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In this week’s episode, we are going to talk about the importance of understanding your customers. What do they know about your business? How do they like to interact with you? Are they bold or fearful? Who influences them? What are their hopes and dreams?
Levels of Awareness
To sell, you need to find potential customers and take them on a journey with several stages. Some may start from not even realizing they have a problem that you can solve. You can consider customers in terms of levels of awareness that progress from not even seeing the problem to being excited about the solutions that you offer. We can break this down into five stages, each with a goal and strategy.
You can ask Problem Unaware customers questions to lead them to recognize their problem. Once a customer is Problem Aware, they may search for a solution, so your goal is to be easy to find. When your customer is Solution Aware, you need to show them that your solution (product) is the best. Tell them what makes you better than your competitors. Then you need to convince your Product Aware customer to take action and buy. There are a lot of subtle nuances in the process of removing impediments and nudging potential buyers toward the goal. The final step is to convert that buyer into a repeat customer and Advocate. We’ll go deeper into this topic in future episodes.
Touchpoints are more important that demographics
Some people seem to think the key to digital marketing is targeting through demographics. Demographics can be useful, but for many products, using interests to target will give you better results. And once you have a target, your choice of touchpoints to reach them at a particular stage of their customer journey may be the most important decision of all. Indeed, you might even find the touchpoint itself is conveniently one of the best ways to reach the desired audience without any filtering of traffic at the touchpoint required.
Let’s consider an example. Suppose you are selling expensive running shoes. You might like to target your audience based on very specific demographic information; you might like to reach only professional distance runners because they go through a lot of shoes and will pay for the best. But that demographic information is hard to get.
Instead, you could try to reach them through an online forum for professional runners, whether it’s hosted on Facebook or an older bulletin board. The traffic at these touchpoints is exactly the kind of person you are looking for – no filter required. Sounds great. So do you use the bulletin board or Facebook group as a touchpoint? Maybe, if your brand is already established. But if people don’t already know about your brand, you might want to choose a different touchpoint. You could reach out to an administrator in the group and send them free shoes in exchange for their agreement to publish a review. The administrator would then become your first touchpoint and as brand awareness grew, you could pursue a broader strategy for “solution aware” customers with advertising in the forum or your own paid posts to the Facebook group as your second touchpoint.
Customers don’t always make rational decisions
People are remarkably irrational. Their actions often fail to match their deeper thoughts and desires. Understanding customers in terms of psychological profiles like the OCEAN system can help decide how to speak to them. Find out how they think and you’ll get the key to their deeper needs. Are they open, conscientious, extroverted, agreeable, neurotic? For instance, a person might be open to new experiences, but a bit disorganized and irresponsible, hence not very conscientious, outgoing and easy to get along with, thus extroverted and agreeable, but also apt to worry too much about small things – a bit neurotic. If you can get inside their head and understand what motivates them, you can figure out how to provide what they need and then give them a nudge to obtain it from you.
People’s behavior is conditioned by others
Many companies focus too much on brand awareness and not enough on social proof. You may be able to make people aware of your brand by yourself, but you will need help to convince people that your brand is worth buying. Brand awareness is good, but social proof is better. People in many countries have heard of Nando’s Peri Peri chicken, and a curious diner might go check it out just based on the familiarity of the name. But if someone they knew recommended it, they would be much more likely to go. If not, there is a good chance they would check some online reviews before going just based on brand awareness.
People get a lot of their understanding of the world by talking and sharing stories with others. Whether they are talking in person or online, people are mentioning your business. Every time your brand is mentioned, that’s an opportunity for you to understand your customers and the process of influence. And you can join in the conversation and add your own perspective. If you can figure out who influences your clients and find out where they are talking, you’ll be able to steer and accelerate the process.
Understand frustrations and hopes for the future.
Whatever service or good you provide, it can bring some benefits to your customers. They may be small, removing a minor annoyance, or they might be profound and truly life-changing. Either way, those benefits fit into a great scheme of the customers’ deeper desires. What are the things that frustrate them the most in life? What holds them back from reaching their goals? And what are those goals? What are their hopes and dreams? Knowing the answers to these questions will allow you to frame the benefits of your offer in a way that resonates deeply with what is most important to the people you want to build a connection with.
Learn about your customers and take action.
We hope you find this insight on digital marketing excellence useful. This knowledge can improve your results, but you have to put it into action. So find a way to apply it and test it. Take a baseline measurement and compare your new improved outcome. Join the Viral Octopus collective and share and discuss your results with others who are striving for excellence. And come back and join us next week for more powerful new marketing tips and tricks. Don’t get left behind: Mind The Gap.