1. Think like your customer
Companies often get so caught up in the details of keeping their business running (bookkeeping, HR, product development and the list can go on…), that they forget their main focus should be on the customer. It does not matter how good your product is, or how experienced your sales team is, if you do not have customers. Every decision that is made in your company should take into account how customers will react. Step into their shoes. Will adding a new feature that one of your engineers has been pushing for the last 4 months improve the user experience, or will it simply confuse your customers? Focus on the wants and needs of your customers, because all the other aspects of running a business tend to be much less stressful if you have happy customers.
Thinking like your customers will not only help you maintain the loyalty of current customers, but it will also help you gain new ones. Your ability to understand who your potential customers are, and what they want from you, will enable you to improve your product, your marketing, and eventually your bottom line.
2. Know your customer
In order to think like a customer, you need to know your customer. If you run an eCommerce site that sells chocolate, then it most likely will not help chocolate sales if you advertise on blogs that are frequented by those who are allergic to chocolate. This may sound obvious, but many companies tend to feel that any exposure is good exposure, and the more people that see their marketing, the better. But quality is usually better than quantity, so it is imperative that you understand who your customer is. This way you will be able to market more efficiently and get a better return on your advertising budget, while gaining customer loyalty.
Understanding your customer goes beyond marketing, as it allows you to keep customers that you already have. It is much easier to keep customers happy if you know what they want from you, or if you understand why they behave in a certain way. There are several ways to learn about your customers. While data analytics are quickly growing in popularity, you still should not forget some of the more traditional approaches, like asking for feedback through surveys, or simply listening to customers when they make a suggestion or a complaint.
3. Get personal
Receiving a handwritten letter from a close friend is not too common in our digital world, but it’s looked quite fondly upon. The personal touch that a handwritten letter conveys is something that every company should try to duplicate. It is not very hard to send out a mass email to your current customer base with a generic promotion, but it is very impersonal. If you know that a certain customer is a big fan of a specific product, then a personalized letter with their name and a coupon for that item will likely improve the chances of a repeat customer. You can connect with customers on a more personal level and tailor your marketing to each of them by really knowing what their preferences are. CoolaData will allow you to reach out to cohorts which are segmented based on behavior. You can then personalize their promotions, predict what they may buy next and look for purchasing patterns in order to recommend additional items. For example they may see someone buying sneakers, a tennis racquet and a water bottle and then offer them a pack of tennis balls at a discount. Just make sure that you don’t get too personal, like Target did a few years ago. Your customers will appreciate you getting personal up to a certain level, but they still expect some things to remain private.
4. Make sure your customer knows who you are.
While you may know who your customers are, do they know who you are? If your company’s goal is to sell to a certain demographic, then it is imperative that your branding and marketing represent the values of your target market. You may have the perfect product for your specific customer base and a great marketing team, but your target market will likely never become your customers if it can’t relate to you. In the same way that everyone knows that Apple is a computer company and not a fruit vendor, people need to know exactly what your company does and represents. You should not try to be everything to everyone, but rather focus on your target market and ensure that your company’s image is well defined.
5. Make a product that they will love
Now that you know who your customers are and what they want, you can create the product or service that they expect. The best way of maintaining customer loyalty is to make sure they love your product. You can have the best marketing team in the world, but if your product sucks, then no one is going to buy it. You need to listen to your customers and design your products around what they need and expect. Keep in mind that you can’t make everyone happy. Make sure to be focused on your customer base: your company goals and values will follow.