What is the point of ‘Customer Relationships’
Think about why you made your last purchase, particularly a significant one. Not necessarily expensive but important to you. Either as a brand, the product’s provenance, it’s connectivity to your values. And tell me you weren’t in a relationship with your supplier.
For example, I recently purchased a Fairphone. The phone that cares for people and planet.
It’s taken me a while to hit the go button. Mostly because of the investment. I was never in doubt about the product. I researched the heck out of this phone. Could it be repaired instead of upgraded. Would it work with the apps I use for relaxation and work. Is it sustainable (not greenwashed sustainable!). Could it be supplied in the UK where it had landed in bulk rather than one item from afar. Would they recycle my old phone. It was a resounding YES on all fronts. And the customer service and customer community is brilliant.
Who are you talking to
So, from the above purchase you can see that Fairphone were talking to me. I’m ethical in my purchasing, want no conflict mineral mining involved in my product. I need longevity and repairability. With great aftercare.
They created me, their customer persona. And this is a hugely important and fun way of finding your target audience. Giving you the information to develop the relationship from audience to community. And ultimately into paying customers. Understanding and relating to your customer ensures your message to them is engaging and consistent.
I recently undertook an exercise in Building a Thriving Brand with the fantastic Sara Truckel of Truckel Creative. One of the things I really enjoyed was creating personas (we often have more than one type of customer) and I called them Juliette (Binoche) and Sidney (Poitier). Two actors who had a big impact one me, so I thought – let’s bring them into my business.
You really can’t know enough about your customer. Specifics like – occupation, likes, dislikes, hobbies, hangouts and much more. The bigger the picture the better you are at having a conversation with them rather than putting copy out that’s selling at people.
Imagine you’re walking home and you can hear your kind of music playing. You get to a house and through the window you see Juliette and Sidney! Wearing their upcycled clothes. Drinking organic cava. Talking about growing their own fruit, salad and vegetables and composting. And where to find natural home insulation. (Current project happening at my home). (Insert own preferences everywhere here).
This might not sound like you. And honestly you’ll find that there’s a lot of you in your customers. But it’s a lot like me and a lot like the clients I attract. Because you probably developed your skill or product around a gap you wanted filled in the marketplace. See where I’m going?
Where is your customer
As a result of really knowing your perfect customer, they will be able to find you. And here’s the science. Where are your customers hanging out? Who are they asking and listening to for recommendations?
How difficult is it for them to find you? Are you trying to find them on your own or have you teamed up with a great online or physical group of like-minded business owners, parents, teachers… Whomever could support you and vice versa. It’s tough on your own and there are some incredible, FREE, groups out there who could be perfect for you. You do have to try a few, there might be fails, but that’s good because it’s building your knowledge of who is right for you.
Analytics plays a part in keeping track of how you’re conversations are going. Don’t forget every media and connectivity tool has a way of measuring performance. Takes the guesswork out and makes your work easier. Some exciting research sites are Answer The Public and Google Analytics plus all your favourite media platforms have their own.
And you can always ask people! YES. Talk to your potential and existing customers. Everyone loves to help, especially if your service or product becomes better for it. Win. Win.
Is it expensive
Starting with a software that holds data that’s secure, and easily accessible, can be invaluable. Think MailerLite as a starter CRM (customer relationship management) package, starts off free until you grow big enough to afford to pay for a version that can do more. Or Hubspot, it’s free and again, huge as a collector of emails, phone numbers, website information, calls, meetings.
Also important is keeping track of all of your current business offerings and future potential, in the form of ideas and decisions, by creating a form of business model. I use a paid version of Trello Project Software. But there is also a FREE version that has huge capacity for personal and business use.
When starting to work with a client I do an onboarding session to show how user friendly it is and pretty soon we’re showing our product/service, the value we bring to our customers, ideas, designs, conversations, meeting notes… It’s brilliant – I’ve even used it for recruiting into a team.
And don’t forget, old school is just as reliable, you can use a spreadsheet. Just don’t forget to save it into the cloud somewhere, GDrive or Dropbox, so it’s safe and secure.
So you see how it works, gathering the finer detail of your customer demographic. Keeping it to hand all the time so you can add in new ideas for marketing or social media plus charting new income stream ideas and costing out your overheads.
And it’s fun. There’s nothing less inspiring than finding something difficult or boring. That’s why I’ve tested and streamlined every stage of finding and engaging with your customer. To know it inside out whether you work as a creative, provide a service or sell a product.
If you want to know more about any of the above software or ideas please get in touch. It would be a pleasure to share more with you and no doubt learn from you too.