How can small businesses with limited resources best use the data they collect on their customers?

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Tell the Customer Story

JT AllenGather stories about the customer experience. Why do they use your product or service? What value do you bring them? Gather that feedback and create simple, effective stories centered around how you bring your customers value. You’ll often find that the story of “why” a customer uses your product or service will resonate with others. That usually results in more customers.

– JT Allen, myFootpath LLC

2. Hone in on What Your Clients Really Want

Alex LortonData for any business is invaluable. We have continuously used feedback to hone in on what our clients and vendor partners want most. If you find that a client doesn’t care about a costly component of your product or service, that’s money to be used elsewhere. If you learn that a certain aspect has been well-received, that’s an opportunity to tailor your product or service even more.

– Alex Lorton,

3. Create a Referral Program

Obinna EkezieOne effective way to use data from existing customers is to offer them incentives to refer new business. Companies like DirecTV use a simple “Give $100, Get $100” referral program for existing customers to refer new customers. This idea is powerful, as your existing customers would love to save money on future business with you, while also referring friends and family as new customers.

– Obinna Ekezie,

4. Better Define Your Ideal Clients

Nicole MunozWhen we understand the wants and needs of our ideal customers, we are able to develop targeted marketing campaigns that speak directly to them. Use the data you collect to better understand your ideal buying persona. How old are the people who are buying from you? What is their socioeconomic status? What are their professions? Develop campaigns around these findings.

– Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

5. Focus On Effective, Efficient Growth

Anshey BhatiaUse analytics and data to determine where you should invest your time. For instance, if most of your converting customers are coming from Instagram, you should focus your efforts there even further to continue to improve. In addition, don’t simply look at the current data. Look at your business and industry trends to see where to invest your time and money.

– Anshey Bhatia, Verbal+Visual

6. Turn Data Points Into Personal Connections

Matt WilsonSmall businesses need to compete with larger ones by having a personal connection with the customer. Big corporations can spend millions on analyzing big data but what they can not do is turn these data points into fans of and mavens for their company. Know who your customers are with data and then go above and beyond to befriend them and make their connection with your brand a personal one.

– Matt Wilson, Under30Experiences

7. Create Custom Audiences

Kristopher Jones (1)The two most powerful and cost-effective forms of digital marketing are custom audiences and re-targeting. Small businesses would be best served by uploading their customer lists to Facebook and Google to create audience campaigns. An audience campaign will allow the small business to focus limited resources on getting existing customers to buy more, and re-targeting will drive conversions.

– Kristopher Jones,

8. Create Buying Funnels

Marcela DeVivoThere’s so much that can be done with data. But for companies with limited resources, the best approach is to use data to increase revenue. To do so, companies should use the data they already have to create a strong buying funnel, which can then be used to market to those customers more effectively using email marketing, retargeting and content creation.

– Marcela De Vivo, Brilliance

9. Determine How to Differentiate Yourself

Cynthia JohnsonA small company can fill niche needs that sometimes a big company cannot. The data they receive can provide insights into the competition not meeting those needs, so the small company can use that as the basis to develop exactly what their audience says it’s looking for. This intelligence gathered through the data can provide a significant competitive advantage.

– Cynthia JohnsonAmerican Addiction Centers

10. Collect Customer Contact Information

Andy KaruzaA business grows by building its customer base. The best way to do this is to acquire customer contact information and keep up consistent, relevant communication. Give the customer a reason for needing their contact information, such as sending an email or a text when their appointment is ready. Add this information (with their permission) into your monthly newsletter list.

– Andy Karuza, FenSens

11. Create Micro-Targeted Campaigns

Joe ApfelbaumOne of the best ways to use the data you collect on your customers is to use micro-targeted marketing campaigns. When you really get to know your customers, you can put them into buckets and market to them in a much more effective way. For example, when sending emails to your clients, it’s much more effective to send a customized email to all the people who live in Brooklyn and are married than to batch everyone together.

– Joe Apfelbaum, Ajax Union

12. Try CRM Marketing

Fan BiThe main way we use our customer data is to send them more useful and specific messages. We segment our customer base into over 30 different groups based on spend amount, what they’ve purchased, and the frequency of their purchases and location. This way we’re able to send them a more targeted email or show them more relevant banner ads.

– Fan Bi, Blank Label