What to put in your data-driven marketing toolbox
In today’s data-driven marketing world, speed is one the most important factors that determine success. In fact, a recent study among 1,500 marketing professionals found that speed is the second most important benefit of data-driven marketing with 67% of them citing it as such.
To achieve speed, you have to have the right tools that enable you to go fast. To get you started, we have put together a toolbox of sorts that includes tools that are fast becoming essential to finding any kind of success in this fast paced world.
Email marketing is perhaps the most widely used data marketing tool out there. Businesses large and small rely on it for everything from order confirmation, win-back campaigns, abandoned-cart recovery, shipping information to customer surveys (more on them later), marketing campaigns, product recommendations and more.
On its own, email marketing generates a lot of useful data that can all be used to make your future campaigns better. Data on things like open and click rates is crucial when you’re iterating towards better performing campaign emails.
Add in personal, geographical and browsing data (male/female, location, buying history, browsing history etc), and you have the beginnings of a proper email marketing system.
- Klaviyo (Editor’s note: There can only be one.)
The second most widely used tool in any data-driven marketers toolkit is some sort of web analytics tool. At their core, web analytics tools track and report on website traffic.
By far the most popular one of those, with good reason, is Google Analytics (GA). Besides GA, other popular tools include Kissmetrics (behavioural analytics, user level tracking), Mixpanel ([mobile] analytics – user actions oriented) as well as Heap, Formisimo, Hotjar and Inspectlet for form analytics among others.
- Google Analytics
- MixPanel (analytics, focus on actions people take rather than page views)
- Kissmetrics (behavioural analytics, user level tracking)
- Formisimo (form analytics)
- Hotjar (analytics, form analytics, heatmaps, session replays)
- Inspectlet (form analytics, session replays, heatmaps)
Heatmaps & session replays
While analytics tell you what is happening via page views and graphs, heatmaps and session replays (a.k.a visitor recordings or session recordings) display much of the same information visually.
Heatmapping software does this by tracking your visitor’s click pattern on a given page. After doing this for a number of different users, it combines those click patterns to produce a “heatmap” or a map of where exactly where visitors are clicking. The warmer the color, the more “heat” that region got.
Session replays (a.k.a visitor recordings or session recordings) on the other hand, allow you to replay (with video) full sessions of visitors using your site:
Both heatmaps and session replays are great for data gathering for hypothesis generation which can later be A/B tested (more on that later) to improve conversions and usability.
- Hotjar (session replays, heatmaps, form analytics)
- CrazyEgg (heatmaps)
- Clicktale (heatmaps)
- Inspectlet (session replays, heatmaps, form analytics)
A/B testing, or split testing, is a process whereby a simultaneous experiment is run between two pages to understand which version works better.
It’s a method for validating that any new addition or change to your web page will actually improve its conversion rate. It consists of creating two alternative versions of a specific page and showing each of them to a predetermined percentage of visitors with the aim of finding the version that performs better.
This kind of testing is, of course, not limited to web pages only. You can and should run A/B tests with your email as well. You can test everything from headlines to design to offers to the copy.
Customer surveys are THE tool to really understand who your customers are, what they want, what matters to them most and their annoyances when buying from you. All this feedback is invaluable and very hard to come by without surveys.
In addition to a traditional survey that is (usually) delivered via email, in recent years shorter surveys via a triggered pop-up have gained in popularity. Depending on how it’s setup, the survey can appear after a specific time interval has passed, based on user actions, exit-intent (user is about to leave the site) or just be visible constantly.
This is great for launching hyper-targeted quick surveys. For example, you could setup a survey that appears on the shipping page of the checkout asking things like “what seems to be the problem?” and “how can I help?”
Or a similar one during different stages of the check-out and/or on product/category pages. This enables you to gethyper-targetedd feedback on a concrete issue while avoiding the hassle that goes into launching a full-scale survey.
In action, this is what a pop-up survey looks like:
There are many articles written about how to design great customer surveys. For example, this one from ConversionXL or this one from Shopify, but the thing to always remember is why youäre running them in the first place. There must always be a concrete business objective behind running a survey. What are you hoping to learn. And more importantly, how are you going to use the data from it?
- Google Forms
- Qualaroo (Popup Surveys)
- Unbounce (pop-up surveys + A/B testing + landing page builder)
Online usability testing
Including usability testing tools in an article about data-driven marketing does at first glance seem a bit weird, I agree. Then again, all usability testing is session replays on steroids – you’re not just spectating on what visitors are doing on your site, you’re also the one directing what they should be doing.
This is great for seeing how easily visitors can complete tasks in your ecommerce store and better understand what the possible points of frustration are. By designing more complex tasks, you’re able to gather more and better data on site usability.
This one is a little bit different. You see, dashboards aren’t so much standalone tools as they are platforms that analyze data from all the other online tools you use. Their power lies in being able to display and analyze all the data that is fed into them and displays them in an easy to understand ways.
More advanced dashboards even include business intelligence and self-learning capabilities which are able to analyze and learn things from data you have might missed otherwise.
Image via Shopify
As a final reminder, always remember that there is no tool that will guarantee success. All a tool can do is create an opportunity for growth when it’s properly used.
Instead of reading this and going “I need all these tools now!!!!”, you should concentrate on actually learning and understanding two, maybe three of them. By actually knowing how to use a tool you’re much more likely to find success with it. Good luck!