Are all of your customers receiving your message?

by Karl Tatgenhorst on January 4, 2011

Customers are unique despite fitting in a nicheManaging an outreach program (such as Twitter) for your brand or company can be very rewarding. Maybe. Sometimes. Well, sort of. Mostly, that activity can be frustrating. What should you tweet about? Who should you tweet to?

These questions have a lot of speculative answers that enjoy varying degrees of success. The people who are good at it, often have a knack for it as well as some secrets. I have tried for a while to master their secrets and gain their “knack”. People like Nat Finn, Douglas Karr and Dave Woodson seem to just know the pulse of their communities. More importantly, they know how to build them. Recently however, I had an epiphany and that is that I am not them. That’s right, maybe in the process of shifting gears and doing something else I will become a kingly content creator, but at the moment I am not one and that is ok. They are not me either. In 2011 my goal is to use my technical skills to address the kind of things that people like them would like to see. I am going to create the kind of tools that help people like me do what those people do while at the same time amplifying what those people do to a whole new level.

So here goes, this is a technological strategy that is hatching in my head. I am going to build it myself and document it here so you all can benefit from it ( am stealing the idea of giving away awesomeness from Chris Brogan).

We are going to leave the speculative part of “whom to tweet to” as an exercise for the reader and we are going to assume that the reader is using some technologies that are already implemented (I will come back in later posts and get everyone to speed).

What We Know

We are using Google Analytics, we are also closely monitoring conversion rates. We probably even have a good e-mail campaign management platform that ties right into our CRM. We also are using Twitter as that is what this post is mostly going to cover. I am also going to assume that we are now hosting our own site – yep. Hosting your own site opens an analytic world hitherto unimagined to the untrained. Do it. To the cloud…. So we also have access logs, referring URLs etc…

What That Gives US

  • Google Analytics can give us a ton of insights and they have an API. Explore it.
  • E-Mail Campaign software allows us to store e-mail addresses and break them down into market segments. Hopefully the one we use is extensible, I recommend Interspire
  • Using the CRM we can identify amount of products sold by geographical boundaries, sex and perhaps a few others
  • The access logs can be run against a Geo-IP service to figure out regional conversion rates (you could also do this through Google Analytics)

Where We Can Go From Here


Rapleaf is an online data aggregation site and can turn an e-mail address into varying degrees of data (based on whether or not you use it as a premium service). The data they provide can help you further break your e-mail list into functional segments and give you the twitter name associated with that address.


Running our own ad server will allow us to put custom ads on our E-Mail list, okay fine we don’t need our own to do that, or do we? Serving the ads from our own server allows us to know exactly who clicks which ad and when. Additionally, we have total control of the ad pool. If you don’t want to put an ad on your newsletter you could just use a tracking pixel.

URL Shortener

You cold use a commercial shortener and for a fee, someone will share a fraction of the marketing insights that you give them for free. Nope, not in 2011. We will use our own (or maybe a community one). Using our own URL shortening platform allows us to go deep on the insights (and promote our brand). When we have an important tweet that is going out on a schedule we can create a different link for each successive send and then we would know which tweets people clicked on the most. We could gain insight as to how many times to send it before it becomes annoying and dead in the stream. Remember, every new piece of data that this technology gets us is being stored in the database and helps us to create new ways of segmenting our customers.


Be following all of these people and databasing the tweets. We will try to find software to trend the segments or if necessary we will write some later. If we knew what was trending in each of our segments, that would be really good.

Using Our Newly Segmented Database

A simple first task would be to define a few segments and then count the numbers. The one with the most is your best performing segment and tells you WHO is most likely to buy your product. The one with the least needs the MOST work. So we want to develop an engagement strategy for each segment. We don’t want to just tweet whatever Twitter says is trending because that homogenizes the entire Twittersphere and we just finished undoing that. This is an ideal time to call any of the people mentioned in the beginning of this post.

If you are interested in how any of that works, please post a question in the comments. If there is interest I will continue on with how to implement some of this stuff.

About the author

Karl Tatgenhorst wrote 31 articles on this blog.


    Incredible! This blog looks exactly like my old one!
    It’s on a totally different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Superb choice of colors!

Previous post:

Next post: