This question might come as a surprise to you. How well do you know the customers that you are serving? Perhaps you’ve already made your assumptions when it comes to demographics, sales history and buying habits. However, how about hard data? Assumptions can lead to frustrations, when reality conflicts with expectations.

It is very important to know your customers on a deeper level and ultimately come up with personas for each and every customer type. Among the things you need to consider are the reasons why they choose to shop with you, what attracted them to your company, why they use their free time the way they do, and several other data. Asking questions beginning in ‘Why’ is very important because it will provide the answers you need before creating personas for your buyer.

Without such information, you will not be able to understand the target points of your customers and may not even know the right terminology you need to use in order to attract them best. You will also not understand the problems that need to be solved in order for your potential customers to be introduced to your product. After all, this is what inbound marketing is all about–creating content that can provide solutions to problems.

How to Know Your Customers Well!

There are several methods involved in getting to know your customers. Here are steps to do so:

  1. Perform Affinity Mapping

Affinity mapping is a process wherein you are forming a baseline. This can be done by interviewing the members of your customer-facing team to gather a list of possible attributes and assumptions of what they, and your company, already know regarding your customers. At the end of this process, it will certainly be amazing to see how various assumptions were not realistic.

This particular phase can also assist you in telling your customers apart from each other. You may have donation requests customers, wholesale customers, regular online customers, as well as people who simply volunteer their time. All of these people have their personal goals when dealing with your business, and so it only means that there is a different way of presenting your content in order to attract them.

  1. Conduct Interviews and Focus Group Discussions

Of course, getting valuable information directly from your customers is unparalleled. In this phase, you can decide to conduct interviews with your customers, and when necessary, you can also organize focus group discussions.

During these sessions, you can work by asking leading questions. These types of questions will allow your customers to open up and allow conversations to evolve naturally. This works much better than presenting a list of possible interview style questions. That can turn out to be boring, putting the customer on edge.

The best thing you can do at this point is to have them open up and eventually explain the reasons behind their actions and why they decide to buy from you. Most often, the reason you have assumed that they buy from you will turn out to be very different from their real reasons.

  1. Do Ethnographic Research

Another step during the creation of personas for your customer is the phase for conducting ethnographic research. This often includes studying your customer’s online behaviors. Make sure that you are aware of where they usually spend their time when they are online. Are they possibly searching for information in different forums, or using twitter to follow certain brands in your industry? Or perhaps they are part of a particular community online where their particular interests are being catered to. All of this information can help you in building a complete idea of who your customers really are.

  1. Conduct Multiple Choice Surveys

Most often, asking the right questions can work wonders. With this, you can make good use of social media and email in order to conduct a survey on your customers, collecting demographic information such as gender, age, location, income, ethnicity and much more. Keep in mind the vital role of the reciprocity rule, wherein you need to give something in order to get something. A special savings coupon may be provided in order to help collect the information you need.

  1. Collect Internal Data

Lastly, internal data can be used in order to form the personas of your buyer. The data that you have collected such as returned items, effective price points, sales calls as well as user profiles can definitely help in completing your picture of your customers.

Keep in mind, however, that doing customer research is just the first step in building personas of your buyers. The next thing that needs to be done is incorporating all of the valuable information together, searching for possible trends, and developing such personas.

Tips on Customer Engagement

At this point, do you think that you really know your customers already? If you are simply depending on basic profile information as well as their purchase history, you really don’t know them well yet. Here are some tips on how to engage your customers even better:

  1.   Maintain the Lifecycle of Your Customer

The life cycle refers to the nature and length of the relationship of a customer with a specific company or brand. It should be your goal to make that relationship prosperous and long with your company.

  1.   Look beyond the Purchases

While purchase history may help, it does not really go far enough. Focus on strategies such as using propensity scores, channel preference, and household composition data.

  1.   Utilize All of the Available Data

Make good use of all the information you have available. With advancements in the technology behind digital channels, one good way for marketers to stay competitive is to make good use of available customer information.

By implementing all of these tips and strategies, you will eventually know your customers really well. From that point forward, you can tailor fit your techniques in order to serve them better.