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How to Truly Understand Your Customers

Understanding your customers doesn’t have to be rocket science, but it does take a bit of poking and prodding, and an intuitive eye for value.

Let’s dig into best practices for understanding and collecting information about your customers.

Describe the person, not their buying habits.

“Buyer personas” are widely regarded as an efficient tool for dissecting customers, to cater to their needs.

A buyer persona may include who the target customer is, such as age, gender, marital status, interests, hobbies, etc. This information can be great if you’re a B2C business operating in the retail market where visuals are important.

Otherwise, let’s endeavor to dig a bit deeper and consider the 5 Rings of Buying InsightTM created by Adele Revella.

1. Priority Initiatives

Why is your buyer steering away from the norm and seeking the solution you offer? Dig into specific, personal motivations for why your buyer is allocating resources to your business, rather than the “other guys.”

2. Success Factors

What does your buyer hope to gain? Are they seeking to resolve an existing problem; control a foreseeable future problem or add value to their own life/business?

Get specific and avoid generalizations, such as “reduce cost” or “widen market opportunities.” How much do they want to save; which market opportunities do they seek?

3. Perceived Barriers

How could your buyer perceive your solution as not the best option? Buyer perceptions may not be accurate to what you provide but are a barrier, nonetheless.

Look at your competitors’ offerings and identify potential drawbacks to the customer.

4. Buyer’s Journey

Which resources does your customer rely on during the buying process?

The answer may varying between your offerings. For example, does your buyer seek feedback from peers, the internet, user reviews, etc?

5. Decision Criteria

Make a checklist of the criteria most important to your buyer in order from most to least important. Again, avoid generalizations such as “cost” or “ease of use.”

  • What is a reasonable cost in the eyes of your buyer?
  • What aspect of your solution do they expect to be easy to use?

Go Straight to the Horse’s Mouth

If you want to get inside your customer’s head, ask them!

  • Are you looking for feedback on a new product or service?
  • Looking to launch a new offering, but unsure of it’s viability to your customer?
  • Want to create better content on your site?

Here are a few ways you can collect relevant, reliable feedback from your customers and prospects.

  • Send an email: Ask your subscribers what you want to know. It’s so easy for customers to disregard an email, so have a look at our previous post: OPEN ME — the Know-How of Email Open Rates
  • Pop-up banner: Consider creating a pop-up box or banner on your site, prompting your user to complete a quick survey or leave a feedback comment.
  • Facebook survey: Facebook offers a nifty tool to create and post surveys on your page. You simply ask a question and give users the option of selecting several answers. You can also encourage users to leave additional feedback in the comments section.
  • Blog posts: Create a call to action in your next blog post, prompting your visitor to leave a comment or answer a question. You’ll get the insight you’re looking for, as well as create genuine engagement.

Your customers might not be too keen to give their feedback without a little incentive, so consider offering a free download, discount or another piece of value.

Remember, your customer isn’t simply a metric or dollar amount — they are human, and it’s your job to understand them as such.

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How to Truly Understand Your Customers
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Understanding your customers doesn’t have to be rocket science, but it does take a bit of poking and prodding, and an intuitive eye for value.
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