When you truly feel a connection with another human being, you begin to hear yourself make statements such as, “I am attracted to that person because they like me for who I really am.” The same holds true for the relationship between you as a business owner and your customers.
Gaining in-depth knowledge of the people you serve, details that go beyond simple contact info, is imperative to developing an effective and lasting marketing strategy.
Find out what your current customers think of what you sell.
On one level, you can assume that customers are responding positively to what you have to offer if they return to your physical or online store repeatedly, while also referring their friends.. However, you still might not know exactly what they are saying to their friends and family about your store and the items you carry. Furthermore, you might be totally in the dark when it comes to their opinions of your competitors.
This is where review sites such as Yelp can prove invaluable. Taking the time to find out what people have to say about your business, the goods you feature, as well as those your rivals provide, can give you immeasurable insights not only into who your buyers are, but how you can customize your business to mesh with their ever-evolving needs.
Another proven way to solicit the opinions of your customers is to ask them to complete brief questionnaires. Surveys are particularly helpful during times when you have specific questions about products or services that your customers are uniquely positioned to answer. This method of inquiry allows customers to provide general opinions or to give in-depth, written feedback about what you are doing, as well as ways that your inventory, customer care, or marketing strategies could be improved.
You can even make your surveys anonymous, enabling participants to feel comfortable expressing their true options (including negative feedback). Today’s online software makes sending and administering these questionnaires affordable and easy.
Incorporate information from Google Analytics into your business.
Just who is visiting your website or searching online for your brick-and-mortar store’s address? That burning question can be answered, to a great extent, by Google Analytics. Although it can become even more granular, Google Analytics can furnish you with the following extremely important customer data:
- The average age of your customers.
- A breakdown by gender.
- Where your customers are located.
- Their main interest categories.
- Who is referring traffic to your site.
Once you partner with Google Analytics, much of the guesswork about the people who visit your website and possibly your physical store will be removed. You can then leverage that information to make better sales and inventory decisions, while tweaking your other marketing techniques to appeal to the sweet spots of these demographics.
Harness the power of social media.
Never underestimate the potential of sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram when it comes to growing your business. They can truly be springboards to launch your business to the next level of success. In addition to viewing customer posts, these sites also feature their own analytics sections that let you know how many followers you have collected over time. You’ll also learn how successful your own posts have been, as well as helpful demographic and locational data about the individuals you are influencing.
Test your products and content.
It is very easy to get into a rut, particularly if your sales seem to be humming along without a hitch. However, change is inevitable. You definitely do not want to be caught celebrating yesterday’s accomplishments while your more forward-thinking competition revels in tomorrow’s increased profits. Just as you should never remain with the same merchant account or insurance provider without periodically evaluating new players in the industry, you should not grow complacent about your goods and services or the consumers they are designed for.
To that end, make it a point to write innovative content, while occasionally rolling out a novel piece of merchandise. Your new products don’t have to be earth-shattering; they can actually be something fairly simple that augments goods you are already selling. Then find ways to get your customers’ opinions about your experiments.
Make personal contacts with some or all of your customers.
It might sound old-fashioned, but one of the most effective ways to truly learn about someone is to talk to them directly. This goes beyond reading their reviews or even carefully perusing the data gleaned from surveys. In fact, it involves actual, one-on-one written or verbal interactions with some or all of your most loyal consumers.
Of course, a corporation with a database of millions of buyers cannot possibly have an in-person relationship with every one of those people. Even if your store is tiny, you simply might not have the resources to chat up each and every buyer.
To lighten the load, choose a small subset of your most loyal contacts. Invite them to be part of conference calls, focus groups, or individual conversations. People will be flattered that you care about what they have to say. Meanwhile, you’ll be amazed at how many will gladly agree to participate.
Becoming better acquainted with what your audience truly needs and wants is an ongoing and often time-consuming process. However, engaging in it can help you to cultivate visitors who turn into loyal, permanent customers who are more than happy to spread the word far and wide about your company. In short, people who feel that bond of “wow, this business really knows me” will become some of your store’s best ambassadors.