. Again, dipping into your data can provide countless insights that you might not otherwise have had access to. For example, if you run an e-commerce store, you can use insights from your search functionality to identify products that people are searching for but you don’t stock. You can also see what upsells have worked best in the past, and focus on pairing them with future endeavors.
Proprietary browsing and purchasing data is also what Amazon uses to power its recommendations. They do this by combining the power of big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide super relevant recommendations to their customers. And there’s that keyword again: relevance.
Machine learning is also what powers Netflix recommendations, and it does it in much the same way. But it’s not just e-commerce stores that can take advantage of upselling. If you run a marketing agency, for example, then you could use your data to identify other skills that customers might need. If you’ve been hired to provide email marketing, for example, you might be able to upsell web analytics services, blog writing or social media management.
Improve customer experience
As well as improving the customer journey that people take, you can also focus on the specific user experience at various touchpoints. For example, you can provide better customer service by identifying common questions and taking steps to address them.
Other ways to improve customer experiences include using data-based email marketing campaigns to follow up with customers or clients after they sign up. If your company is in real estate, for example, then you might want to use automated emails to get back in touch and to wish customers a happy anniversary one year after their purchase dates.
The key here is to first put yourself in your customer’s shoes and to then use the data that you have access to in an attempt to identify areas of potential improvement across every touchpoint, from the way that you answer the telephone to the contracts you send and even what your uniform and/or vehicles look like, if you have them.
Ultimately, it all comes down to understanding your customer, and data can be a great tool to help you to do that. And the great thing about using data is that every change that you make is inherently measurable, too.
Grow your ROAS
What’s the point in marketing if you’re not focusing on growing your ROAS? Short for “return on ad spend”, your ROAS is calculated by comparing the amount of money that you put into marketing with the amount of profit that you make.
It can take time for marketing campaigns to deliver a good ROAS, especially when it comes to digital and content marketing in which a slow and steady approach wins the race. The good news is that tapping into analytics and data and improving your buyer journey can help speed this process up and make changes along the way.
The good thing about establishing a positive ROAS is that once you’re in the green, your ROAS tends to continue to improve over time. This is particularly true when you’re using your analytics to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t, because those slow but steady refinements will continue to pay dividends in the months and years to come.
Establishing a positive ROAS is the hard bit. Once you’ve done that, it becomes much easier to go to a 2x, 3x, 4x or even a 10x ROAS. Before you know it, your marketing department will be the push that drives your company’s growth.
Predict customer behavior
One final but increasingly powerful way of tapping into data is to use it to predict customer behavior and to get to know their needs, often before they know themselves. There’s a well-told (and true!) story about a company that sent offers for maternity clothes to a teenage girl. The father complained, only to apologize two weeks later when he discovered that his daughter actually was pregnant. The store had been able to tell through its predictive analytics before she’d had a chance to tell him.
Of course, there’s a fine line between predicting people’s behavior and being suspicious, and so your predictions need to be created with the sole purpose of – you guessed it – adding value to people’s lives. That’s why predictive text is so successful on our smartphones.
AI and machine learning can help here, and indeed AI itself is essentially all about prediction. Self-driving cars work not by following a set of pre-programmed rules but by predicting what a human driver would do in any given situation.
By predicting your customers’ behavior, you can better understand and anticipate their needs. And when you understand and anticipate their needs, you can put your conversion rate optimization strategies to use and ultimately make more profit. Everybody wins!
Become the master of data
Data is your ticket to audience insights, interests, behaviors and more! This information can help you turn your marketing strategy into one that is able to deliver the right message in the right place at the right time quickly and efficiently – presenting you as a business that truly cares about its customers. Don’t let these opportunities escape you! Learn more in Data and Web Analytics: The Complete Marketer’s Manual.
Now that you know a little more about using your analytical data to create data-driven buyer journeys, it’s over to you so that you can put the lessons that you’ve learned today into practice to make your business more data-driven and more profitable.
Struggling to implement the ideas that we’ve talked about? No problem. The team at Growth Marketing Genie understands that finding a web analytics agency and setting up an analytics process can be difficult, which is why we go out of our way to provide it as a service for you.
Need more info? Let’s chat today about how we can make the most of your marketing opportunities.
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