How Can SMEs Understand Customers Better? 5 Tips to Help You

 

At Koble we have 2 main goals: 1 for Professional buyers and procurement teams to source new suppliers quickly and anonymously and 2. For SME’s to have a channel to show themselves and their capabilities to these Buyers directly, without the need for SEO knowledge or large marketing resources.

But for SME’s the main challenge is how do you reach and engage your target audience?

Here’s some tips that we think will help you communicate your message to the right people at the right time:

 

Identify Who Your Customers Are

Long-term customer loyalty is fast becoming a thing of the past. The Digital world allows customers to easily search and compare similar products and services and also find reviews regarding what they are looking for in order to make a more informed choice. It also means that your potential customer base widens, as the online marketplace transcends geographical boundaries.

Successful marketers must understand who their customers are. A simple way do this, is by creating Customer Personas.

When creating your customer persona, ask yourself as many relevant questions about your customer as possible.

Here are a few broad examples, but we recommend yours go into more depth:

  • John, a buyer for a large procurement department for a National Government Agency based in Washington D.C. Looking to save costs on purchasing, so he is doing a price comparison.
  • Celia, a manager working for a small company, living in Chicago. Looking to source what your company provides for the first time.
  • Samantha, a senior manager working in a mid-size family run business which is expanding. Looking for a new supplier as their old one didn’t satisfy their requirements.

 

Know What Interests Them?

Each persona has a specific want or need and is thus naturally receptive to reading marketing materials that help them meet their challenges.

By understanding what your customers care about, you can start creating content to meet their needs. As they begin to engage with your content, you can look at your analytics (read time, amount opened etc.) and you can develop a deeper understanding of how this challenge affects their lives. With each engagement, you also can recognize the engagement patterns of your best customers.

Once you have this information, you can begin creating more content that targets this specific type of customer.

 

Understand How You Are Seen.

Understanding customer perception is as important as knowing who your customers are. One way to measure perception is to conduct a survey to gain valuable insight and feedback. However, for a small business, this may be too time and resource consuming.

How you are seen online is a great way to gain valuable real-time insight of customer sentiment. If you want to see how your customers are responding to your campaigns, sentiment analysis can provide you information whether your brand is seen in a positive, neutral or negative light and you can respond to this sentiment accordingly. The Pro account on Koble provides a Sentiment Analysis created by Crimson Hexagon as part of the package, so you have this knowledge available immediately.

Without knowing how your customer perceives your business, you will miss complaints and wonder why customers are taking their business to your competitors. As a result, you can use this measurement to adjust your communications to something that better suits your customer base.

 

Know What Content Types They Like

Depending on your business, you may find that your customers respond better to one type of content over another. Understanding what content your customer likes is as important as understanding what content converts those customers.

By prioritizing content that converts, you are naturally focusing on the content your customers like. Some customers like pdfs, others may prefer watching case study videos etc.

To do this correctly, you must go beyond surface level engagements such as likes, shares, +1’s and retweets. A good analytics tool will tell you your click through rate (CTR), the amount of time they spent reading your content, how many times the readers shared your content and much more. You can then act on this information to further the sales lead.

 

Understand the Customer Journey?

When a customer does buy from you, how is their journey? Look at all the interaction points that you both have had and see whether these were positive for your customer. Remember, every connection could mean further business or losing that customer.

It is important to review your customer journey at least twice a year. You may find a new software, platform or tool that can improve your customer’s journey and decrease the resources needed to maintain your sales and marketing functions.

 

In closing, a lack of customer understanding makes it difficult for your company to effectively meet the needs of its prospects. If you don’t meet those needs, your customers will go elsewhere.

Customers are less loyal and far less trusting than they used to be and social media has given them the power to rethink their purchase decisions. So, if you don’t understand them how can you possibly deliver the types of experiences they desire? Finding software that can help with all of these factors can be a life saver for small companies that have limited resources. We think we have that at Koble, so if you’d like more information, get in touch.

Post by: Koble
04/26/2017