Being a small business owner may make you feel like the little guy out there trying to compete with Goliath corporations. The challenge of competing for the data and information that other companies may have whole departments dedicated to may feel daunting. However, technology has helped make the playing field a bit more level for the little guy to gain important information about matters like their customers. Because of the many innovations that have accompanied the internet, small businesses can now find ways to gain knowledge about customers without employing a costly department to do so.
Use Social Media
The best way to get to know people is by engaging with them. Small business owners have their hands full, but engagement is literally at business owners’ fingertips because of social media platforms. A small business owner can engage directly with their customers virtually and discover their wants and needs, their likes and dislikes. This is critical information to have for planning and forecasting for the future. If your business creates a variety of products but customer engagement provides you with feedback on a few that are given poor reviews, you can respond quickly and avoid continuing to produce this particular product or significantly reduce how much of it is made. Because social media feedback will always be anecdotal and not scientific, it is important to not base your whole marketing and sales strategies around the information you receive on it. With that said, it can provide you with useful real-time responses that are helpful to your business.
Take Advantage of Tech
Another reason the internet has leveled the playing field is that digital marketing exists. And although digital marketing is, of course, also available to larger companies, it can provide small businesses with information that was once not available prior to the internet. For instance, a small business can now have a customer data platform and learn more about their customers than they ever were able to before. Having customer information is a great way to discover trends and patterns that could be critical to your business. Therefore, it is important that you determine what digital methods can help you gather pertinent information for your business.
Additionally, you can use digital means to acquire information by simply asking for it and giving customers multiple opportunities to provide it. As previously discussed, social media can be a part of this, but not all customers engage with social media or find that the most effective means to communicate with companies. providing customers with a way to contact you on your website or to leave comments is necessary in order to reach some customers.
Although the internet provides small businesses with a wealth of opportunities to engage with more customers than ever before, the old face-to-face method should not be undersold. Getting to know people who purchase your products or services in a physical setting provides you as a business owner with a lot of opportunities. First, you will be able to actively engage with the customer regarding the product which will allow you to receive first-hand impressions and feedback. This is priceless information. Second, your presence and willingness to sell your products in a public setting is marketing. You are putting a face and a sense of values with your product that will draw customers.
Knowing what your customers think about your business gives you the opportunity to respond: with gratitude or with changes. Either way, you will benefit from the knowledge because it gives you the power to react to your customers’ feedback which makes you a responsive business owner, which customers like. A present and front-facing business owner will find that customers appreciate being known and having their thoughts and concerns heard. It will show them that they matter to you and that you care about what you provide them with. This is how you get life-long customers. So, determine the different ways you will get to know your customers, and listen to what they have to say.