Customers are the bread and butter of any business. Anticipating–and successfully meeting–their needs can catapult your business into success, just as missing the mark on what they want can sink you before you’re able to get out of the red. It can be hard to know what strategies to try first, so we’ve decided to narrow things down to get you on your way. Here are the top three ways to break down barriers keeping you from learning what your customers truly want.
- Show them they don’t need to change
We’ve all been on the receiving end of ads and messages that make us feel we’re not good enough. We’ve felt the need to be thinner and look more polished. And if we only had this new dishwasher we’d finally be able to balance the kids, the office, and have dinner done by 7 p.m. while the kitchen stays clean and our hair stays flawless. We wonder why we don’t have it all together by now.
The reality is, we are just fine the way we are. So why not seek out the things that remind us that we won’t need to change or modify ourselves to be happy? That we can be happy right now, today?
When planning your marketing campaign, consider framing your products and services as a complement to your customers’ perfectly imperfect lives. Your customers shouldn’t come to you because they feel insecure. They should do so because they feel empowered and because what you offer helps them prolong or recharge that feeling.
When reassured that you understand their daily victories and struggles, no matter how seemingly small, your customers will keep coming back for all the right reasons (and most likely with friends in tow). They’ll also be happy to tell you what’s worked for them and what they want to see more of. Make sure you’re prepared to take the feedback and use it to improve your marketing efforts and what you offer.
- Show them what they want
It’s true that some customers won’t know what they want or need until they see it, so it may just be your job to show them you’ve got what they’re looking for—even if they don’t know it yet. One way is to use CRM to learn everything about your customers. You can gather basic demographic information such as age, gender and area of residence, and even use previous purchases to build a user story, helping you understand possible purchase or browsing patterns of people who share those characteristics. Many businesses use loyalty programs to construct these types of profiles as well.
Try to guess what specific thing your customers may want next, instead of throwing your entire kitchen sink at them, and then tailor your marketing accordingly. If your first guess isn’t accurate or you miss the mark, try again. Be flexible, learn as you get to know them, and navigate your product and service offerings together.
- Market to the non-consumers
Some people don’t like to spend money at the drop of a hat. They like to dip their toes in first before diving in (or wading, rather). And there are even more people who are not interested in spending their money at all. They may just need a little communication and a, “Hey, we’re here for ya,” message every so often. But much of the time, companies don’t market to this untapped resource. It’s just a fact. And it’s OK. Because you can still reach them and it’ll be more than worth the investment.
Reach out to your non-consumers and connect with them in a way that makes them feel less pressured to buy and more open to the idea of integrating your product or service into their lives wherever it may fit. “Don’t want to buy anything right now? Cool. We’ll follow up again in a couple weeks and are here until then if you need us.” A powerful message of support, patience and consistency can sometimes be just what’s needed to pull in the non-consumer and make them feel like you’d be a welcomed, simple-to-integrate addition to a lifestyle they’re already fully comfortable with.
The bottom line? Be human
Let your personality and that of your brand shine through in all you do. You started doing this for a reason–so let them see! Be relatable and they’ll drop their guard, allowing you to learn more about them and what makes them tick. You can even use your CRM to keep in touch with your customers and house all that data and feedback for your next big campaign, launch or eval. Remember that customers are fine just the way they are, and you’ll be well on your way to creating long-term customers. It feels weird to acknowledge that some customers may not buy from you the first, second or even third time around. But rest assured, once they’re comfortable with you, they’ll be in it for the long haul.