Broadly, this post explains how to use RFM (Recency, Frequency, and Monetary Value) digital marketing analysis for more effective marketing. Specifically, it describes how to use RFM analysis, a fundamental and proven direct marketing analysis technique, to identify a small business’s best customers. Targeting them will maximize the return on marketing spend. RFM digital marketing will improve the efficiency of your efforts.

Key Takeaways

  • RFM meaning: RFM is an acronym for Recency, Frequency, and Monetary Value
  • RFM analysis is an efficient way to identify Best Customers
  • RFM can be used to focus marketing and loyalty efforts on the customers who are most valuable to the business
  • the RFM customer list also tells you what category Best Customers (prospects) look like

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RFM analysis is based on the idea that the customer who bought from you most recently, who buys from you most frequently, and who spends the most money with you is the customer most likely to buy again.

RFM analysis was first used by direct mail, non-profit, and catalog marketers. RFM data analysis was used to analyze and target customers that are most likely to buy again. This could be a donation or another purchase from the catalog. It could also be a cross-sell or an up-sell. The reasoning behind the practice is simple – people who donated or bought from you in the past are likely to buy or donate again.

How RFM Analysis Can Help Your Digital Marketing

RFM digital marketing starts with customer value quintiles

Customers are ranked and put into quintiles for each of the RFM parameters. Each quintile is assigned a ranking number of 1-5 (with 5 being the highest). The three scores put together are referred to as the RFM score and 555 would be a perfect score and your ideal customer.

There are times when each parameter is given a weight. This is a nuance that can be used after some time has passed and experience gained. But don’t wait for this, you can use RFM digital marketing immediately. Most small businesses don’t use any analysis to manage their marketing so if all you do is simple RFM analysis you will improve your marketing efficiency, you will be ahead of the competition.

How to use RFM analysis, a proven technique used to identify high-value customers that are more likely to convert, which means more effective Digital Marketing. Click To Tweet

One quick and easy thing to do would be to tag high-scoring customers in your ESP (Email Service Provider) and use email marketing to make them feel special. They likely know that they are important customers. Make sure they know that you know. There are five relationship marketing principles and one of the most important is “Good customers expect to be rewarded.” RFM digital marketing tells you who these customers are.

Another option would be to use the RFM audience to create a custom audience in Facebook’s ad manager. You can target this audience directly with ads for products that will interest them. You can also use the custom audience to create a lookalike audience. These would be Facebook users who aren’t your customers today but they look just like your best customers. This increases the likelihood that your marketing will attract prospects into a digital marketing funnel who look like your best customers.

Caveat Emptor

Although RFM calculations and analysis are useful tools, they do have their limitations. For example, a business should avoid over-soliciting customers with the highest rankings. Use the 70:20:10 rule; 70% of your content is designed to create value for customers, 20% is curated content that your customers will value, and 10% is product- or sales-oriented.

Conversely, marketers should remember that consumers with lower RFM scores, while they shouldn’t be ignored, are unlikely to ever be great customers. They simply don’t need your product as much as your best customers. RFM analysis helps identify these customers too. They will be the majority of your customers but they don’t represent the majority of value, so don’t spend your budget on them. All the marketing in the world is not going to change how much or how often they need your product. For greater success, use your RFM digital marketing budget to maximize ROI by focusing on your best customers.

How to run an RFM Analysis Using Excel

David Langer recently published this tutorial on YouTube that explains how to use Excel to perform your own RFM analysis. He mentions several times how easy it is. Your mileage may vary.

How to Use RFM Digital Marketing Analysis – Conclusion

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There are a few simple steps that almost any business can follow. Much more advanced and subtle analysis can be done but the following will take you a long way:

  • Identify your best customers (top or top two value-based quintiles)
  • Build a best-customer loyalty program to reduce churn
  • Cross- and up-sell appropriate products and services
  • Use targeted digital marketing to find more customers like your best customers

We have a lot of experience with this idea so please don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to discuss how these techniques can improve your digital marketing.

Author: James Hipkin

Since 2010, James Hipkin has built his clients’ businesses with digital marketing. Today, James is passionate about websites and helping the rest of us understand online marketing. His customers value his jargon-free, common-sense approach. “James explains the ins and outs of digital marketing in ways that make sense.”

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