In the past, buying email addresses in bulk was considered easy, cheap marketing. A business would receive thousands of leads for comparatively little money. Unfortunately, the return on investment wasn’t always great. How do you get people to open an email—especially when their inbox is cluttered with them?
Customer behavior analytics is collecting qualitative and quantitative data on how customers interact with your brand. This lets you optimize and personalize their experience to retain current customers, acquire new ones—and even get them to open an email. It’s not about finding as many potential customers as possible; it’s about learning as much as possible about your customers.
Over the past two decades, tools (such as Google Analytics) have come out to help businesses of any size find and understand their target audience. It can be as simple as sending out an email, posting to social media, or creating a lead magnet, then collecting data about how users interact with them.
But once you’ve collected the data, what do you do with it?
What is customer behavior?
Customer behavior is an umbrella term that describes a customer’s shopping habits. A complete customer behavior description might include the answers to some or all of these questions:
- Who is buying your products?
- What products are they interested in?
- When do they typically do their shopping?
- Why are they interested in specific products?
- Where do they shop (i.e., which platforms do they use)?
- How do they shop?
Collecting data on these topics can give you deeper insight into your customers. You can understand what they like, what drives them to want a product, and which habits they exhibit before purchasing.
What are the benefits of customer behavior analysis?
Understanding your customers more fully seems advantageous at face value. But what specific advantages are there? There are quite a few, so I’ll stick to the ones I think have the highest value for small business owners. The most valuable benefits of customer behavior analysis are:
Increased brand loyalty
Anticipating customer wants and needs creates an improved and more personalized customer experience. This can help your customers feel that your brand understands and appreciates them. The more often you can provide what your customer needs at the moment they need it, the more likely they are to remain loyal to your brand. This can increase customer retention and word-of-mouth.
Improved email campaigns
You can create more successful email marketing campaigns by learning what drives your customers to open your emails, click links, or make a purchase. For instance, you can:
- Deliver emails at times they’re more likely to be opened
- Create email templates designed to appeal to your customers
- Create content that entices customers to click through to your site
- Optimize subject lines and email content for customer-preferred platforms (such as personal computers, mobile devices, etc.)
- Avoid spam folders by delivering content your customers want
These can help you nurture a customer’s journey, maintain brand awareness, and improve click-through rates.
Discover high-value customers
By performing analytics, you can discover which of your customers will most likely purchase from you. This can help you focus on those customers that provide the most value for your business. Focusing on those customers can help increase conversion rates, improve repeat sales, and maximize return on investment.
How do you use customer behavior data?
Having insights into your customers helps you guide their journey. But how you use that data is entirely up to you. Many tools and platforms are available to help you perform further analysis, gain new insights, and integrate what you’ve learned into your marketing campaign.
Some popular ways of using customer behavior analytics include:
Heatmaps transform numerical datasets into easy-to-understand, color-coded graphs. These graphs typically involve data about how users interact with your digital platforms, such as your website, mobile apps, or even specific features included in those platforms. This helps you see which areas of your platforms are most popular and where usage typically falls off.
If you find that usage tends to drop off in the same spot, you can highlight that as an area of improvement. This can help reduce bottlenecks, increase ease of use, and create a more positive user experience.
Segmenting Your Audience
As you analyze your data, you might discover that not all of your customers share common habits or traits. This can make it challenging to optimize your marketing strategy and email campaigns.
However, you might be able to break down your audience into smaller customer segments. These are groups of customers who do share similar traits, such as:
- Location/time zone
- Time most likely to open emails
- Preferred products
- Preferred platforms/channels
The list is nearly endless and entirely customizable for your specific needs, goals, and audience. By creating segments, you can target each with content optimized just for them. This can help increase interest, interactions, and potentially sales.
Focusing on social media
Social media platforms have become a popular marketing tool for many businesses. This is due to their popularity, broad reach, affordable marketing packages, and robust data collection capabilities.
You can see which tactics get the most interactions and what kind of interactions they receive. Social media also lets you see what topics and keywords are in the zeitgeist. You can also search for specific keywords to see what users think about various topics, products, and services.
Most social media platforms collect their own customer behavior data and can target a wide variety of segmented audience groups. Many social media platforms also allow you to create branded marketing posts targeted at specific types of customers. Some offer scalable pricing helpful for finding a package that fits your budget.
Social media provides a simple way to interact with and engage your customers regularly. This can help deepen customer relationships and keep your brand top of their mind when they need to make a purchase.
In all, social media is a powerful tool for collecting data, using it, and creating marketing campaigns all within one app.
Many digital marketing platforms include a web analytics tool to help you track who uses your website and how. These can go beyond heat maps to include how often customers re-visited a page, how long they remained on a page, and what they scrolled past (or hovered on). This can help give a deeper insight into how users interact with your website.
For instance, do most not scroll down far enough to see your call to action? You might consider moving it up. Do some customers keep returning to a specific product page? Marketing automation tools can send them a reminder email to nudge them toward a purchase.
Most analytics platforms offer varied and customizable website tracking. So, I’d recommend seeing what you have available and playing around with them to discover which tools are most beneficial to you.
Behavior in email
As I stated above, one of the most significant benefits of behavior analytics is improving your email campaigns. This can’t be overstated because nearly 100% of adults use email, with over half using it daily.
Through most email marketing platforms, you can collect data on who opens your emails, at what time of day, and whether they clicked on any links. This offers an excellent opportunity for simple A/B testing to discover which methods work most often.
For instance, you can send an email with one subject line to half of a customer segment and a different subject line to the other half. If the emails have the same content, you can collect good data about what subject lines lead to clicks and conversions. You can perform similar tests on different versions of email content, images, calls to action, etc.
With enough A/B testing and the resulting data, you can create truly optimized email campaigns.