As a small business owner, getting inside your buyer’s head is vital if you want to connect to your customers and boost sales. Fortunately, you don’t need brain surgery to accomplish this task. Gathering data through traditional market research, creating customer personas, and seeking interaction with your customers are all valid ways to understand what makes your buyers tick.
Dig Deep Into Your Data
You collect lots of data on your customers, especially if you do business online. You know what they buy and when they buy it. You know what their purchasing patterns look like over time, how long it takes them to make a decision before buying, and how they feel about their purchases. Now it’s time to analyze that data and look for patterns that can show you more about your typical customer personas.
You can expand your reach further by posing questions on social media and using a Twitter search to see what people are saying about your company (and your competitors). Keyword research and tools like Google Trends are also helpful to understand what people are buying and why.
Listen to Your Customers
No, the customer’s not always right. But even when they’re wrong, you can learn a lot by listening to your customers. Listen in person at your brick-and-mortar locations, or pay close attention to what they’re saying on social media and review sites. Your customers want to tell you (and the rest of the world) what they think, but it only helps you get inside their heads if you listen.
Speak Your Customers’ Language
You wouldn’t try to sell products in China by running ads written in German. The same principle applies when you look at your customers. Different subcultures speak slightly different languages, varying by generation, location, profession, interests and more. If you’re pitching your products to filmmakers, you’d better understand their technical jargon and use it correctly — One mistake that shows off your ignorance, and they’re out the door. If you’re selling to professional educators and your ad copy is filled with spelling errors, you’ve lost their trust forever. Make sure all your sales staff are fully trained and ready to have appropriate and knowledgeable discussions with customers.
Connect With Customers Via Email
Your email marketing campaigns can be more than just another sales channel. When you provide content that adds value to your customers’ lives and make an effort to establish a real rapport, you create a new level of engagement and can start seeking honest feedback from your customers.
Talk to Your Competitors
That suggestion may sound radical, but there’s a place for cooperation in the marketplace. After all, you share similar customers, and discussions about your experiences with customer behavior could prove to be the rising tide that lifts all your boats.
Change Things Up Once in a While
Shoppers don’t always know what they want. That’s a truth well-known to real-estate professionals, who often find they have to broaden their clients’ horizons by showing them properties that don’t meet their must-have requirements. Surprisingly, those clients often fall in love with homes they never would have considered without the professional’s nudge. Innovation on your part can reveal your customers’ deeper needs — after all, no one knew they needed an iPhone until Apple introduced it.
Paying attention to what your customers are saying in person, to your competitors, and via social media can give you valuable insights into what they’re thinking. Use data as well to get inside your customers’ minds.