Businesses everywhere are constantly collecting data on their customers and using it to grow. And according to eMarketer, over 40% of brands plan to expand their data-driven marketing budgets.
Our ability to capture, analyze, and use data has never been better. Data makes our lives so much easier, giving us greater insight into what our customers want.
In this article, we take a look at all you need to know about consumer data and what it will do for your business over the next 12 months.
Why You Need to Collect Consumer Data
Consumer data is key to the success of your business. But why do businesses collect it? Data is great for seeing how customers have interacted with various departments within a business throughout its past. Below are more examples of why your business should collect data.
Better Customer Experience
Customer experience is a big deal. Customers are growing accustomed to businesses catering to their specific needs with hassle-free shopping experiences, personalization, and omnichannel shopping platforms.
Data is the key to learning more about your customers so you can give them more of what they want, where they want it. If you can’t do this, they’ll shop elsewhere.
Better Marketing Strategies
The more contextualized data you have, the more insights you have into how successful your marketing campaigns are.
Marketing is a lot different than it once was. It’s now more personalized and spans multiple platforms, from your website to your social media channels. Data allows you to refine your marketing strategies so you improve conversions and sales.
What Customer Data to Collect
There are multiple types of data that you can collect. The more detailed data your business has, the more you will be able to create loyal customers.
Depending on your budget and the other resources your business has, you should focus on collecting the following different types of data.
This is essential, as customer contact details allow you to personalize your marketing strategy. For example, when you email a subscriber from your email list, you can use the person’s first name. Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. All you need to do is place customers’ first names in the subject line on the email you send out.
Customer Experience Data
Data helps you understand how your consumers are interacting with your apps and hardware. This allows you to refine your features so that the user experience gets better. It also lets you learn more about what functions people like and what functions they don’t like.
Purchase Decision Data
If you want to know more about your customers’ purchase decisions, you should be collecting their purchase decision data. This will help you understand what matters most to them—be it convenience, discounts, costs, and so on—so that you can refine your position and keep targeting the right people. If you don’t know why people buy from you, it will be hard to retain success.
Business Discovery Data
If you don’t know how your customers discover you, you won’t be able to scale on an agreeable level. When we know how our customers are finding us, we can double down on their entry point and make ourselves more visible to more people.
Customers come and go, but why? If you knew why your customers were quitting your business, you could work harder on plugging the holes. Churn will happen to all companies, but you can at least improve your churn rate by collecting data on why people move on.
If a customer hasn’t signed in for a long time, you can retarget that customer in an attempt to reduce churn. However, you can only do this if you collect this data. All you need to do is send out an email to those who haven’t signed in for a while to ask why and let them know how they can respond back to you.
How to Collect Customer Data
The problem with data is this: How do we get it? In the wake of the Facebook data scandal hitting 87 million users, consumers are on their guard. Fortunately, there are a number of soft methods to easily and securely collect data. Here are the best ones:
Orders (via a Form)
When a customer makes an order with you for the first time, make sure you save their contact details and name. Then, you can start to put together a transaction history that allows you to track their journey with you.
If you’re capturing the initial information online via a form, you can add extra questions to gather more information. Of course, many of us don’t like to give too much away, so you’ll need to be careful with how you phrase any extra questions. Let your customers know that you’d like more information so you can improve their experience with you.
Surveys are still a great way to collect more data on your customers, such as their buying habits and their feedback on your products or services. It’s up to you what questions you ask, but in order to get more people to fill in a survey, you might need to offer an incentive.
It’s also necessary to use an effective online survey form that provides you with the features your business needs. Then, share the survey on social media and send it to your email subscribers to get as many people as possible to complete it.
Read Next: The Ultimate Guide to Creating Effective Online Surveys
If you can’t think of a suitable incentive to get people to hand over their information via a survey, you could run a competition instead. The competition itself becomes the incentive. Make sure the prize is relevant to your user base, though. If you own an ecommerce store, a great place to hold the competition is on Instagram. Ask your followers to simply tag a friend, provide their email address, and like a picture in order to enter.
Point of Sale Card Readers
A point of sale card reader allows you to quickly gather key customer purchase information off the back of a purchase. The more purchase information you can gather via a POS card reader, the more you can offer specific products that an individual customer will like.
About Data Protection
Lastly, you need to implement a legal customer data protection policy so that your customers know where they stand with you. The more transparent you are with your customers over their data, the more they will trust you. When it comes to consumer data, it should be used only for the health of your business so that you can grow it while improving the customer experience.
All in all, by collecting data, you can personalize your marketing strategy so that engagement with your customers goes up. Collect the data you need, analyze it, use it wisely, and grow your business over the next 12 months.
Need an easy way to collect data from your customers? Discover the power of Formstack's data collection tools by requesting a demo today!
About the Author
Michelle Deery is a freelance copywriter for Heroic Search, an SEO agency based in Tulsa, and has been featured in publications such as Entrepreneur. She specializes in writing about marketing and growth.
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