The days of one-size-fits-all sales packages are long gone. Whether consumers have become smarter or more suspicious, it now requires a personal touch to effectively market and sell to your prospective customers. Every customer is unique and has a personal motivation to buy – it’s up to you to understand that motivation and to guide it to a sale.
Every third Thursday of the quarter is deemed National Get to Know Your Customers Day, but if you’re only spending four days a year to get to know those who give you time and money, there’s 361 days left in the year where you’re not acquiring important information. That information leads to a business buzzword called personalization.
- 49% of customers bought items they didn’t plan to purchase due to a personalized recommendation from a brand (only 5% of impulse purchases were returned)
- 40% say they purchased an item more expensive than planned due to personalized services
- 44% say they will likely return after a personalized shopping experience
On and Offline Events
If your business has a physical location in or near your community, hosting an event can be an easy and fun way to have meaningful conversations with your customers. Depending on your industry, it could be a networking or social event but it’s important to remember customers and those in attendance need to be heard. You, the owner, have an amazing opportunity to get real-time feedback with the added bonus of your customer now putting a face to your company. For physical locations, you can get professional signage and promotional materials same-day, if needed, here.
If you don’t have a space, you can still do something very similar online. Try hosting a webinar or doing a live Q&A that provides your customers with knowledge they are seeking. If they learned something useful, they might hit ‘follow’, and if they hit follow, you can track when and why they joined your page. Live Q&A’s are also invaluable for discovering specific questions your customers might have. Make sure you answer them! By the way, Office Depot hosts a live Q&A twice a month. Check it out!
Ask Your Customers
This one seems pretty obvious, but sometimes we get so caught up in making a sale, we forget the easiest sales tactic, which is asking questions. You can’t sell a 16oz ribeye to a vegetarian – so before selling that steak, find out if they even eat meat! Personalization is about knowing what your customer wants. When you find the formula for ‘what, why and how’ your business can serve them better, you can find opportunities to separate yourself from your competition.
Social Media Can Be Face to Face, Sort Of
I wrote an article earlier this year about small businesses keeping pace with digital marketing, but many of them do it haphazardly. You must leverage all that data your social media profiles are collecting rather than let it sit in the corner of the Internet, collecting dust. Twitter and Facebook pages offer insights on engagement, clicks, reactions, comments – you can learn valuable information just through the process of both sharing your story and welcoming your customers’.
On the other side of the coin, many people like to voice their frustrations about a company on social media. Instead of seeing this is a loss to your reputation, you should view it as an opportunity to re-acquire a customer more loyal than before.
Do Not Make Assumptions
When you were a kid, did people tell you not to judge a book by its cover? That same principal applies everywhere, including business. Customers are human beings and like all human beings, our views and motives are ever-changing. Just because a marketing campaign did well in the past, doesn’t mean it will still work. With more online insights at our fingertips, guesswork should be eliminated from marketing strategies.
The same goes for a brick-and-mortar store. Don’t walk up to a customer thinking you know what they want. You can make your job easier and let them tell you exactly what they’re looking for. Then, you can make your recommendations that are rooted in the conversation you just had.
Become the Community Suited for Your Business
This is my favorite way to really get to know your customers on a deeper level. You can build a community – either online or in your physical location – that positions you (and your business) as the expert in the matter. Being a trusted source for information can organically draw customers into your business page or storefront, and if you did steps 1 and 2 above, you’ve already begun building your community!