Digital marketing does not focus on selling products but rather on bringing to light a solution that address customer needs. This is the golden rule of marketing and you have probably heard several variations of the same.
As digital marketing evolves, you, as a marketer, have an added ability other than simply conveying your solutions to customers, acquiring valuable insights into the behaviors of your customers. This insight can help you refine your digital marketing strategy, your products and services while at the same time help you better anticipate the needs of customers. But how exactly do you do this?
Identify specific goals
To gain insight from the customers, you have to start by identifying a specific goal. For example, wanting to learn something new about your customers is not a goal; it is too general. You have to identify a more focused goal or else you will miss valuable and actionable information. To identify a specific goal, you ought to ask yourself this question; what do you wish to learn from your target customers and why?
If you recently started offering a new service, your goal could be getting customer response by looking at who likes it and who dislikes it. Alternatively, you may want to learn how you can improve the product. In this case, your goal will be looking at the issues that customers have and what they wish changed.
The goal could even be more complicated such as identifying how customers interact with different marketing materials. For example, you may want to know why more buyers opt to purchase certain items in stores rather than e-commerce sites.
Identify the 'Who'
To gain insight from your customers, you have to identify specifically who you want to learn from. For example, you may want to learn more about customers in a certain geo-location. You may also be targeting customers who consumed a specific product and have not come back for more. The 'who' will be influenced by your goal.
The next step is to evaluate your digital marketing strategy. Your marketing efforts may include:
- Online reviews
- SMS programs
- Social media channels
- Email marketing campaigns
- Push notifications
- PPC/display advertising
You have to identify which of your marketing strategies your target audience uses the most. Focus on the relevant channels.
Make keen observations
The key to success when identifying searching for customer insight is to be objective in your observations. Look at the numbers on the standard metrics on various marketing channels. In the case of emails, focus on the number of opens, clicks as well as top-clicked content.
With social media channels, you can look at which posts or tweets were shared the most and the type of comments your audience left. What is the ratio of positive to negative reviews?
The goal here is to look at the number of responses from your target audience. How many positive comments do you have and what are customers bitter about?
The aforementioned tips will help you know what your numbers are in relation to customer satisfaction. Once you have these numbers, it is time to focus on what they really mean. If certain social media posts received the most likes, what does that say about the audience?
Your audience's responses will let you know how digital strategies are faring against traditional marketing strategies. The goal here is to identify if you can spot a correlation pattern between your marketing materials and the behavior of consumers.
What if you run both X and Y strategies together, will the results be better than running strategy Z independently? The best way of answering this question is to test your strategies early and do so often.
Your tests should follow the A/B testing procedure. What this means is that by doing step A, this will happen to B. You have to run the test keenly until you have sufficient data to determine which option is the best. Testing is an ongoing process.
Don't be afraid to start something new
The fear that most people have when it comes to digital marketing is the fear of failing. This should not stop you especially considering that most of the methods you try will not bear as good results as projected.
You should run small pilot programs to limit your losses. Do this when testing new marketing strategies. Do not put too much faith in an untested strategy.
Don't stop asking questions
One simple fact you ought to understand and remember at all times is that customer needs keep on changing. You cannot expect to ask questions just once and act on them to achieve your dream goals. It is imperative that you constantly search for trends and behaviors.
You also need to listen to your audiences' conversations. You never know when you may come across an insight that will change the way you reach out to your customers.
The best thing about listening to your customers is that you will be able to gain insight that will help make your business better. For example, you can learn more about the response of customers to your service as well as what they wish to see in your future products.
There is a lot more that goes into digital marketing. The most important thing is to keep an eye out for new developments in the market. Consumer needs keep on changing and your failure to change with their needs can cost you valuable business. Simply put, you ought to keep listening to your customers and never stop asking 'why?'
Digital marketing is dynamic. Most of the strategies that were considered invaluable a few years ago are, today, completely impractical. It is up to you to keep up with the trends, keep testing your strategies, learn from the experts and always listen to your audience in order to refine your marketing strategies accordingly. The points discussed in this post will help you get started on the right foot and help you learn more about your audience.
Girish Jashnani is an expert in Application Lifecycle management at Flosum.com with over 15 years of domain experience in this area. At Oracle and Salesforce, he ran a lot of different initiatives with respect to security, compliance, manageability and supportability of business applications. Girish's initiatives help customers reduced their cost of ownership by over 22 percent.