Own a small business? Well, your branding is just as important as it is for a big name. In fact, many large companies try to look small so they will appeal to consumers who like to support independent brands.
Many small business owners already understand the importance of branding for their business, but many simply don’t understand why.
They can see how the successful businesses become successful by building a strong brand, and they want the same for their business. They even understand that branding isn’t just a cool logo or how folks feel about the business. But most don’t realize that successful businesses have their brand at the heart of the business. It means everything. In fact, in many cases you could substitute the word brand for business.
Branding is a way of defining your business to yourself, your team and your external audiences. It could be called the business’ “identity”, but only on the understanding that it embodies the core of what the business is and its values, not just what it looks and sounds like. Customers of all sorts of businesses are so savvy today that they can see through most attempts by companies to spin or charm their way to sales.
The benefits of branding is similar to when people fall in love with each other. When customers connect—the result is higher sales and better brand differentiation. It also leads to loyalty and can even protect your price in times when competitors throw a low-ball price at you.
Know Your Customers Like The Back of Your Hand
You know the back of your hand pretty well, right? How about your customers – do you know them? Like, *really* know them? Understanding who your customers are, and exactly what drives them, is important to increasing your conversion rate. When you make the decision to get to know your customers better, you’re making the decision to better your company and your brand.
Understand Your Demographics
The first thing you need to do to really understand your customers is to take a look at them. Who is buying products from you? Are you mostly getting sales from retired seniors? Is it internet billionaires who find your service irresistible? When you understand the demographics of the people purchasing from you, you’ll be able to take the next steps to truly understanding them.
Interact on Social Media
If you don’t have social media accounts for your company, you’re not giving your marketing strategy the teeth it needs to survive. Social media today allows you to truly interact with customers and clients. This gives you a completely new insight into the people you need to be working with. Through social media, you can find out who is buying, but more importantly you can interact with them.
If you want honest feedback about your product or service, consider conducting surveys. There are a number of different types of surveys you can put out there. From customer service feedback to having surveys about the products, these help you understand how your customers think. Consider putting out personal surveys, as well. This gives you specific information on your customers.
Hit up Events
Are there small business expos or home shows in your area? How about in one of your target market areas? These events allow you to interact with customers one on one. When you go to these events, make sure that you’re up for the challenge. You may get customers that are happy with you, but you may also encounter those who have had trouble with your product or service. In addition, you’ll meet people who have never encountered your product before. Make sure to pay attention to the people who are interested in what you have to offer. Find out what interests them, and take this to heart.
Conduct Focus Groups
Focus groups allow you to delve into the mind of customers and potential customers. You can spend some time with them in a laid back environment, asking questions about their lives and your product. Focus groups will generally yield a lot of information that other forums simply don’t. When you conduct a focus group, make sure that it is as laid back as possible. You want to get real information, you don’t want people telling you what they think you want to hear.
Create a Customer Profile (Persona)
You already know the demographics you’re working toward. Create a profile of the perfect customer. What is their family like? What are their interests and dislikes? When you create a customer profile you’re putting on paper what you think your customers are like. While you need to be willing to throw this out if you find your customer is someone else entirely, it’s a great way to start getting to know the needs of people purchasing from you.
Look at Your Data
If you already have customers, you also have data. You probably have more information on your visitors and customers than you think. Take a look at the analytics on your landing pages. This will let you know the physical locations of your customers. It also offers you information like what search terms they use to get to your landing page, and where they click once they’re on the page.
Let Go of Assumptions
If you really want to get to know who your customers are, you need to let go of assumptions or preconceived notions you have about them. This allows you a clean slate to truly understand where they are coming from, and what they want from you. This is especially important when you’re conducting surveys, meeting people, and interacting with those who have purchased or want to purchase from you. While it’s good to start with assumptions, be willing to let them go if it turns out that you were wrong in the first place.
Understanding your customers can be a long process. However, once you know them, you’ll be able to better advertise your products. While this can result in more sales, it also helps with customer loyalty. If people know that you’re truly interested in them, and not just the sale, they’re more likely to purchase again later.
About the Author
|Gordon Conner is a Marketing & Branding Consultant/Coach who helps build WOW brands for local businesses. He has been providing advertising, marketing and branding and services for 40 years and lives in Midlothian, Virginia. He can be reached at Gordon@BranWorks.com, or read more at https://branworks.com/branding-ain’t-rocket-science/|