If every business could pinpoint exactly where their next customer is, then profits would be easy to achieve. Marketing costs a lot of money because there is so much experimentation involved. You use promotions and communications to reach out and hope that something draws a lead in. Then you need to communicate again and again until some of those leads convert to customers. It’s trial and error to find a marketing campaign that converts well. And everything else going on in the marketplace will affect the effectiveness of it from one day to the next.
Of those few customers you hooked in, how well do you know them? Can you define your customer’s persona? If not, why not? Identifying a typical customer – their influences, preferences, and experiences – is crucial if you’re going to speak to them on their level. Why should you do this? Because you want them to part with their hard-earned cash! Sure, you might be selling them something they’re interested in, but so are other companies. If you want that customer, you have to work for it:
Most business managers have heard the term ‘big data, ’ but few really know what to do with it. Big data simply refers to how much information is out there, assuming you’re willing to collect it. But it is how you filter and organize that data that is most useful. Your website is capable of collecting a lot of information about every visitor. How much do you actually know about them? The data is there to tell you if you just look.
Of course, with so many figures, it can take a long time to sift through the important bits and figure out what is useful or even relevant to you. You can discover more here about how some service providers are using artificial intelligence systems to make those decisions for you. Then, of course, you need to present that data graphically in a way that makes sense to all the key stakeholders. Finally, you need to decide how you will act upon that new knowledge.
What Do You Want To Know?
With so much information available now, it’s important to clarify what it is that you want to know. You might want to know the age range of the customers that buy a particular product from you. Perhaps you’re keen to find out what time of day those same customers are using Twitter? Then you can release an effective campaign during the best hours for a response. You can drill as deeply as you like. But you need a purpose for investing your time and energy in this exercise.
What Do You Want To Achieve?
You might be developing a new promotion or simply trying to refine your customer services provision. The data you have at your fingertips can certainly provide answers but only if you’re asking specific questions for a specific purpose. Do you want to explore the possibility of increasing customer value? You might be better off speaking directly to your existing customers. Ask them the questions you can’t find the answers for. Surveys and questionnaires are ideal in these circumstances.
How Do You Want To Achieve It?
There are several ways you can approach the data you’ve collected. Of course, there are several ways to acquire the data in the first place. Much of the information you want probably already exists. You simply have to collect it and filter it appropriately. But if you want to collect first-hand responses and data, then you need to make sure that use of time and resources is profitable. You might sell the data on eventually, or write it up in a white paper.
Developing a customer or buyer persona is easier when you already know who is buying. You can find out plenty about individuals or groups when you have that level of data to hand. From there, it doesn’t take long to build up a general view of a typical customer. These personas or profiles are most often used by the marketing team. They use the profile to determine the best tone of voice to use in marketing communications. They can also be used to find new media with which to reach even more customers with that same profile or persona.
Psychologically, it can help to feel like you’re speaking to someone you can put an entire personality to. It feels altogether more human, more direct, and more personal. Addressing a mass audience can be distancing. Instead, you can reach out to individuals, albeit thousands at a time. The more personable you can be, the more attractive (and less corporate) your business can be.
Now you know exactly who your customers are, you can start listening. Follow the conversation threads on forums. Keep an eye on the tweet trends. See who is visiting and commenting on your FaceBook pages. Most importantly, you should also be engaging. Contribute to the chatter, offer advice, help, and resources. Reach out and ask the questions you need to know to better serve all your customers.
It can also help to discreetly follow your competitors to see how they are engaging their customers. Chances are you’ll find more marketing data here than you would expect. Some businesses simply don’t fare well on social media. This is your chance to rise above the rest, taking a chunk of the market share with you! How can you help customers using social media? How can you find new leads this way? Until you are there and listening, you won’t know what should be said.
You can find out as much as you need to about the customers you have and the customers you want. You just have to sort that data from the noise of everything else. This can take time and resources if you don’t have the right systems in place to analyze your metrics and other data for you. The future appears to be moving toward using AI systems to help with this. What more can you find out about your customers?