How to Use Data to Get Intimate with Your Audience

Love is in the air and customers are feeling extra sentimental. For marketers, the season of love is the perfect time to evaluate your relationship with your audience. Do you have an intimate, personal connection with your leads and customers? Before things get too romantic here, you should know we don’t expect you’re writing poems for your customers or sending them a dozen roses on Valentine’s Day. We’re referring to the emotional connection you build with your audience through personalized marketing. The answer is in how you use data. Are you collecting data on your target audience and then using that information to show customers you care? Data builds the foundation necessary to develop a close relationship with your audience. We’re going to cover how you can collect and use data to personalize your marketing throughout the rest of this post.

Building Intimate Relationships Through Data

The Intimacy

Intimacy is a strong word. So why are we using it to describe a marketing-related relationship? To truly connect with your audience, you must understand them on the deepest level.

To truly connect with your audience, you must understand them on the deepest level.

You have to be in tune with their wants, needs, habits, desires, pain points. When you show your audience you took the time to get to know them, they’ll value your efforts. An intimate brand/customer relationship is built on appreciation and trust. Sound familiar? The building blocks of a brand relationship and a personal relationship are largely the same. Relationships are relationships no matter if they’re between a person and a person or a brand and a person. After all, behind every brand is a group of real people.

The Data

The most important concept to note is it’s not the data that creates intimacy, it’s how you use that data in your lead and customer communications. You must collect the type of meaningful data that helps you understand your audience more than ever before. Then, show your audience you value them by using that data to deliver personalized messaging. Marketing personalization works a lot like the courting phase of a relationship. For example, track which blog posts a user reads and them send them an email digest of posts you think they’ll enjoy, instead of a generic eblast that only highlights your latest posts, which may or may not appeal to them. It’s like sending your significant other a bouquet of their favorite flowers instead of sending generic red roses.

The Best Data to Collect for Personalization

There are two types of data that’ll help you collect the right information so you can engage with your customers on a deeper level: individual user data and audience data patterns. Individual user data provides insights into unique audience members, perfect for use in one-on-one communications. Data patterns help you understand your target audience’s habits, likes, dislikes, and more, to create a better overall experience for users. Both types of data work together to provide a full picture of what your leads and customers want and need from you to feel appreciated and connected.

Individual User Data

Through individual user data, you can address your leads by name, provide customer service through social media and chat, notify audience members of new services or deals that match their ideal price point, and reach out to individuals through the medium they, personally, prefer. Marketers focused on building trust and intimacy save individual data in a CRM and continue to build upon contact profiles in order to continuously enhance their customer relationships. CRMs can track how a user browses your site, social media communications, and email clicks.

Examples of individual user data include:

  • Name
  • Email Address
  • Social Media Accounts
  • Demographics
  • Company
  • Role and Budget
  • Individual Wants and Needs
  • Communication Preferences

The most efficient way to collect individual user data is simply to ask leads and customers for information. Forms are an efficient way to get what you need, without asking too much. Offer your audience relevant content and ask a few questions (e.g., name, email, job title) before they can download the content. Through some marketing automation systems you can use progressive profiling to ask new questions each time a user encounters a form so you’re consistently in pursuit of more details. The user will benefit from not having to fill out the same form time and again and they’ll recognize you remember them.

Data Patterns

While individual user data provides cut and dry answers to questions and information on a specific person, data patterns give you an overview of how your audience behaves as a whole. You may be wondering how this information helps you provide a personal experience. The key is to study data patterns of a group that matches up with your personas. While the information you gather may not apply to every single one of your audience members, the data will apply to many. Using that information, you can tweak your digital experiences to match the preferences of your leads and customers with the goal of gaining even more leads and keeping current customers happy.

Examples of data patterns include:

  • Browsing Habits
  • Content and Visual Preferences
  • Collective Wants and Needs
  • Brand Perceptions
  • Overall Communication Preferences

To collect this type of data you’re going to need to look at trends, run tests or experiments, and perform research. Heat mapping, for example, shows you how users are clicking through your website. You can see the hot spots where they’re clicking the most and the path they’re taking to get to the information they seek. Use this data to provide an optimal online user experience. A/B testing discovers what your audience prefers down to the color of a button. It’s like asking your partner whether they prefer chocolate or vanilla. Adjusting your interactions based on answers to simple questions like these can foster positive responses from your audience. Focus groups or surveys, like forms, are ways to point blank ask your users for the information you need. These data-collection methods fall under the market research umbrella and help you understand what your audience wants and needs from your brand, and their current perceptions of how you’re attempting to answer to their needs.

Using Data to Connect With Your Audience

Now that you’ve collected all of this valuable data, it’s time to put it to good use. Through the forms, surveys, tests, and research, you have a heap of information to translate into optimized, personalized marketing communications that will please your leads and leave your customers wanting more.

Several ways you can use your individual information and data patterns to offer personalized experiences to your audience members:

Use their name

Whether you’re sending an email or greeting an audience member on social media, start with their name. This was once a novelty, but, now, it’s expected. People like seeing and hearing their name. Marketing automation systems simplify and automate this task.

Offer dynamic content

Dynamic content changes based on the information stored for a user within a CRM. Through dynamic content you can change your homepage copy based on a visitor’s stage in the buyer journey. You can provide different content offers based on a user’s browsing or purchase history. This ensures the content you’re putting out is relevant to the reader.

Communicate directly with them

If someone connects with you through social media, make sure you respond, and use any data you’ve already collected about that person to show them you care about their individual concerns. Consider sending your marketing emails through a personal email address instead of a generic marketing email address. This reminds your customers there are people behind the brand they can respond to and engage with should they have questions or concerns.

Optimize your website

Using information gathered from heat mapping, A/B testing, and other data patterns, optimize your website to appeal to your target audience. Change colors, arrange CTAs, shorten or lengthen the copy, provide more or less imagery. Even the smallest of tweaks can make a big difference to your audience. New visitors will encounter an optimized experience and return visitors will appreciate the changes that streamline their quest for information.

Show them you care

The data you collect is just numbers if you don’t do anything with it. Always evolve and optimize based on your audience’s wants and needs. Your audience’s desires and pain points will change with time and your relationship will be stronger if you grow with them.

As in personal relationships, getting intimate with your customers takes time, effort, and lots of nurturing. Collecting data is a process and implementing changes or publishing content as a result of that data takes work. But, it’ll pay off. Leads will get the right information at the right time and customers will feel adored and continue to purchase. If you’ve caught cupid’s arrow and are ready to get personal with your customers, you’re going to need some tools to get the job done. Start slow and you’ll be going steady with your audience in no time.

Katie Yohn

Katie Yohn

Forever a student of marketing and the written word, Katie is always on the lookout for new ways to connect with audiences. She enjoys learning about emerging trends and sharing what she's learned. She also has an affinity for alliteration.