An ideal customer profile (ICP) is essentially a hypothetical narrative of the type of companies that would get the most value from your product(s). These companies tend to have the fastest sales cycle, the greatest customer retention rates, and the highest number of evangelists for your business.
Such a hypothetical description of a perfect-fit customer can inform your entire marketing and sales process, helping you allocate your resources to those prospects who will benefit the most from your offerings and, in turn, provide the most value to your company.
Read this article to find out how customer profile analysis can help your sales process.
Sources of Customer Data for Your Customer Profile Analysis
Understanding your customers is critical to succeeding with your sales targets. How will you better cater your products and services to them without properly knowing their individual profiles?
To create an ICP that fits your business, having the right data is key. The question is, where can you gather this important information? Here are five great sources to capture customer data for your customer profile analysis.
1. Existing Customers
While not every customer is an ideal one, your existing customer base is the best place to source data.
So, survey your existing customers to discover which of them:
- Drive the most value for your business
- Get the most value from your business
- Are happiest with your product(s)
These are your top customers. And to do this, you need to consider:
- Customer lifetime value (CLV)
- Their ROI with your product(s)
Customer satisfaction metrics, including Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), or Customer Effort Score (CES)
When you know all these numbers for your existing customers, you can pinpoint your top customers. Along with this data, from your CRM, export key customer data points like company size, budget, challenges, etc., to a Google spreadsheet for later analysis.
Schedule interviews and create surveys to get insights from customers about why they chose your product, who were the key stakeholders in the purchase process, what competitors they were considering, and what convinced them to go with you.
Oh, and in your customer surveys, use multiple-choice questions to get consistent responses from your customers and simplify their effort. This also makes it easier to analyze this data in your spreadsheet later on. Using a survey builder would do the trick, or an email marketing software that allows you to send surveys, like Benchmark Email.
2. Potential Customers
If your company is relatively new and doesn’t yet have a sufficient customer base, then you’ll need to find potential customers to interview and survey. These are your ideal target customers or possibly not-so-happy customers of your top competitors.
And once you find your potential customers, it’s the same deal — conduct interviews and share surveys. The difference is that with potential customers, you may need to offer an incentive, such as a free extended subscription of your product upon launch or an Amazon gift card in exchange for their help.
3. Analysis Tools
Qualitative interview questions and surveys are a must, but you can’t gain a complete picture without knowing what people are doing on your website and inside your product.
Use tools like Google Analytics to see how prospects engage with your website and content. On which page do they usually arrive first? How do they land on the pricing page? Which landing pages do they visit and stay on the most? From which pages do they typically exit?
Plus, if you’re using Google Ads, you can get in-depth demographic visitor info like age, gender, location, etc. Also, evaluate how customers use your product — which features are used more, which features are going unused, how they interact with menu items, and so on.
And be sure to segment website visitors and users who actually pay for your product. Otherwise, you could be looking at and optimizing for the non-paying majority. For instance, Google Analytics might tell you that over 70% of your visitors come from Asia, but if only 10% of your paying customers are in Asia, then it doesn’t make sense to optimize for that segment.
4. Sales Calls
Your sales team can have unique insights about your ideal customer considering all the countless conversations they’re having with prospects each day.
By asking the right discovery questions during sales calls, your reps can better learn the company they’re selling to, their processes, the people involved in decision-making, and the key challenges that need solving.
5. Competitor Analysis
Never underestimate the value of analyzing your competitors. From their website structure and messaging to who they are targeting on social media, there’s a potential goldmine of useful customer profile data you can dig out with competitor analysis. Check out this great list of competitor analysis tools to analyze various aspects of your competition’s strategy, from their ads strategy to content and email marketing.
And if you’re in eCommerce and using a platform like Shopify, then competitor price tracking is also crucial.
Combine all these sources of customer data, and you should now have enough data to start shaping your ideal customer profile into a Google spreadsheet.
Data Interpretation Strategies
Got all the relevant data you need? Great — now comes the hard part!
With a sizable spreadsheet laid out on your screen, can you make any real sense of your customer data?
Here are three tricks to better understand and analyze your customer profile data in Google Sheets.
1. Create Charts In Google Sheets
Visuals tend to be favored over plain text, which means data visualization and analysis are done best with colorful charts.
Let’s say you’ve gathered data on the primary pain point your prospects are hoping to solve with your product — so, which problem is the most prevalent?
In your sheet, highlight the row you want to analyze. Then from the Spreadsheets toolbar, click Insert > Chart.
Google Sheets creates a quick chart that you can easily customize to see the data points you highlighted, enabling a visual view of the most prevalent customer pain point.
2. Use the ‘Explore’ Tool
Google allows a way to analyze business data in Sheets using machine learning. Rather than using elaborate formulas to crunch your numbers, you can use the ‘Explore’ tool to ask questions and quickly gain insights.
Begin by highlighting the rows and columns you want to analyze. Then, ask your question.
For instance, you could ask “Most frequent competitor considered,” and Google Sheets will give you an answer based on the data in your sheet.
You can also dive deeper and compare multiple data points. For example, you could ask “Most frequent competitors considered when company size is 100+.” Easy as pie.
3. Create Pivot Tables
A pivot table is a nifty way to summarize data and derive meaningful patterns between various data points. For example, you can create a pivot table to see the total of each region’s sales. Then, get a breakdown of your salespeople’s individual sales for specific regions.
Start by selecting the columns with the data that you wish to analyze. Ensure your data is in columns with headers, then select Insert > Pivot table. This way, you can create a new sheet where you’ll need to add values into your rows and columns based on the data you want to see.
Once you have the data in, you can change how it’s sorted or filter it to drill down to specifics. You can also have custom calculations and data groups to better analyze the data in your table.
Strategies for Your Sales Team to Integrate Customer Profile Analysis
Data? Check. Analysis? Check.
Time to leverage what you learned to level up your sales process. Here are eight great ways to do just that.
1. Build Sales-Specific ICPs
An ICP is useful for all teams, specifically sales.
To have your sales team makes the most of ICPs, make sure:
- To capture the right customer data and show reps what to do with prospects that fit a specific profile. Include info such as a short elevator pitch meant for each profile, along with data on the typical purchase process for this type of customer. This helps reps to adapt their pitch to fit the needs of this customer.
- All customer profiles are handy to all reps, say in a shared Google Drive folder or a project management tool, as opposed to being buried in a Slack channel’s chasm or a long email thread. This helps reps to easily refer to the profiles as they craft pitches, proposals, emails, sales decks, etc.
2. Segment Leads by Profiles
Help your sales reps get a head start when touching base with new leads by segmenting those leads.
Typically, marketing qualified leads (MQLs) have already been through some segmentation based on how they entered the sales pipeline — such as by filling out a website form, getting on a call, LinkedIn InMail, etc.
But when you further segment your leads by profiles, your sales team will have a clearer view of who they’re talking to, what are the primary goals and concerns of these leads, and how best to convince them to do business with you. So, in your CRM, segment leads based on ICP data points like size of the company, industry vertical, initial mode of contact, and so on.
3. Build Targeted Emails for Different Profiles
Using email templates is an excellent way to improve your sales team’s efficiency. But why not kick it up a notch by creating templates tailored to each ICP?
After all, how your salespeople sell to each customer profile is different — with different feature priorities, budget, etc. By creating targeted email templates for different profiles, your sales team is laser-focused on the people they’re selling to.
Your CRM data can also help improve your email marketing efforts as it could help better connect the dots between your marketing messaging and customer pain points. Benchmark Email integrates well with various customer management apps.
4. Create Personalized Pipelines for Each Profile
Just like creating targeted email templates, you can also benefit from personalized sales pipelines for different ICPs to match the path your customers take to convert.
Your sales reps are dealing with very different buyer journeys, especially if your business serves both SMBs and enterprises.
For instance, an SMB may have a shorter sales cycle with fewer internal approvals, meetings, and demos. Whereas for larger enterprise profiles, it may take a myriad of meetings with several stakeholders, approvals from different departments, and elaborate demos.
Your customer profile analysis lets your team adapt their sales process to the steps that customers tend to take to convert, and if you have personalized pipelines ready, your reps get a clearer picture of what’s needed to close deals.
5. Regularly Update and Reassess the Profiles
For your customer profile analysis to remain truly effective, you must keep it up-to-date. That’s how your sales team will always be in accord with the needs and motivations of your customers.
Here’s a sample schedule you can follow to keep your analysis on point:
- Every Three Months: Evaluate the results of any new strategies you implement. Are your revised email templates earning better click-through rates? Has the conversion rate improved in any sales pipeline?
- Every Six Months: Interview customers who are seeing success thanks to your business, and add their data or feedback to your CRM. Remove data of customers who don’t or no longer fit the criteria of a successful customer.
- Every Twelve Months: Take the time to talk with your top customers to learn exactly how they’re using your product, their current ROI, and how you can serve them even better. Reanalyze your data with new charts and pivot tables to derive important insights. Also, update your ICPs, templates, and pipelines if you see substantial changes in the data.
6. Generate and Apply Data Insights from Analytics
Specifically, your website analytics. From reading through a blog post to clicking on a CTA, every on-site action a prospect takes can offer valuable insight into customer behavior.
With tools like Google Analytics, you have easy access to key metrics such as time on page, bounce rate, goals completion, and so on. And with tools like Hotjar, you can further analyze user behavior with heatmaps and screen recordings. This can help you interpret what your audience finds more engaging and how you can create a more effective website experience and product positioning.
For example, if prospects are having trouble navigating certain sales pages, work on the interface to create more intuitive navigation. If there’s a page prospects spend more time on or engage with more, analyze that page’s content to see what’s keeping people interested.
7. Create Better Sales Forecasts and Plan Your Future
A sales forecast is an in-depth estimate that predicts what a salesperson or team will sell weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually.
The more accurate your sales forecasts are, the better you can plan your growth activities.
Looking at past behavioral data can tell you which features customers have found most valuable over time and which features are worth either revising or letting go of. Similarly, reviewing your most popular website pages can also inform your content strategy, helping you focus on topics and formats that best serve your audience’s challenges and drive the most engagement.
Furthermore, staying updated with market trends helps you understand what other companies in your niche are doing well and where they’re lacking, so you can plan for new features that capitalize on those areas.
And with new trends like remote work, you should also use your data to better train your remote sales teams and prepare them for whatever challenges lie ahead.
After all, the better you understand your market trends, the better product-market fit you’ll have.
8. Better Predict the Customer Journey
The best way to understand each of your customer profile’s buying behavior is to map their journey.
Customer journey mapping is a tactic that involves creating a detailed, visual representation of the customer journey based on important touchpoints between a customer and your company before, during, and after purchase.
As you can see in the image above, you can use NPS, CSAT, and CES surveys to capture first-hand customer feedback to include within your customer journey map and analyze the journey-wide customer experience.
Consider Uber. Minor touchpoints include activities like following the brand on Twitter. Major touch points include activities like downloading the app, requesting a ride, or using the referral program. Once touchpoints are defined, marketers at Uber may analyze what factors affect each touchpoint.
Questions like what influenced a user to download the app, what led a user to register to become an Uber driver, what led to an uninstall, and so on can help pinpoint successful and failed touchpoints and build a plan to improve the customer journey.
You can also build email drip campaigns meant to re-engage customers based on certain milestones, such as weeks or months of inactivity.
Time to Sell Better
At the end of the day, all that customer data and analysis is only as good as its application. Use the strategies outlined above to help your sales team take full advantage of your customer profile analysis and keep your team focused not just on metrics but on the needs and motives of your customers.
When your sales process is people-first, more sales are bound to follow.
Mark Quadros is a SaaS content marketer that helps brands create and distribute rad content. On a similar note, Mark loves content and contributes to several authoritative blogs like HubSpot, CoSchedule, Foundr, etc. Connect with him via LinkedIn or Twitter.
Seen at: Benchmarkemail.com
10 Brilliant Email Subject Lines to Boost Your Open Rates
Most people involved in email marketing know the importance of a brilliant email subject line. Seeing that you only get a few seconds to nail your email’s first impression, the subject line obsession is more than justified.
That is why crafting poor email subject lines is one of the biggest email marketing mistakes, regardless of how established your brand might already be.
Apart from nailing that first impression, your email subject line is the most decisive factor for recipients to open your email and engage with its content. Even worse, it’s what could get your email marked as spam and harm your sender’s reputation.
The numbers seem ruthless, but we reassure you there is a way out. All you need is a talented marketing team and a bit of creativity. We know you already have the first part, so all we need to do is help you with the second part. Continue reading to discover how to create clever email subject lines that get noticed – and, most importantly, opened.
What Makes a Great Email Subject Line
Creating email subject lines that grab readers’ attention and serve your marketing objectives should be your top priority. To achieve that, there are certain elements that subject lines should have, no matter what. Let’s check them out:
- Make it brief. Email subject lines are meant to be short and show the email’s value beforehand. That is even more important, seeing that many recipients will open your emails on mobile devices. Fortunately, most ESPs like AWeber and the most reliable AWeber alternatives allow you to preview how your emails look on different device types and check the components you must improve.
- Get to the point. Email recipients are busy people looking for the benefits that come with the emails delivered to their inboxes. To stand out in such a crowded space, you need to share what valuable insights your emails have in store for them. So, if you can help your audience see outstanding results and want to spread the news, your email subject line is the appropriate place.
- Keep it relevant. Your email subject line could be clever, unique, and precise. But if it doesn’t match the email content, it will do more harm than good. Your subject lines should be aligned with your email objective so that readers know what to expect and if they are interested in reading more. The last thing you want is to make a promise you won’t keep and make them feel misled.
- Personalize and conquer. Most subscribers have received tons of emails and have grown weary of emails without personalization elements. They need to feel special and that your brand has done its homework about who they are and what they want. Use the recipient data you have at your disposal to show them you care and give a human touch to your email promotions.
- Avoid spammy tactics. Would you open an email with a subject line that is fully capitalized and includes spam-triggering words? Probably not, and neither will your subscribers. To stay away from spam, avoid too many special characters, excessive capitalization, and spammy words like “buy,”, “money,”, or “click”.
Brilliant Email Subject Line Types That Get Opened
There are several approaches to catching your email recipients’ attention, from employing humor to piquing their curiosity. But putting in that creative spirit is a whole different matter, right? That’s why we compiled a list of the most brilliant email subject line examples to spark your inspiration and help you increase your open rates.
When you include an element of urgency in your email subject lines, your recipients will open your emails in no time. Consumers tend to prioritize their purchase decisions based on the time sensitivity of the offer, and recipients are no different. Words like “now” or “limited time” can work wonders for your open rates, triggering subscribers to open and click through your email. So, if you have a time-sensitive offer, choose your marketing messaging wisely to highlight it in your email subject line. However, don’t overdo this type of promotion since receiving too many limited-time-only deals could get the opposite results and annoy your subscribers.
Subject line: Limited-time offer: free premium wristband with any Steel HR purchase.
Nokia is a brand that knows how to influence its subscribers to take the desired action and move down the sales funnel. This Valentine’s email promotion leverages time-sensitive language to create urgency. Not only that, but they made sure to include all the necessary information for readers to know what the deal is about. Recipients appreciate it when you save them time, and they can tell if they are interested in your promotion beforehand.
Highlight your personality
Most experienced marketing professionals are aware of the benefits personalization brings to the table. But while tweaking email elements to the recipient’s preferences is of utmost importance, getting personal isn’t just about that. Subscribers love authenticity and unique marketing messages that stand out from the crowd. Your email subject lines must reflect your brand personality, no matter the email objective. But for this tip to work, you must establish your brand’s tone of voice. You can play it funny, witty, professional, or whatever characteristic fits your business objectives. So, get your creative juices flowing as long as you keep it relevant and consistent with your overall branding.
Subject line: Your cart is sobering up
Abandoned carts are an integral part of a successful e-commerce email marketing strategy, and it’s an excellent field to showcase your brand personality. From start to finish, the email copy is brilliant and reveals the personality behind the brand. Liquor Loot uses a clever pun in the subject line related to the product left behind. The email content is aligned with the subject line and the overall brand tone. Even if recipients don’t click on that “Treat yourself” CTA, they will open the email and relate the tone to the brand the next time they get an email from them.
Email subject lines that announce exclusive deals, one-time offers, or special discounts are usually the ones with the highest open rates. That’s because they lead with the benefits, letting readers know what they can gain from opening and reading the email content. By being clear with your recipients from the start, you build a trusting relationship with them. When your email delivers on the promise in the subject line, you are one step closer to building customer loyalty. So, if your product or service solves an everyday challenge and helps them meet their goals, your email subject line should give readers a hint. To successfully follow this tip, make sure the language you use is actionable and precise, urging them to take action.
Subject line: Get a free handcrafted gift when you
This email subject line from Starbucks does much more than just mention a specific offer. They keep the recipient hanging on by stopping mid-sentence, almost forcing them to open the email and learn on what occasion they get the free drink. It’s straightforward, precise, and worth their while. From the benefits-oriented verb to the actionable email CTA, this email is about the reader taking the desired action within the specified time limit.
Ask a question
Posing questions is a popular content optimization strategy. Questions come with a double benefit: they increase recipients’ engagement and pique their curiosity. When subscribers come across a question in your subject line, it forces them to stop and think about the answer. To draw recipients into your email content, opt for intriguing questions that could open up a conversation rather than one with a simple yes or no answer. The sky is the limit here, but try to keep up with rising audience trends while staying on-brand. Their natural curiosity will be more than enough for them to want to learn more about it.
Subject line: How much do you know about sleep?
Casper’s subject line isn’t just posing a question. The email subject line takes it one step further by giving them an idea of what the email is about. That way, recipients know exactly what’s in it for them and expect to find helpful information regarding their sleeping habits once they open the email. This email subject line example ticks all the boxes by combining an intriguing question that picks recipients’ interest and valuable content that addresses their pain points.
Catchy Email Subject Line Examples
When it comes to email subject lines and the elements you could include to grab your readers’ attention, the sky is the limit. To stir your creative juices, we will present some of the most catchy email subject line examples that left us no choice but to open the emails.
- Subject line: Forget FOMO—see what’s waiting for you (Nike)
Looking for ways to leverage FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) in a subject line to catch your recipient’s eye? FOMO is a psychological factor that many marketers rely on to motivate their target audience. Nike is our winner here. Readers know the email content addresses their needs just by reading the subject line. By asking recipients to forget about FOMO, Nike makes them feel included and that they are about to enter a world of exclusive deals and compelling product recommendations.
- Subject line: Get the story behind the brand (Drizly)
You can take one thing for granted: people love stories. Recipients have grown weary of companies going and on about their selling proposition. Sharing the story behind your brand adds a human touch to your emails. Your subscribers are curious about how everything started. Drizly’s subject line is attention-grabbing and straightforward. Email recipients appreciate knowing what they will read beforehand – in this case, inside information that makes them feel part of Drizly’s exciting journey.
- Subject line: Quiz: Which shower scent fits you best? (Harry’s)
Quizzes are among the most effective elements marketers can use to increase engagement. Even if a recipient isn’t interested in buying, the word quiz in an email subject line will make your email stand out in a stuffed inbox. That’s why Harry’s subject line highlights the quiz included and what it’s about. The quiz is related to the brand’s products, so recipients will be prompted to take it and find which shower scent matches their personality. And why not buy it, may we add.
- Subject line: Your basket is having abandonment issues… 🙁 (Jack Wills)
Humor is, by definition, a crucial element to include in a catchy email subject line. Companies that employ it in their subject lines watch their open rates and recipient engagement increase. This email subject line from Jack Wills is clever and to the point. It puts a smile on the reader’s face and motivates them to open the email, go back to their abandoned items, and proceed with the purchase.
- Subject line: You asked, we answered: What do I get as a member? (Thrive)
We can’t stress this enough; your audience loves knowing you care for them instead of just selling. Even more so when you hear them and are willing to address their concerns. This is precisely why this subject line from Thrive is so successful. It gives precise information on what readers will read in the email, meaning the benefits they gain as members. Subscribers always appreciate getting the answers they asked for, and “You asked, we answered” is as customer-centric as it gets.
- Subject line: Share your thoughts and get a chance at a $200 gift card! (Everlane)
Including surveys in your emails is highly recommended to increase recipients’ engagement. Surveys make customers feel their opinion matters and could shape your marketing strategy. In this email, Everlane isn’t limited to asking subscribers to answer the survey. The brand takes it one step further by adding a compelling incentive and highlighting it in the email subject line. Recipients are eager to offer feedback to a brand they have already interacted with. Even more so when it comes with a chance to win a $200 gift card.
An email subject line is a critical component of every email promotion, giving marketers’ a headache each time they start crafting an email campaign. That’s because this tiny piece of content urges or discourages email recipients from opening an email. And seeing that they get tons of emails every day, you need to make that limited-character text count.
To do that, make sure to study your target audience and employ a brand tone that hits their soft spots. Create time-sensitive offers, ask questions they will be eager to answer, and always remember to show why your email marketing message is worth their while. Whatever you do, ensure you monitor how your email subject lines perform.
All you need is reliable email marketing software with A/B testing capabilities that allow you to check what works and what doesn’t. Even if you discover your subject lines hit the target, don’t rest on your laurels and use those insights to continue tweaking your subject lines to drive long-term success.
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