Some day it may become an instruction manual on how to entrap an entire population; how to get everyone to do what you want them to… and have them walk casually and confidently into your trap. It could be a science fiction thriller and may already be.
It’s the illusion of convenience.
My cell phone is convenient. It’s so convenient that I take it everywhere. I use it as a repository of all my information. I store everything from movies and music to books and photos. It stores a record of everyone I call (and when). It tracks where I go (GPS) and what I buy and may soon become my electronic credit card. My boarding pass for air travel is available on my cell phone too. There’s more as you know, much more.
I’m not paranoid, I just ask questions.
I still use my phone for all the above (and more) but it has occurred to me that without that phone, I might be lost, both figuratively and actually. I guess I am trapped. Trapped into paying about $80 a month for this “convenience” that I like to use, but just so happens to track my every move. Soon, it will monitor my heartbeat, my blood pressure, my activity levels and my sleep. Wow, what a convenience.
Even your actual movements are tracked.
Do you use Google Maps or Waze? They are both very convenient. Waze shows you everything going on around you as you drive while providing point to point navigation. Both it also records your every move. But not just where you go but how fast you drive, how hard you brake, when you drive (rush hour? late at night?) and where you stop.
So let’s see…who would just love to know that information? Maybe your insurance company could send you a new policy based on the way you drive. Hey, it’s a convenience, right? The pitch would be “safe drivers, save money!” What you don’t know is how they define “safe.” Maybe those with the lowest rates are those who drive the least! Interesting, right?
What to do, now that we know it’s happening.
Nothing really to do. Just enjoy the convenience of your device, continue to “check in” on Yelp, Facebook and Foursquare. You might get a free glass of Coke for checking in as you are increasingly populating that company’s digital profile on you. Everyone does it, no big deal. Privacy used to be important, now it’s not. Maybe that’s OK. After all, if you fear transparency maybe you have something to hide, argues those powers who need your data to make a living.
If you want to dive deep and see the full extent of what’s being tracked as you surf the web or wander this world with your cell phone, watch this 60 Minutes profile.
Who wants to know all this information about YOU?
Lots of companies already do. And want to sell that information for a profit. So what if companies have built a literally perfect profile of who you are based on your cell phone usage and browser tracking? So what if your medical condition, your choice of restaurants and travel are known by others? You don’t care, do you? You knew all this was going on. You realized that all this convenience wasn’t actually free, right?
It’s happening anyway, make it work for you.
Do you have a business that can benefit from knowing when people drive or walk past your store or your competitor’s store? Do you sell something based on proximity? If so, there are lots of ways to buy targeted client leads. Be creative and think about how your company can use location data to boost business.
If you really didn’t think much before about targeted data and advertising, let this be your wake-up call. The goal is to make it your bitch. Use it for your own purposes and have it make you money.
Developing a plan to use targeted data to make you money!
Step 1: The Lifetime Value of Your Client
You will need to know what a targeted lead is worth in dollars and cents. So let’s calculate the lifetime value of your client. The lifetime value of a client is equal to an average of how long a client stays with you (their lifetime) and how much they spend (their value). Lets say a customer stays with you for an average of five years. Then add up all sales revenue over that period of time and divide that number by the number of clients. If you had 1000 clients over five years and they generated five million dollars, then the lifetime value of each customer is $5,000.00. That client relationship could have started with a free report or a $47 information product.
Now, what would you pay to reach that ideal client? What are you paying now for leads and at what rate are you converting those leads to sales? If you pay $20 a lead and convert one out of five, then a sale costs $100 for that lead. I know that first sale might be just the beginning of a longer relationship so it’s probably OK to lose money on that sale if bigger sales are right around the corner.
Step 2: The Client Avatar
Next, profile your ideal client. This is called the client avatar. Use your best guess based on your current client population. You are looking for: age, geographic, psychographic, habits and hobbies so you can find more people who meet those criteria. If you don’t know much about your clients, that’s where Facebook can help. You can upload your best customer list and Facebook will show you the general characteristics of your client base. If you tell Facebook to “get me more like these,” Facebook will tell you how many people are available who match that profile and there may be millions of potential clients on Facebook that you might never have found on your own. That custom audience tool can deliver to you nearly exact matches to your own client base.
Armed with this information, you can start buying targeted leads. Facebook is the obvious place to start but other web sites have great targeting tools that help you find targeted leads too. Other sites that track their membership in detail are Yelp and Foursquare. Both have targeted geographic advertising programs.
This isn’t just for location based businesses. Google Ads, Bing Ads and many other services are also utilizing targeted data profiles to select clients. ALL search engines track your path through browser cookies as you surf the web. Patterns are recognized, words and search terms are recognized and most are discarded and somewhat random but those patterns can be purchased. For example, you can buy the right to contact everyone who has (or is likely to have) a dog by targeting a consumer’s dog food shopping habits.
Using this same technology, you could upload your prospect list to Facebook, build a custom look-alike audience, compare the results to your own client list and weed out those prospects less likely to buy. Then invest in that list, your ideal client profile list. Your odds of selling are far better when you match prospect profiles to client profiles.
Big Brother is Your Friend
No one is going to stop using their cell phone to prevent personal tracking. But since it goes on anyway and since you are a business person responsible for revenue, make use of it! What I covered today is a fraction of what is possible using targeted data.
When I set up a call center for a client, I use customized CID data feeds to “pop” an inbound caller’s profile onto a sales rep’s screen before she even answers the phone. The rep can see if it’s a customer or prospect calling and can scan the caller’s profile before taking the call.
Need a little help integrating custom, targeted leads into your systems? Let me know.
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