Business is competitive, tough decisions lay ahead for those who are unsure what to expect from their customers in the future. Making decisions with vivid focus requires that you own your audience.
Understanding you audience has become a cliché business 101 concept, yet is has continued to be the most important rule of any successful business and a concept well understood by entrepreneurs.
In a perfect world your customer would be a Google search away, labeled with his or her dreams, needs and financial budget. You would see what catches their eye, what triggers their need to buy now and how many purchases they make on a regular basis. Are they brand-oriented, trend lovers or do they go for classic and reliable? All of these are questions that would change the game for marketers and you.
So how can you own your audience? Follow these steps to become an industry leader.
Most companies forego this step and justify it by concluding that their market is small enough for them to control and predict. Wrong! This is the all too common mistake of ignorance and why many businesses maintain a ‘par’ at best standing.
Make research a part of your company. Don’t hide that you would like to know more. A customer is more likely to participate in a 1 or 2 (Yes or No) question survey that accompanies a purchase, than to pick up a flier that sits idle near the cashier’s. Can you be found online? Perfect! Send the survey with a 5% off coupon (I would happily answer 5 question for that!).
My favorite part of any purchase is feeling like I have won. Make promotional materials available without adding to the customer’s pile of spam. Start reward clubs for loyal customers, social media followers and give those same rewards to customers who stroll into your store. They deserve it!
Don’t copy competitors to a T. Make note of improvements to industry standards but always look to add your own spin. Be fearless; explore options that would set you apart. Customers want unique experiences that they can talk about and feel proud of. What experience can you offer?
Create a voice. There is too much competition for you to compete with the big boys if you don’t have a unique voice. What is a brand’s voice, you ask? It is not a simple, monotone script read out loud, but instead, it is the essence of your company and brand.
Your brand’s relationship starts at your customer’s point of entry whether that is a store front or website. Make your environment a reflection of what you sell and to whom you sell it. This is an art; do not be intimidated to make a bold statement.
Be active on social media, reply to questions, ask questions, start a campaign that is irrelevant to the business’ success or failure. Be genuine. It will be noticed and rewarded with time.
To be at the forefront of what’s new and cool, consider what your customer wants and really needs. Be generous and give your customer discounts to remind them that you are more than just a shop; you are the place where they win! Activate your voice and control your message. Apply these simple keys, and own your audience. Don’t let them own you.