The words “build it and they will come” are no longer relevant to today’s digital world. With billions of websites, articles, videos, podcasts and social media channels out there, companies must invest not only in their product and/or service but also in their distribution methods. Unless your company’s content is buzzing all over the internet, chances are a new product on your website will not be noticed easily. That’s why marketers today focus on studying and reaching their audiences with an array of digital tools in order to understand them better and get more value.
Customer insights can vary based on categories. As companies think about their customers (either holistically or for a specific category or product) they ask themselves questions about:
- Demographics: Who is my ideal customer? Is it a male, a female? A millennial, a Gen X or a baby boomer? Where do they live? What is their income? Do they own a house
- Interests: What are some of their favorite brands? Which social media channels are they more interested in using? What are their favorite colors? What do they do in their free time, what are their hobbies?
- Behavior: Are they active internet users? Do they shop at your competitors’ and/or partner brands? How long do they spend online shopping? Are they learning more about a certain topic (asking general questions) or are ready to make a purchase?
We recommend you approach gathering customer insights using the customer journey methodology and three basic stages: customer acquisition, customer retention and conversions. Consider what stage your company needs to improve on and follow the suggested tools listed below to check that your website is fully optimized to achieve your goals.
1. Improve customer acquisition
Study your audience using such tools as Google Analytics, social media insights, analytics plug-ins for your unique hosting platform, and even written comments and reviews. Think of these basic questions: how do they find you (or do they find you at all)? What position is your website in a basic Google search? Do you have landing pages for every customer profile?
If you notice that you can’t answer some of these questions or, perhaps, are unhappy with the answers you have, some areas to target are: SEO optimization, increase in content quantity, and content distribution methods (social media channels, email newsletters, advertising, and so on).
2. Increase customer retention and engagement
After you cover everything in phase one, you can follow your customer’s journey into phase two. Examine things like how long do customers spend on a page, on average? What is your bounce rate and what is the page customers bounce off from? Do they prefer one page more than others?
Once again, if you are unhappy with the results you can make improvements to things like landing pages, increase in website content quality, UX improvements, increase in email and social media subscription opportunities.
3. Drive conversions
As your audience prepares to make a purchase, eCommerce managers, marketers and web designers must think about how easy it is for them to do so. Do you have a clear call-to-action (“add to cart”, “subscribe”, “request quote”)? How many steps does it take for a customer to make a purchase? Is your bounce rate highest at any of these steps? Do customers see that your website is secure?
If you see any issues as you go through the checklist above, you can focus on copywriting edits, improving CTAs, simplifying the shopping process (UX and/or shorten forms), closely studying steps where shoppers bounce, and even fixing your security settings to improve trustworthiness.
As you go through these steps, remember that there is no ‘right’ formula that fits every company. Your website, your company and your customers are unique, so your tactics will most likely require fine-tuning over time. For this reason, we recommend A/B testing your changes to see what works best and studying customer feedback (after requesting it, of course).
We are confident, however, that when you begin to utilize the data you’re collecting about your customers and put it back into your product and brand marketing, you will start to see positive changes!