Entrepreneur and Marketer, Co-founder of Web Profits
I’m a pretty social person. I like talking to new people and getting to know them. I’m never one to turn down invites to social engagements, either, because I think talking to people in person, one on one, is the best way to learn more about them.
The same should be true about your relationship with your customers. It’s just that it's much harder for you as a business leader to talk to customers in person. Yet, you still need to learn about your customers and understand them in order to market and sell to them.
Luckily, there are tools to help with that. According to a report by Econsultancy and IBM, 33 percent of top marketers surveyed said that having the right technologies for data collection and analysis is key to understanding your customers.
And, here, technology deserves some credit. Because, today, there is so much rich data available about your customers. They leave a trail all over social media, on search engines and across the internet. But to access that data, you have to have the right tools.
Here are my top five digital marketing tools that you could use, too, to better understand your customers:
If you want to know more about your customers, the best thing you can do is talk to them directly. But if a face-to-face meeting isn’t an option, a survey is the next best thing. With SurveyMonkey, you can craft a survey to gauge your customers’ opinions about your products and brand as a whole.
SurveyMonkey gives you the ability to engage with your customers directly and get their feedback on how you can improve. Make sure you ask open-ended questions so your customers can respond with their own answers. You’ll gain valuable insights from what they tell you, which you can then act upon to improve your brand.
2. Google Analytics
If there’s just one tool from this list you decide to use, it should be this one. Google Analytics is a powerhouse analytics tool that can track the traffic coming to your website and the performance of each web page.
Google Analytics gives you insight into how your customers are interacting with your brand. Is there one page on your website that’s resonating the most? What type of content is attracting the most visitors? By answering these questions, you can learn about customers’ likes, dislikes and preferences.
With Google Analytics, you can also find out information like how long visitors spend on your website, their geographic distribution and where they originated from before they landed on your site. And the best part about Google Analytics? It’s free to use!
3. Google Trends
What people type into Google can tell you a lot about their needs. Let's say I’m looking for someone to walk my dog: I’d probably search for “dog walkers” in my area. And if you’re the owner of a dog walking service, you’d probably be interested in my search.
With Google Trends, you can identify and learn about the search terms your potential customers are using. The tool tells you how popular certain search queries are and how their popularity has changed over time. For instance, if people search for “dog walkers” more in the wintertime, you could plan ahead if you're the one with the dog-walking business.
Google Trends also allows you to see related search terms and topics, which could reveal new opportunities for your business.
According to eMarketer, nearly a third of the world’s population uses social media regularly. And these days, social media isn’t just for connecting with friends -- it’s also for connecting with businesses.
Your business probably already has a social media presence; at least it should. But how often do you pay attention to what people are saying about your brand on social media?
With a social media listening tool like Hootsuite, you can manage your social networks all in one place and track mentions of your brand. You can set up feeds for mentions of your company’s name, your competitors and your industry in general. This way, you can tap into the relevant conversations your customers are having and learn from them.
According to HubSpot, 40 percent of salespeople are using informal means, such as Microsoft Excel or Outlook, to store lead and customer data. With that data stored in insufficient tools and in multiple places, it’s easy for things to get disorganized and even be lost.
A cloud-based system like Salesforce, however, allows you to manage all of your customer data in one place. You can store contact information and notes on your interactions with customers, and even send emails from the platform.
With Salesforce, you can ensure that all of the information you gather about your customers is stored together. This allows you to see the whole picture and have a clear and thorough understanding of your customers.
What’s your biggest challenge in understanding your customers?