Speaking with customers is a great way to get insight into how to market your business more effectively.
It’s no secret that your customers are a great source of information. They can help you improve your business, gain a better understanding of your differentiation, and even bring you referrals. If you already talk to your customers, great. If you’ve never done this before, do it immediately as the information gives you an advantage in the marketplace.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spoken with a small business about marketing, and they only want to talk about websites, email, copy, Facebook, LinkedIn and promotions — you know tactics, but had no idea what actually differentiates them from the competition.
Everyone knows they should develop a marketing strategy before diving into to every tactical marketing effort they can. The problem is, few can tell you how to do this because any real marketing strategy is highly personal and involves your market:
The best way to approach discovering a strategy for your marketing, and perhaps all of your communications, is to listen really, really well.
Customer interviews are one of the greatest listening tools on the planet. Your customers are telling you about what’s truly important, they’re telling about what they like about your products and dislike about the competition, they’re telling you what they wish someone would make — and now you can hear it.
What kind of questions should you ask customers? There’s no limit — it can be any that would help you get better and plug sales and marketing gaps. Get started with these 5 questions:
Why did you decide to hire us or buy from us initially?
This question helps you focus in on your marketing. Are customers receptive to your online presence, advertising, promotional efforts, message and sales process? Discovering what is effective is the kind of insight that can pay huge dividends.
What’s the one thing we should never stop doing?
Find out what your customers really value about you, your services/products and your company. This question lets you discover your true differentiator. Is it your friendly staff, the way they get results, your 24 hour responsiveness or the way you clean up after every job?
What’s one thing we could do to create a better experience for you?
The real value in this question is in your customer identifying or describing something your company, service or product could do to provide added value or just do 10% better.
If you were to refer us what would you say?
I believe instead of just asking your customers would they refer you, get some insight into the words, phrases, and examples that would use when referring your business. This can help you further differentiate away from competitors and open up opportunities for educating your strategic partners.
What would you Google to find a service/product like ours?
If you want your business to be easily found online by future customers, you need to know everything you can about the key words and phrases they use when looking for services and products like yours. This is one of the most important aspects of your lead generation efforts.
Far too often businesses create marketing campaigns around irrelevant pain points and features, referral programs that don’t create referral motivation, and optimize their websites around industry specific jargon and terms when their ideal customers really pay attention, engage and respond to other communicating factors.
Remember, asking for feedback is indispensable, but it’s just the first step. To truly help your sales and marketing efforts, make sure you’re not just listening to customers’ responses, but finding ways to implement their suggestions.