You know your family pretty well, right? How about your customers – do you know them? Like, *really* know them? Understanding who your customers are, and exactly what drives them, is important to increasing your conversion rate. When you make the decision to get to know your customers better, you’re making the decision to better your company and your brand.
1. Understand Your Demographics
Image via Flickr by Future Challenges
The first thing you need to do to really understand your customers is to take a look at them. Who is buying products from you? Are you mostly getting sales from retired seniors? Is it internet billionaires who find your service irresistible? When you understand the demographics of the people purchasing from you, you’ll be able to take the next steps to truly understanding them.
2. Interact on Social Media
Image via Flickr by Steve Garfield
If you don’t have social media accounts for your company, you’re not giving your marketing strategy the teeth it needs to survive. Social media today allows you to truly interact with customers and clients. This gives you a completely new insight into the people you need to be working with. Through social media, you can find out who is buying, but more importantly you can interact with them.
Interacting with customers through social media can help you in a number of ways. Resolving complaints or problems is a great way to get to know your customers. Social media allows you to do this in a way that is public, showing others that your company stands by customer satisfaction. In addition, when you use social media in a business, you’re allowing your customers to see that there’s actually a person behind the products.
3. Conduct Surveys
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If you want honest feedback about your product or service, consider conducting surveys. There are a number of different types of surveys you can put out there. From customer service feedback to having surveys about the products, these help you understand how your customers think. Consider putting out personal surveys, as well. This gives you specific information on your customers.
Once you have the information back on the surveys, take a real look at it. How many people actually responded? Do those who responded fit in the demographic you’ve been marketing toward? As you’re taking in this information, don’t forget that you can change your marketing strategy based on the answers you get.
4. Hit up Events
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Are there small business expos or home shows in your area? How about in one of your target market areas? These events allow you to interact with customers one on one. When you go to these events, make sure that you’re up for the challenge. You may get customers that are happy with you, but you may also encounter those who have had trouble with your product or service. In addition, you’ll meet people who have never encountered your product before. Make sure to pay attention to the people who are interested in what you have to offer. Find out what interests them, and take this to heart.
5. Conduct Focus Groups
Image via Flickr by City of Seattle Community Tech
Focus groups allow you to delve into the mind of customers and potential customers. You can spend some time with them in a laid back environment, asking questions about their lives and your product. Focus groups will generally yield a lot of information that other forums simply don’t. When you conduct a focus group, make sure that it is as laid back as possible. You want to get real information, you don’t want people telling you what they think you want to hear.
Focus groups can be difficult to put together, especially if you’re unsure of your target market. Decide on how large of a focus group you want. Five to ten people in a group is a good size that will give you a lot of the information you need. You can contact some of your previous customers to be participants, or consider recruiting people with a Craigslist post. Offer to pay for your participants’ time and travel expenses. If you don’t have the resources to do this yourself, there are plenty of research companies that specialize in doing exactly this.
6. Create a Customer Profile
Image via Flickr by Ed Yourdon
You already know the demographics you’re working toward. Create a profile of the perfect customer. What is their family like? What are their interests and dislikes? When you create a customer profile you’re putting on paper what you think your customers are like. While you need to be willing to throw this out if you find your customer is someone else entirely, it’s a great way to start getting to know the needs of people purchasing from you.
7. Look at Your Data
Image via Flickr by Joss Winn
If you already have customers, you also have data. You probably have more information on your visitors and customers than you think. Take a look at the analytics on your landing pages. This will let you know the physical locations of your customers. It also offers you information like what search terms they use to get to your landing page, and where they click once they’re on the page. With this information, you can easily see the process people undergo to get to your site and what they do once they’re on it.
8. Let Go of Assumptions
If you really want to get to know who your customers are, you need to let go of assumptions or preconceived notions you have about them. This allows you a clean slate to truly understand where they are coming from, and what they want from you. This is especially important when you’re conducting surveys, meeting people, and interacting with those who have purchased or want to purchase from you. While it’s good to start with assumptions, be willing to let them go if it turns out that you were wrong in the first place.
Understanding your customers can be a long process. However, once you know them, you’ll be able to better advertise your products. While this can result in more sales, it also helps with customer loyalty. If people know that you’re truly interested in them, and not just the sale, they’re more likely to purchase again later.
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By Jon Correll