Marketing is about attracting customers to your business and retaining them. If you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business, simple right?
I cannot stress this enough; THE most important part of marketing is knowing and understanding your customers. Marketing does not begin with designing the perfect website, setting up your Facebook page or creating an awesome advert it starts with knowing your customers inside and out so that you can build relationships. Customer knowledge is the best marketing tool you have and it should drive every other decision you make in your marketing strategy and plan. A great way to visualise your customer is buy building a buyer persona, you can download our free buyer persona template here.
What you need to know about your customers
- Who are they?
The simple stuff… gender, age group, location, education, job title.. all the demographic information about your customers.
- Where are they?
Not just their physical location but where are they online. You need to be where your customers are, be that on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Email, Google, the list goes on.
- How do they speak?
It is important to show your customer that you completely understand them and see their perspective, therefore you need to speak how they speak. What vocabulary do they use? Are their particular terms or jargon used? What tone do they use in conversations?
- What are their beliefs and values?
Beliefs are conscious concepts which come from things we experience and we believe to be true regardless of fact. These beliefs are what moulds our attitudes and opinions. You cannot change these by being opposed to them so you must understand them in order to draw from them in your marketing messaging.
Values are unconscious concepts which are derived from our beliefs. The things we feel are important and when these aren’t met we feel and express emotion. Most of a decision is emotional and then justified by logic. Your goal should be to know your customer well enough that you can elicit emotions in your interactions.
- What drives and motivates them?
People have a deep internal need to be recognised for certain things buy certain people, if you can dig into these motivations you can demonstrate how your product or service helps them achieve those goals.
- What are they ashamed of?
As well as needing to be recognised, people also have things they are ashamed of and want to hide from certain groups of people. These things cause stumbling blocks in your sales process that you didn’t even know existed as the person is having an internal war with themselves. If you can understand their fears and shortcomings you can reframe them into strengths to show understanding, evoke inspiration and provide them with a solution.
- What are they afraid of losing?
People are more motivated by the thought of losing something than they are of gaining something. You can use those fears, ethically of course, to spur motivation in your customers and to provide products and services that solve their problems.
- How do they make their decisions?
Everyone has a hierarchy of criteria that they use consciously or subconsciously to make decisions. If you can discover this you can understand how they make decisions and the circumstances that change their decision making process.
- What do they like/dislike?
A great way to delve into what your buyers like and dislike is to look at online reviews in your industry. Look at the best and worst reviews to gain insights into their objections and what they want from their product or service. This doesn’t have to be a directly competing product/service, for example you could look at guide books on travel on Amazon and establish from reviews what a buyer might look for in a tour of the same country. Another great way to discover insights is in Facebook; do a Facebook graph search for groups, pages and events relevant to your market and look at the conversations people are having and which topics are the most popular.
- What is there online behaviour?
To discover typical online behaviours of your customers you can consult the national statistics websites for your country such as Ofcom in the UK or the Australian Bureau of Statistics. These sites will give you information on internet and digital channel usage for different demographics although this quite broad. For more detailed information I recommend doing some competitor research, but not just your direct competitors, those who compete for the same type of traffic as you. So if you target large businesses because you are a travel management company then you can look at how other larger B2B businesses target large businesses in order to gain insights as to their channel preferences. For example maybe they conduct a lot of email marketing or LinkedIn advertising. Why research larger businesses than your own? Because they often have more resource and bigger budgets to be able to spend time researching which channels work for their target audience.
Knowing all the information above about your customers will set you up in a strong position to be able to sell to them. You need to be able to develop a rapport and build meaningful relationships with your customers if you are to win them over, you can only do this by truly knowing them. You should also never stop learning about your customers and adapt to perfectly match yourselves with them for better, more targeted and happy customers.
Don’t forget to download our handy buyer persona template to record all your research and envisage your ideal customers.