This is an article by Amanda Sparks. She is a professional marketer and blogger, head of content department at Essay Supply. She works as a marketer for 7 years and is passionate about developing innovative and customer-friendly solutions for brand growth. When she’s free from marketing deeds, she writes posts on her blog. You can find her on LinkedIn.
Big data can seem intimidating. If you were first introduced to the concept a decade or two ago, you might think of intimidating repositories of information. Complex algorithms used to massage operational data into analytical data. That’s not the case any more. Big data is accessible to all, and there are plenty of analytical tools that lay people can use to understand the information that impacts their business, and how to act on it. One way to use big data is to optimize your content and make it as relevant and impactful as possible.
Big Data Defined
Basically, every action someone takes online produces some data. In some cases, the information is obvious. For example, if a customer subscribes to your email letter, you collect and store data such as their name and contact information. If you access a social media profile, you may gain access to information including interests, age, gender, and marital status. There’s also aggregate data such as the types of devices people are using to access your website, how many people are watching your videos through to the end, where people are when they click into your website, etc. The totality of this information is big data. It doesn’t just consist of what one organization might collect either, it’s also the data that is shared between entities.
Using Data to Target And Segment
Think about the ads you see on Facebook. What you see is unique based upon the content you consume, the moods you express, the posts that you share, and the videos that you watch. You’ve surely noticed that once you search for a product it shows up on Facebook. This is because the platform continually collects data from you. In fact, you can look at your account settings in Facebook to see how you are being targeted for advertising. The detail goes down to your presumed political beliefs, even whether or not you have a family.
Whether that is creepily intrusive or not is a matter of opinion, but you can aso collect and analyze data on your website and elsewhere to target and segment your customers. You can do this by using website and social media analytics tools. This combined with other customer data you gather can help you to understand who is most interested in your company, who is sharing your content, and who you need to make a bigger effort to reach.
This data can also provide you a starting point for segmenting your customers. This can reveal groups of people you may have never considered targeting before. For example, let’s say you own a microbrewery. You’ve been heavily basing your content on attracting the typical 21 to 35 year old ‘beer bro’. Then, you start to scratch the surface and you realize something. You’re website and social media posts are getting a lot of attention from women over 40. It turns out that they have discerning tastes when it comes to drinking, they enjoy social time out with friends, but they are beyond over going to loud nightclubs. So, the craft beer scene appeals to them. That is another marketing segment that you can consider when you’re creating new content and choosing where to share and promote it.
Understanding Data at Different Points in The Sales Funnel
Content is an important tool at every point in the sales funnel. In fact, the vast majority of content you create and share should be targeted at a specific point in the sales funnel. You can roughly break the sales funnel into the follow:
● Top of the funnel: Content that informs people that your company exists, introduces your products and services to them, and causes them to develop positive feelings about you. This is where social media posts.
● Mid Funnel: This is where people have definitely decided they are interested. Landing pages, marketing emails, use of influencers, and product description content and tutorials works well at this stage.
● Purchasing Stage: Here is where the best content really is targeted at convincing customers. Product demonstration videos, testimonials, case studies, and white papers are commonly used at this place in the funnel.
With data, you can drill even deeper. The concepts listed above are generic. They are broad ideas intended to provide general content guidelines depending on sales funnel position. When you take those concepts and add big data, you can truly identify what content is actually effective in creating conversions, and pushing people through the funnel. So, instead of simply knowing that product demo videos work well for late funnel customers, you can identify which of your videos are really performing best at that stage.
Big Data And Customer Retention
Content has value in attracting potential customers, educating them about your products and services, and convincing them to make a purpose. Your use of content also plays a role in customer retention. As with everything else, big data can help. There are several ways that you can collect data on customers after they have made a purchase to help determine whether or not they will likely be customers in the future.
The first is through direct feedback. This is simply asking customers about their experiences directly. The next is through email subscriptions. If a customer makes a purchase, then unsubscribes from your email newsletter, there could be something wrong. Then, you can use the information you have on the customers who are exiting as well as the content you are serving them to help determine why they are leaving. Perhaps you need to retarget them with content informing them about new products that may interest them. Another option is that you might need to create some educational content to help post-purchase concerns troubleshoot your products or learn best practices.
Big data is being used to influence the decision making process worldwide. Successful brands are using it to target, educate, persuade, and retain customers. A large part of these efforts involves creating and directing content at people during their most malleable moments. Remember that big data is available to you as well. Take advantage of this and use big data to optimize your content strategy.
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