Target Your Marketing To Customers’ Needs
Part 1 of this article is here.
The value of targeting your marketing to the customer and their needs is easily seen when sales go up, directly because of a particular marketing improvement, activity or campaign that focused on the customer need.
A customer need can be very simple. Sometimes it’s just receiving professional courtesy while making a purchase or inquiry or wanting a bit more information on the label or packaging. In any company that sells a product or service, EVERYONE who would have any contact with customers should be trained in proper, friendly customer service. Sales have been lost due to an employee not trained in proper conduct when doing business with customers.
Here are questions to ask yourself to determine if you and your staff are customer-focused in marketing your brand.
- Are all your staff properly trained to provide courteous, professional customer service? We still do some business face-to-face so, do they make eye contact, smile and say “please” and “thank you” during the sale or while conducting business? Call centre’s teach staff to smile when talking with a client for a reason; even though unseen, the friendliness comes through in their voice. It amazes me how apathetic some retail staff have become in so many establishments these days. I.E. Do not make eye contact at all, may actually be short, surly and even rude, and bark out orders to the customer. When you face this situation, do you want to go back to that business? Neither will your customer. Ensure you have employee incentives for good customer service and work with HR to maintain proper training; even if you are HR.
- Do all your staff have a sense of urgency when dealing with customers? Most of us have very busy schedules and not only appreciate quick service, but also, we feel more valued. If staff do not return phone/email/posted inquiries or are lackadaisical in providing responses or services then customers tend to feel devalued and could make future inquiries and purchases elsewhere. Really, urgency is a part of proper customer service.
- Do you make it easy for your customer to communicate with you? In your advertising do you have all your methods of contact information available while also ensuring security for you and your customers online? Do you link to an app that offers directions to your place of business or where and how to buy from you securely? Is your automated software up-to-date and easy-to-use? Do you have a program to ensure all call-backs are made to customers? Do you advertise to attract and maintain your customer base? Very few businesses just take the money and run these days or they won’t stay in business. How do you maintain customer contact?
- Do you provide after-sale services or assistance? After-sale programs are great opportunities to advertise and upsell other products and services to your customer while showing you care about their satisfaction, which only builds a healthy and potentially more lucrative relationship. Free after-sale services as simple as a phone call to ask if the customer is completely satisfied with their purchase can go far and it makes you look good. An after-sale program can help you really stand out from the competition.
- Do you reach out to engage and maintain the relationship with your customer? Do you offer social media pages, or a loyalty program of any kind? Coupled with another method for maintaining ongoing communication with your customer, loyalty rewards and other discounts are a great way to keep clients engaged and remembering your brand. Share-worthy social media, e-newsletters, mailings, contests, promos, and giveaways will all help keep your brand in front of the customer. If you still believe “my best advertising is word-of-mouth” well, I have news for you. The internet IS today’s word-of-mouth advertising and you need to be involved somehow online to not just be part of the conversation, but to lead the conversation. Social and digital media give opportunities to learn more about what clients want and need, allowing you to streamline your marketing further. Sell to the particular desires and needs they reveal only to you because you engaged them, and create marketing that serves their needs. Some methods of loyalty marketing can be very inexpensive based on the ROI that could be achieved.
- Are you up-to-date with all the ways you can now conduct business with your customer? You may not personally like social media but I bet 90% of your client base does. Do you provide several payment options? Again, you may not want to use digital payment methods but your customer probably does. The immediacy of the internet and social media has changed the landscape for marketing and digital media and if you don’t embrace some of the changes, customers may move over to the vendors who do.
These are a few things you can ask yourself to determine the status of your marketing practices and perhaps you’ll find a way to target your marketing better. Did you find that you are more focused on what you want or what the customers want? Any improvements you make to focus on your clients would likely help increase sales.
Today, the customer experience is a very important concept in marketing whether in person, on the phone, or online. People want to feel the buying experience will be positive, and if they leave your store or site feeling good, they will likely return to buy more as they will feel you are focused on them, the customer, and fulfilling at least one of their needs.