Your business is reliant on customers. Some are a pleasure to work with, some are challenging and some really push you to the limits of your experience and expertise. One thing is certain, they’re all vital. So when it comes to attracting new customers, where and how do you start?
The obvious starting point is marketing. Direct Mail, email campaigns, programmatic mail, ad-words & SEO, social media engagement… basically cover all the marketing bases, right? But what if that still doesn’t bring results? Go back to the data; mine a little deeper, analyse the trends a little closer, be more specific with your audience and really target that demographic you want to reach.
You may be left thinking you’ve done all you can but what if, alongside all of those steps, you’ve neglected to really understand what it actually is that speaks to and resonates with your target audience? In the 25 plus years we’ve been assisting marketing teams on their campaigns, we’ve seen it all from the innovative to the obscure to the plain and simple; hit them right between the eyes with your message. The most successful campaigns we’ve seen however have all shared one common denominator – the customer’s wants and needs are always the most important element of the process. If you are actively looking to engage with and attract new prospects, perhaps you should start by really taking the time to analyse your target audience.
- Who are they?
- What is important to them?
- What are the best channels to engage with them?
- What influences their buying decisions?
There is a buzz phrase in the States right now which probably perfectly sums up how you should be viewing your relationships with both your existing customer base and your target audience: customer obsession.
The key to any good relationship is trust. Your customers need to feel they can trust your business and your brand, that you’re consistent and fair and you or you products do exactly what they say they will. A recent Salesforce survey revealed four key elements to building confidence and trust in your brand:
- 96% of those surveyed wanted the improvements the customer gets in exchange for their data explained to them
- 88% wanted to be asked permission for their data to be obtained
- 91% wanted businesses to be transparent on how their data is used
- 92% wanted control over their data
The freedom to choose
Giving customers the freedom of choice on how and when (should they wish to at all) they receive your communications is paramount. Allowing them to opt in or out of any campaigns you may serve gives them the control to regulate what they receive and when, affording them the ability to digest your content in the most preferable channels at their own volition.
We’ve all been in the ‘stereotypical’ car showroom where you’re pounced on the moment you step through the door and bombarded with this month’s specials or the latest model that can be financed at a once in a lifetime APR rate. Whilst being quite off putting, essentially it deprives you of your freedom to browse at will and take everything in before approaching the sales rep with any questions you may have based on the information you’ve taken in. Although not quite a like for like experience, the car showroom analogy can be applied when engaging with prospects and customers. Obtain permission, establish how and when they like to digest content, and then serve them based on that info. If your content is engaging and informative, they will do the rest. (I should note I’ve visited plenty of car showrooms with fantastic sales staff, thankfully the aforementioned experience isn’t always the norm)
What is abundantly clear is that you should always start with the customer and work your way back. Take the time to really understand their profile and what it is that engages them, and on what channels. Understand how your products and services benefit them and in essence, why they should buy from you and not one of your competitors.
Gather the data (whilst being transparent and honest about what it is you’re doing) and really scrutinise the detail. Start with the basics and build a profile, research thoroughly and make informed marketing decisions on what you find. We’ve seen some fantastic direct marketing campaigns over the years that were eye catching, and in some cases costly, that just didn’t deliver a good ROI when it came to the crunch. A grandiose house built on weak foundations will always collapse eventually.
The word ‘obsession’ can carry negative connotations and the phrase ‘customer obsession’ certainly is subjective. The meaning behind it however is a positive one. Put your customer first, take the time to understand them and their wants and needs and you’ll undoubtedly reap the rewards.
Thanks for taking the time to read this piece. If you need any further info or would like to talk to us about your direct marketing campaigns, feel free to contact us on our office number: 01189 474 888 or alternatively, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org