KEY TAKEAWAY: Before you can figure out how to connect with customers, you must first understand who those customers are. If you're interested in growing your retail business, knowing who you're selling to is just as important as the incredible selection of products you have to offer. Here are the steps to connecting with your customers.
SELECTING YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMERS
When you know who you’re selling to, so many other decisions fall into place, such as what language, imagery, models and colours you’ll use in order to sell your product or service.
In order to connect with customers, I’ve always found it helpful to give my business’ ideal customers name and real personalities… in other words, to sketch ‘ideal customer avatars’. That way, every time I write a product description or take a photo for social media, I'm able to put myself in that customer’s shoes and think about what would solve one of their problems, or appeal broadly to them.
WHO ARE YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMERS?
Your answers to this question should be based both on attributes and on values.
Attributes are demographic facts. For example, you may be aiming to attract professional women between the ages of 25 - 35 who love cats.
Values recognise the perspectives we share in common with our customers. For example, you may be selecting for people who believe that cats are important members of the family.
Go into as much detail as possible and remember, there will probably be more than one ideal customer for your business, so feel free to sketch avatars for up to five ideal customers.
WHAT ARE YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMERS TRYING TO DO, AND WHAT DO THEY NEED TO KNOW?
Customers come to your business to solve a problem - they need help with something and are looking to you to offer up the best way to get what they want. So if you want to connect with customers, ask yourself, what does your customer want?
Are they trying to buy a drill, or do they need a tool to make a hole? Is your customer buying shoes because they need something to wear to protect their feet? Or because they want to feel great about themselves when they go on their next first date?
If you understand why customers come looking for you, it’ll help you tailor your offerings to them. That’s important, because it’s that level of personalisation that we, as consumers, are increasingly looking for online. If you can deliver it, you’ll have a chance to out-compete other businesses in your niche without price becoming the determining factor.
HOW DO YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMERS WANT TO FEEL?
This applies to both their experience while actually shopping and when they bring your product home. Think about how you can add more value, ease, and delight to your customer’s experience at every touch point and
they’ll keep coming back to your brand.
ABOUT WHAT DO YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMERS (AND YOUR ACTUAL CUSTOMERS) EXPECT TO PAY?
It’s important to know from the outset whether you’re in the business of being competitive on price, or whether you’ll be providing a different sort of value to customers who’re prepared to pay more for a great story and excellent service.
Connecting With Your Customers
Now that you know who your ideal customers are, you can start telling them what they need to know. That’s how you connect with customers, and should be the object of every marketing move you make. So, here's the plan:
1. Communicate the value you offer. If your products are hand made, tell people that! If you've chosen special materials that are superior to the other options on the market, tell people that! If you gift wrap or can personalise products, tell people that! If you have tutorials that show people how to use the product, or can help them put it together yourself in store, tell them that! Don't hide any the features that make your business the best choice for your customers - and don't wait for them to ask. At the very least, put that info on every product page of your e-commerce site.
2. Help your customers to wisely choose and effectively use what you sell. Remember, it’s much more cost effective for you to sell to a repeat customer than to continuously work on attracting new customers. So you want what you sell to be the absolute right thing for that customer, and for them to get the best value out of it. That way, they'll be sure to tell their friends and come back for more.
3. Provide a convenient, stress-free and uplifting experience at every touch point. Think about your ideal customer and what makes his or her life difficult. If you can mitigate any of those stressors in their interaction with your business, they WILL appreciate and remember it!
BRANDING YOUR ONLINE STORE
Because the design of your online store is what forms a customer’s first impression of your business, the visual cues that make your ideal customers feel like your business is aesthetically aligned with what they love and how they see themselves is something you’ll definitely want to get right.