The primary goal of marketing is to reach customers at the moments that most influence their decisions.
It’s well documented that more and more buyers are making their purchase decision before speaking with someone in an organization, so reaching customers further upstream, in their consideration and evaluation phase, is paramount.
But equally important as reaching your customer is resonating with them.
Effective marketing language must be relevant, valuable, and useful. In other words, you have to understand your customers very well if you expect to create messaging that resonates and builds trust online.
The best way to understand your customers is to speak with them directly.
Interviewing your customers, often referred to as Primary Research, is the most direct way of learning about your consumers’ attitude towards your product or service.
This approach allows you to move away from what you think to what your consumers think, getting inside your customers’ shoes and looking at your business from their point of view.
Talking with your customers and prospects has many positive benefits. Among them, it allows you to:
1. Reveal differentiators – what is unique about your service, what do your customers appreciate, and what is your business really good at
2. Confirm/identify opportunities – both those that you know exist and those you might not have thought about previously
3. Clarify messaging – what you need to communicate and which obstacles you need to overcome
4. Identify gaps - understand any discontinuity between what you offer and what your consumers want
This valuable insight is incredibly important in setting marketing strategy and has direct sales benefits as it allows you to create messaging that resonates with the right type of customer, I.E., your best customer.
One of the more effective, and efficient, ways to get your customers’ perspective is to set up phone interviews. You may have to offer some type of incentive, but you’ll be surprised how many of your customers are interested in speaking with you, particularly if you explain that their feedback will help make your product and service offering better.
When conducting customer interviews you only need to speak with enough people to the point where you identify trends and themes in the responses to your questions. This may happen with as few as 15 to 20 respondents.
Be respectful of your customers’ time. These calls don’t need to take more than 15 minutes; your questions should be well considered and conceived in advance, and should not include more than 10 questions or so.
You can also get valuable customer insight by conducting an online survey. Survey’s don’t reveal as much detailed information as talking directly with your customers (they will be more candid and will be able to ad lib), but they do allow you to ask more questions. Sometimes a combination of phone interviews and online survey is a good approach.
To better understand and apply the benefits of talking directly with your customers to generate more sales leads, download our free Lead Gen System™: