7 Ways To Understand Your Online Audience

Customer Needs and Behaviour – ONLINE

Unless you are continually building knowledge about what satisfies your target market and what they are looking for, your message will attract a lot less interest. The wants of your target should be considered from need to search and then decision. If you can put the needs of your customers into a sentence from their perspective it will provide you with better accuracy in your message’s timeliness, method of delivery and most importantly, relevance.
There are several cost effective ways of getting to know ‘what they want’. Some of these are more subtle than others and require a great sense of listening so that you can get down to the core of what your target does and doesn’t want. These have been separated into channels below that should already be existing and require ongoing analysis. We then look at channels that can be implemented at later times and are not strictly ongoing.

Existing Channels that read Customer Behaviour

Social Media – When patterns emerge from complaints or compliments, it’s a great idea to save this data in a spreadsheet and share interesting or unique updates in reports. Facebook insights are useful but can’t categorise types of posts for you, and there’s nothing more annoying than trying to scroll through hundreds of posts to find a specific opinion, so save the info!

Phone / Online Chat – This may require some training. Many opinions and hints tend to be passed around more on the phone than in other channels. If someone calls to make an appointment or ask a question they could slip a “I just had to call because I couldn’t find it on your site,” which is priceless information for your team. Be sure that whoever handles calls is able to take note of or share this information.

Emails – Similarly to the above channels, emails can give you a lot of opinions and needs which are simpler to record into monthly (or weekly) reports. Detailed complaints will generally come through here more often, which will give you an order of what needs to be changed sooner. This will also give you a feel for what people are looking for in a business such as yours, and what they already know.

Ask questions – If you have any conversation opportunities with customers who have used your site and services, don’t shy away from the opportunity to ask them about their satisfaction and how they found you. Obviously you don’t want to open a can of worms but if you’ve recently made changes, asking about them directly is one of the best ways to test success.

Additional Channels to look into

Usability tests – Usability tests allow you to gauge which methods are getting your customers from information search to your end goals better. Typically for the best results you will test ‘A’ against ‘B,’ where A represents a practice you already have in place and B represents a single change to A’s practice. When used on the same people within the same timeframe you can then more accurately compare which is more effective. Be sure to always hypothesise about what you’re trying to prove through the test and what the result will change.
                Good start: Five Second Test allows you to test and be tested with other webmaster site usability for new or upcoming pages, basic use is free!
Survey / Questionnaire – People often discard survey requests, but this can be alleviated if you’re tying in a promotion (which we’ll cover later). There are sites available where you can make and implement customised surveys from measuring the success of changes or ‘taking a reading’ of how things are going. Make sure you have a goal for the value your survey will give you and make sure the questions can’t be misconstrued.
                Good start: Survey Monkey is a friendly survey creator tool that allows you to ask just about anything and easily track user answers.
Site Feedback – Similar to asking questions directly, programs are already available that ask for ratings or   comments and can sit comfortably on your site. This makes it a lot easier to see what people think of you divided by demographics and can be either an ongoing practice or implemented to assist measuring a specific change or decision.
     Good start: If you’re serious about the right answers, Kampyle gives you an addition to your site that allows users to give their feedback directly.

Hit List

        I have looked over my current channels of receiving customer info and recorded data that has already come in
        I have involved other staff members in ongoing information collecting processes
        I have selected other possibilities to try out over a strategic timeframe
        I am taking notes of my most common type of customer, the need/s that lead them to finding my site and how they most commonly use it

For those in HR or Small Business

In general, the staff members who have the most contact with customers will be your frontlines for retrieving the most important and up to date information about your customers. If the person who answers the phone or greets customers notices a common complaint or question, get them to write it down and send it around. The more sharing going on, the wiser each decision maker will be.


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