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Your service or product is ready to launch, now you need to take it to market. But how do you connect with potential customers?
Social media allows businesses to reach a far wider audience than ever before but what are the best ways to do that? How do you get in front of potential customers using digital and social media marketing? If you're a sole trader, business owner (small, medium or large) or someone wanting to understand how digital and social media marketing can build your brand or business, then connecting with customers is one of things you’ll need to master.
Here are four must-do’s for effective customer connection.
Step 1: Define your audience (customer)
Understanding who’s going to buy what you’re selling is a crucial part of product or service success. Hopefully you already have your target customer in mind – and defined and used this in developing your product. Marketers call this customer definition a persona. Personas are not real people but are a way for you to visualise the types and characteristics of your customers. If you can identify and understand the wants and needs of your target market, you’ll be able to more easily connect with them.
To create a customer persona, you’ll need to define their:
- Demographics - gender (if appropriate), age range, interests, stage in life
- motivations for buying
Once you know the above, you’ll be better positioned to answer the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) question and convince the customer that your product or service Is what they need.
Step 2: What’s so good about your product? (value proposition)
You need to know, and be able to articulate, what sets apart your service or product from the rest of the market (your competitors). Do you have a revolutionary app or the next-generation fidget spinner? Whatever your business, you need to be specific about the value it delivers to a potential customer. This is called your value proposition and it’s a key step towards realising success.
Even though you may think your product or service is the best thing ever, remember it’s your customer who determines its worth.
- What gap are your filling in the market?
- What problem or pain point are you solving for your customer? Is it a real problem?
- Why is your product/service the best fit for your customer?
- What are you offering that isn’t available elsewhere?
Check out your competitors – what are they doing and how are they doing it? Google searches, online analytics and customer reviews can shed light on customer motivation. From here, you can start differentiating your offering from others in the market.
Step 3: Map your customer journey
Once you have an idea of who your customer is and what they want, it’s time to map out the customer journey. This process focuses on charting how your customers will engage with information about your product or service, and the time it takes to move from initial awareness to eventual purchase. Creating a visual map can help you look at the entire customer journey in a single frame, while imagining you are the customer. This is crucial. You need to wholly commit to putting yourself into the shoes of the customer. You can also pretend to be a customer (mystery shopper) for some of your competitors to identify opportunities for differentiation in your customer journey.
Start by mapping out the user experience for your product or service and breaking it down into the key marketing stages:
- Awareness – Initial exposure to your product. Are they intrigued or curious?
- Research – The customer learns more about your product and competitors’ products. Are you different or better than others?
- Consideration – Review of options as customer moves closer to purchase. Is your product seen as more desirable than others?
- Decision – Customer purchases product. Is the purchase process smooth and easy?
- Delivery – Customer experiences product. Is the customer happy?
- Loyalty – Is the customer satisfied with the product? Would they buy again? Would they recommend your product to others?
Step 4: Continue building connections
The fourth step is about understanding where your prospective customers are at each stage of their journey and figuring out how to reach them. Social media is a great starting point – using your customer persona, do some research into where your audience is spending time online.
Are they using Instagram or TikTok?
Do they spend more time on Facebook or YouTube?
This will help you figure out how to use each platform type to maximise your results and reach. From here, you can start building a digital and social media marketing strategy to establish connections with your target audience, leading them through a thoughtfully curated journey from initial awareness to the point of purchase and re-purchase!
Learn more about connecting with online audiences with the Digital and Social Media Marketing microcredential course from UTS Open.