3 Steps to a Successful, Data-Driven First Impression

June 2, 2016

10:00 pm

While it may be a bit of a cliché to say, but it’s true – you never get a second chance to make a first impression. The first interaction someone has with your brand sets the tone for your relationship. But surprisingly, many companies leave that first impression to chance; they don’t take the time to delve into the available information about potential customers. Instead of getting to know what customers like or what their needs are, these companies base important decisions on assumptions.

All it takes is a little digging to extract the data and insights necessary to inform your decisions on everything from marketing to sales. In fact, 36 percent of B2C marketers use data mining and analytics to forge stronger relationships between brands and customers.

Data should drive your decisions, influence the messages you send out, and enhance the first impression people have of your brand. Beyond creating that perfect message to capture people’s attention, how can you use data to make a good first impression?

Define Your Existing Customers

Before you start searching for new customers, take a look at your current ones. Get to know them – not just in terms of geography, age, or gender but also as far as their interests, needs, usage levels, behaviors, and price sensitivities are concerned. Use that information to effectively work out a plan to better communicate with them.

Looking at existing customers in these ways allows you to segment your audiences and put them into buckets for your CRM. It also helps determine what sorts of discounts to offer, how to engage further with audience members, and how to turn them into brand ambassadors.

In the early stages of your business, word of mouth is key to its growth. Make sure you’re offering something worthy of being shared — whether it’s entertainment, resources, data, or deals.

Get to Know Your Customers

Who you think your product’s fans are may differ greatly from who they actually are. Your own log files, as well as certain platforms, can easily show you the IP addresses of your users.

While you may not be able to map those addresses to individuals, you can use an IP library and reference them to a company. If you begin to see spikes in specific verticals, you know that’s an area in which to direct marketing and sales efforts to find more relevant users.

If you have a list of the email addresses or social logins people are using to interact with your brand, your marketing and sales teams can take this information, score the users for quality, and build out their pipeline.

Make Friends with Email

While there’s much talk of social media eclipsing email, think again. There’s a reason email is still the largest program for many companies: It works. It’s direct. And while some companies use Slack or Facebook at Work for internal messaging, email is still where most members of the workforce communicate daily.

For startups with tight budgets, it’s a great way to communicate directly without paying through the nose. The biggest concern is standing out in an overly crowded inbox. The more data you use to build a robust, relevant email list and craft compelling subject lines, the better your messages’ odds are of being opened.

Consumers find themselves constantly bombarded by information, both wanted and unwanted. Make sure your message reaches the right audience by using the data available to you — and ensure that you’re making the best first impression possible.

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Deren Baker is the CEO of Jumpshot, a San Francisco-based startup that offers marketing analytics solutions tailored for the travel, retail, media, financial, and e-commerce industries. He previously held senior roles at Travelocity and Switchfly.

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