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6 Creative Ways to Use Your Customer List

Small businesses today have an extraordinary chance to operate as intelligently as the biggest retail giants out there. Through the magic of digital marketing, all businesses can form close, personalized bonds with customers. But doing this well hinges on having an up-to-date, data-rich customer list. Your customer list is one of the most valuable marketing tools you have (and if you don’t have one yet and want one easily, read this to learn how). But to extract all of your customer list’s latent power, you need to actively use it. Here are six ways to do that: 

1. Identify your best customers

Do you know who your best customers are? What are their actions like? To find these customers, analyze their activity and ask lots of questions, look at their behavior, gauge their intent. Who is visiting, what are they buying, and what time of day or time of the week/month/year do they swing by to make a purchase? A customer list contains up-to-the-moment data that you can dive into and analyze to find out who your best customers are. Understanding your customers plays a crucial role in marketing to them—you’ll want to reward them, and study their habits. Your customer list is your data mine for this, so spend time in it.

2. Look for customer trends

While you’re dwelling in the data, look out for trends. Are there lulls in sales activity during the week or month where you can devise special promotions? Watch average order volumes—and explore ways to encourage particular customers to scale up, whether it’s encouraging them to join your loyalty program, upselling or cross-selling.

3. Segment and personalize your list

Your customer list is your marketing outreach tool, a way for you to communicate with customers and remind them of your brand, so that they’ll remember to buy from you again. But when you launch into email marketing, don’t just write to everyone like they’re one lump of humanity. Be strategic. Segment your customer list by type, so that you can start to send out outreach that is personalized according to their behavior, purchases, and interests. If you’ve just welcomed a new customer into the fold, make sure you have a campaign ready to send to them. As this infographic by the data analytics platform SumAll shows, after someone has visited your brand once, it’s all about the second sale: “a customer who has only purchased from you once has a 27% chance to visit again, but someone who has made three purchases has a 54% chance to make a fourth.”

4. Send inspired content

Beyond all the promotions and sales information, your customer list offers you a content marketing channel. Brainstorm the kinds of content you could be sharing with them, that would benefit them and lead to engagement. You’ve already been studying your customers in the steps above, and knowing your customer is the very basis of good content marketing. If you run a nail salon, could you develop a self-care themed blog that discusses healthy ways that customers can look and feel good—including nails and also creatively venturing down other avenues? Could these avenues then lead you to some creative cross-promotions?

5. Create re-engagement campaigns

If you have a bunch of people sitting on your list who are not opening any of your emails—that’s hurting your back-end operations for how well your emails are being ranked by providers, and it’s also a missed opportunity. Spend some time defining what inactive means, then create re-engagement campaigns to trigger more of a connection. You could send them a free gift coupon, ask them to complete a survey, or be up-front and ask if they would prefer to be taken off your list. Set a deadline, and if they don’t respond in time, take them off the list.

6. Actively grow your list

As you trim down your list, you’ll want to build it back up on a daily basis. This is why the new breed of mPOS solutions like Instore are so incredibly helpful for small businesses. An mPOS is essentially your CRM at the checkout. Every time someone makes a purchase, you’re growing your list. With all the steps outlined above, you’ll be using that list to build a virtuous circle of engagement and growth.

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