How well do you know your customers?

How much do you know about your customers? How many different types of customers do you have and how easy is it to attract new ones?

Understanding as much possible about the people who buy products or services from you is essential for your business to grow. The old saying that it is easier to retain an existing customer than obtain a new one holds true. But to in order to retain customers and attract new ones it is vital to compile a great deal of information about them. Without this how can you communicate to those people who are likely to buy your products or services?

When starting out many business owners believe everyone could benefit from what they offer. In some cases this may be correct but in most sending out information to as wide as possible sector of people means that the majority of it will fall short. I call this the pebble-dash theory – like throwing thousands of small stones at wet cement hoping that some will stick. And when dealing with customers they’ve not just got to see the message they have to act upon it also.

A better approach is to identify a number of key customer types, generating a persona for each that will help you to develop the kind of messages you will use to raise awareness of your business. Who are the people who you can provide a solution for? I create customer personas by answering a number of questions, such as their age, gender, salary, job, the hobbies or interests, the kind of newspaper they read, where they live. The list is endless but you should ask similar questions until you have built up a detailed picture of your customer.

baking equipment

Makers of baking equipment advertising during the ad breaks of Bake Off know they reach their target customers

Photo credit: Silatip; Stock Free Images

Gathering information about your customers should include how they keep informed, do they read newspapers, how much time do they spend on the internet looking at websites, which social media channels are they engaged in? There really is no point in developing a marketing campaign on Twitter if your customers don’t spend any time on this social media channel, for example. In today’s market there are abundant ways to tell customers about your business and the more you know about your customer the greater you can refine the process to reach them.

The best research can be conducted by asking existing customers how they found out about you – was it through your website, perhaps a Facebook posting, an advertisement in a local paper or a leaflet through the door? Learn about why your customers keep coming back and you can use this detail within your marketing and communications campaigns.

Tips for getting to know your customers:

  1. Identify at least three different types of customer and develop their personas
  2. Using a spider diagram or mind map can help pull your ideas together
  3. Learn where your customers interact and join in the conversation
  4. Develop a campaign that will resonate with your customers
  5. Measure progress and adapt accordingly

It may take time to build different customer personas but targeting a specific section of the population will generate results much quicker than sending out messages blindly hoping that someone, somewhere will receive it and act upon it.

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