Internet marketing is not conducted from inside a vacuum, much like anything else in life and business. Optimization for conversion becomes a focal point that distracts companies from understanding their clients, reports Forbes. Rather than nurture the user experience, they neglect to get to know their customers.
Engagement runs deeper than you know, and getting to know customer hows and whys helps you create a better product, set of services and user experience. You stay competitive as well as grow and cultivate loyal clients who trust your know-how because you know the ins and outs of their hows and whys. Here are 10 key principles for truly understanding your clients.1. Empathy Adds to Demographic Data
Demographics don’t fully define your audience — humans are complicated, to say the least. Develop and express empathy for your target audience. Walk a mile in their shoes during every interaction and step, but go further.
What brought the client to this moment in time? What keeps them up? What frustrations and joys do they feel? What’s their story, and why do you care? Know that, and your content will engage on higher levels.2. Mean It When It Comes to Feedback
On a scale of one to 10, how likely are you to use a survey to improve your product and relationship with your customers beyond a surface level? You have to mean it when it comes to soliciting feedback from your clients.
Remove bias from the equation, and seek out genuine insight. Conversational questions give you more info than you think — “What could we do better in your opinion and how?” Get specific with your topic, and you could get specific data and percentages back from your clients to use in your marketing — especially when it comes to demonstrating improvements, which shows you care. Focus on a single area of customer experience at a time.3. Follow up Genuinely
Following up is always talked about but the least thought about when it comes to getting caught up in the day-to-day matters of business.
By all means, follow up for feedback after project completion and missed leads. Those two actions represent the surface of following up by reaching the right person. Mention a detail that represents active listening and conversation in your follow up — such as where to find great pizza in the city — as a form of connection and showing that you’re truly “following” the client out of genuine interest in their success.4. Build Personas From Data
Beyond employing empathy to understand your clients, deepen your connection by building personas from the data you collect. You need enough data to resonate emotionally, so look at the terms that clients are utilizing to reach out to you. How do clients describe your service? Now, build a persona from this information.
Who is this persona? What do they want? How old are they? What does their desk or bedroom look like?5. Use Behavioral Data to Inform Your Outreach
Use tracking tools like Google Analytics to survey behavior — some tools also take short videos to walk you through how clients engage with your site. From behavioral data, you gain insight into what they don’t understand, don’t like and do prefer. You can see where clients get stuck on the site and use that information to create a more user-friendly experience.6. Identify Your Brand Trends
Engagement data also allows you to plan for the present and future to help clients through stressful situations and understand your brand story more deeply. You’re not the only one telling the narrative — the client is too. That’s why you need to identify your brand trends.
Track the decision-making process of clients through trends and cyclical patterns gathered through analytics and predictive modeling tools. You can build realistic models of what future patterns look like and get ahead to impress the client and build your brand. Beyond that, analysis of competitors also shows what’s accomplished on their end and how your brand differs.7. Cultivate Conversation Over Clicks in Content
Content marketing doesn’t rely on cut and paste filler information to generate clicks. The best writing has a strong voice and its own personality that reflects your brand and makes the audience question or get emotional. That's real engagement, so add character and create authentic calls to action. Does your content cultivate conversation or focus on clicks?8. Talk to Employees on the Front Lines
Gather data from those who deal with customer experience on a daily basis — employees on the front lines. They hold valuable insight into common questions and issues, and they also have the inside scoop on the unique areas that get swept under the rug.9. Practice Active Social Listening
Active listening proves valuable on the job, but it needs to extend to client user experiences as well. Practice active social listening on social media platforms to gain further insight and engagement. Look at reviews, and engage beyond cut and paste false empathy scripts. Set up alerts to know when others talk about your brand online.10. Check Everything Through AB Testing
AB testing lets you check variations of pages and tools to see which perform best for conversation — well, conversion too. Check your content, tone, calls to action and design, among other elements, to fine-tune what works and what doesn’t.
Use these 10 key principles to truly understand your clients. Deepen user experience and how you define engagement to put your brand at the top of client lists.