Who are my customers?
To develop targeted marketing strategies that work, every business organization should have a very clear answer to the question above. Who are my customers?
Generic marketing strategies can only do so much for a brand; you need to know who you are selling to and why.
Understanding your buyer is one of the necessary factors when planning and executing any marketing strategy. It gives you a clear idea of who your customers are, what their interests are and how receptive they will be to different types of strategies.
Buyer research helps you develop a buyer persona.
What is a buyer persona?
A buyer persona is a representation of who your ideal buyer is. It contains a detailed description of your buyer. Details ranging from interest to income level, to demographics, and every single detail that influences a buyer’s purchasing decision.
It gives you a clear view of the questions they consider and how they weigh their options when in the sales process.
Having a buyer process helps you envision who you are marketing to (as if it’s one person). It creates a personal connection that will be evident to your customers, encouraging them to appreciate your brand.
Companies that anticipate and deliver the exact needs of their customer through the entire sales process have an advantage. That can only be threatened if the competition is doing the same thing.
How to Conduct Buyer Research
The traditional market research methods have changed over the years and for good reason. Technology has opened the gateway, providing an easier access to consumers. Still, too often traditional marketing methods are more expensive to run, than digital marketing campaigns.
Buyers these days are also more informed. They do their research themselves. They know what they want and are fully aware of the sales process before you even get a chance to implement your strategies.
When using traditional marketing methods, gathering current, applicable customer insights can prove difficult and expensive. Traditional methods often contain processes that can be easily skipped, by using resources that the internet now provides us.
So how do we go about conducting buyer research?
Using the methods outlined below will help you gather high-quality insight. Insight from your current customers, potential customers, as well as the salespeople who deal directly them. It’s important to get feedback from all directions.
Follow that up by compiling and sorting the data. So that you can use it to create effective marketing strategies that will work for your business.
Interview your customers
Having summaries and statistics from surveys and polls is one thing. Having a real one-on-one conversation with a select few of your customers will produce more detailed results. Deep meaningful conversations like this can open your eyes to many things you were not aware of.
Your customers have gone through your sales process over and over again. They are also still in the process, especially if you’ve built a strong relationship with them. They are the best source of information on how your brand is perceived, and what parts of its makeup are appealing to them. It is relatively easier to find the pattern with your customers using this method, and understand the demographics your brand attracts.
Customer feedback is imperative to business growth. By asking the right questions you’ll know if you’re taking the right steps to keeping your customers happy and loyal.
Ask the right questions
Every aspect of the production process is aimed at one end goal- to satisfy the need of the consumer. This means that all aspects of production, packaging, and marketing need to prove satisfying to the customer. Asking the right questions regarding what they expect or prefer from your products will give you insight on the best way to put out a product that will solve your consumer’s needs.
Review your web analytics reports
What pages get the most visits? What products/services get the most clicks? How do visitors find your website? These reports will show you a pattern that the majority of your visitors naturally follow (because your target audience usually has similar needs). Using this, you can establish what attracts them to your brand and what other problems you can solve for them.
Are you using Google Analytics? If YES – how frequently do you review your analytics? And if you’re NOT – you should be.
Surveys and Polls
These methods are necessary when you need more detailed data to ensure you are getting the opinion of the majority.
- They help in building your buyer persona in cases where you want to introduce a new product or service and want to be sure that your ideal buyer needs that product or service.
- Polls and surveys are used to get information on the demographics of buyers and potential buyers.
- The majority votes/answers will show that most of your buyers possess a similar trait which will become a considering factor in the marketing process.
- Surveys and polls help in building your buyer persona in cases where you want to introduce a new product or service. The feedback you receive can help you confirm that your ideal buyer needs the product or service you have.
For sending email campaigns with Surveys and polls, try utilizing an email marketing automation software system like MailChimp (SurveyMonkey), Constant Contact, or AWeber to name a few.
Asking for help when developing a product may produce better results than you think.
If you’re working on a new product or service, you could provide a few customers with a prototype or beta mode access and ask for their opinions. Your customers will tell you what they like. These chosen few will also advise what they don’t like, and what should be included.
Remember: Whatever you eventually sell, you’re doing it to solve THEIR problems. And no one understands their problems like they do – the buyer.
You can design a collaborative exercise between your product development team and your preferred customers. There are lots of collaborative resources available. Depending on how large you want the exercise to be, and how much data you intend to collect.
Use A/B testing
A big part of marketing is content. Customers are usually not aware of how much impact the content you feed them, affects their purchasing behavior. This means that research on the effect of your content is better done through testing, than asking questions.
A/B testing is a great way to measure how your content affects your buyer in the sales process. Are you familiar with tools like Google Analytics, Optimizely, and Unbounce? They can help you create and activate a few different landing pages that will be shown to visitors at random.
Do you have an effective method you think should be on this list? Let me know in the comment section below.