Use Data to Drive Business Growth

Jason Therrien, president of integrated marketing agency thunder::tech::, explained during a recent COSE Business Growth Boot Camp how business owners can leverage the data their businesses are generating.

Jason Therrien, president of thunder::tech, begins his Business Growth Boot Camp at the COSE offices.

You’re sitting on a treasure trove and you don’t even know it.

Your business is churning out reams upon reams of data about your customers and potential customers. This data could be put to good use in helping you find, retain and convert customers. But the sad part is, you’re probably not utilizing that data to its fullest potential, said Jason Therrien, president of Cleveland integrated marketing agency thunder::tech during a recent COSE Business Growth Boot Camp entitled “2017 Marketing Trends—Staying Ahead of the Marketing Curve.”

Watch Jason Therrien, president of thunder::tech, give his three top takeaways from his COSE Business Growth Boot Camp Session.

Why is this business intelligence important? Therrien said by using data, you can follow one of your customers from one step in the buying process to the next. If they drop out at some point, it will be easier for you to ascertain why and then take steps to strengthen that portion of your sales funnel. For example, tracking behavior means your sales team can understand what that potential buyer was doing on your site. If they happened to open a document before dropping out, perhaps you could trigger an email, video or blog post to hit the customer that provides additional information about the product or service they were looking at.

Taking action

Marketing automation such as that is an extremely powerful way to market to your audience, he said. For instance, automating an email tied to one of your company’s events is a good way to open a conversation with the segment of your audience that happens to be interested in that particular part of your business.

So, what’s the best way to start pulling all of this data together? Therrien suggested taking all of the business intelligence you can gather and putting it into specific buckets. Where do your customers seem to want to talk to you? Where are the opportunities for you to talk to them?

Once you’ve answered those questions, start identifying the types of customers you have based on their data profile (for example, age, education, etc.) Give them real names, such as Gertrude or Madison. Continue to use business intelligence so that you are always developing additional personas.

Therrien said as your business continues to utilize more and more of the data it’s sitting on, you’ll have a clearer understanding of why certain personas are converting in some places, but not others. And data will help you identify trends such as these sooner.

Deeper Dive

Want to dig a little bit deeper into the topics discussed above? Consider:

  • Email
  • Next up: Webinar: Grow Your Business with Email and Social Media

    Webinar: Grow Your Business with Email and Social Media

    Understand what you need to do to leverage the power of email marketing and social media campaigns to engage with customers.

  • Email
  • Next up: Use Email and Social Media to Grow Your Business

    Use Email and Social Media to Grow Your Business

    Understand what you need to do to leverage the power of email marketing and social media campaigns to engage with customers.

    Understand what you need to do to leverage the power of email marketing and social media campaigns to engage with customers.

  • Email
  • Next up: Use Video to Amplify Your Marketing and Drive Results

    Use Video to Amplify Your Marketing and Drive Results

    Using video to promote your business can really kick your marketing up a notch. Read on for tips to getting started, with a specific focus on using social media’s live video components.

    Video is a popular way to connect with people and it’s a tactic that’s here to stay. John Sammon, CEO of Sixth City Marketing, presented a recent WebEd Series Webinar focusing on how to use video to enhance your business’ marketing strategy and boost your bottom line. (Scroll to the bottom of this article to view the webinar in its entirety.)

    Video can be effectively used to:

    • Put a face to your business;
    • make a personal connection with your pitch;
    • showcase your company’s culture;
    • broadcast what you’re up to at a live event (conference, etc);
    • differentiate your company; and
    • show off a product or service in detail—go live with it and do a walk thru of it.

    Creating a more formal video and purchasing the necessary equipment can be costly. Sammon recommends that if you’re just beginning to dip your toe in the world of videos, start on your social sites.

    Facebook: When most people think of live video options they think of Facebook. And with good reason—Facebook algorithms reward you for using live video by pushing them to the top of newsfeeds. Live videos can drive ten times more comments and shares because of the connection between users.

    YouTube: The live components are easy to navigate on YouTube, which is the second-highest used search engine.

    LinkedIn: LinkedIn Live is available only in Beta testing currently but is expected to corner the market on professional working life connections.

    Here are some live video tips you can use as you start out:

    Live video tip No. 1: It doesn’t have to be perfect. While it’s true that live video cannot be edited, your audience is aware of that and understands that your videos won’t be flawless.

    Live video tip No. 2: Tell all your friends. Especially as you’re just starting out and looking to build your audience, alert your friends when you’re going live so you know you have people tuning in. Have them type in some questions to give you the opportunity to interact with your viewers.

    Live video tip No. 3: Keep it short and sweet. Video on social sites should be brief segments so that you keep the attention of your audience, which tends to have a short attention span.

    Live video tip No. 4: But don’t be afraid to go a little longer when appropriate. If you’re showing off a new product or service, you might want to really go into detail to hook your audience. Don’t worry as much about brevity in these cases.

    Live video tip No. 5: Provide value. Release a product, make a big announcement—make sure you’re offering insight or something else of value to your viewers.

    Live video tip No. 6: Show off your credibility. Feature a regular industry news wrap up, talk about what you’re up to at a conference or speaking engagement, or show your audience what’s going on at an event you’re attending. Steps like this can show you’re committed to being proactive in the industry, lead you to be identified as an industry expert and help build your credibility.

    Live video tip No. 7: Watch the metrics. The great thing about video is you can get statistics on how much it’s viewed, when people drop off, etc. Keep an eye on these numbers and use it to drive your decisions on what kind of content, length of videos, day and time, frequency and other important elements.

    Once you are done with your live video, you need to continue marketing it. Here are some things to consider as you’re doing that:

    Market it tip No. 1: Reuse the video. You made a live video on Facebook and now it’s living on your timeline. From there you can export it and embed it on your homepage, or wherever you want to feature it.

    Market it tip No. 2: Optimize the video. Make sure the title and description of the video contain keywords that will make it easily searchable.

    Market it tip No. 3: Hashtag and link it. Include hashtags that are recognizable for your business and industry. And also make sure you include in the description a link back to your website.

    Follow other companies making live videos and check out what they do—or just jump right in and start playing around with it. As you do more video, you’ll become more comfortable with doing video, and you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t.

  • Email
  • Next up: Using Pokémon Go to drive customers to your local business

    Using Pokémon Go to drive customers to your local business

    By now you’ve heard about Pokémon Go, the mobile phone game that’s become a pop culture sensation. But whether you’re spending your time chasing Pikachu or not, brick-and-mortar owners should be aware of how to use Pokémon Go to attract customers.

    By now you’ve heard about Pokémon Go, the mobile phone game that’s become a pop culture sensation. But whether you’re spending your time chasing Pikachu or not, brick-and-mortar owners should be aware of how to use Pokémon Go to attract customers.

    The game works by integrating a player’s actual location and surroundings into the gaming environment. I’m not going to teach you how to play here because, let’s face it—that’s not why you’re reading this. So let’s get to the good stuff—how do you use the game to attract people to your business?

    A central aspect of Pokémon Go game play are PokeStops and Gyms. Players come to PokeStops to collect items and go to Gyms to battle their Pokemon against those of other players. Why is this important? Well, if your business is located at or near a PokeStop or Gym [TS1] (you might have to ask a Pokémon Go player or download the game yourself to find out), you can leverage that to get Pokémon Go players to drive foot traffic to your location. Here’s how:

    If your business is a PokeStop:

    Plan to set a lure (an item available in Pokémon Go that draws more than the normal number of Pokémon to a PokeStop for a period of 30 minutes) at your PokeStop during a set time of day—and promote that you’re doing so. Let players know via Facebook, Twitter, a big sign in your front window—anything—that they can come of your location and catch a plethora of Pokémon while the lure is active.

    If your business is a Pokémon Gym (or near a Gym):

    Offer a promotion to Pokémon Go players: when they battle at the Gym and win, or they belong to the team (Mystic, Valor or Instinct) that holds the Gym, they get a free item or a discount on their bill. This way, players will want to come and stay at your location while they battle their Pokémon against other players.

    If your business is not already located at or near a PokeStop or Gym, don’t despair! You can place a request that the game adds a location near you. iDigitalTimes has details on this process.

    Want to learn more? Here are more resources to help you use Pokémon Go to promote your business:

    Special thanks to my colleague and fellow Pokémon Go player Paul Marnecheck for providing insight and the photo for this post! 

  • Email
  • Next up: Using Social Media to Learn from Your Customers

    Using Social Media to Learn from Your Customers

    As a small business owner, you probably don’t have a big market research budget. But you probably do have social media accounts. Here are five ways you can use those social channels to listen to what your customers are saying and improve your business and marketing.

    How often does your business take the time to have a two-way conversation with your customers on social media? 

    Social Media is not only a wonderful tool to promote your business to its clients, but it can also help you learn from your customers. In today's world, digital marketing is now a two-way conversation. Consumers have been trained to share their opinions, whether it be through a Facebook post or a product review, and it's up to brands to facilitate a response.Today’s small business owners don’t have big market research budgets, so they have to be creative. Social media can be an effective tool to gather information from your audience and apply them to your business.

    Prompting conversations with your customers can give you some insight into their thoughts, help you improve your business and marketing, and make them feel closer to your brand.

    How can you use social media to learn from your customers? Here are a few simple ways.

    1. Just ask. So often, business owners create products and provide services without ever speaking to their customers.  A simple social media post directly asking them for their thoughts can help you improve your offerings. Customers are willing to and enjoy sharing their thoughts.  It also makes them feel important. Be sure to experiment with Facebook and Instagram paid posts to reach more of your customers and even reach potential new customers.  Having a variety of opinions from current and future customers can help you compare results.

    2.  Launch a contest. Contests are a great way to get customers to share their opinions and thoughts. A small gift certificate to your store or restaurant or the chance to win some free swag is enough to get them to speak up. Make sure to follow Facebook's and Instagram's contest rules before going live with your contest.

    3.  Test your ideas with them. Put your idea out there and let them react. Social media engagement can be a powerful measurement tool. If you get negative reactions, it might be time to go back to the drawing board. Use the Facebook reaction buttons to understand their sentiment and ask them to comment below so you can learn more about their response. On Instagram, leverage emojis and comments to help understand their response.

    4. Reward them for their ideas. Make sure they know that you appreciate their thoughts. For example, if you're asking customers about potential new menu items for your restaurant, think about naming the menu item after the customer who suggested it. Asking too much from your customers and not acknowledging their input puts you at risk for being called greedy or inconsiderate!

    5. Make the change. Take what you learn and put it into action. Customers will expect to see change if you ask about change. They'll be closely watching to see if their opinions get folded into your new business model, product or service. Be sure to call out your customers' help when you announce the chance to demonstrate your appreciation!

    The more you engage your customers in your business decisions, the better you can market to them. Social media is a conversational tool that can help you learn more about your target audience. Are you ready to innovate? Your social media followers are ready to help!

    Annie Pryatel is the owner of AMP Brand Studios. Learn more about how AMP is helping small businesses succeed by clicking here. 

  • Email