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14th September 2011
Who Are Your Customers?
After a decade in digital, I’m the ultimate definition of an advocate for nearly every business to be online in some way, shape or form. The reasons for this are many, but with over 77% of the entire Irish population online and spendingabout 20 hours a week there; over 50% of the entire Irish 15+ population on Facebook; and Google passing usage as a synonym for searching online, do you really need convincing? Well, what about the fact that your online presences can help you understand your customers far more than ever before?
Get a web presence that makes sense, and get in front of your customers
There are an ever-increasing number of web presences available to the business owner now, and more as time progresses. However, it’s not necessary to be on every single one – just the ones that make sense.
When I think about the web presences that make the most sense for a business, I think along two dimensions – engaging with customers and would-be customers in conversations tailored towards your business objectives in order to influence them to purchase from you; and ensuring that at the point of choosing a product or service, yours is the one they choose.
For the former, Facebook offers Pages for businesses and Twitter is often a great way to contribute to conversations and generate brand advocates, while for the latter, a website is key.
Once these are in place, and you’ve gotten an audience for your Facebook Page, your Twitter feed, and your website, then you’re truly in a place to know who your customers are, and what they are doing on your website.
Who they are
If you have a Facebook Page for your business, you can see detailed demographic information for the people who have liked your page – gender, age, location and so on. Immediately, you can see who the demographic is that wants to engage in a two way conversation with you – and if they are in fact matching with the demographic who you think your audience is! If you have Twitter, you can see all the people who have decided to follow you and listen to the information you’re putting out into the ecosystem, and again, you can see who these people are, and if they fit the demographic you think your marketing efforts should be aimed at.
In fact, any web presences you use will offer some view into who the people are that are engaging with your business – the key thing to think about is how they fit with who you feel should be engaging with your business. What if your audiences on these platforms aren’t matching to who you thought they were? Do you have new audiences? Or the wrong audiences?
What they’re doing
Once people are coming to your web presences, you can also start to see what they are doing. Again, a Facebook Page allows you to see the interaction of your audience with the content you produce, such as their liking or commenting on content. Likewise, Twitter allows you to see when content is retweeted by people, or what people respond to your content with. In both cases, you can gain additional insight into what people are doing, and responding to – for example, post some general content about an article, and post information about an offer such as a voucher code, and see how people respond to these two different content types. Over time, you’ll see what people are doing, and engaging with, on your platforms.
Alongside this, you should immediately install web analytics software on your website if you haven’t already done so. There are a range of options out there to suit all wallets, all allowing a huge amount of insight into what people are doing on your website.
Analytics software will show you what people do once they come to your website – the pages they visit, the links they click, the pages they enter your website on, where they come from before coming to your website, the pages they leave from, where they go to after coming to your website… And even more – with analytics software, you can analyse all the flows on your website to see what works and what doesn’t, and test. Unsure if a three-step or four-step purchase for your product would work better? You can use analytics software to try both side-by-side, and let the metrics guide your decision.
Putting it all together
All the web presences available to you can show you who your audience is, and what they do on those web presences – the next step is to understand how it all fits together. Think of this in three areas:
Hopefully, working to ensure the answer to these three questions is “yes” should help you in fulfilling your business objectives even more!