It’s amazing how often public records are totally ignored by businesses, who could be using them to strengthen marketing campaigns and better engage their customers. We live in an age where a huge level of public details is collected and they can all be used to better understand customers and their behaviors.
Importance of Engaging Both Old and New Customers
Customers expect more than just general mailshots and generic advertising campaigns. In the modern age, it is important to be a bit more creative with how you engage your customers.
This might mean engaging potential customers, who have signed up to your mailing list because they are potentially interested in your products, but also existing customers. This is especially useful if you operate in an industry where repeat business is key to the success of your company.
You might not think that access to public data could help with this, but there is a lot that you can use to work out customer behaviors and trends and engage with them in a more intelligent way.
Engaging your customers may mean different things for different businesses. It might be that you host events, either virtual or in-person. Public records might help you to work out the location of your customers or other factors that may play a part in their engagement.
Engagement might just be creating content and offers that appeal to a specific demographic. You might use public records to engage people who live in a certain state or personalize a marketing campaign based on someone’s profession or qualifications.
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Public Records as a New Tool for Customer Engagement
How can public records be your best tool to find new customers, or to advertise in a more effective way?
Public records can refer to any information that is in the public domain. This might be from a government office. Certain online sources collect and collate information that is in the public domain, from social media profiles to criminal records to marriage and divorce records.
This all goes to form an incredibly powerful tool for targeting customers and taking a smarter approach in all of your customer relations. Good digital marketing teams are becoming very good at finding this data and using it as part of their marketing.
There’s nothing controversial or dishonest about this. The information is there for all to see, and most customers would rather be engaged or advertised to in a way that actually interests them. You probably wouldn’t advertise an event in Dallas to customers who live in Washington. Public records can help you segment and categorize new and existing customers.
Public records may come from things that the courts have to be alerted of. For instance, marriage records will be made a matter of public record. If you’re a company focusing on newlyweds, you can find recent marriage records to help you to find potential leads.
Analyzing Your Best Customers with a Public Records Search Tool
The smartest companies out there are always looking for ways in which they can understand customers better. This sort of profiling can help you to spot trends that you might have otherwise missed.
How can public records searches help with this? Ultimately, they can help you to better understand your best customers. This can help you to know how to focus your marketing efforts in the future.
In marketing and customer research, some trends might not initially seem obvious, but you might find that customers share more in common than you thought.
For example, you might find that your product is particularly popular in certain locations. For a digital or national product, this might not seem to make any sense. But, it could just be that your product performs better due to the population of a town, city, or state. You might find that your product is popular in San Francisco. What does this tell you? Well, maybe it is a product that a lot of early adopters take up.
This is just one example. You might start to spot a lot of other patterns. They might be a coincidence, or they might be the most helpful thing for your marketing strategy in a number of years.
Public records include professions, so you might find that your product or service is particularly popular among lawyers or teachers, or people with a certain qualification or interest.
By taking the common points that your best customers share, you might be able to gain more of an insight into the sort of customer profile you should be aiming for.
Segmenting your Customer Base
Say, you have a list of 1000 existing customers. You send out a mailshot in the hope of some repeat customer or send them an offer. But, you probably won’t get a brilliant uptake.
At least, your uptake could be much higher with more personalized marketing. The more information you can collect from these customers, the more likely it is that they will engage.
This Forbes article about personalization has some incredible statistics. It shows that most customers have come to expect some form of personalization. They may even get frustrated if this is not offered to them.
You could use public records to work out the professions of many of your existing customers. Use this to personalize the content you send to them. For example, you could send an offer or article to all of the teachers on your list allowing them to celebrate when school is out for summer. There are many ways you can do this if you build a database showing the personal information of customers.
Location is another great method of personalizing and engaging customers. You can focus on things going on in a particular state, but only if you know what state someone is in. And this can be found from public records about addresses.
The statistics are there for everyone to see. Evergage research explains that 98% of marketers say personalization advances customer relationships. It makes perfect sense to try and create a personalized experience.
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Finding Prospective Customers through Public Records
If you live in a place where you are allowed to target customers by approaching them, using cold email, or other forms of advertising, then public records can help you to find people who might be interested in your service.
There are so many examples of ways you could do this. For instance, if you target business owners through a B2B marketing campaign, you can use public records to find the directors of businesses who are in a certain industry. These records can help you to ensure you are only targeting the right people. Even if you still spend money advertising to these people, a more targeted approach will usually mean better value.
Working out how someone spends their money and how they live their lives are great tools for marketers. Public records can be used for many of the following:
- Working out roughly how many potential customers earn based on their profession.
- Finding out their average credit score.
- Working out whether they are homeowners, and what vehicles they also own (from cars to boats).
- Where in the country are they based?
- What sort of products do they use, do they spend on competing or similar products?
- Do they run a business?
- Do they have a college education? What subject is this in?
Spending the time to create databases based on public records and customer behaviors can seem like a really daunting task. Fortunately, there is an incredible amount of information available in the public domain, stemming from government records or just from social media or information individuals make available online.
Finding Public Records
Though public records are available in a variety of different forms and in different places, it is a lot of effort to go through them all. Fortunately, public records search tools are an easy and convenient way to search through customers and find most of the information that is available on their lifestyle.
Online searches can bring you details from their college education to any businesses they are involved in and even some of their consumer habits. Different people go to different levels of effort to avoid their details being available. But in the majority of cases, people don’t mind some information being publicly available.
Most states, and even the counties within, have public records that you can search through online. For a lot of things like court records, it is a legal obligation that records are kept.
In a few scenarios, companies might be able to perform specific searches to find information for you; some companies specialize in researching the data offered in public records, but this probably isn’t required. This probably isn’t the best way to profile your customers.
Twinning Public Records with your own Information
It’s a good idea to collect as much data on your customers as possible based on their interactions with your business. You can even ask them to provide information via a profile or through surveys and questionnaires. This information can also be very powerful for creating a custom marketing campaign or engaging customers based on what they are actually interested in.
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There are a lot of different tools that businesses can implement in the modern age of technology; public records can help to supercharge your customer engagement. If you are able to mine for the right forms of information then there is no end to the ways in which you can analyze customer behaviors and lifestyles.
The benefits of using these public records can include a better customer experience, more targeted advertising, and less annoying, irrelevant emails or social media campaigns that they really don’t care about. It’s vital that you take the time to get to know your customer base. You might also spot a number of different patterns. These can help you to identify and target more customers and continue to grow your business.
We all have access to public data, but many businesses are starting to wake up to its potential.
This article is written by Ben Hartwig. Ben is a web operations executive at InfoTracer who takes a wide view from the whole system. He guides by sharing the best practices and does it the right way! Follow him: Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook.