What Makes Them Tick? How To Understand Your Clients Better
Consider the process of talking to someone for the first time. The conversation might be awkward. You don’t really know their cadence in conversation. You’re unsure of how they’ll react to what you have to say, and you struggle to predict what they will say next. This is how your communications will be with your client base or your audience until you get to know them better. Knowing your client base is the first step to successful marketing and customer service.
Truly understanding your clients goes beyond simple demographic facts. Try to discover their priorities, needs, and how they make decisions. To communicate most effectively, you want to be familiar with their behavior and motivation. Reaching this level of awareness will improve your ability to connect and delight your clients as well as your broader audience. Today, we’re sharing our best strategies for fine-tuning your understanding of your clients.
Start with Basic Research
Get the basic information, like demographics, down so you have a foundation to add onto. Use social media metrics or other data you’ve gathered to start forming a picture of your client base. What age group or generation do they generally come from? Where do they live? Are they a member of any specific cultural communities? You can use this information to discover deeper facts with resources like US census data.
Explore Topics Related to Your Brand
Do basic market research about your industry. Research topics that are related to your brand to get an idea of what people are talking about and who those people are. You can do keyword research on websites like Reddit, Quora, and Twitter. Join Facebook groups that might contain people in your audience. Do you sell knitting supplies? Join a group of avid knitters. Consider developing a social listening strategy. This is a tactic marketers use to systematically track certain hashtags and keywords associated with a brand to understand sentiment. Plenty of social listening tools exist to help you automate this process.
Analyze Your Competitors or Similar Businesses
If you’re just starting out and don’t have much data to analyze yet, you can take cues from your competitors or similar businesses. Is there another business that has a client base that is representative of your ideal audience? These businesses have already done the hard work. Take advantage of that by observing how effectively (or not) they relate to their audience. Try to understand why it works (or not). Take notes and use the strategies that might work for you.
Your tactics don’t have to be sneaky and secretive. Directly ask your client base or your social media audience what you want to know about them. Consider conducting a survey on your website or by email. Explain that you want to get to know them better so you can continually improve your relationship. Consumers are often happy to participate, especially to help out a small business. Another strategy is to ask discussion questions on social media. Ask your audience to engage. Information straight from your audience is often the richest learning you can do.
Your goal in this research process is to gather the most detailed information you can to create a vivid picture of your client or audience. What level of education do they seem to have? Where are they in their career journeys? What are their family lives like? Be familiar with their opinions on your brand and your industry in general. Use this information to draw conclusions about how best to satisfy your customers and to attract new ones.
Develop Customer Personas
Consider developing personas for your customers. Marketers use this technique to create archetypes of a target audience or groups within an audience. The personalities, lifestyles, thought patterns, and preferences of personas are fleshed out. To make it even more real, marketers will give their personas a name and stock photo portrait. This profile is then used to create marketing materials or customer service strategies that might resonate with the representative persona and therefore hopefully resonate with the real-world audience.
This technique will give you a fully-formed “person” to consider. You can ask yourself, “What messaging will reach Sarah successfully?” “Is Sarah likely to engage with this promotion?” “What is the next product or service offering that Sarah needs?” Rather than interacting with a seemingly unknowable, amorphous group of people that you call an audience, you are now communicating with a single identity (or identities if you decide to create multiple personas). Not only will the process of creating personas be an exercise in deeply familiarizing yourself with your audience, but it will make the process of implementing your learnings easier.
Use What You Learn
Keep your eyes peeled. Keep listening. Getting to know your audience gets easier when you intentionally take the time to pay attention. And keep in mind that the process never ends. Your audience will change and grow along with your brand. As your understanding of your customer base continues to evolve, so should your strategies for relating to them. This will help you keep your marketing and customer relations fresh while always narrowing in on the moving target that is your audience.
Our Virtual Assistants and Digital Marketers are talented in researching and finding out what you want to know about your audience. They can guide you through the whole process so you can make the most out of your relationships.
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