Feb 2024

5 Tips On Understanding Your Customers

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5 Tips On Understanding Your Customers

The key to growing any brand is connecting to your target audience. But before you can connect, you need to understand.

The key to growing any brand is connecting to your target audience.

Unfortunately, many companies fail to do this. Why? Often, it’s because they don’t get clear on who their target audience is. Or they try to appeal to a broad and varied range of people.

But this kind of ‘catch all’ approach leaves brands with a confused message. And when they’re confused, customers don’t tend to buy. As brand strategist Donald Miller says: “If you confuse, you’ll lose”.

To succeed, you need to get clear on who will really love you and your product. Here, we share our top tips for identifying your brand's number one fans.

Tip 1. Use Your Reviews

First, take a look at your reviews and testimonials. Try to find trends or patterns in what people appreciate, notice, and value about your product or service.

If you don’t have a lot of time, Google has tools which can help you analyse the data. The ‘people often mention’ section of Google reviews shows you the phrases which come up again and again, giving you a sense of why your audience values you.

To illustrate this, let’s look at the reviews for two different restaurants in London.

Bone Daddies is a Ramen restaurant in Soho and you can see from their reviews that for their customers, it’s all about the food!

Bone Daddies - All About The Food

By contrast, for customers of St Aymes, a cafe concept in Paddington, it’s all about the atmosphere (and Instagram potential!)

Saint Aymes - All About The Vibe (And The Gram)

This simple comparison has given us a clear idea of the differences between the patrons of two London restaurants. Analyse your reviews for powerful insights into your customer base too.

Tip 2. Talk To Your Fans

Think about the people whose lives your product has changed - the ones who talk about you online, tell their friends about you and post five star reviews. These are your brand champions.

Now arrange to meet a few of them (not too many - between three and ten) either on the phone or in a 30 - 45 minute zoom call. Prepare some questions about their lifestyle, family life, work, and hobbies, as well as your product and how it’s made a difference to their lives.

Take notes and look for patterns in the things they say. Listen to their answers, but also read between the lines. Do they have children? Are they family oriented? Do they work in the city? What key challenges do they face day-to-day?

When you see your services through the eyes of your customers, you’ll learn a lot. The value you add to their lives will often be very different to what you thought it was.

Tip 3. Get Survey Savvy

Hopefully your business already has a customer mailing list. If not, it’s worth looking into - email is the most cost effective form of online marketing.

Once you have a list, design a short questionnaire to send out. Ask your customers what they like about your product, how it helps them and whether they’d recommend you to a friend and why.

Respect their time - keep your questions clear and your survey concise. It might be worth offering a little incentive for completing the survey too!

You can use a tool like Google Forms or Survey Monkey to find survey templates which help you ask the right questions, and collate and analyse the answers.  

Tip 4. Become Data Rich

There’s a whole host of online tools which give you access to public data about your customers, helping you understand them better:

Google Analytics - analyses and shares insights about your website, including traffic, user demographics, marketing conversion rates, user experience and more.
Google Search Console -  helps you monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot where your site is in Google Search results.
• Facebook and Instagram - both have sophisticated tools you can use to gain insights into your followers’ activity.
• Third party tools - platforms such as Similarweb, SEM rush, and Mintel reports all offer deep audience insights, as well as a plethora of other data on your business, website, marketing, and industry trends.  

Have a think about the information you’d like to know about your audience then do your research and install the tool which gives you the data you need.

Tip 5. Bring Them To Life

Now you have a good idea of your target demographic - their values, interests, priorities, icons, brands, and websites - you can begin to fill out a picture of who they are.

Review news sources, social profiles, and your own experience to find celebrities, influencers and people in the public eye who closely match your audience’s persona.

With all your data and inspiration, you can then write your customer persona in detail, as though they’re a main character in a book. To help guide you, it can be helpful to use one of the many free online customer persona templates.

By the end of this process, you should feel able to point out one of your target customers on the high street (bonus tip: don’t do that, you’ll look weird - but you get the idea!) Now, you can truly say you understand your audience.

Equipped with this knowledge, you can build your brand strategy, visual identity, and new products and services in a way that solves customers’ real problems and appeals to them on a deeper level.