Customer profiles are an essential component of marketing and sales strategies. Without them (and the data needed to build them), you won’t know who to target, how to approach your market, what the needs and expectations of your users are, and how you can offer your product or service in a desirable way.
This article focuses on three relevant and comprehensive data sources to help you define your customer profiles and use them in your business strategy. Our focus will be to explore a free tool, Facebook IQ Audience Insights, but we will also provide an overview of a few paid softwares that offer a considerable amount of valuable information for your business.
1. Facebook IQ Audience Insights
Facebook IQ Audience Insights is primarily designed for advertisers who want to implement a granular targeting in their PPC campaign. The tool offers a very detailed breakdown of Facebook’s user database according to a multitude of filters. The data can be classified into two broad categories:
- User demographics: filter and classify users according to their geographic distribution, age, gender, educational levels, relationship statuses, and several other relevant indicators.
- User preferences and interests: in addition to demographics, Facebook also provides data about the user interaction with different Facebook pages and websites. This creates a massive amount of information about user preferences and interests, all of it available in the “Interests” section of the tool.
While many companies use the targeting options after designing their advertising campaigns, the true winning campaigns assume a proactive and holistic approach. In other words, they incorporate the insights from Facebook data into their entire strategy of online marketing.
A step-by-step guide to using Facebook IQ Audience Insights to collect customer profiles data
This section will provide a simple yet effective guide of how to use data from Facebook IQ Audience Insights to develop your customer profiles and obtain a detailed picture of your target market.
This is how the first screen of the tool looks. If you’ve already created or ran Facebook Ads, you should be familiar with it. Make sure you clear all the initial filters when you first access the tool (for example, it normally comes with the United States selected as the location). As you can see on the left side of the screen, it is possible to filter the information according to location, gender, age, interests, connections, and advanced settings.
Now it is time to explore the customer profile of Facebook users according to the interests that are relevant to your store. You can choose an interest based on an industry (marketing, IT, health, food, entertainment, among others), a specific company, hobbies, shopping patterns, and many other indicators. We strongly suggest you browse the interests section to discover all their possibilities. For our purposes, let’s imagine we want to obtain a clearer profile of people interested in Digital Marketing. Simply select Digital Marketing in the interests section and Facebook will filter the data for you.
From the first screen, we observe that 43% of people interested in Digital Marketing are single, while 36% are married. In addition to that, almost 50% of the users work in Management and Sales positions, and 81% have at least a College degree. With that in mind, you can start answering questions such as:
- What are the main characteristics of single people? A quick brainstorming leads to insights such as career orientation, higher mobility and younger age (which can be confirmed through the other statistics).
- How can you tailor your ads to present information relevant to management and sales positions? How does your product meet their specific needs and demands?
- What kind and quantity of information should you present through your ads and respective landing pages? People with higher education levels tend to be more demanding in terms of quantity, reliability, and veracity of data.
The tab “Location” also gives relevant insights. A surprising statistic is that 25% of people interested in Digital Marketing come from Brazil and India. This means that you should spend some time to understand cultural patterns of both countries, as well as what people value in these places in terms of job, life, and success. Perhaps hiring a native marketer from these locations is an effective way of incorporating the cultural traits into your online marketing campaigns.
The language distribution is also very interesting. While Brazil leads the geographic distribution, it is clear that English is the most spoken language. Actually, it accounts for roughly 40% of the entire segment (when considering both US and UK). Last but not least, English, Spanish and Portuguese account for almost 70% of the number of people interested in Digital Marketing, so you should clearly spend most of your efforts on providing content on these languages.
Last but not least, the Activity tab shows that people interested in Digital Marketing are highly interactive. They like an average of 30 posts per month and frequently click on ads in the platform (meaning, they are not ad averse).
As you can see, a quick look at Facebook IQ Audience Insights already gave us a lot of material to start creating very detailed customer profiles. This was just a quick introduction, and as you explore the tool deeper and filter the data more precisely, you will obtain even more valuable insights!
2. Corporate Emails
Our second data source for building your customer profiles is the everyday email exchanged with your customers. This is probably the richest source of information because the sample is restricted to the people that interact directly with your company. The downside of email is that the data is normally unstructured and hard to track. Our suggestion is to implement a CRM with email integration that will automatically track and update the customer profiles as more emails are exchanged with both active leads and paying customers. In addition to that, the early adoption of a CRM allows you to create a scalable business model that is easy to maintain.
3. LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a great tool for lead generation. The advantage of using the software is that your business will be tapping into the LinkedIn network, which is oriented specifically towards the business environment. While social networks – such as Facebook and Twitter – and search engines serve a general purpose to its users, LinkedIn is mostly oriented towards a single goal: developing the professional profile of both individuals and businesses.
This means that the LinkedIn Sales Navigator is built on a database rich with professional information about its users. You can use this data to develop your customer profiles. The tool offers three main functionalities:
- Lead discovery: its advanced filtering functionalities let you browse the LinkedIn user base and restrict your queries only to the most qualified prospects. With the information from your searches, LinkedIn builds a set of recommendations that you can contact immediately to offer your product or service. In addition to that, it offers the possibility to integrate the information with its CRM, facilitating tracking and follow-ups.
- Lead tracking: as an extension to the discovery aspect, Sales Navigator makes it easy for you to track the profile changes of your leads – changing their job position or their employer, for example – and to interact with them based on that. The tool also allows you to add and import notes and comments to your CRM in order to create a more complete lead profile for each prospect.
- Lead engagement: last but not least, Sales Navigator wouldn’t be complete if it didn’t offer the opportunity to actually engage with your leads through the platform. LinkedIn InMail Messages can be sent to any user you classify as a potential customer (you don’t need to be connected to them). In addition to that, PointDrive offers you the possibility to share content in a slide-like form, facilitating the use of visual information and delivering your sales messages more efficiently.
In addition to the three main functionalities listed above, LinkedIn Sales Navigator’s influence can also be extended in the same way as Facebook IQ Audience Insights. You can explore the tool to proactively create customer profiles that represent the most qualified groups of prospects: their job titles, their industry, their age, their gender, their previous work experience, among other characteristics.
This article focuses not only on presenting valuable data sources for customer information but also on showing how a different approach to traditional tools can create more value for your business or website. While there are many places to look for customer data, starting with these three tools will give you a considerable advantage in better understanding your clients and prospects. We suggest that you start exploring Facebook IQ Audience Insights first and, as you experience the advantages of a more detailed target market, increase the range of tools to include paid solutions that offer unique insight into your audience. Start applying the techniques discussed here and enjoy their benefits almost immediately!