Using Analytics: Understanding Your Ideal Customers

It’s an absolute certainty that if you’re selling Pina Coladas, you’ll want to know as much as possible about Pina Coladas–who drinks them, who likes them, who LOVES them, and just as importantly, who’s repulsed by the taste of pineapple.

A thorough understanding of your target demographic’s preferences and aversions is critical in order to make your business successful. And therefore, a thorough understanding of your business’ website is also critical. Knowing how the website a) performs and b) if it performs effectively can be accomplished with a few simple-to-use tools. 

Most new business owners think the best approach to bringing in dollars is to attract every random person they can think of into their store front. But there’s ample statistical and anecdotal evidence that insists that’s the wrong approach.  It’s important to learn where your niche is–and build from there. You’re not going to get pina colada customers from an Amish village and you’re not going to sell tractor equipment in a downtown LA nightclub. 

There are some tried-and-true methods of learning who your target customer is and what they want and need. One, is the Nielsen box. The Nielsen box has been used for nearly a century. Simply put, it accurately measures and tests what people listen to, what they watch, what they buy–and (again, as importantly) what they don’t listen to, watch and buy. 

By forming small panels of people who represent and share commonalities with larger groups (race, gender, sexual orientation, age) the Nielsen box gets a general idea of what a given group likes and wants–and what they don’t like and want.

Another method of learning who your target customer is using the Publishers Clearing House. The PCH has an established reputation for getting a hold of data that will enable a business to sink or swim in a competitive marketplace. They collect data related to trends and customer preferences–and they go straight to the source (the potential customer) to get that data. They have people respond to surveys, play games, claim prizes and redeem tokens. And they collect pertinent data automatically when a person registers on their website. When a person registers on their website, PCH is given access to information like IP addresses, device ID’s, browser types, ISP etc. Simply through the use of ‘cookies’, ‘pixel tags’ and other tracking technologies.  

A mail-in-rebate is also a proven way to access and obtain valuable information, while simultaneously giving customers an incentive to participate. A mail-in-rebate allows the buyer to literally mail-in a coupon, a receipt and a barcode in order to receive a form of compensation.  It’s the information provided in the rebate form that’s of value to a business. By learning a consumer’s name, what area of town they live in and how they pay for their products, a business gains valuable information on how best to better target their desired customer. 

Coupons are also a great way to trigger sales and nudge new customers into trying new products. Coupons enable businesses to gain critical information regarding their target audience. And coupons make people warm to your business. If a new mother can use a coupon to get a deal on baby formula from your baby formula company, she’ll take note that your company offered her a break–and that your competitors did not. She’ll thus be more inclined to come back to you again, while also telling her friends and family about you. A coupon (in the 21st century), is a nuanced and reliable marketing tool. Used correctly, a coupon can build a brand image, nurture customer loyalty and track customer-related data.  But nowadays, a sophisticated and savvy business owner also needs to be cognizant of Google, Hotjar, SEMrush, MOZ and AHREFS.  

Google Analytics are key. For a novice, Google Analytics can be a bit overwhelming, but Google offers a course where a person can become a certified expert who’s familiar with Flow reporting, Enhanced E-commerce, User ID, Data Import, and improved Audience Reporting.

Flow reporting allows you to get a handle on the effectiveness of your website–both in its layout and also its content. How do people land on it? Where do they tend to go first once they’ve arrived? At what point to the bail-out and lose interest? If people visiting your site tend to move on as soon as they get there, obviously that’s useful information. Maybe the entire site is faulty and needs to be overhauled. 

Enhanced e-commerce tracking provides better ways to collect and analyze e-commerce data.  It provides twice as many reports as a traditional e-commerce approach, it also uses a different plugin, and it can only be activated when you use Universal Analytics. Enhanced e-commerce will consistently provide more and better data. 

By utilizing User ID, you can unify the sessions that a single user is making while he or she uses different devices. 

As for Data Import–it’s a feature that helps you combine data inside of Google Analytics with data that exists outside of Google Analytics. 

Audience reporting in the context of google analytics essentially examines the habits of a group of people who share common characteristics, attributes or experiences within a certain time frame. Similar to the Nielsen box.

Hotjar is an effective tool for those who absorb and retain information in a more visual fashion. It enables a person to see how people are using their site and what they’re using it for. 

AHrefs is a full SEO tool box that’s built to help your site grow and built to show you how to build towards the right keywords. 

Moz provides analytics software to track all of a website’s inbound marketing efforts–search marketing, link building, social media, and brand mentions–all on one platform. 

BuzzSumo allows for a quick search to see what topics get the most attention, shares and positive feedback on social media.  

SEM Rush allows a business owner to identify trends that occur within their particular industry niche. It gives recommendations on how to improve rankings and benchmarks against competitors. You can start with a free website audit and see their content marketing and advertising recommendations. 

These are some of the items that you’ll need in your toolkit to understand your customers and how best to serve their needs–thus increasing your revenues. Unlike decades ago, when getting customer data was a huge task, critical information is now available at your fingertips–provided you and your team are willing to learn and willing to evolve.