Is your content well appreciated by your customers, or the ones you’d like to have? Are you getting plenty of engagement, comments and likes?
Or are you left scratching your head, wondering just what it will take to get their attention? To get them to do something?
The thing is, what do you know about them? Do you know what the problem is they are trying to solve?
If you’re just throwing stuff out there, hoping someone will appreciate it, then you’re going to have to create something truly spectacular. And, let’s face it, most of us in smaller businesses don’t necessarily have budgets for truly spectacular.
And that’s okay.
You just need to create the content that serves the group that are committed to what you do, whether it’s helping solve a problem or just a moments entertainment, is much simpler. But you still have to know them, to know what they want.
If you’re not already sure, here’s five places to start to get to know your ideal customer. These work in different ways whether you are just starting out, or an established business, but still all worth doing.
1. Define your ideal customer
The more you understand them, the more you can create for them. Ask yourself what’s the things that unites the people who will rally behind what you do, who need what you do.
For example, my ideal customer is the owner or marketing manager of a small to medium size business in the food and drink sector. As a business, they’ll be about a story, not an owner’s tone of voice (if it’s your name on the pack or service, then you’re best placed to tell your story in my view).
If you’re in a product based company, then you’ll want to be even more specific. What’s important to them, what does choosing your brand say about them, what problem are you solving for them? Don’t think if you’re in chocolate or coffee for example, that you’re not solving a problem. It’s all in how you tell that particular story.
I’m not a believer in defining by age, as it takes you into the world of lazy stereotypes and clichés in my experience. If you can define what’s important to people, then that is beyond age. Spend the time on those, not worrying about whether they are 36 or 41 (I’ve sat through too many of those debates in my corporate life). Or use a generation cluster, that may be slightly more helpful (but not totally).
2. Put your current customers under the microscope
If you’re already in business, then you have a great group to look at. Look at what you know about them, and what you can see as common threads. How did they find you? What sort of questions do they ask? What’s the thing they buy most often and when?
You might get an idea of the key age groups that find what you do appealing. You should also be able to see when they engage with things that you have done on the content front, just to help you refine both what to post, when and in what channels.
If you’ve met them at an event, then that might give you an idea of a set of interests. For example, Pub in the Park is possibly a different consumer than Glastonbury, but there will be crossovers as well.
Above all, you might have a group of people who are prepared to share some information with you, answer some questions. You could get a few people together for coffee and a chat, or use some of the poll functionalities on Twitter or Facebook for example. It doesn’t have to be “formal” market research to be valuable and insightful.
3. Look at your data
Analytics are your friend. Yes, they can be a friend that’s a little bit difficult to get to know, but it’s worth it. Mine that data, there’s a wealth of information in there. If you need some good guides, then Google are great at walking you through this stuff. Or from Hootsuite then this one is good for Facebook, or this one for Instagram.
It’ll help you understand what you’ve posted that people have engaged with, where they came from, and when. From Google, you’ll get to see how they found you, whether that was through a link on another site or the search terms they used.
4. Ask the people who sell your product what your customers want
Nothing like feedback from the frontline! It might be that it’s you, or your team, but just worth capturing the things that people say about what you do, or the questions they ask. You’ll hear what the objections are to buying what you do as well.
If you sell through retailers, then you could try asking them. Depending on your relationship with them, you’ll might also get an idea of what else they buy along with your product, or instead of. Definitely worth buying them a coffee to see what they can tell you.
5. Spy on the competition
Your business might be one of those rare things: completely and utterly unique.
The rest of us have competitors. And even if you are unique, then people can still choose to spend their money on something else. So, have a look at what they are doing, and where. What could you learn from what they’re doing? What is creating excitement and engagement?
I am absolutely not endorsing copying anyone else’s activity. Take learnings from it, but don’t take the work. You shouldn’t need to if you have a strong sense of your own story. Remember, only you can do you. So don’t try doing anyone else, no matter how well it worked for them.
So, five things that will give you a better view on the people who buy into what you’re doing, and what they’re interested in. It’s not all you can do, but it gives you a good starting point. It’s also no guarantee of success in your content unless you do something with it. There’s no point in knowing stuff if you don’t action it.
What do you know about your customers, and how do you track them at the moment? What works for you?