The word data can sound intimidating or complicated, but it’s not. For business owners and solopreneurs, data is your best friend, which is why we’re covering the three types of customer data you need to be gathering — and why.
Imagine knowing why your customer chose you, what they really want, and how they like to be reached out to? That would make marketing a whole lot easier, wouldn’t it?
This is possible when you have a plan for gathering customer data. (That’s why this topic is for everyone!)
WHY DATA IS IMPORTANT FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Your customers keep you in business, so it’s important to know who they are and what they want so that you can serve them better — and ultimately increase your sales at the same time.
Better data collection helps you add value to the customer experience while building your business. A symbiotic relationship like this is ideal in the business world, especially for wedding pros who care a lot about their clients.
Some small business owners feel like it’s too complicated and they’re too busy to figure it out. And others feel like it’s associated with skeevy business practices. It’s simply not true.
In reality — data helps you paint a clear picture of who your target customer is, how to best communicate with them, and market to them. It reduces marketing costs and helps delight customers with products that solve a problem or help them achieve their goals.
If you’ve struggled in this area of your business, keep reading! We’re going to dispel some myths and give you practical tips to help you
DATA TERMS YOU NEED TO KNOW
We’re going to cover the basics of data collection, but before we jump into the three types of customer data you need to collect, let’s define the different methods of data collection.
This is the information that you gather directly from your audience. This is typically collected through your website, CRM, social media, email marketing, surveys, and similar. First-party data helps you build a customer persona and inform marketing campaigns.
This is another organization’s first-party data. This is typically purchased through a one-on-one relationship and you can get more niche details. Second-party data helps you to predict future behaviors. It essentially adds insights that you may not be able to get from your own data.
This is data collected by an aggregator from various sources and is typically sold as a package. Third-party data allows you to expand your knowledge base and find what you need about your target market demographic. Because it is based on larger groups, you will get deeper insights and behavior patterns en masse.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
This may sound fancy, but all this means is how happy a customer is with your brand and is directly tied to customer loyalty. There are different ways of determining this score, but it is typically done with an NPS survey where customers can rate their satisfaction on a various range of topics. You can create your own NPS survey or use a service for them.
Here is a helpful resource on NPS best practices — and how to create your own.
CRM or CRM Software
This acronym is used often when it comes to customer data. It stands for customer relationship management. CRM software is a resource that allows you to collect and manage all the pertinent details of your current customers or potential leads. This is something even a solopreneur can have access to thanks to a growing number of providers (Like Hubspot, Salesforce, and Zen Desk) and easy, monthly packages.
Okay, this one may seem obvious, but we’re making sure we have a handle on the basics, so let’s cover what data actually means. Data is simply a collection of facts or statistics for reference or analysis. (This can be numbers, words, measurements, observations, or general descriptions.)
3 TYPES OF CUSTOMER DATA YOU SHOULD BE COLLECTING
Now that we know the methods and some basic terminology, let’s cover the three types of customer data you should be collecting no matter what size or type of business you have.
1. Basic Demographic Data
This is the most important data and yet, it’s often the most overlooked. Basic data includes:
- Full Name
- Address (or at least Zip Code)
It’s important to know your customer’s name to personalize communications, to know their email so that you can reach out to them again with targeted offers, and know their location to see where your customer base is for advertising purposes.
Optional basic data that would be good to get —
- Marital Status
- Household Income
- Wedding Budget (Specific to Wedding Industry)
Disclaimer: You may not need all the optional information based on your type of business. Plus, these may vary slightly based on if your business sells B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to customer).
Additionally, you can begin to put together a typical demographic customer persona for your business. Example: Mostly female, age range of 25-45, unmarried with a wedding budget of $25K+.
How to Gather Basic Data
Typically, you will do this through your website via email marketing or lead magnet forms or the check-out process as well as in-person or via phone.
Get the basics first such as name and email or address/zip code based on the method of gathering the content. Then follow-up with more detailed requests at a later time. You don’t want to overwhelm people. The goal is to nurture them into it as your relationship develops.
2. Psychographic Data
Psychographic data includes:
Basic / Demographic Profile — Two women, each married with children in a similar age bracket with a similar income bracket
Psychographic Profile — One woman is a thrill-seeking world traveller with a penchant for political activism and the other is an amateur bird-watcher who spends weekends looking for books at estate sales.
What’s great about psychographic data is that it will help you find good customer prospects that might not look like they go in your typical demographic profile.
How to Gather Psychographic Data
There are several ways to collect and analyze psychographic data including:
- Customer Surveys
- Customer Interviews
- Website Analytics (think Google Analytics and more.)
- Social Media
- Purchasing 3rd Party Data
Here is a helpful resource about Psychographic surveys and how to use them.
Email marketing surveys, quizzes or questionnaires sent to your more engaged audience is a wonderful way of getting basic psychographic data on your customer base.
3. Transactional Data
Transactional data is just what it sounds like. It’s data based on customer transactions and includes:
- When They Purchase
- What They Purchase
- How Often They Purchase
You don’t have to be Amazon to offer personalized product recommendations. You can use transactional data to begin doing that even with your basic email marketing tools. If this sounds like something you are interested in, we always encourage wedding pros to reach out to our sister company, Brandlink Media for a free consultation on email marketing options.
How to Gather Transactional Data
This is simply gathered through your transaction records from accounting software to website and shopping cart records, etc. Most all software programs like these will have built-in reporting that you can use to analyze this information. Ultimately, it is worth putting this together to see what patterns emerge.
WHEN TO COLLECT DATA
When should you collect customer data? The simple answer is every time you interact with them. If you work primarily with your clients via phone or in-person, be sure to add new information and details to your CRM (customer relationship management) system or data base.
For this reason, you need to be purposeful about this process. Think through what your specific business needs from your customer and create a general timeline for when it would be best to reach out to get these details.
For example — asking about household income or interests is too much for a first interaction, but as a wedding vendor, asking about wedding budget may not be. For people on your email list that open and engage with your content, they are ripe for a deeper-level psychographic survey with some sort of perk or giveaway option.
HOW TO USE CUSTOMER DATA TO INCREASE YOUR SALES — AND DELIGHT CUSTOMERS
The data you’re gathering is meant to help you grow and improve your business.
Here are just a few ways to use the customer data you gather to increase your sales:
- Create a customer persona that can serve as an accurate representation of your typical customer.
- Offer rewards to customers who connect you to new/potential customers.
- Share new products and services details with the most engaged audience segment.
- Find out how your most valuable customer group is so that you can target other people from that group.
- Ask for testimonials from highly engaged customers.
- Use the information to improve marketing efforts including content marketing as well as social ads.
There are many uses for customer data, but the most direct benefit is being able to target similar types of people through social media or digital ads.
PRO-TIPS FOR COLLECTING CUSTOMER DATA
- Think through what information you would like in the long run and create a general timeline of when to ask.
- Don’t ask for too much information at one time.
- Do use surveys and quizzes. (They’re accessible for every level business.)
- Do utilize CRM software to keep sales and customer data working together.
- Don’t overlook surveying your team or doing a focus group with your team. They may know more than you realize about your customers than even they realize. They hear their compliments and their complaints.
For help with digital marketing or social ads, check out Brandlink Media. If you’re ready to learn more about helping your business grow, be sure to check out The Top 5 Ways to Reach Local Couples Planning Their Wedding.
Written by Corrie McGee