Too many businesses fail to understand that winning and keeping customers is not as simple as something like creating a great value proposition or focusing on customer service alone. It’s a dance, where every step is different but deserves as much priority as the last. Looking at those individual steps is the best way to see where the weaknesses of your business’s approach are. It’s also the best way to identify what your customers are thinking at every step and to coax them further along every step of the way until you have a reliable target market.
Gauging their need
This is where it all begins. None of the other steps are going to work as well unless you’re able to fully understand what the customer needs. This starts with market research, thinking about a problem that the customer needs solved and how the business will solve it. But it goes beyond that into looking at how you frame what your business provides from their perspective. Instead of focusing just on the product or service you provide, think of the impact that it has on their lives. Get to the emotional core of why they need a problem solved and why your business is the problem-solver they need.
Catching their attention
That exercise of finding the need to solve and the way to frame it from their POV is how you create your value proposition. But from there, you have to make sure that said value proposition actually gets the attention of the customers. This is where you start casting your net. Think about who you need to target and the places you’re most likely going to get their attention. For instance, search engine optimization is about catching it through relevant Google searches. Creating positive word-of-mouth through external review sites and a social media presence is about reaching them through shared points-of-reference. You can’t just blast your message out as loud as possible and hope they hear it. You need to target it more specifically on your audience.
Catching their interest
Once they’ve seen your online presence, you need it to be able to keep their attention. Again, this is where knowing their needs will help. For instance, you can use knowledge of those needs to create content such as an infographic or written article that’s relevant to what they want to see. This is why a plumber might create a blog where they cover different plumbing DIY tutorials. It creates value and demonstrates knowledge upfront without directly advertising the services that the customer might soon realise they need. But catching their interest is also like the mating call of a wild animal. It’s about competing with the other beasts out there. Taking a look at your competitors and finding the bits of value you add that they don’t can help you in market position. It differentiates you from them, giving customers a reason to choose you over them.
Leading your partner
You have their interest, now you have to lead them through the dance. By this stage, most customers will be on your site. They will have an interest in what you have to offer and what they want to know more about it or how to get it. Unfortunately, this is where a lot of businesses mess up by having a site that’s complicated and difficult to navigate through. A good web design agency focuses on the user experience first and foremost. It strips down all the unnecessary content of the site and it creates a navigable path that keeps the journey simple for the customer. You might think a certain piece of content is important to the business or interesting to you. But is it really what the customer wants to see?
A happy ending
If the navigation leads them all the way through and they’re done with the purchase, you might think it’s time to cut and run. You’ve done your job, let them decide whether or not they’re happy with it. But sticking around for a positive post-purchase experience has a lot of benefits. For instance, in ecommerce, keeping them up-to-date on their purchase and inviting them to join a loyalty program keeps adding value between the moment they click to finalize a purchase and the moment their product arrives.
Keep them coming back for more
A good business owner also realises that it’s never “one and done” with a customer, either. After all, it’s a lot easier to retain an existing customer than to attract a new one. They are also your greatest tool in spreading word-of-mouth and creating an online community that serves as proof positive that your services work to other interested parties. Making customers feel like they’re appreciated is a great way to turn them into part of a base. You might do that by showing you value their opinion and asking them if they’re satisfied with the service they’ve received. You can also add a little bit of emotional value to their purchase by, for instance, leaving a signed thank you note with their delivery.
Learning from the dance
This is also your opportunity to discover things about your customers as well as the way you do business that allows you to only improve the dance. While asking after their satisfaction, you should also be asking for feedback and ask if there is any way that you can improve your customer service. More importantly, you can use this as a fact-finding mission to further build the understanding of the customer and their wants that further allow you to craft success in the first few steps of the dance. It also serves as a chance to better the personal relationship with the individual customer by creating a customer profile that allows you to target them specifically with deals more likely to interest them in particular. The digital marketing dance needs to be routinely looked over. As the business evolves, the circumstances of the online relationship are going to change. Every time you look at changing how you market or how the site works, make sure you’re looking back to the dance so you never miss a step.