Biz Tips: How to Determine Your Customer Base and Reach Out to Them Successfully

Biz Tips: How to Determine Your Customer Base and Reach Out to Them Successfully

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How to Determine Your Customer Base and Reach Out to Them Successfully

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What is sales, really? Think about the last item that you purchased. Why did you purchase that item at that time?

It’s fairly likely that product met a need you had or satisfied a want; it was offered at a good price; buying was convenient; and if it was a major ticket item, you probably researched your options ahead of time. In fact, in marketing, this time is known as “the age of the customer,” and customers can instantly find data about products or services they want.

Even when it comes to buying coffee on the way to work, you probably have a favorite coffee shop, and there are probably reasons that you like it: friendly employees, convenient location, and good-tasting coffee. The question is: How does that coffee shop reach you and the dozens of others that sit in their drive-thru every morning and turn you from potential customers into regulars?

The same questions are relevant to any other business. While there are several steps in the sales process, the first of them is prospecting, essentially finding out if customers have a need for your product or service and whether they are willing or able to pay what you are selling the product for. How do you determine this customer base and reach out to them successfully? Here are some simple tips.

Know Your Product

The first key to this process is that you need to know your product or service. What do you need to know? The questions are similar to those you will be asking about your customers. Start with this short list:

  • What does my product do? What are both the features and benefits of your product? Remember, features are actual properties of the product, like a sturdy outer case. The benefit is what that does for the customer (i.e. prevents breakage).
  • What want or need does it meet for my customer? In the example of the coffee shop, the customer perceives that they need coffee to start their day or at least wants it.
  • How does my product satisfy that need? What are the specific features and benefits that address these very specific needs? For instance, a latte is hot, has caffeine and sugar, and offers comfort to the customer. A holiday-themed cup does not meet any of those needs, but it still might affect their buying decision (consider Starbucks and the annual holiday cup debate).
  • How does my product compare to that of my competition? Is your product cheaper? Higher quality? In what ways is it better?

The better you know your product, the easier it is for you to sell. You should be the world’s foremost expert on whatever you have to offer. The more confidence the customer has in you, the more they will believe in your product.

Find Your Target Customer

How do you find your target customer? You use the idea of SPIN. No, not like the latest political scandal and how it is reported in the news. Instead, the acronym lets you figure out your customer needs before you even know what you need to ask. Here is how it works:

  • Situation: This is an assessment of who your audience already is and the demographics of that audience that matter to you. They include age, gender, household income, and in some cases can include their position in the company where they work. One of the things this tells you is whether your target marketing is working, or if you need to either shift your aim or revise your personas.
  • Problem: This is the need or want you are trying to meet. For instance, if someone wants to boost their organic traffic in the coming year, you might ask how much they want to increase it, what kind of traffic they want, and what their budget is. This helps you specifically define the problem, making it easier to propose a solution.
  • Implication: What would happen if the need or want was not meant? What is the worst-case scenario? Missing a morning coffee might mean a grumpy and sleepy employee. Not increasing organic traffic might inspire the boss to hire a new lead marketer, leaving the CMO out of a job. This is how you determine the stakes for the customer. How important is this purchase to them?
  • Needs/Payoff Questions: How would it feel if you got a free latte every 10th morning just for choosing a specific shop for your morning coffee? What would increasing your organic search traffic do for your business? These payoff questions get the user to consider the best-case scenario and how your product leads them there.

How do you gather this data? Customer surveys are one, as is analyzing your current customer data and that of prospective buyers who visit your website, follow you on social media, or interact with your business in other ways online. There are a number of internet marketing trends you can capitalize on and gather data from every one.

  • Mobile Optimization: Not only is this vital as the number of searches on mobile has surpassed those on desktops, but you can determine the carrier and even the device your customer is using through the data they share when they visit your website or social media profile.
  • Social Conversions: The number of people who buy your product after discovering it on social media is increasing, and the power of the data you gather there helps inform you of the demographics of your potential customers.
  • Payment Methods: Credit, debit, virtual wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay, and even cryptocurrency are becoming acceptable methods of payment on many websites, and how a customer pays tells you a lot about them and how to reach them.
  • Content Marketing: Who reads and interacts with your content and when tells you a great deal about your potential customer, not to mention the data you can gather through website analytics of these visitors.

Essentially, the more you market, the more you learn about your customers and potential customers. The more you learn, the better and more successful your marketing gets.

Answer Where, When, and Why

Of course, that data is not any good until you know what to ask of the data. There are some key questions the data can answer for you, making you more able to reach your customer at the right place and the right time with the right product or service.

Where do your customers or potential customers hang out? Perhaps you spend more time on Facebook because you understand it better, but your younger customers are more engaged on Twitter and Instagram. Maybe you are a B2B and trying to reach other business leaders, so you should spend more time on LinkedIn or YouTube. Don’t hang out where you are comfortable; find out where your customers hang out and get comfortable there.

Also, find out when your customers are shopping and buying. Think of it this way: If you are a B2B company, realize people often check email in the morning but may not take action until the afternoon after other, higher priority tasks are out of the way. By changing when you send out an email or a social media update, you can increase both engagements and conversions.

Why do your customers behave the way they do? Why do they read more blog posts on Tuesdays and Thursdays? What reasons do they give for liking your product or service? This will inform you what to emphasize to prospective customers too.

Once you answer these questions, remember the importance of personally connecting with your customers online and in person. From chat programs to an offer of a phone or video conversation, the more directly you interact with your customers, the more you will increase your online sales.

Finding your customer base and successfully reaching out to them often means asking questions — some of the same questions you ask when you buy products. Put yourself in their shoes. Find out where, when, and why they shop and buy. When you reach them, know your product and how it will best help them. This knowledge will arm you for successful sales.

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How to Determine Your Customer Base and Reach Out to Them Successfully was originally published in Marketing And Growth Hacking on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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