Know Your Customers

Know Your Customers – Listen, Connect and Engage

Effective marketing integrates all the elements within a market of what consumers are doing, why they are doing it and who they are. With this information you will have the ideal foundation for evaluating where your brand stands in the marketplace. Understanding consumer behavior is the key to reaching your targeted demographics.

Whether your business is small, medium, large, or enterprise level – business leaders need to listen closely to customers (and potential customers) to gain better understanding of their behavior, needs and preferences. Companies can then take actions and engage on social networks delivering the communications and offers that will resonate most to inspire visitors to take some action, such as purchasing, sharing, or recommending.

Listening can be done by obtaining information through small gatherings, focus groups, forums, email surveys and customer feedback – all of which can give you a clear understanding of consumer interests. With these methods you may discover things about the problems people need solved, their consumer sophistication level within your industry, and the role they want your brand to play in their life and customize your message accordingly.

Know Your Customers

Develop in-depth knowledge. Age and gender are traditionally key demographics to consider but to really understand more about your potential customers, bear in mind your target’s life-stage. It encompasses more of who they are, where their passion lies and what makes them tick. Men and women are incredibly diverse and can be better defined by their interests and personal identities. The way they describe themselves is a better indicator of who they are, and is much more insightful than age and gender alone.

Develop relationships based upon the information you’ve obtained about their interests, personal identities, and affinities when connecting with customers and prospects in social media. But first, be sure you have a comprehensive understanding of how social networks and online communities operate to know the appropriate ways to engage.

Creating generic websites or marketing efforts geared towards only a specific age group or gender is not enough. To appeal to your consumers, you have deeper understanding of their identities, needs, media habits and proclivity or preferences in terms of the following: What is their chief means of accessing and sharing information and making purchases?  For example, determine if they are predominantly using a smartphone, personal computer or tablet or a combination of these. Multichannel marketing will always be more effective so you will likely need multiple marketing campaigns to cover all bases.

The fundamental elements that appeal to all consumers will always be simple design and usability, solid information and stellar customer service. When you can create a more personal connection so the consumer feels their wants and needs are understood and that you can meet them — that is the icing on the cake! Just remember in whatever means you use to communicate, to keep your standards high to strengthen your customer touch points.

What held true in the past still holds true today; Invest in your staff by providing them with excellent customer service training, and they will represent your company in ways your customers will appreciate. Every satisfied customer is your potential brand advocate — so keep your customers happy! Then provide them with intuitive sharing opportunities in social networks and email-a-friend tools so they can spread the word about your brand.

About the Author:

Patty Whelan is a seasoned copywriter with significant experience producing original content in all facets of online and offline marketing communications, with specialties in all aspects of Search Engine Optimization copy writing. Her work has covered a broad range of topics for varying industries and has been published in print and electronic media. The focus of her current work concentrates on the electronic payment processing industry and small businesses. Read more of Patty’s writing on the Merchant Express blog.

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