May 25, 2016

How the ‘Important Person’ radar works

This piece of timber woodwork was recovered from the sea bed of the Solent, just off the south coast of England. The wood is estimated to be 8000 years old.

Mesolithic woodwork

We now think it once made up part of a log boat, and that the area of the seabed it was found in was once a stone-age ship yard.

Britain 8000 years ago was very different to the Britain we know today. Land still connected Britain and Holland, and inland Britain was dangerous and densely forested. The population consisted of perhaps 1000 people living in hunter gatherer tribes around the coasts and rivers.

Finding hand-worked wood from that time is unusual. Normally the wood has rotten away, leaving only flints and tools that were used to work the wood.

The wood is the other half of the puzzle in piecing together what exactly our Mesolithic ancestors were getting up to.

(Apparently they were building boats!)

Your puzzle as a business owner isn’t to figure out what people were doing 8000 years ago, but to figure out what they might do tomorrow.

Your most important metric in figuring that out is recency.

I used to think that measuring a customer’s aggregate spend was most important in figuring out a customer’s value to me. The problem however with looking at aggregate spend is you end up looking at 8000-year-old wood. Fascinating to look at, but useless for predicting future boat-building behaviour.

The biggest indicator of future purchase behaviour is how recently someone has bought from you. I include monthly subscriptions in this, so in general the people who subscribe to my Introvert’s Corner print newsletter are the most important people in my database, even if their total spend might actually be low.

I have a campaign in Infusionsoft that looks like this:

Recently purchased campaign

Whenever you buy one of my products I add the following tags to your contact record:

Bought in last 30 days
Bought in last 60 days
Bought in last 90 days
Bought in last 180 days

A series of delay timers then knock off the tags as time goes by. I have this in place so I can identify the people who have bought from me most recently.

If you don’t buy from me in 180 days you get the tag ‘Former Client’, which effectively drops you off my ‘important person’ radar. The ‘Former Client’ tag is removed as soon as you make another purchase, and the sequence starts again.

I also apply recency to email opens using flame scoring. Engagement to me is critical. The fact that you are reading now means you are more likely to read tomorrow’s email than somebody who skipped today’s email.

Every time you open an email from me you get two flame score points, and those points last for two weeks. Once your score increments by ten points Infusionsoft gives you an extra flame, up to a maximum of five. I have one subscriber at the moment with five flames.

Infusionsoft flame score
If you ignore me for a few weeks your flame points start to expire and your flame score drops off, again removing you from my ‘important person’ radar.

I also factor clicks, purchases and web form submissions into the lead score equation, but the important point is I am only measuring recent engagement. Engagement that happened six months ago may as well live at the bottom of the sea.

For everybody who buys my Nurture Email Mastery course I monitor how recently they have logged in to the course page. Not how often – I don’t care about that. I customer who logged in to the course page yesterday is infinitely more likely to finish the course (and spend more money with me) than a customer who last logged in two weeks ago.

Recency isn’t that hard to measure with a tag-based automation platform. And it’s possibly the best segmenting tool there is.

Rob Drummond

Rob Drummond runs the Maze Marketing Podcast and Maze Mastery. Rob specialises in content production, ad creation, storytelling and CRM systems. He has two published books, Magnetic Expertise and Simple Story Selling, affordable on Amazon.