A couple of weeks ago, I was visiting my eye doctor for a routine exam. When I was giving her my updated contact information, she asked about what kind of work I do.
Once I told her, she asked this:
“How do you get business?”
It’s a question I often get when I tell people I own a marketing company. I find it funny that people ask that question. After all, as a marketer, attracting new business IS my line of work.
Yet, I think it’s the crux of what most frustrates many business owners. If you’re a doctor, lawyer or accountant, you know how to do your work. But, the prospect of attracting new customers is downright perplexing.
Many entrepreneurs went into business not because they enjoy marketing and business development, but because they love the work they do.
Yet, if you want to stay in business, you have to get good at attracting (and keeping) your customer base.
Laws of Customer Attraction
So, how do you attract new customers?
In other words, you must get really good at understanding your target audience.
Sadly, many businesses forget this very important step. Instead, they jump right into implementing a variety of marketing tactics and hoping something sticks.
Not only can this be a waste of time and money, but it’s unlikely that it will get you results.
Instead, if you take the time to better understand your current customers and the kind of customers that you want to attract, you’ll be better able to find out what they value about your business, what their pain points are and what makes them tick. From there, it becomes much easier to determine the best ways to reach out to more people like them.
Uncovering Customer Preferences
If you want to learn more about your customers, here are examples of some questions that you should ask:
- How did you hear about us?
- Why did you decide to do business with us over our competitors?
- What do you value most about doing business with us?
- What can we do to serve you better?
- What product or service do we not provide that you wish we did?
- What are the problems and issues keep you up at night?
- What the biggest challenges you are facing in your business right now?
- What if our company died – what, if anything, would you miss?
This is just a sampling of what you could ask, but this should give you an idea of what kinds of questions will help you better understand your customers and why they have chosen you.
Once you’ve nailed down what you want to learn about your customers, you can then determine the best way to gather this information.
Here are some ideas on how to get customer feedback:
- Conduct a survey. Sending out a short survey to customers is an excellent way to uncover their preferences. Tools like SurveyMonkey or SurveyGizmo make it easy to create and distribute online surveys.
- Talk to customers. Perhaps the easiest way to get feedback is to ASK! Pick up the phone and ask your best customers for candid feedback, talk to people at the check out counter and really listen to what your clients are saying during meetings.
- Listen on social media channels. If you’re active on social media, pay attention to what people are saying about your brand. What do they say when they give you a shout out? What are they complaining about? Pay attention to the language they use. Sometimes, the things they comment on and value are very different than what you think.
- Reviews and recommendations. Look at the reviews and recommendations you’re getting online through LinkedIn, Facebook, Yelp and Google. What are people saying? You can often find great nuggets that will clue you in to customer preferences.
Once you’ve collected the feedback, it’s important to do something with it. What insights did you uncover? What did you learn about your customers that you didn’t know before?
Then, you can use this information to build a marketing strategy around what you’ve learned. You’ll find that once you’ve taken the time to better understand your customers, it becomes much easier to sell to them and others just like them.
How do you uncover customer feedback and preferences? How has this helped you get better at attracting new customers?
Image credit: Explain That Stuff