Connecting With Customers
Connecting With Customers
We received a request to write a blog on connecting with customers.
The business owner that requested this blog has a very diverse group of customers and he told us how difficult it’s been setting up the right methods of communication. Some customers want emails, others want text and some want direct mail. At some point as a business owner you might begin to feel like you’re a really bad mind reader.
We get it, that can be really difficult and you’re definitely not a mind reader!
This can be especially difficult due to the variety of methods of communication: text, email, direct mail, phone calls, apps, web portals, fax and smoke signals to name a few. Well, maybe not so much the last two. ;)
Each generation, geography and gender has their own preferences and it seems like everyone gets annoyed with one or the other form.
We want to feel like the businesses we buy from “get us.”
That they speak our language and improve the quality of our lives - or at the very least don't annoy us.
If you're trying to figure out the best way to communicate with your customer, this blog will help or at the very least give you some ideas.
Why should different communication styles be important to you and your business?
Because if you communicate clearly with your customer base the way they want it and how they want it, then the result will be an increase in revenue and ultimately free up a lot of your time and marketing confusion.
The First Step is Knowing Your Customer Base
I’ve found that most business owners don't truly know their customers. What they like, don’t like, or prefer. Most business owners have a picture in their mind or have a half or outdated image.
Knowing your customers is critical for many reasons, it helps with:
Products and features
Here are Three Ways to Discover Who Your Customers Are
1. CRM Tools
One of the best ways is if your company has a CRM (customer relations management) software because it allows you to easily export all that data into a spreadsheet that you can begin to digest and use.
2. Google Analytics Demographics
Another great option is the absolutely free and easy to use Google Analytics information in the demographics tab (make sure to select the last year for your date range). If Google Analytics isn’t connected to your website then definitely get that hooked up. If you’re having a hard time with that, give us a call!
3. Good Ol’ Fashioned Research
The last option is the most accurate but most time consuming and it’s going through your recent sales over the last year and writing down their age, gender and mode of communication. Like we said, accurate but very time consuming and very necessary.
If none of these work for you, here are some other less accurate, but useful methods:
Create a Survey
This particular method is also time consuming but can produce some great results. Create a survey in your office, or in an email/mailer and ask. Ask for their age, gender, best form of communication and what they would like to receive in these communications. For bonus points, give them a special offer if they fill out this form like a discount.
Social Media Insights and Analytics
Lastly, go to your social media page and look at your insights. Here is a link on how to accomplish this step by step. This should at least give you one platform that you’ll have some insights into, but be warned this is very inaccurate especially if your average customer does not use social media. Instagram insights only record and report for your Instagram. It’s not integrated with your website or any other marketing efforts you’re taking.
Use the Data
Ok, now you've done this step and you have a clearer picture of who your customers are. Now it’s time to clean it up a bit and do something with the data.
Hone in on Your Average Customer Demographic
This person will be the most frequent user or average price purchaser.
You might be asking, “Why aren't we targeting the highest ticket item purchaser?”
Here’s why: on average the high ticket customer is the rarest customer and they’re often less reliable. If you're always going after the biggest dollar customers, you’ll neglect the customers that will actually grow your business.
We’re striving for average. We’re striving for consistent growth.
Figure out their age, gender and preferred mode of communication. I bet you'll find a commonality among them. You’ll begin to see a pattern and this is exactly what you want to be looking for. Do they like email, phone, text? Are majority male or female? Are they retired, students, young parents, etc? Figuring out who your average customer is simplifys your whole communications method and workload.
You Will Lose Some Customers
Wait what!? You said this would increase my revenue?
It will, but to do this you will have to drop some dead weight.
We've counseled a lot of businesses and seen this many times, and most panic at first when they see customers leaving. But after a few months they see more new middle base customers come in and they don't lose any of their big spenders.
80/20 Rule (Drop Some Dead Weight)
There is a business rule out there called 80/20. This rule states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Focus on the customers that bring in 80% of your income.⠀
There are 20% of your customers wasting your time and costing you money. Why wouldn't you drop them and focus on the customers you love to work with and who provide the most revenue?
The real reason why some business owners won’t do this is because of fear. We fear losing any customer, because we believe each customer equates to revenue.
We believe that if we don't all of the customers, then we can't thrive.
This is a complete lie!
These 20% are always upset, calling in to complain, haggling and wearing down staff. They cost us money. I’m recommending you drop them like a hot potato!
If you want to read more about the 80/20 rule here is the book we recommend. LINK
Speak How and Where Your Customers Speak
So you've dropped those hot potatoes. That’s great! Next comes some details on where to communicate and what to say.
Knowing how your average customer speaks takes some experimenting but we have a few tips to shorten your learning curb.
Does your customer like humor? Facts? Updates? Visuals?
Try a little of each and see what they respond to and gets results.
Then do more of that, it's really that simple.
If your customers are on social media and frequently go there for updates on your business, then you need to be on social media!
If they go to Yelp, Google, or anywhere else - then you need to be there!
Be where they’re going to look and communicate. Do they like text updates and reminders, or do they love a handwritten note in their inbox?
DO THAT! And only that.
Don't waste your time with the newest trend unless your customers use it.
Trust us, there are a million new trends out every year and most of them just waste time and money. Well, unless its FREE and doesn’t take much time, then try it till you get bored of it. :)
I’m not saying not to try social media, text or direct mail, but when you use them you must realize that you're experimenting.
If you don't get a great response or see a positive ROI - then kill it.
We've found that local Chamber of Commerces, meetups, Instagram, personal emails and blogs are the key for growing our business.
So we don't bother with eblast, texts, mailers, Facebook or even Adwords.
It wastes time and money and it's not what our customers want. We step our toes back into Facebook and other platforms from time to time, but we keep seeing the same results. We recommend that you find the right marketing mix for your business and ultimately what your audience likes - then do that.
Share Something They Value
Pricing is probably one of the biggest errors we've seen in marketing and we've been guilty of this.
Unless your customer see it as value then putting the price on your material or messaging is a waste of ink. Some other common errors is putting features that are “us too” features. If your closest competitor has that feature then its not unique or of value.
Give value to your customers, know what they value and promote the hell out of it!
Knowledge has been the most valuable feature we have been able to offer to our customers. We will tell you virtually anything that can help your business grow. We don't believe in secrets, we found our customers trust us and when we say do or don't do something that its the right call.
What do your customers value?
What can you give them that adds to their quality of life/business? If they shrug when you tell them you have something then its not of value.
Recently we found an amazing local coffee shop (Luck’s Coffee Roasters in Upland Ca) and they did something that made our marketing hearts proud.
They offered a year of free coffee! A YEAR!
The offer was, every purchase you made in the next 3 months put your name in a raffle to win. Do you think we went in more?
You already know we did!
If you're interested in this amazing spot check em out! LINK
Finally if you're in doubt just think about how you like your businesses to communicate with you. How do they make you feel? How do they communicate with you?
If you would like more specifics on how we can find how your customers communicate text, email or call us. We would love to grab some coffee and talk about you further.
Till the next blog, Skol (aka cheers in viking). ;)