Customer data surrounds us. The digital marketplace has made it easy to gather insights into user demographics, online behaviors, transaction histories, customer feedback, contact info, and more. Most of this data comes in through three methods:
- Asking customers directly (often via forms and fillable fields)
- Indirect tracking of customers (such as clicks, time-on-page, purchase records, or notes in the CRM from past support calls)
- Purchasing data from a third party (who has likely done one of the other two)
For an expanding business, the question is how to massage all of this easily accessible data into fuel for business growth—not only in the short term but also for sustainable, long term growth. Data from all three methods will go into a robust business expansion strategy. Here are four ways to use customer data to inform your growth:
1) Location-Based Advertising
By tracking the IP address of internet-connected devices, it’s simple to build data into a map of regional hotspots for your online traffic or interaction. This can help you target areas with the most opportunity for growth.
Relevant, localized messaging will improve ROI on marketing and sales messages as you expand. Geo-targeting has an essential place in any business expansion strategy that isn’t geared towards a broad, national, or worldwide audience (yet).
2) Insights From Customer Service Records
Take a look at anecdotes and trends within your company’s service and support records. How have customers interacted with your service and sales teams in the past?
Putting these patterns in context can help your business learn to maximize the campaigns or messages that worked and adjust less effective strategies to better align with customer desires. Furthermore, you can identify areas that customers are most interested in seeing improved. Perfecting your product or service is an ongoing process, and acts as a critical component of any business expansion strategy.
3) Mapping the Ideal Buyer’s Journey
An ideal buyer’s journey presents minimal friction as a customer moves through your sales funnel. Ask yourself some of these things as you build a business expansion strategy and examine incoming sales cycle data:
- How are they finding you?
- What stages are they going through as they come to a purchasing decision?
- Which messages pushed them further along that path?
- Where are the dropoff or exit points that prevent customers from reaching a purchase?
These insights into your sales process are critical to building a streamlined, efficient buyer journey. Customer data can tell you what it will take to make doing business with you as easy as possible.
4) Personalized Experiences
You’re also seeking to learn who your ideal buyer is. What are the traits and tendencies of the customer persona that has (or personas that have) the highest win rate? What channels do they prefer, and what is most important to them about your product or service?
Many businesses begin with a hunch about who they think their business is targeting. Customer data may reveal your hunch is on track or off base. But either way, it will give quantifiable clarity to the pain points and ambitions of your ideal audience. Go for a 360-degree view of the customer lifecycle.
Armed with this data, you can hyper-target experiences specifically tailored to your customers. In many cases, it’s possible to automate this process with responsive web design and customized workflows. Growing businesses are better positioned to scale a customer base and encourage loyalty when they know exactly who they’re selling to.
Your customer data is an invaluable resource for smoothing the sales process, addressing shortcomings, adjusting to the market, and reaching the customers who most want to hear from you. All of these are essential elements of your business expansion strategy.