Profile Your Existing Customers First

Customer ProfileCustomer Profiling is a helpful process for almost any business. Segmenting customers based on their common traits and reasons for purchasing is how smart marketers drive more conversions from the same number of leads.

Most of the time the idea of customer profiling is relegated to attracting new leads and customers. However, I’ve noticed a common theme with companies that I have worked with and talk to:

there are thousands of existing customers sitting in a database that have already done business with the company, but no one is bothering to market to them.

I think that customer profiling is a strategy that should start with the existing database of customers. We all know that current customers represent limitless opportunities to up-sell, cross-sell, and generate word-of-mouth referrals. We take for granted that our existing customers will be loyal and that we have already maximized their value by getting them as customers in the first place.

I would argue that the best marketing opportunities that many companies have is with their existing customer database, whom they already know many key facts about. Creating profiles around your existing customers should be relatively simple compared to creating customer profiles around prospective leads. You already know who they are and what they bought. You’ve got the answers to the test in hand.

So let’s say you create these general profiles from your database of several thousand existing customers. Some of those profiles are going to stand out as up-sell opportunities, some for cross-sell opportunities, and then there will likely be a larger group that won’t fit either of those categories. This could be especially true if your product or service is infrequently purchased, i.e. insurance, mortgages, automobiles, etc.

After going through the work of creating profiles, now the fun begins: messaging and communicating.

Creating multiple messages and segmenting the communication of those messages to your contact database is not a small task. No message can live on its own. There needs to be a string of communication and relevant resources to allow those who are interested to walk down the road to becoming a bigger customer. It is pointless to create a single advertisement that targets a customer segment, then push a call to action in the same way you would for a brand new lead. You have to put in the work to create the message and the sales funnel to take your reengaged customer from piqued interest to repeat buyer.

The same holds true for the larger group of customers that are not obviously looking to buy more from you themselves. Your objective for this group is to get a word-of-mouth referral within their group of friends. This may take the form of a piece of content that can be easily posted as a Facebook status, or it may be a referral discount code, or maybe even as subtle as a prompt to email a resource to a friend. Certain segments of customers are going to be more responsive to this kind of messaging. In general, females are much more likely to talk about a positive experience with a friend or directly share a resource with someone who is looking for a solution. This is pure gold for you.

This strategy of profiling your existing customers is going to require upfront work in analyzing your customer data, extrapolating the cause of their purchase decisions, then creating appropriate content for each segment. You have to be willing to commit to spending the time, and probably hiring the talent to make this idea become reality. Most businesses, especially those with a big customer database that hasn’t been put to use, don’t have the in-house talent to pull this off. At the end of the day, this is a data-driven content marketing strategy. And it’s a very good one.

About johnwilliamson

I like to think of myself as an innovator. From a very early age I have been obsessed with finding new ways of doing things. I’m all about efficiency and the use of technology to transform the way work gets done. I’ve created successful products for others and for my own ventures. I’ve built companies around my products, raising money and acquiring customers. I truly understand the full life cycle of taking an idea, finding a customer, developing a product, and delivering a solution.
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