Hands down, one of the best things you can do for your business is get a better understanding of your customers, their habits, preferences, and buying patterns. In a traditional business world, the best way to do this would be to purchase market research data – or just wait for your own to accumulate the point where it’s useful. Instead of spending invaluable amounts of time or money to get this essential information, you can get more proactive and optimize your customer interactions to get more info about them. In this article, we’ll explore a few of the best ways you can do this – and how you can use that information to create more and better customers.
A Click is A Survey in Disguise
Nearly everybody detests when they are trying to take care of some business online, and a pop up window stops them asking for their feedback. Nobody wants to take their time to help a business market to them better – especially for free! Instead of asking survey questions directly, you can use click tracking and cookie technology to simply present options subliminally to your customers – and see what they choose. This is as simple as sending emails and newsletters with different “educational” sections surrounding different products / product categories. Track which products get the most click throughs, and which landing pages get the most time spent on them. You basically just created a free survey for your business collecting data on which of your products are most preferred, or customers would like to learn more about. Take this data, and gear your future marketing toward these same products – you already know there’s an accelerated amount of interest in these products, over others. This doesn’t mean you can’t continue to market your other products, it just means you’re seeing opportunity when opportunity lies – and acting accordingly.
Social Media Contests
Social Media is one of the best ways to communicate with your customers, while also changing the tone of your conversation from one of selling – to a more casual tone of just “talking”. This unique opportunity the medium of social has provided businesses over that past decade gives unique opportunity to have some fun with customers, while also collecting some valuable market research data. Consider running a contest where you offer a prize, or the chance for a prize, if someone completes a brief survey. This approach doesn’t try to tell your customers that you are trying to collect information from them, but at least you’re respecting their time in that you’re offering something in return for their effort. You can make this scalable in one of two ways. First, if you’re offering something to each and every person who completes the survey, make sure to make this a coupons only offer. This way, they get something – but it’s still guaranteed to bring some revenue back to your business. You’ll end up entering them in a small prize contest also. The second approach is to give away an entry for a larger prize – possibly one or many of your products for free – to each person who completes the survey. This can sometimes garner more entries, as a juicier end goal is being offered. Either way, contests on social media are a great way to gather some customer data easily.
Marketing Materials as Research Tools
As you invest in the valuable marketing materials like direct mail postcards, brochures, and even your personalized business cards – you may not realize the customer data opportunities you’ve been passing up. Consider this: you likely hand out hundreds of your business cards to prospective customers each and every month. Each time you hand out one of your business cards, you could be handing out a mini-survey that asks customers something about themselves. There are a couple different ways you could do this: First, consider printing a few different versions of your business card, each one featuring a different product or service of your business. Track the cards with unique tracking phone numbers that all forward to the same place, and see which cards get the best response at the end of the month or year. You can make this scalable by suing variable data printing to get a quantity of 500 cards with 3, or 5 or however many variations you want printing amongst a single 500 card run. The second way you might run this test is to include some NFC mobile tags on your cards. Vary the end destinations of the mobile tags, and see which sites get the most hits form you customers. Remember, the human interactions you have create more staying power with customers than any marketing can along – and your business cards are simply an extension of that interaction. Use this opportunity to gain some knowledge about your customers whenever you can.