How to Clean Up Your Data Wasteland

thumbnail 9.2We live in a data-driven world. Even our most basic activities—like exercising and sleeping—have become subjects for tracking and analysis. With constant access to apps and technology that gather detailed information about our lives, it’s easy to become inundated with information that we don’t know how to allocate.

The same is true when it comes to gathering data about our digital marketing campaigns. We have a wealth of tools at our fingertips to discover some pretty great insights about current and potential customers. But if we aren’t intentional about the way we gather and organize that data, we’ll end up in a dreaded data wasteland with scattered information that can’t be put to good use.

So how can you best collect and manage your data to inform your marketing efforts? Here are a couple places to start:

Create an automated data machine

Your top priority should be to ensure all your marketing tools are working together seamlessly. Doing just a bit of legwork before launching a campaign can help you automate your data capture and organization.

Here are three steps to turn your data wasteland into a data wonderland:

#1. Set up lead attribution.

Attributing your traffic sources through UTM parameters can help you gather important data about where your leads are coming from. Adding unique tags to your URLs lets Google automatically track your precise traffic sources (i.e., organic search, paid search, social, etc.).

In the end, this gives you great insights about which traffic sources are driving your best leads, and it allows you to better allocate your marketing dollars.

#2. Set up tools that provide deeper insights on leads.

Syncing tools like Google Analytics and Google AdWords to the marketing tools you’re already using can help you systematically capture useful information about your lead generation campaigns. If you integrate with these powerful tools, priceless information can be sent to your accounts automatically when someone converts.

Google Analytics can help you monitor various aspects of your marketing campaigns—from form conversion rates to traffic sources. And Google AdWords can help you determine which keywords are driving your highest and best conversions.

#3. Set up tools that automate lead data transfer.

Taking advantage of data transfer automation can save your team a lot of time. Integrating with customer relationship management (CRM) and email marketing tools that automatically accept your lead data and campaign analytics can help you keep your data organized and actionable.

Integrating with CRMs like Salesforce and HubSpot allows you to keep your sales lead information updated in a central location. And integrating with email marketing software like Emma and MailChimp allows you to keep your email lists relevant with little effort.

Make your data actionable

Once you’ve done the back-end work to automate your data collection process, the next step is to use your data to take action. Making data-informed decisions about where to put your marketing efforts can help you better nurture prospects and leads and convert them into customers.

Here are three steps to make good use of your collected data:

#1. Segment your audience.

Examine your data for ways to segment your collected leads into groups. This will allow you to craft more customized engagement and upselling strategies based on your audience segments.

Consider grouping more engaged leads together and sending them a monthly newsletter. And for those who’ve had minimal interaction with your brand, consider creating a group for a drip email marketing campaign.

#2. Create personas.

Use data you’ve collected about customer behavior to create your ideal buyer personas. Defining your personas can help you tailor your content, landing pages, offers, and other marketing collateral for maximized customer acquisition and retention.

When building your personas, make sure to include information about demographics, background, top pain points, and solutions you can provide.

#3. Pinpoint ideal customers for testimonials.

Pay attention to any data that points to a successful customer or highlights positive customer feedback. This data can be used to identify customers for testimonials or case studies.

Testimonials and case studies can boost marketing and sales efforts because people love to hear true stories about how you helped someone else succeed or solved a similar problem for another business.

headshot 9.2Chris Lucas is the Vice President of marketing for Formstack. He is passionate about setting the vision for Formstack’s marketing department, as well as discovering new ways to drive web traffic and leads. Follow Chris on Twitter at @chris_c_lucas.


These 3 Email Subject Lines Will Kill Your Chances of Winning a New Customer

spencerXsmith-stop-checking-inHow many times have you gotten an email from a salesperson with one of these three subject lines?

“Checking In”

“Touching Base”

“Following Up”

I’ve received dozens of emails like this and am guilty of sending a whole bunch of them too. Think about it: aren’t these just euphemisms for “Wanna buy my stuff?”

What to say instead of “Wanna buy my stuff?”

“What should I say instead?” you might be wondering. Following up is such a critical part of the sales process, and the last thing you want is to be forgotten by your prospect. What’s a way to follow up while simultaneously providing value?

Instead of emailing someone to remind them you would like to sell them something, use the opportunity to provide targeted education. What’s the best way to be sure you’re sending something that’s relevant, though?

After you earn a prospect’s email address, assign that prospect to a simple workflow based on their interests. This is difficult at first if you’re simply maintaining one catch-all email list. Instead of just one list, create a series of categories based on specific interests. John Jantsch does a great job describing this concept in his recent article titled Content 3.0 – The Rise of the Content Community. This community concept may seem a bit overwhelming at first, however, and you may be wondering…

What to do if you don’t have digital assets yet

If your business is struggling with this whole digital marketing thing, start with baby steps as you work toward a Content Community repository. To get started, consider this: What questions are your prospects asking you every single day that you’re manually answering via email or phone calls? What can you offer these prospects that is both concise and actionable? Simple digital assets like cheat sheets, checklists and templates work great in this capacity. Limit these downloads to one page so they can easily be shared or printed.

By offering specific assets geared at fixing specific problems, you can gauge your prospects’ interests immediately, and not be left guessing what issues they’re facing. Which asset do you create first? This is where we need to stop thinking so hard. What question do you hear more than any other? Create that one now.

As an example, if you’re a marketer specializing in SEO, you probably hear the question “How do I drive more traffic to my website?” all the time. For those prospective clients who download your “5 Biggest Mistakes Companies Make With SEO” cheat sheet, ensure your email messages further their education about that specific topic. That will be an email they’ll actually look forward to receiving.

How to get started right now

This is the part where I ask you to get out of your own way. Don’t analyze these concepts to death or over-automate your workflows…just start. Instead of retroactively applying these ideas to your existing email list – an incredibly daunting task if you’ve been in business more than a few years – start fresh with only new prospects. You’ll iron out the kinks much faster, and just as importantly, you’ll get to experience success early and often as a result of your efforts.


10.2 headshot2Spencer X. Smith is committed to helping clients achieve measurable increases in revenue from their digital marketing efforts. He uses Plain English to help you understand what methods are worth doing – or not doing – with your business. The ideas he shares are what he uses every day in his companies, and only through experiencing the success and failure can he confidently advise on them. He is also an instructor at the University of Wisconsin.